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Old 05-05-2012, 09:36 PM   #811
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(Continued from Previous Post)


Let’s Play Spot the difference at the Peak



When I was a child, I used to love looking at the picture game Spot the Difference. Anyone else remember that game?

It usually consisted of two similar pictures side by side, either horizontally or vertically, with instructions to find x number of differences, where x = 10 or some base number like that.

So, here’s my version of the game. Spot the difference!






















Some closer-ups of the buildings at night.















The Sky Terrace was packed! In the section facing Central and Kowloon, there was no elbow room.
For any photonuts reading this, the pictures taken here were all taken hand-held. I did bring my tripod along but there was no way I was going to be able to set it up. And even if I did manage to set it up, it was obvious that the tripod was no going to be respected by anyone!


And if ever I thought that I was click-happy on the camera, I was to find out on this night that I was but a mere novice. Tonight, all around me, I heard the sound of mini machine guns being fired.

Click-click-click-click-click-click-click-click-click-click-click-click-click-click-click-click-click-click-click-click-click-click-click-click-click-click-click-click-click-click-click-click-click-click-click-click-click-click-click-click-click-click-click-click-click-click-click-click-click-click-click-click-click-click-click-click-click



And that was in the space of 20 seconds! In stereophonic sound!




I have no idea how those pictures turned out or if the owners of the machine guns intended to stitch the pictures together or not…but it was interesting to see how other tourists take pictures.



With the Harbour in between Hong Kong Island and Kowloon, Hong Kong city at night looked really beautiful. I know everyone says it is a small city…and it might be that…..but looking at it from the Peak, I wouldn’t have described it as small.



Oh - and for anyone who seriously played spot the difference....most of the difference was in various buildings changing colours.



(Continued in Next Post)
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Old 05-05-2012, 09:37 PM   #812
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(Continued from Previous Post)


A Tale of Two Toilets



I know everyone comes home from holidays with their own toilet stories; I am no different.

The first two toilet stories happened on this night.



After we had our fill of neon lights, we figured it was time to leave. I stopped by the ladies on the way out. Naturally there was a queue. When it came my turn, someone behind me queue jumped and ran into the cubicle ahead of me. I think you can imagine my reaction.

And then just as I could hear the flush of the next cubicle, there was movement again from behind me and I pretty much yelled out in English that I was next and no one was to jump ahead of me. Turns out the person trying to queue jump had a child that just couldn’t wait. Everyone else behind me saw it and they all started to yell back at me….only in Cantonese. The cacophony was defeaning.


I did let the child go ahead of me; all the while aware that there were poison darts being shot at my back. But by this stage, I’d pulled out my Kevlar vest (my camera) and made a pretend call to DH, speaking in as broad an Aussie accent as possible.


If there had been one of those pit toilets under me then, I think I would have stepped in it and pulled the chain in the hopes of being flushed down and away from that near-lynch mob.




The second story happened back down near Central station. It took us a while….a long while to head back down. The Peak tram heading back was nuts! The bus lines were crazy…so we queued up again for the taxi. At least in the transport terminal underneath the Peak Gallery, there were proper lines so I was glad that there would be no repeat demonstration of local custom adjustment needed. It took us 40 minutes to grab a taxi and we got off at Central MTR station.

DS was desperate by this stage and we headed down the MTR expecting there to be a gents down there.


Folks – There are no toilets in the majority of the MTR stations. For some reason, the Hong Kong authority decided not to include them when they were constructing the stations.


Poor DS! We ended up having to come out of the station and into the Landmark building….running around that building before finding a helpful Landmark Mandarin Oriental Hotel concierge who pointed us in the right direction.

Aside from learning that there are no toilets in the MTR stations, there was one other important thing I learnt at Central station that night. And it was to be my second (and the more important) question I would ask whenever I needed to work out directions for where to go.




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Old 05-05-2012, 09:41 PM   #813
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Originally Posted by franandaj View Post
That view reminds me of the MK views I've seen at BLT, big parking lot...castle off in the distance! However, when you only look up the skyline is spectacular!

I love the little kitchen, that was sweet, but NO BATHTUB! I don't know what I would do without my tub on holidays!

Glad to see you all settled into your room.


Well...now that you're here, you might as well read the rest of these updates and you'll be right up to date!

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Old 05-05-2012, 09:44 PM   #814
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Well...now that you're here, you might as well read the rest of these updates and you'll be right up to date!

I just did! so you are free to proceed!
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Old 05-05-2012, 09:48 PM   #815
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I just did! so you are free to proceed!
Sadly, I'm up to date with my photobucket. Gonna need to start uploading Day 4.
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Old 05-06-2012, 03:13 AM   #816
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I was laughing so hard about you stealing your taxi back that DH asked me why I was laughing. He did not find it as humorous as I did. It still makes me laugh now. Good for you. Someone tried to "steal" a cab from us when we were in Manhatten and DH did not let him. The buildings there are so beautiful. Is the difference in the pictures from the Sky Terrace the blue lights? Sorry you did not get to eat at the restaurant you wanted, but I am glad you liked the one you ended up at.

Even when Xander was potty training and had close calls, no one ever let us line jump in the restroom. While waiting in line for a unisex bathroom, one man tried to jump in front of us explaining that he thought there was a separate ladies and men's room. That was understandable I guess. Xander would not have made it if he cut us though. No restrooms in the station. I cannot go somewhere that does not have a restroom. I need it far too often. That is crazy. Glad DS got some assistance.
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Old 05-06-2012, 06:18 AM   #817
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Phew!!! Just got caught up. I felt I was really behind, as a few other TR's. Wow it seems you need to steal in order to get somewhere, if you dont you may as well walk. I like the different desings of the buidings and the buildings that change color are awesome, probably more so in person.

Having to change restaurants, wow, sorry you did not get to eat where you wanted. And then the issues with bathrooms. I guess you would learn to hold it for as long as possible. I thought the room , with the view was awesome, I guess it was worth the upgrade.

Cant wait to hear more stealing stories......

Oh, I guess you may need to learn a clicking class as well.
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Old 05-06-2012, 07:03 AM   #818
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Enjoying the show-doubling back- the little rabbit washer animal you got was the splitting image (well now I look again-almost) of one we got when we were at Wilderness Lodge back in 2008.



My DH is rather meak and mild so I am not sure how we will go coping with the pushiness in HK whenever we get there but at least we are primed. I can see I will be referring back to your TR next year when it comes to planning the trip-all my research will be done for me

The view at night is spectacular. Looking forward to hearing all about the rest of your explorations. Tokyo has similar suica/pasmo cards that can be used for all sorts of eatery purchases not just swiping for trains-makes life so much easier.

and totally OT-when did that cute badpc smiley appear-I want an excuse to use it-well no, not at all-but there have been times I have wanted it badly!
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Old 05-06-2012, 07:57 AM   #819
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We went up the Peak at lunchtime and while there was a huge crowd, it wasn't too long a wait. I think we got on the 3rd tram going up, and the first one coming back.

Ugh, the pushing! We did manage to laugh it off most of the time. I had primed the kids beforehand, explained that it was their custom and there wasn't anything we could do about it so we would just have to put up with it. There were a couple of times at Disneyland when I was at the end of my tether and told someone off for pushing in front of us but they didn't care of course! When we were lining up for the Peak Tram we just kept getting pushed further back. As the tram approached everyone surged to try to be first on. I told the kids not to push back, that we would wait for the next one if we had too, but that the pushing was dangerous and to stand back. An Indian tourist in front of us heard me and he actually stood back and let us board in front of him

Sorry you got chased out of the restaurant but the visual did make me laugh! :lol:
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Old 05-06-2012, 02:06 PM   #820
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Everytime I make the mistake of looking at your signature, I beat myself up!!!
I would have been very cool to have one from Hong Kong.... Oh well we did not plan very well did we?
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Old 05-06-2012, 09:13 PM   #821
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kmedina View Post
I was laughing so hard about you stealing your taxi back that DH asked me why I was laughing. He did not find it as humorous as I did. It still makes me laugh now. Good for you. Someone tried to "steal" a cab from us when we were in Manhatten and DH did not let him. The buildings there are so beautiful. Is the difference in the pictures from the Sky Terrace the blue lights? Sorry you did not get to eat at the restaurant you wanted, but I am glad you liked the one you ended up at.

Even when Xander was potty training and had close calls, no one ever let us line jump in the restroom. While waiting in line for a unisex bathroom, one man tried to jump in front of us explaining that he thought there was a separate ladies and men's room. That was understandable I guess. Xander would not have made it if he cut us though. No restrooms in the station. I cannot go somewhere that does not have a restroom. I need it far too often. That is crazy. Glad DS got some assistance.
There are at least 3 or 4 buildings where the lights are slightly different in the pictures.

And the way I looked at it with the taxi, I had two other taxis stolen from me. This one stopped because I flagged it down but it stopped 10 m away and this family just appeared out of no where. So, I just claimed it back.


Quote:
Originally Posted by usnuzuloose View Post
Phew!!! Just got caught up. I felt I was really behind, as a few other TR's. Wow it seems you need to steal in order to get somewhere, if you dont you may as well walk. I like the different desings of the buidings and the buildings that change color are awesome, probably more so in person.

Having to change restaurants, wow, sorry you did not get to eat where you wanted. And then the issues with bathrooms. I guess you would learn to hold it for as long as possible. I thought the room , with the view was awesome, I guess it was worth the upgrade.

Cant wait to hear more stealing stories......

Oh, I guess you may need to learn a clicking class as well.
I'll live with not eating at Mak's Noodles. The alternative was tasty.
I think that DS learnt a very valuable lesson that night. When you have the chance to go to the bathroom, don't wait. After that night, whenever we were out and about and before we headed back to catch public transport, he completely understood why we all took a restroom break first.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Aussie Wendy View Post
Enjoying the show-doubling back- the little rabbit washer animal you got was the splitting image (well now I look again-almost) of one we got when we were at Wilderness Lodge back in 2008.



My DH is rather meak and mild so I am not sure how we will go coping with the pushiness in HK whenever we get there but at least we are primed. I can see I will be referring back to your TR next year when it comes to planning the trip-all my research will be done for me

The view at night is spectacular. Looking forward to hearing all about the rest of your explorations. Tokyo has similar suica/pasmo cards that can be used for all sorts of eatery purchases not just swiping for trains-makes life so much easier.

and totally OT-when did that cute badpc smiley appear-I want an excuse to use it-well no, not at all-but there have been times I have wanted it badly!
I love your animal towels! They are so cute!

I'd like to think that the push and shove happened because the mainland chinese people were on holiday that week. When we queued up at places where the local Hong Kong people were (and non-tourist spots), everyone was really orderly and respected personal space. WHEN you decide to go, just check the holidays for China and if you manage to avoid going at their holidays, I figure it will be better.


Quote:
Originally Posted by ehsmum View Post
We went up the Peak at lunchtime and while there was a huge crowd, it wasn't too long a wait. I think we got on the 3rd tram going up, and the first one coming back.

Ugh, the pushing! We did manage to laugh it off most of the time. I had primed the kids beforehand, explained that it was their custom and there wasn't anything we could do about it so we would just have to put up with it. There were a couple of times at Disneyland when I was at the end of my tether and told someone off for pushing in front of us but they didn't care of course! When we were lining up for the Peak Tram we just kept getting pushed further back. As the tram approached everyone surged to try to be first on. I told the kids not to push back, that we would wait for the next one if we had too, but that the pushing was dangerous and to stand back. An Indian tourist in front of us heard me and he actually stood back and let us board in front of him

Sorry you got chased out of the restaurant but the visual did make me laugh! :lol:
I was sorry too. It was actually quite funny....we had been served tea; and when they realised we needed a vegetarian meal, two of them followed us out of the shop!


Quote:
Originally Posted by dgbg100106 View Post
I would have been very cool to have one from Hong Kong.... Oh well we did not plan very well did we?
I didn't plan shopping time well at all.
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Old 05-06-2012, 11:02 PM   #822
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The Yee’s Have It – Back to Victoria Peak


Day 4 of this vacation and it was Ching Ming Day.


The Festival of Ching Ming is a Chinese tradition celebrated either on the 4th or 5th of April. The tradition involves ancestral worship where family members show their respect by visiting the graves of their ancestors to clear away weeds, touch up gravestone inscriptions and make offerings of wine and fruit. It is also known as Grave Sweeping Day and is also celebrated in Japan and Korea.

The impact on us was two-fold. The first was that our TA friend was going to be busy for the morning with her grave sweeping; and the second was that we would be better to avoid any temples or public transport routes near cemeteries.

I had originally thought that we might go to the Big Buddha today; but the plans were changed when I realised it was Ching Ming day. I then thought that we could go to Ocean Park today; but Vien, that lifeguard at the Disneyland Hotel told me that people also tend to head to the theme parks on Ching Ming day because it was a public holiday. She recommended we avoid Ocean Park on this day.



I had checked with my parents; and they were keen to head to the Peak. In the times they had been to Hong Kong, they had gone to the Peak every time. However, they had not yet taken the Peak Tram up to the Peak. My mother in particular, was incredibly enthusiastic about catching the Tram.


The Yee’s Have it Again! We were to re-trace our steps from last night and head back to Victoria Peak. When I had planned this trip and was looking at Victoria Peak, I had a hard time working out if I should visit during the day or the night. I really wanted to see the lights at night; which we did last night; and I also really wanted to see the Peak during the day as well. With 8 full days in Hong Kong, I knew we had time to do this attraction twice. So, heading back there again…and in the daytime….was something that I was keen to do. DH, on the other hand, wasn’t so sure.


We arranged to meet my parents in the lobby at 8.30 am so that we could get an early start and get to the Tram terminal early. The best laid plans…..


DS and my dad were hungry when we got down. They wanted food.


Our hotel is located right next to the Metropolis Mall. One of the selling points for staying here was that my parents had raved about the food court at the Mall and how there was this one particular shop that served fantastic rice congee and other Asian savouries for breakfast. So, we headed to the food court. It was smarter than us....it was still asleep.





Turns out the owner of that particular shop retired. It is now an electronic device shop.



To cut a long story short, we eventually found a restaurant in the mall that was opened and serving dim sum. We ordered some BBQ pork buns to go…and waited….and waited…..and waited. It took over 20 minutes for us to get those steamed buns.

The wait made me rather anxious as I knew we needed to get to the Tram Terminal early in order to avoid the queues.

We caught the train from Hong Hum station to East Tsim Sha Tsui. From there we were going to transit to the Tsim Sha Tsui (TST) station and catch the Red line to Central.

I will digress a little here for those of you wondering about the TST/East TST stations relationship. There are two separate train stations on the MTR map listed in the Tsim Sha Tsui area. On the map, it looks like you can interchange between the two stations. Yes you can; but you need to exit out of the station and WALK at least 5 – 10 minutes in order to ENTER the other station.





I understand from our TA friend that if you use an Octopus Card, the interchange is not meant to cost you any money. This may be the case…but I have to say that the Hong Hum to East TST leg chews up HK$3.50 every time I walked out the exit (about $0.50 in our money) and re-started the journey leg again when I walked back in the TST entry. Considering that we were heading into the city and out at least twice a day, I quickly learnt that it was cheaper and more convenient to use the hotel shuttle bus to take us to the TST station. Afterall, whilst each journey was $0.50 in our money, for the 3 of us, at 4 trips back and forth a day, that was $6 in our money per day that we ended up not having to spend on train travel.



Anyway….moving along. The MTR trains are really impressive as they are so clean. Take a look….





See the bags? That was us yesterday!






I had learnt yesterday that where to go and which train station to go to was not the most important question when one seeks direction in Hong Kong. Afterall, the tourist maps are great and you can easily see what the nearest MTR station is.

No….the most important question to ask is what EXIT to take. Let me demonstrate what I mean. Take a look at this map of the TST/East TST area.





Anyone notice that the last letter on the exit list is ‘P’? There is a similar board on the other side of the map; and I counted at least 20 exits alone for this station.


Except for a couple of anomalies, most stations that we got off at had a minimum of 5 exits.



Take another look at the map. You might notice red ‘dots’ or marks on the map. Those are the exits and there is quite a geographic spread for these exits. If you happen to choose the wrong exit, you might find yourself blocks away from where you really wanted to be.

So, if you are asking for directions on how to get somewhere and are using the MTR, make sure you also ask which exit to take. It will save you a little time and confusion; and also help you blend into the local scene a little bit better.



Our destination was Central Station and I had yet to remember to ask that second and more important question. DH and I figured that we found our way yesterday; we would find our way again today.

Problem was, I was sure we took the exit near Ice House Street yesterday. DH was sure we took a different exit.

You would think that DH and I would have learnt by now that I am nearly ALWAYS right! We went with DH’s exit.

Nowhere near Ice House Street and nothing looked familiar!

We looked around and tried to ask a few people for help. Yeah. Public holiday and all that…this was who we found.





We had ended up in Statue Square, which used to hold the statues of English Royals such as Queen Victoria, Prince Albert, Prince Edward VII and George V. Now, only the banker statue remains.

The architecture around the square was rather interesting; but I somehow seemed to have missed taking pictures of it. I did get this water feature.





We eventually found someone walking by, and they pointed us in the right direction.






We had ended up two blocks further away from where we had exited the night before.

Still, it took us 15 minutes to walk to our destination and we walked past St John’s Cathedral along the way.





The Peak Tram terminal is located at Central's Garden Road St Joseph Building.





Can you see those poles in the walkway? They do connect them with the stretchy rope when the crowds get busy. Last night, the crowd stretched all the way from the left hand side, where the green truck is, round where DS and DH are standing all the way to the right where the purple flag is…and back and back again. The 90 minute sign was 3 lines deep near the purple flag.




I was particularly pleased to see the lack of people; but then it was still before 10 am in the morning. I had stressed for nothing.

We used our Octopus Cards for our entry and it was walk right in! I think that the price of the Peak tram using the OC was a little bit more than purchasing a ticket from the counter. I do remember thinking maybe we should have bought a ticket rather than using the OC; but it wasn’t enough of a difference for me to stress too much about it.





We waited for the next tram…





…and hopped right in. There was no pushing and shoving.


If you have the choice, make sure you get a seat on the right hand side of the tram (the right side as you face up towards the Peak).





And we’re off and heading up the Peak. I got the seat right at the back of the tram so that I could take pictures looking straight down the tracks.





The scenery just kept whizzing on by..





…as we kept climbing higher and higher.






Central kept getting further and further away.






We climbed to the heights of the skyscrapers….





…and beyond.






We had left the city well and truly below.






And in a relatively short space of time, we were at the Peak Station.





I snaffled this from DH’s collection…I guess it shows what I was doing for the trip up.






(Continued in Next Post)
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Old 05-06-2012, 11:08 PM   #823
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(Continued from Previous Post)


Soft mounds at the Peak



We’d caught the Peak Tram and arrived at Victoria Peak in the daytime. The tram ride was a hit with my travel companions. The journey and the view certainly lived up to my expectations and I was not disappointed with this excursion.

But now that we were back at the top, aside from checking out the view….what else was there to keep us occupied?

None of us want to head up to the Tower again. My parents had been twice before and they didn’t feel the urge to. As it turned out, my mum really wanted to walk around the souvenir shops in the Gallery and my dad wanted to people watch. They were happy to wait for us.


I had wanted to go for a walk around the Peak but DH thought he’s check out what else was on offer by asking at Information Services.

So, whilst we were waiting for DH, I headed into the Jungle Juice shop in the Tower building.

For about HK$40 (about $6 in our money), I scored me these snacks. Soft mounds of deliciousness!





We were to find these sorts of panna cotta bottles, with a variety of flavours, in a few ‘sweet’ shops in Tsim Sha Tsui. I chose to buy the standard vanilla panna cotta and the pandan panna cotta.

Pandan is a flavour that is widely used in the South East Asian region. The flavour comes from the leaves of the screwpine plant (Pandanus Amarylliforius) and adds a wonderful aromatic sweet, nutty, woody and vanilla-like bouquet to the food. Its smell is more intense and intoxicating than vanilla and when you taste it, there is a complete rounded taste in your mouth more rewarding than butterscotch. Much like vanilla, a little bit of the pandan flavour goes a long way.

The pandan panna cotta was fantastic. DS had chosen to have the fruit cup; but I ended up having to get him a bottle of his own after he tasted our panna cottas.


By this stage, DH had come back with information and advice from Information Services. He had decided that we should take a walk around the Peak.

I just love it when he finds out stuff that I already know.




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Old 05-06-2012, 11:11 PM   #824
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(Continued from Previous Post)


The Left Side of Victoria Peak by Day



Our walk today would take us round the Peak on Lugard Road. The walk circles right round and connects to Harlech Road, which gets you back to where you start from. Our starting point is to the left of the Peak Tower and is sign-posted.

Hong Kong tourist information is very organised. Everywhere you go (where tourists are expected to go), there are sign posts like this. For English speakers, it is a very easy city to get around and to ask for directions or to check out the street signs and posts.





It provides amazing panoramic views of Victoria Harbour, Central, Kowloon, Mid-Levels and some of the outer Islands.

DH was keen to hurry me along.





I needed to take a quick look back at where we had started from.





I loved the greenness of the walk.





Lugard Road has residents living on it. Most of the houses are pretty exclusive and can trace their history back to English Colonial days. They were also pretty secluded from the walk.





But every now and again, there would be opulent signs of the exclusivity.





I liked that the walk contain information signs about the trees and plants.














We also got great views of Hong Kong along the way. This one is looking down at the Mid-Levels and Central district and Kowloon on the other side.





The gorgeous Harbour, with Ferry activity!





The two shutterbugs were having fun! And it isn’t often that my dawdling son leads the pack.





The view was spectacular and made even more so by the steep drop-offs of the Peak.









There were also information posts about the area’s history. I did spend a bit of time reading each of them.





The walk was not hard as the terrain was mostly flat. DS needed to take the odd breather here and there but he declined to stop here.





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Old 05-06-2012, 11:13 PM   #825
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If I ever go to HK I might need you to go along or we'll never get a taxi, neither DH or I are very pushy.

Beautiful skyline pictures.
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