Change of Plans

By Richard Mineards   |   March 19, 2020
The happy couple celebrating

Montecito animal activist Gretchen Lieff and fiancé Miles Hartfeld had their romantic vacation to the Maldives and India cut short after President Donald Trump‘s announcement about new travel measures fighting the spread of the coronavirus.

“We found ourselves in the middle of the Indian Ocean on an island 200 miles north of the Equator,” says Gretchen. “We came for a romantic getaway, flying to the Maldives from LAX, via Singapore.

The happy couple celebrating
Gretchen Lieff and Miles Hartfeld cut their vacation short after new travel measures were announced (photo by Priscilla)

“Singapore Airport was eerily quiet after a 17-hour flight, with us being greeted by white-suited garbed medical teams pointing thermal scanners to catch anyone who might register an above normal temperature.”

But the exotic itinerary was curtailed after Trump announced new restrictions.

“As we were packing to leave Malé for Delhi the Indian government closed its border,” adds Gretchen. “We could have slipped in, but it appeared to be too dangerous at this point. The country has the potential of being the next coronavirus hotspot.”

“We flew to the Maldives to share our love. We’ve done that and are so happy to have accomplished that. It’s so strange to have the love and peace of such a beautiful place in contrast to the concern and torrent of fear the virus has generated.”

“The world is such a huge place with such ironic contrasts. Hopefully it won’t be too long before we can all be back to where we were before the crisis.

“In the meantime we are happy and relieved to be home and observing the cautious behaviors necessary to assure the safety of our community.”


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