High temperatures & high covid

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The weather may be nice in California, but unfortunately the covid cases are up significantly and we are now on an official lockdown (even though I’ve been locked down by choice). As I was sitting in my backyard, I received this emergency notification on my phone. I also included the graph of cases, showing that California is currently at its highest number of new cases in a single day, just under 30,000.

Palmenhaus ~ Vienna

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You are the sum total of everything you’ve ever seen, heard, eaten, smelled, been told, forgot – it’s all there. Everything influences each of us, and because of that I try to make sure that my experiences are positive.” ~Maya Angelou

(This photo was obviously taken in the summer, maybe not the current attire for Vienna, but still seems appropriate since I am now in California where it’s 24C/75F 😉)

‘A Day in the Life Photoshoot’ with photographer: ‘A Day in the Life Photoshoot’ with photographer: Michael Browne
http://www.fivebyseven.online

Riverside ~ California

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Photo: Raul Garcia, Concepto Video Foto (Riverside, California photoshoot)

It was certainly not my plan to travel to California during the pandemic, but I’m happy I made the spontaneous decision. I was lucky to fly on a practically empty (and a completely masked) plane! While I felt healthy, I didn’t want to risk the health of my family by adding a new person to their lockdown!

I am continuing to wear my mask for 2-weeks and staying socially distanced…even during Thanksgiving! I also took a precautionary covid test 6-days after my flight, with results coming back NEGATIVE the next day (see below for my covid test experience). I have scheduled my final covid test for Wednesday. Sure, it’s been challenging, but now there are only 3 days left!

So what have I been doing in California? Like everyone else, I’m doing nothing. As the lockdown rules in Austria became the most strict they’ve ever been: almost everything closed, no contact with anyone outside your immediate family and an 8pm curfew…add to that the cold, dark Viennese winter, this became an almost impossible option. So now I spend a lot of time singing (with no fear of disturbing my apartment neighbors) and on a picnic blanket in my backyard under the sun. I’m feeling a lot happier to have family and sun for this winter lockdown!

SOCAL COVID TESTING: This test was FREE and took 15min! I picked this location because it had almost no additional human contact since it was a drive thru in the parking lot of the Orange County Fairgrounds (Costa Mesa) with a self administer nasal swap PCR test. The test was free and took 15min. I received results by email and sms with a link to my results the following evening. Many US counties are doing this type of testing, but admittedly the info is not always so easy to find, so research your options. More info in the OC can be found here: http://360clinic.fulgentgenetics.com/appointment/screen/landing

Photo: Raul Garcia, Concepto Video Foto

Photoshoot in Riverside, California

Photoshoot in Riverside, California

Photo: Raul Garcia, Concepto Video Foto

Traveling internationally during corona

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When Austria announced a strict lockdown, with even more restrictions than the one in March, I decided there was no point to wait it out in Austria. This California girl finds it difficult to endure a real winter and especially with curfews and limited social contact. I decided spontaneously that I would come home. I booked a last minute ticket for only €290 through www.skyscanner.com and flew Vienna -> Amsterdam and a quick 50min transfer Amsterdam -> Los Angeles all with KLM. I will tell you my flying experience during covid:

My empty flight Amsterdam to LA

I arrived by my pre-arranged taxi www.booking.com/taxi in the wee hours of the morning to an empty Vienna Airport, but this could have been due to the time. Hand sanitizer dispensers can be found throughout the airport. Getting through security and boarding was quick and easy. Of course masks had to be worn all throughout the airport and flight. The flight Vienna -> Amsterdam was at full capacity. I was hoping for the middle seat to be empty, but we were packed in like sardines. When we were disembarking, they asked that we don’t stand until the row in front of us had left. Surprisingly, everyone followed these rules. I was stressed since I was near the rear of the plane and had a quick 50min transfer time. I walked quickly through a busy Amsterdam airport from Gate B all the way to F. Everything was fine until I saw the line for the passport control, but I arrived to my connecting flight with more than enough time to spare.

My flight Amsterdam->Vienna was almost completely empty. In fact, I would be surprised if there were more flight staff than passengers on board the large plane. Since I couldn’t sleep, due to my early flight, I laid out on the whole row and caught up on my sleep.

Masks must be worn throughout the airport and flight. The only exception to this is when eating and drinking.

At the LAX Airport, I proceeded to the passport control with my US Passport. The airport felt empty and the line was only a few minutes. Upon presenting my passport, they asked me to remove my mask and stand in front of the camera which, not only took my photo, but also took my temperature. The agent asked me what country I was coming from, and then I was off.

The Declaration Form given on board does not need to be filled out at this airport. As of November 18, 2020, Americans citizens traveling from the EU to LAX DO NOT need to present a negative Covid test.