Video Killed the Trip Report Star: A Little Halloween Magic (Western) Complete!!

Discussion in 'Disney Cruise Line Trip Reports' started by nenner1, Oct 20, 2010.

  1. nenner1

    nenner1 <font color=darkorchid>I must've been distracted b

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    When my eyes opened on Tuesday morning, I was assaulted with the sunlight pouring through the verandah doors. Although it seemed bright to me, it was actually partly cloudy and at times overcast outside. The Magic was already anchored in her tender spot near the Georgetown shoreline, and although it was early to me, folks were already being tendered ashore.

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    Grand Cayman, we have arrived! (Not a whole lot to see on the skyline here)

    Our next door neighbor in the parking lot, the Norwegian Dawn (of which we would become more intimately acquainted with the next day in Cozumel). A couple of Carnival ships would join us later bringing the large vessels in port count up to four.

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    As I woke up and began my day, Ron took the kids down to the Parrot Cay breakfast buffet. It has the same food items as Topsiders but a larger and easier to navigate buffet line and much less people. They found they much preferred the laid back, uncrowded atmosphere in PC to the chaos that is Topsiders in the morning, so it became our new routine. They brought back a tray for me and Sarah, but we didn’t have long to linger over our meal, we had to catch a tender and meet for our private Dis-exclusive Half-Day tour to Stingray City through Captain Marvin’s.

    We headed down to the Buena Vista Theater and were immediately led down to Deck 1 for a tender, as many, many folks were leaving the ship at the same time.

    The view from the tenders:

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    Once on land, we moved with purpose through the entrance plaza, and across the street to the Captain Marvin’s shop. Like I mentioned above, this trip was Disers only, coordinated by Judy (TJBaggott). There were nearly 70 of us in the group from our Dis meet thread , and Capt. Marvin’s had procured a special large boat big enough to fit all of us on the charter today.

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    Although we arrived slightly before the 9:45 check in time, we were still among the last to check in. The staff informed us that they believed everyone had arrived already so we would head out a little early. Most of our group was already piled on two buses, and we were a little nervous when one of them began to pull away, and we weren’t directed to the second, but in fact we were the first to board a third bus. We needn’t have worried, as more of our group piled in the bus after us.

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    In just minutes we were off and heading out to the dock where Captain Marvin’s boats are moored (right by Captain Marvin’s house). Captain Marvin himself was outside to meet us!

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    Once onboard, everyone got settled and we were enjoying each other’s company. Last time we did this tour, we were on a boat full of Carnival cruisers- not that there was anything wrong with that, but we enjoyed being able to casually chat with each other about our experiences onboard

    The view around the boat…no it doesn’t seem like almost 70 people…but it was!

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    In fact when they told Judy they would have to obtain a “special” boat large enough to accommodate all of us, we joked on the thread about how bad this big boat must be. I think many of us were halfway expecting an older fishing ferry or something rickety, rusty, or otherwise unseaworthy. We couldn’t have been more wrong, the Cayman Jewel was very nice, and certainly large enough to hold all of us comfortably.

    Kids enjoying the breezy ride up on the bow:

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    As we enjoyed the ride, the staff was scurrying around trying to fit everyone with flippers and masks, and also inflatable snorkel vests. This group was well over double what a normal Captain Marvin’s tour consists of, and probably three to four times more children than they normally handle at once also. While they did have enough equipment for everyone, getting it all distributed was a lot of work.

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    **Continued in the next post***
     
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  3. nenner1

    nenner1 <font color=darkorchid>I must've been distracted b

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    It was only about 15-20 minutes before we arrived at our first stop, Stingray City. Everybody was very quick to get off the boat into the warm, shallow, crystal clear water to interact with all of the stingrays swimming around.

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    So legend has it that Stingray City, which is actually a string of Sandbars along Cayman’s north sound, was formed about 25 years ago where fisherman would stop to clean their fish. When they pitched the fish guts overboard, it attracted the rays, who began to get accustomed to the boats and fisherman and equated the sound of the engines with dinner time. It was then discovered by divers that the rays could be fed by hand, and the rest is history.


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    I don’t think there could be a much better way of experiencing these creatures than this. It is awesome. First off, some of them are HUGE..the females can have a wingspan of up to 6 feet (the smaller ones are males). Secondly, there are so many of them, just swimming through, up , around, and under you. They brush against you (unintentionally, they do not feed by sight) and it is really a unique experience!

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    Yes, the big grey blobs are in fact the rays!! There is nothing on the bottom here but sand. All you see are rays, and us!

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    We spent a good amount of time in Stingray city. On this day, even though at a shallow sandbar, the waves were a little rough and could knock you around and make it hard to stand steadily. Some of the kids had difficulty, and some were freaked out by the rays, but at least initially almost everybody was in the water!

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    One staff member held up a large ray, and everyone had an opportunity to touch and kiss it (hey-7 years of good luck if you kiss a ray, they say). Meanwhile the staff photographer took pictures. (Available for purchase for an extra charge...cost varies depending on amount of pictures taken, ours were around $50-$55 USD for 18 pictures, which were burned on a disk and presented to us right there on the boat)

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    Even Sarah puckered up for her 7 years of good luck!!

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    ***Continued in next post***
     
  4. nenner1

    nenner1 <font color=darkorchid>I must've been distracted b

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    We spent at least 30-45 minutes out at Stingray City before we were called back onboard to head to our next stop for snorkeling, Coral Gardens.

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    It was around this time Sarah started getting really difficult. She wanted to just run around all over the place, as 2 year olds do. And being in a general state of overstimulation, off her schedule, etc, etc. made it all the more difficult. When we arrived at the next stop, I hung back and Ron and the kids jumped in quickly and began snorkeling. Because the water was much deeper here (appx 10 feet) a lot of people were getting into the water much more slowly and with some difficulty. Although I intended to get in the water and tread around wtih Sarah in her floatie, there being so many folks onboard struggling to get off caused a huge backup at the platform at the back of the boat, and at the door at the side. And because I had Sarah and the water was so deep, I couldn&#8217;t just jump off the side with her..so I waited patiently for our turn, and would you believe when we were finally among the next one or two to get off the boat- they were already calling everybody back in.

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    Ron was upset that I didn&#8217;t just work my way around and jump off, but it wasn&#8217;t really something that I could do. And when you are talking about nearly 70 folks in fins, waddling around it was very hard. So as much as I loved being with the group, and I really really did enjoy the company-and probably would not have done it differently given the choice again I do have to recommend if you are planning this sort of an excursion you should do it in groups as small as possible to get the most out of it. In fact this is a huge selling point of the private companies vs. the larger directly-through-the-cruise-line excursions, less people, and a more individualized experience.

    I wasn&#8217;t upset at not being able to get off (I wasn&#8217;t the only one&#8230;like I said a few folks were still trying to get out when they called &#8220;All Aboard&#8221;.) I knew a the next stop we&#8217;d have to be a little quicker, but by this point Sarah was crazy and I was getting exhausted from trying to corral her. This was so not a toddler friendly excursion (which, of course we knew&#8230;.but we always hope for the best).

    At the next, and final snorkeling stop, again Ron and the kids were among the first off and Ron got his fill of what he wanted to see, and then I handed Sarah off the side of the boat down to him in the water.
    She was much happier to be back in the ocean!

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    I never did end up getting in the water at this stop either, and that was fine with me. I enjoyed a few minutes of quiet on the boat while everyone else snorkeled around. If you want to call it quiet as I'm sure I was blabbing to someone. I meant quiet as in no-screaming-toddlers-quiet. Generally there is a stop at the Great Barrier Reef, which we did experience last time, but this time according to Ron the second snorkeling spot was not the reef, in fact it was very similar to the first. There was also another boat out here with us, which I didn&#8217;t notice at the time. It&#8217;s very possible tides or the rather choppy seas this day had made the Barrier Reef too difficult to snorkel at.

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    In any event, contrary to what the picture above might have you believe, Sarah was not a bit happy about getting back on the boat. She wailed. Loudly. Thank goodness it was only a matter of minutes before she was sound asleep, as she so obviously needed to be.


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    I am so thankful for all of the wonderful Disers. They were patient and kind and I could feel the empathy even though I know listening to the yelling as I tried to get Sarah to relax was not a lot of fun for the folks in the immediate vicinity. Luckily, it was a big boat. ;) Thank you all for being so understanding!

    Before we knew it we were back at the dock, and piling back in the buses for the return trip to town. It was another good excursion. The two snorkeling stops were not quite as good as the ones we had last time (per Ron, of course they weren't as good for me!), and it was hectic trying to get off the boat, otherwise everything about the tour was great. Will we do it next time? Probably not....but we have done it twice now. Should you do it once? You bet!

    Up next: Wasting Away Again&#8230;Yes&#8230;Again!
     
  5. myelton01

    myelton01 Mouseketeer

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    WOW!!! That's a lot of people to go with! Looks like you had a great time. :thumbsup2 The waters are so beautiful!!!! I am still trying to talk DH into taking a 7 day and going to GC... So far no luck. :confused3

    Can't believe I'm on the ball and first one to reply. :rotfl: Have a great day and can't wait for another update!!!popcorn::
     
  6. Mommy Poppins

    Mommy Poppins <font color=00CCCC>Admitted Disneyholic - No Cure

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    Thanks for another great update! We leave in a little over two weeks for our western cruise and your TR is getting us ready!
     
  7. verygfy

    verygfy DIS Veteran

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    That looks like an amazing time, DH is still not sure about the whole swimming with stingrays, but I am working on that!! Did you guys get any kind of discount for booking such a large group or since they had to get a bigger boat that offset any discount? What time do you think you finished with you tour? We dock so late with our cruise 10:30 I am afraid the 3 stop tour will be to long while we are on shore.
     
  8. Cheryl726

    Cheryl726 DIS Veteran

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    Grand Cayman looks great, the water looks beatiful! What a great idea to do an excursion with Disers!
     
  9. podsnel

    podsnel <font color=blue>just skippin' around, amusing mys

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    Uh-oh....time for an upgrade....can't see your pics! :sad1:
     
  10. Jennifer48

    Jennifer48 Not a Disney bride but engaged and honeymooned at

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    That excursion looked fabulous! With exception of the meltdown of course :goodvibes
     
  11. nenner1

    nenner1 <font color=darkorchid>I must've been distracted b

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    Oh man, I really wish I had researched this better beforehand and had considered it, we would have had a lot of fun! Oh well...next time! :goodvibes

    Aww thanks!! :goodvibes

    Hi Vicki!!! So glad you stopped by to say hi!:) It was such a wonderful cruise, I'm so glad the girls had such fun together! I've got some great pics of them coming up. The Christmas card from Adriane was so sweet! Have you all decided when you will cruise again? We are still thinking about Sept/Oct 2012 on the Fantasy (Eastern). Would love to have you join us!!! :rolleyes1 I think we are leaning towards 9/22/12. I guess it really is going to be April when the dates come out!! :guilty: So good to hear from you! :thumbsup2

    What?!?!?! You're NOT?!?!?!
    :lmao:

    LOL was that when you were tripping over trash cans? After 2 tastings? :rotfl2:


    Yea the kids totally didn't get it. Ron's getting really good though, he even took some food porn pics on his own accord. He scoffed at first but slowly and surely the Dis is sucking him in.

    I have no idea what happened that night. You know dessert is my favorite part. I guess it's possible we had it and lost the pics since we did lose a chunk of pics from that time, including right where they sung to B. I think I have the mystery figured out, in fact, I think taking a big long video caused the memory card to wig out b/c every time I am realizing I am missing pics I am also missing a longish (over 1 min) video. I swear I don't recall the chilled chocolate souffle though! :confused:

    ummhmmm...k..sure...whatevs...LOL J/K I know you aren't cause I know what your postings look like when you are ! :rotfl:

    Aww that's a bummer we missed you guys! I was there for a couple of the nights, but mostly I stayed back with Sarah. They were going almost every night I think, but they usually slid in right before the end. More than once they were the last to perform for the night (probably a good thing!):rotfl2:


    Woo-hoo can't wait to hear it, but I guess I'll have to! :cutie: You had a great installment today too, looking forward to more!!

    Yes it was a lot, but it was so great being there with everyone you "know" via the Dis. :goodvibes LOL, keep working on your DH! He may not realize it until after your 4 night cruise, but then that just means you have to go on another one!!!

    Cayman is beautiful, and it's a port I enjoy a lot because there is no high pressure sales going on, or annoying braiders, taxi drivers, etc.. Very laid back area, clean, nice. Of course it's an expensive port ($1.25 US=$1 CAY appx.) but I am actually really looking forward to going there again whenever that will be-to try something new.

    LOL, well it was 7 something in the morning. And at least you got to see the pics... I actually had this installment all written yesterday but it took for today to sort out the pics, and now b/c of photobucket I'll have to reset all of the links. Ack!:eek:

    Woo hoo! Exciting! Have a wonderful trip!! I should be at least through Cozumel before you leave so hopefully in between packing you have time to check back! :thumbsup2

    Well I can understand that, I was comfortable with it but even so it was a little intimidating with them just swimming all around you like that. They are all over the place! The only place to avoid them is the boat, LOL!

    Nope, no discount. We all had to book separately and they linked our reservations and then just got the big boat for us on their own. It would ave held up to 75. Prices were very reasonable though $40/adult and $27.50 child, 4 and under free. :)

    Well, looking at my picture encoding, the pics started in the bus at 10:15 Cayman time (CDT) (9:45 was our check in time, we probably arrived a few minutes prior to that) and the last pics I took on the boat were at 1:32 CDT. The first pics I took at Margaritaville (where we were afterwards) were at 2:03 CDT so just about 4 hours including transportation. They do have an even shorter trip (A three hour tour! A three hour tour!) and I think both afternoon and morning time slots. :thumbsup2

    Oh the water there is so clear and gorgeous! And such great company! It was great fun, even if it was a tad difficult with Sarah.:)


    Yeah it's all your fault missy. EVERYONE is watching that video of you dancing.:banana: That's what put it over. And I purposely put it on the 2nd account cause I knew the bandwidth would skyrocket. Now I need a third account (yes. cheap. :rotfl2:)
     
  12. nenner1

    nenner1 <font color=darkorchid>I must've been distracted b

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    LOL, yep it was quite a meltdown too. The screaming seemed to bounce off the boat and echo, even with all those people onboard. :eek: Everyone was great about it though. at least to my face! ;):lmao: I guess most of them had been there, done that however! Next to Savannah's meltdown on a plane when she was 3, worst.meltdown.evah. The plane one was really bad though! :blush:

    You can see the pics? I'm going to have to reset the links I'm getting bandwidth exceeded. :sad2:
     
  13. podsnel

    podsnel <font color=blue>just skippin' around, amusing mys

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    OOPS!!! Sorry about that! I'm good with no one seeing it anymore! :scared1: :rotfl2: OMG.....:rolleyes:

    I'm sorry you had a rough day out there with Miss Sarah...at least it didn't rain!!! :thumbsup2 Think of how much more fun THAT would have been! :eek: If you ever want to do a private tour, I HIGHLY recommend the Eco-Outrage Tour- we did that in 2007. John Micheal, the captain, took us out to Stingray City first thing- we got there before anyone else, had the whole thing pretty much to ourselves- the weather was HORRIBLE, and the seas were rough that day, too, but it was still incredible. Timmy was 9 and was COMPLETELY freaked out by the stingrays, we put him back on the boat (sounds like some kids were like that on your tour, too). Then we went to the reef to snorkel- it is MUCH BETTER you did not go there if the water was rough, because it was REALLY HARD to get back to the boat- actually, Tyler didn't like that part, because the water was so deep. Then we went to Kaibo for lunch, and the kids went tubing off the back of the boat, we went to a beach with huge starfish, and then tubed some more. It was a great day, but it was weird because the weather was sooooooooooo bad! But what can you do? We just laughed at the ridiculousness of it.:thumbsup2

    Great update! I'm so sorry you didn't get to snorkel, though!
     
  14. nenner1

    nenner1 <font color=darkorchid>I must've been distracted b

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    Whoopsie, I already updated the links....:duck:

    Sooo true!!!! ;)

    That sounds fantastic, even with the horrible weather! I would love to do something like that, it was just you guys? Was that on your last TR? I don't remember, I might have to go back and look again!

    Oh, thanks..it was OK though, I'd seen it before, and Ron said it was much better snorkeling last time. I don't feel like I really missed out on anything.

    Hey it's better with the pictures..LOL, they're fixed now! ;)
     
  15. anewmac

    anewmac Ive got nothing planned whats an OCVP to do?

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    Water looks amazing even with the choppiness.

    I think the Captain needs to stay out of the sun or use some spf 100 LOL.

    Oh and dont feel bad the boys have breakdowns like Sarah when we go places and they are tired, hungry and hot... and they are 8,12, and 37 LMAO

    I still dont think I could do the stingrays... it freaks me out. LOL
     
  16. Fastpaks

    Fastpaks Living the Dream, One Image at a time!

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    I was thinking with all the pictures of the entire group and the stingrays, it looked like it was out of a scene from Cocoon. :lmao: I know my parents went on this excursion and it was the only thing that I wish we would be able to again.

    I remember a comedian talking about kids and how much they blah blah blah, cry cry cry, ask ask ask ask, and then you see them sleep. For a moment, you think the most adorable little thing in the world. Cute kid :thumbsup2 Definitely, looking forward to the "ville" in the next one!
     
  17. mvlimmex

    mvlimmex DIS Veteran

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    We too are waiting for the fall 2012 itineraries to come out. :surfweb: We would like to do an Eastern too. :goodvibes We were looking towards the end of Oct. because we usually get a couple days of school off around that time frame, but you never know......we will have to keep the Sept/Oct time frame in mind. That would be so much fun to be able to be on the same cruise again.:thumbsup2

    Sorry about your meltdown with Sarah. I know exactly how it is because our 3 year old Isaac had enough of them on the cruise too. I can totally relate.

    Adriane will enjoy seeing her and Savannah in some pictures on your trip report. :) Nachi Cocum should be coming up soon...my husband Marty loved it there and wants to go back to Cozumel again sometime.

    Looking forward to reading more :surfweb:

    Vicki
     
  18. nenner1

    nenner1 <font color=darkorchid>I must've been distracted b

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    LMAO...well he is like 9,000 years old. :rotfl: (OK Actually I think he is 90. Ha!)

    ;)so glad we aren't the only ones. :lmao:

    Now, for that I'd pay to go a third time. LOL! To see you jumping around screaming every time one of 'em brushes past ya! :laughing:

    OMG you're right, it does look like Cocoon! :rotfl2: Love that movie, it was filmed in St. Pete, at the time I lived in Seminole which was like a suburb of St. Pete almost, we felt real famous to have had that movie filmed there (usually the kind of movies filmed in our area are more along the caliber of Summer Rental....lol!);)

    Yeah to see her like that, you'd never expect the little manic heathen she can turn into! Hehe! :lmao:

    :thumbsup2 I was sorting my pictures and thinking "Man I lost a LOT of pictures from that day"...then I remembered I gave you the batteries out of the big camera and I used the little one. LOL. Coming soon, today or tomorrow...promise!

    Yes it would! The girls would have a blast! I wish they would hurry up and put out those dates, I feel naked and purposeless not having a meet thread going on!!:rotfl2: Or something like that! Ha!

    LOL, he was so cute every time I saw him. :goodvibes But I know how fast they can turn!!:rotfl:

    Oh we did too! I want to go back when the kids are a little bit older so they can just go do their thing and we can do ours!!! :thumbsup2 That place is like paradise!

    Thanks Vicki! Working on the next part now!:)
     
  19. tinkerbelltwins

    tinkerbelltwins DIS Veteran

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    Hi Jen,
    The memories keep flooding back reading your trip report! Hope loved the sting rays and after going out once Skye would have nothing to do with them -- she didn't like that they were "dark and slimey" to use her words. So I stayed on the boat with her after the first attempt.

    And let me say here: Little Miss Sarah was a trooper! For being a toddler she has the makings for a real seasoned traveler. We've all been there, done that, with meltdowns. No one cared a whit that she was letting her feelings be known. And she looked adorable all passed out on the boat too. Isn't amazing that when they go down for the count, it happens so quickly! I loved the fact that there were people of all ages on the boat. It was fun talking to people from all over. It was a super cool Disrayday!!!


    Beth
     
  20. podsnel

    podsnel <font color=blue>just skippin' around, amusing mys

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    I'm with Jen- I'd pay CASH MONEY to see that!! :rotfl2: :rotfl2: :rotfl2:

    You are soooooo freakin' funny, Drea!!! :rotfl2::rotfl2::rotfl2:
     
  21. TheThomsLuvDisney

    TheThomsLuvDisney DIS Veteran

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    Your Sarah sounds soooo much like our Sammie. She would fight sleep, I would want to pull my hair out and then she would finally crash hard. The pictures of Sarah sleeping on the seat of the boat is very reminiscent of several pics in our family albums! Now at 10 years old, she is my easy child and the 14 year old daughter makes me want to pull my hair out!:rotfl:
     

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