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Two oldest bloggers take flight

By ERIC SHACKLE, in Sydney, Australia
 

Anything you can do, I can do better; I can do anything better than you! That could well be the theme song of the world's two oldest bloggers, Australia's Olive Riley (107) and Spain's Maria Amelia (95).

In her very first post, in February, Olive described how she had just returned from an interstate flight to visit her great-great-grandchildren in Brisbane. A younger blogger, a nurse calling herself Shrimplate, says "Olive's blog is wonderful ... it's a bit like sitting down beside a remarkable woman, a very old remarkable woman, and listening to her stories as she flips through her collection of photos taken over the years."

Now Maria Amelia has trumped Olive, by flying to Brazil with her grandson, for a 15-day holiday. She was further from her home in Galicia (north-west corner of Spain) than she had ever been, and sadly, she thinks it may be her last overseas journey.

Maria Amelia had been ill with pneumonia and various complications which left her weak, so she decided to go to a resort in Brazil for 15 days to recuperate.

Despite her illness, she was determined not to miss the trip, but worried about the long travel time. The trip took 20 hours, but soon after she booked in to a five-star hotel, she took to the dance floor!

When she went to get her passport before leaving Spain, her identity card was so old that officials were amazed. They had never seen anything like it. They laughed at first when they heard about her planned trip, but then offered friendly encouragement.

Maria Amelia feels this was an instance of "mind over matter." She has a strong will, hates sitting around and likes to have fun and get out and see things, and believed her strong will would help her drag her "weak old body" to her destination.

"God gave me this strong spirit, and I want to live", she said. "I know I will have to die some time, but it doesn't appeal to me one bit. There may be sadness in life, but there is also joy."

She went on to reflect "I am thrilled to be going (to Brazil) - if things go well, great! There is no reason for things to go badly. People die in Spain just as they do overseas."

On a happier note, Maria said that while in Brazil she planned to try all the delicious tropical fruit, dip her feet in the sea, and see as much as possible.

She was obviously looking forward to her trip. Just before leaving home, she wrote "Dear grandsons and great-grandchildren: I leave on Saturday. The doctor says that I can bathe and everything. "

Maria and her grandson began their long journey at 5a.m. on May 13. They had to take four connecting flights, via Oporto and Lisbon (Portugal) to Brazil. "The trip was something rough because the airplane had much resonance,"she wrote next day in her blog. The plane bounced on landing, and she thought her last day had arrived. Then they travelled by car for two hours to reach a five-star luxury hotel.

"We arrived, and instead of going to bed to rest we went out to dinner and even went to a dance the hotel has every evening," she wrote. "I was so excited I even joined in!

"So what do you think of this crazy old woman? I was so animated and excited I danced with the entertainers! When I finally went to bed I was so tired I didn't even know where I was....

"I send you a hug and wish you would come spend some time here, since it is absolutely beautiful. I attach some pictures of a crazy old lady dancing away after spending 20 hours on the road. Hugs to all."

And we send hugs to you, Maria, and to Olive too. Both of you inspire thousands of elderly citizens around the world.

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Story first posted June 2007

Copyright 2007

Eric Shackle

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