But You Have Promised Me A Subtropical Paradise

dolphingirl47

In Search of the Tag Fairy
Joined
Dec 25, 2007
The Chihuly exhibits were amazing! Thank you for taking all those photos. Each and every piece had me oohing and awing. The outside pieces look so delicate, I'm surprised they're safe out in the elements.

Glad you found a restaurant, it sounded delicious.
I was absolutely blown away by the whole set up. I had done quite a bit of research before, but this exceeded my wildest expectations. I had to make sure I took a photo of everything. I am really pleased how the photos have come out. The outside pieces are quite sturdy, but I was amazed how well they blend in with the plants. Sometimes it was hard to tell what is glass and what is plant.

Wow, I'm stunned by the Chihuly gardens! I work in downtown Seattle, and I had no idea that was there at all! Thanks for sharing the gorgeous photos.

That's a shame you couldn't find a good restaurant close to the market, but I'm glad that it worked out in the end.
Chihuly Gardens and Glass has only been there a little over a year. If you get the chance, you have to see this. It is even more amazing in real life than it is in the photos. The next time I come to Seattle I really want to take a trip to Tacoma to see the Bridge of Glass and all the other Chihuly stuff there.

Corinna
 

westgrove

Mouseketeer
Joined
Apr 8, 2010
We were at the V&A last weekend and I spent a while looking at the chandelier but those gardens are just something else - they're beautiful, and you took such wonderful photos too
 

dolphingirl47

In Search of the Tag Fairy
Joined
Dec 25, 2007
We were at the V&A last weekend and I spent a while looking at the chandelier but those gardens are just something else - they're beautiful, and you took such wonderful photos too
We have not been to London for ages, but the next time we go, I will make sure that I go and see the chandelier at the V&A.

Corinna
 
  • franandaj

    I'm so happy, I could BOUNCE!
    Joined
    Nov 15, 2009
    Ketchikan looks like such a quaint little city. We didn't spend any time in the town and went straight on our excursion when we visited there. You two were sure brave to snorkel in Alaskan waters, but it sounded like a really neat experience.

    I couldn't help but notice the huge Diamonds International in the center of town. These people are everywhere aren't they?????

    OK, going back to read another installment. :moped:...................
     

    dolphingirl47

    In Search of the Tag Fairy
    Joined
    Dec 25, 2007
    Ketchikan looks like such a quaint little city. We didn't spend any time in the town and went straight on our excursion when we visited there. You two were sure brave to snorkel in Alaskan waters, but it sounded like a really neat experience.

    I couldn't help but notice the huge Diamonds International in the center of town. These people are everywhere aren't they?????

    OK, going back to read another installment. :moped:...................
    Yes, Diamonds International are everywhere and they are often more aggressive than the locals. Last year in Cozumel, the only person I had problems with as she just would not leave us alone was the person working for them. Fortunately there are loads of little independent jewellery shops in Alaska.

    Ketchikan was a real surprise after Juneau and Skagway that I did not really rate as far as the towns were concerned although the surrounding areas are beautiful. However, Ketchikan is a real gem.

    Corinna
     

    dolphingirl47

    In Search of the Tag Fairy
    Joined
    Dec 25, 2007
    Day 21

    This day we were up a bit earlier. We got up and decided what to do. Graham really wanted to have a look at the Hiram M. Chittenden Locks and the neighbouring fish ladder. I consulted with my Google Maps app on how we would best get there. I was impressed that I got very detailed directions including bus numbers and which stop we needed to get off at. First of all we needed to take the Link downtown to University Street, where we would then get the bus from. We gathered together what we would need for the day and then headed out.

    This time round we had to wait about 10 minutes for a link, but that was no hardship. We planned to get some breakfast before we got on the bus. We figured that this was Seattle and there would be a Starbucks at every corner. We were not wrong about this. Virtually as soon as we exited the station, we saw a Starbucks sign. As we were walking towards this, I saw another sign that got me very excited. The sign was for Benaroya Hall. Benaroya Hall is the home of the Seattle Symphony. However, what made me go excited is that I remembered that this was one of the locations on the list of works of Dale Chihuly. What made me even more excited was that I suddenly realized that the Starbucks we were heading for was actually inside Benaroya Hall. When we went inside, I also very quickly realized that there were actually two Chihuly pieces at Benaroya Hall, one at either end.

    We decided to get breakfast first and then I would have a closer look at the two Chihuly chandeliers. I could still admire them from a distance from where we were sitting. Graham had an Americano and I had a Hazelnut Macchiato. We both had a breakfast Panini. Graham also had a croissant and I had a Cheesecake Brownie. Once we had finished our breakfast, we then had a closer look at the chandeliers. They were both made entirely from clear glass, which made this a challenge to photograph. However, it did show up all the different textures and the overall effect was stunning. What really bemused me that there were people coming in to get stuff and leave again without even pausing or missing a beat. I am not sure if they are simply not aware of what is there or they just don't care.





























    The bus stop that we needed was right across the road from Benaroya Hall so when we were done, we crossed the road and waited for our bus. We had just missed one so we had a short wait. The bus ride was actually quite scenic and we ended up in another leafy suburb. We then had to walk along the river and through a piece of woodland to get to the Hiram M. Chittenden Locks. It was a beautiful day and the walk was nice. When we got there, we headed straight for the fish ladder. I had been a bit dubious as even for Seattle it was still very early in the salmon season, but virtually as soon as we entered the underwater viewing area of the fish ladder, we saw some sockeye salmon swimming through. We spent quite a while just watching. We then went outside to check out the top of the fish ladder. There was not much activity there although we saw one salmon jump.



     

    dolphingirl47

    In Search of the Tag Fairy
    Joined
    Dec 25, 2007
    When we had enough of the salmon, we decided to go for a wander. Near the exit of the fish ladder there is a lot of string crisscrossing just above the water surface. This is there to discourage the seabirds from diving in and grabbing the salmon. We were just about to cross over to the other side when the lock gates opened the footpath actually is in part the top of the lock gates. They have to sets of locks there, one for boats and pleasure craft and the other for bigger ships like container ships. The lock that was currently in use was the smaller of the two and they managed to get three good- sized boats in there. There was a fourth boat waiting and I think under normal circumstances this would have fit, too, but one of the boats was struggling with getting far enough in so in the end the lock masters just gave up.

    Once the boats had cleared the lock and we were allowed to cross, we went across to the other side. There we found the Carl S. English, Jr. Botanical Gardens. We had a walk through the gardens, which were free to visit. The gardens were really pretty. We ended up at the visitors centre and when we got inside, we were told that a free tour had just started and were directed to the lecture theatre where the introduction was taking place. There we learned about the history of the locks and that to this date, they are operated by the military. We also learned a lot about the history of the Botanical Gardens. Carl English was a seed collector who traded with other seed collectors all over the world. His seed business that was intended to sell all the foreign and exotic seeds never really got off the ground. When he was offered the chance to create the Botanical Gardens, he jumped on this. He planted all the seeds that he had acquired from all over the world. Some of the plants did not like the Seattle weather and never developed, but most of them thrived. We were quite surprised by this and asked if having all those foreign species there did not create any problems, but they assured us that they were not invasive species and that they never had any reports of any species going beyond the Botanical Gardens.







    Then we set off. We had a look at some of the more exotic or impressive species like a giant redwood. We walked past the administration building, which is apparently quite impressive inside, but was closed for refurbishment. We were hold that it was built by pouring concrete in moulds from the bottom up. We then headed towards the lock gates and stopped at a mechanism that can be used to open and close the lock gates manually if the engines that normally do the job ever fail. We then crossed the lock gates again and headed for the fish ladder. Initially there was nothing to be seen, but suddenly there were wall-to-wall salmon.















    We were just about to leave the fish ladder when somebody came in saying that there were some ships in the larger lock. So we headed over there. This was pretty impressive. Most of the ships in the lock were refrigerated vessels to transport fish. We watched while they passed through the locks and then we headed back to the Botanical Gardens. We got some water at the gift shop and then we walked through the Botanical Gardens to see if we could find a bus route. We did not have very far to go. There was a bus stop pretty much right next to the entrance to the Botanical Gardens. Unfortunately we just missed a bus so we had to wait 30 minutes, but the weather was great and we were happy to just sit and soak up some sunshine.

    This bus route was not quite so scenic, but it was still interesting. The final stop was just across the street from King Street Station. As we were so close, Graham asked if I wanted to have a closer look at King Street Station. I liked the sound of this. The entrance that we used actually led to the second floor. When we went down a flight of stairs, there was a balcony that circled the whole of the station. This provided a completely different perspective. We slowly made our way around this and took photos. Once we were back to where we started, we went down to the ground floor. We loved what we saw when we arrived, but in daylight it was even more stunning. There were also a lot boards with information about the history and restoration of King Street Station. I think in the end we spent about an hour there reading all the information and enjoying the beautiful surroundings.



























    When we were finished at King Street Station, we were definitely ready for some food as we had not eaten since breakfast and we had done a lot of walking again. I had found out that there is a Cheesecake Factory in downtown Seattle and had made a note of the street on which it was. We retraced our steps from the first night and went to the International District/ China Town Transit Tunnel. This was a lot easier in daylight and with no luggage. The area is actually quite pretty. We took the Link to Westlake Center, as this was the closest station to the Cheesecake Factory.



    It did not take us long to find the right street, but this street is very long. Fortunately Graham does not only have a great sense of direction, but also fantastic eyesight. He suddenly spotted a Cheesecake Factory sign in the distance. About 5 minutes later we were seated. It was still relatively early so they were still serving their lunch menu. Graham had a beer and I had a Coke. Graham decided on the Ribeye steak with fries and onion rings. He pronounced this one of the best steaks that he had. I was torn between the meatloaf and the Macaroni Cheese Burger. In the end I decided to go with tried and tested and went with the lunch size portion of the Famous Factory Meatloaf, which came with mashed potato, grilled onions, gravy and corn succotash. This was as delicious as I remembered and definitely hit the spot. As tempted as we were, neither of us had any room for cheesecake.



    The Cheesecake Factory is right across the street from the Washington State Convention Center. Our guide at the Hiram M. Chittenden Locks had mentioned that we should try to visit this if we get the chance when I told her about my love for Chihuly's work. She was not absolutely sure if the glass art on display there was actually by Chihuly, but even if it was not, she was pretty sure that I would enjoy it. It turns out that it is by Chihuly, but we never managed to find it. The convention centre is huge with various floors and wings and we had no idea where to start looking. I think we were actually quite close at one stage based on the information that I have found since, but it was not to be this time round. We just have to keep this for our next trip to Seattle.

    There was one last thing that I needed to do. I have a Bath and Bodyworks PocketBac hand-sanitising gel attached to my Dooney and Bourke backpack that I sometimes take to work and always take to the parks. The fact that I take this to the parks is the reason why the hand sanitising gel is on there. Two of my colleagues have been eyeing this for months so I wanted to get them some of their own. When we spoke to the security guard at Westlake Center the previous morning, he mentioned there was another shopping mall nearby and we saw evidence of this when we were walking to the Cheesecake Factory. This looked much bigger than Westlake Center. So I was hopeful that I would find a Bath and Bodyworks there. This shopping mall was very upscale and I was out of luck. I was also told by the staff there that there is no Bath and Bodyworks in downtown Seattle.

    With everything that we came to do done, we went back to the Westlake Transit Tunnel and headed back to the hotel. We must have hit the rush hour, as the train was very busy until we left the immediate suburbs. We initially thought that this was traffic for the stadium as there was a baseball match on that evening, but hardly anybody got off at the stadium. When we got back to the hotel, I went online to see if there was a Bath and Bodyworks shop close enough that I could get there the next morning. It turned out that there was one at the Southcenter Mall, which as the crow flies was very close to the hotel. This is also were a lot of the chain restaurants are. I checked out ways to get there and then put away my iPad.

    We decided to check out the pool. The pool was indoors. Graham went into the pool and referred to it as refreshing. I was not in the mood for getting into a cold pool and bypassed this in favour of the hot tub. The hot tub was huge and a perfect temperature. Graham joined me after a while and we relaxed in the hot tub for a further half an hour. Then we went back to the room, got showered and got ready for bed. This was another very full and long day.
     
  • Pinkocto

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jul 22, 2011
    Another very adventurous day! I'm impressed by how much you guys see. What a bonus to find those chandeliers. And King Street Station is absolutely gorgeous.
     

    dolphingirl47

    In Search of the Tag Fairy
    Joined
    Dec 25, 2007
    Another very adventurous day! I'm impressed by how much you guys see. What a bonus to find those chandeliers. And King Street Station is absolutely gorgeous.
    As we come from so far, we definitely have to make each trip count.

    Corinna
     

    franandaj

    I'm so happy, I could BOUNCE!
    Joined
    Nov 15, 2009
    Chihuily gardens is amazing. My sister lives up near Seattle so when we finally go visit, we'll have to go there. Just beautiful, especially the outdoor pieces.


    We were at the V&A last weekend and I spent a while looking at the chandelier but those gardens are just something else - they're beautiful, and you took such wonderful photos too
    Now this is funny! I thought you meant Victoria & Albert's! :lmao:

    Another great day in your trip. You two certainly cover a lot of ground on your feet. I guess it's an American thing to drive so many places and not walk much. Or maybe its just Southern Californians! That steak looked really good! I'm hungry now!
     

    dolphingirl47

    In Search of the Tag Fairy
    Joined
    Dec 25, 2007
    Chihuily gardens is amazing. My sister lives up near Seattle so when we finally go visit, we'll have to go there. Just beautiful, especially the outdoor pieces.




    Now this is funny! I thought you meant Victoria & Albert's! :lmao:

    Another great day in your trip. You two certainly cover a lot of ground on your feet. I guess it's an American thing to drive so many places and not walk much. Or maybe its just Southern Californians! That steak looked really good! I'm hungry now!
    I would definitely recommend it. I am sure we will go again the next time we visit Seattle.

    V&A in this case refers to the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. We are planning to go to London for Graham's birthday in November and I have already told him that I want to go and see the chandelier.

    We do enjoy walking and often found that this is one of the best ways to explore a new city. However, my American friends often think we are crazy.

    Corinna
     
  • jenseib

    Mommy to Claire
    Joined
    Oct 28, 2006
    I have slowly been reading along little bits each day. I was very far behind and I can't even remember all I wanted to comment on. I must say Alaska looks fabulous. Your pictures are great. I didn't even know you could snorkel there. That sounds very exciting.
    Seattle looks beautiful. I know many people prefer to take the train to and/or from Vancouver to Seattle as flight prices are usually better from there as well.
    I have wanted to sail to Alaska for so long, but it looks like it might be at least another year or 2 at this point.
     

    dolphingirl47

    In Search of the Tag Fairy
    Joined
    Dec 25, 2007
    I have slowly been reading along little bits each day. I was very far behind and I can't even remember all I wanted to comment on. I must say Alaska looks fabulous. Your pictures are great. I didn't even know you could snorkel there. That sounds very exciting.
    Seattle looks beautiful. I know many people prefer to take the train to and/or from Vancouver to Seattle as flight prices are usually better from there as well.
    I have wanted to sail to Alaska for so long, but it looks like it might be at least another year or 2 at this point.
    Alaska was amazing and if you ever get the chance to go, grab it with both hands. Seattle was also amazing. For us taking the train to Seattle rather than flying home from Vancouver saved a lot of money and the train journey is so pretty.

    Corinna
     

    dolphingirl47

    In Search of the Tag Fairy
    Joined
    Dec 25, 2007
    Day 22

    Suddenly the day has arrived where we needed to pack our suitcases one last time. We had a bit of a lie in, got ready and then packed. I tried to figure out how I good get to the shopping mall that was nearby. I was still trying to get some of the PocketBac hand sanitisers for two of my colleagues. We went downstairs just before 11:00 to check out. I had planned to just leave the luggage at the hotel and then head out. Graham did not fancy coming along and was just going to sit in the lobby. In the end the airport shuttle was just coming back and we decided to just take the shuttle to the airport. We were at the drop off area at the airport about 10 minutes later. There were check in kiosks for Delta on the level that we arrived at and I checked us in using those. I was positively surprised how quick and easy this was and that for once I did not get any error messages. Once we had our boarding passes, we then dropped off our luggage. I was amused that my suitcase was exactly 23kg. I was joking with the person at the baggage drop that this was such precession work as I was working for an airline myself. She advised us to stay in the main terminal until nearer to the departure time as there was not much in the satellite terminal that we would be flying from.

    I have to say there was not much in the main terminal either and we did not really fancy hanging around there for nearly half a day. Graham did not really relish the prospect of spending the last hours of his holiday shopping, but when faced with the choice between overpriced fast food of dubious quality at the airport or a proper lunch at The Olive Garden, The Olive Garden won. The first thing we needed to do is get some cash as we were literally down to a couple of Dollars. We had no trouble finding a cash machine and once we had some more money, we headed outside in search of a taxi. That was not a problem either as a taxi was just pulling up when we got outside.

    The taxi ride from the airport to Southcenter Mall took about 10 minutes. One of the first shops we came past when we got there was Bath and Body Works. They even had the PocketBacs on special offer. Before diving in, I figured I better check if they have any resealable bags to put them in. I figured that as Southcenter Mall is so close to the airport, I may be in luck. Unfortunately that was not the case. As we already had checked in our luggage, I had to put anything I bought in the hand luggage. I left it and decided to check first if I could find some Ziploc bags somewhere. I came across another Lush and had a look around. I also decided to have a quick peak inside the Disney Store. I suppose I will never learn. I was yet again reminded that the US Disney Stores are not up to much. They have such a great website, but the physical stores are dire.

    We decided that it was time for lunch and set off to find The Olive Garden. This was actually across the car park. As we were walking, I spotted something promising. Right across the road from The Olive Garden was a Target. I decided to check this out after lunch. We were seated straightaway. Graham had some ice tea and I had a Blackberry Blood Orange Tea. We also both had a glass of Moscato. We were given a choice between soup or salad and both went with soup. Graham had Chicken & Gnocchi Soup, which consisted of roasted chicken, traditional Italian dumplings and spinach. I went with Pasta e Fagioli Soup, which consisted of white and red beans, ground beef, tomatoes and pasta in a savoury broth. Graham had a Create Your Own Pizza with Pepperoni, Italian sausage, mushrooms and black olives and I chose Spaghetti with meat sauce and meat balls. Neither of us had room for dessert, but I had an espresso and Graham had a filter coffee.

    When I had finished my espresso, I left Graham to finish his coffee and I headed over to Target. I have never been inside a Target so I was not quite sure what to expect. Fortunately I had no problems getting my Ziploc bags there. I purchased them and went back to The Olive Garden. I ended up walking straight past Graham, who was no longer at the table, but was sitting near the entrance. He was deeply amused by this. When we had caught up with each other again, we heading back across the car park to Southcenter Mall.

    As I now had my Ziploc bags, I could head back to Bath and Body Works to pick up the PocketBacs. I ended up getting some for myself, too. We completed the circle around the mall and I had a look at a couple more shops and then we decided it was time to head back to the airport. This proved easier said then done. This was the first shopping mall I ever visited that did not have any taxis. We checked out the bus situation. There seemed to be plenty of buses, but none of them seemed to go towards the airport. So we headed back inside and I looked for a customer service desk, but could not find that either. In the end somebody directed me to a courtesy phone for customer services and they called a taxi for us. I was told it would take 15 to 20 minutes, but in the end it took about 30 minutes. I was just about to give up and use my iPhone to call a taxi when it arrived.

    The trip to the airport was very quick again and once we got there, we headed straight through security. This took a while as the area was extremely busy. Still, the line moved steadily and the process was pretty efficient. Once we cleared security, we were ready for something to drink. There was a handy Starbucks just behind the security check point so I go us both a Passion Tea Lemonade, which went down a treat. I also no longer could resist and got a pack of both flavours of the Starbucks Via Refresha. When we finished our drinks, we made our way to the satellite terminal where our flight would leave from. This was also not the easiest task as the signposting was somewhat contradictory and the access to the little train that would take us there was very hidden.

    Eventually we figured out where we needed to go and went to the train. It turned out that the Emirates flight was leaving from the same satellite terminal as our flight and the whole crew was on the train with us. I ended up chatting to some of them. When we got off the train, one of the escalators was completely full with Emirates crew. As the uniforms are so distinctive, this looked really impressive. I was more than just a little tempted to get my camera out, but resisted the temptation. I won't forget the reaction I got in a hurry when I took some photos of the Emirates plane at Houston last year. For the same reason I decided against taking a photo of the plane, but I of course had to go an have a look. Once this was done, we went to find a seat near our gate.

    As we had been warned, there was not a great deal there. However, we had found some seats and there was fee Wi-Fi so I was happy. The terminal was extremely busy. The airport in Portland, Oregon was closed due to adverse weather and a lot of flights had been redirected to Seattle. Fortunately it did not take to long until they started to board for our flight. This time round we had an Airbus A330-200. This was my first ever flight with an American carrier that was operated by an Airbus. We were right at the back of the aircraft. We stored our carry ons and made ourselves comfortable.

    The flight was eventless. Soon after we were at cruising altitude they served drinks and snacks followed soon afterwards by dinner. We both had chicken with pasta. After dinner, I wrapped myself in my new blanket and settled down to watch Anna Karenina. I had watched this in part on our flight back from Dubai in March, but had fallen asleep in the middle. They had some issues with the entertainment system and had to reboot it twice. Both times I had started to watch the film. On the third attempt I finally got to watch the whole film. Once this was finished, I put on Les Miserables for the music and settled down to sleep. I ended up sleeping most of the flight. Having this blanket made all the difference as I am normally always cold on planes and the blankets the airlines provide are rather flimsy. This time round I was a snug as a bug in a rug and apart from having to readjust my position every now and again, I just slept through.

    I woke up when they started to serve breakfast. I was offered some, but declined. About an hour later we started our decent into Amsterdam and we landed on time. We had quite a tight connection and the airport is huge. Fortunately the two flights were at adjacent concourses and we actually made it to our new gate before they opened this up. This gave us time for a bathroom stop and shortly afterwards, they opened up the security check point at the gate. Once we cleared security, we found some seats in the gate area, but it did not take long until they started boarding. The flight left pretty much on time and it took about one hour. During the flight I amused myself reading the onboard magazine. They also served drinks and a choice of sweet or savoury snack. I had some mini cookies and a coke. Once they cleared away everything, we were already descending into Manchester.

    I was quite surprised when we landed in terminal three in Manchester. When we last flew with KLM, we had landed in terminal two. Still, arriving at terminal 3 had its advantages. Passport control was not particularly busy and we did not have to wait long for our luggage. We also managed to get a taxi as soon as we left the terminal building. When we got home, we just put our luggage in the living room and went to bed to get some more sleep. Another magical trip had come to an end.
     

    Pinkocto

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jul 22, 2011
    What an amazing trip, thanks so much for sharing it with us :)

    Great idea to go have a delicious lunch instead of waiting around the airport. I always get the fettuccine with Alfredo sauce at the Olive Garden, I haven't been there for ages though. And a bonus you found the hand sanitizers on the way.

    I'm always cold on flights too, have to bring a sweatshirt every time.
     

    jedijill

    Chiefs fan living in Bronco country
    Joined
    Jan 17, 2005
    Another amazing report Corrina! What a wonderful trip...I have to go to Seattle and Alaska now...well, and San Francisco!

    Jill in CO
     

    jenseib

    Mommy to Claire
    Joined
    Oct 28, 2006
    I give you kudos for sleeping on the flight. I have a hard time doing so. I drool for one. LOL And then I flop around.
    Glad you made it home safely.
     

    dolphingirl47

    In Search of the Tag Fairy
    Joined
    Dec 25, 2007
    What an amazing trip, thanks so much for sharing it with us :)

    Great idea to go have a delicious lunch instead of waiting around the airport. I always get the fettuccine with Alfredo sauce at the Olive Garden, I haven't been there for ages though. And a bonus you found the hand sanitizers on the way.

    I'm always cold on flights too, have to bring a sweatshirt every time.
    Thanks for following along. I will have withdrawal symptoms. When I started this trip report I thought our next trip would be in September and now it is not for another 3 months.

    I can definitely recommend the fleece blankets with sleeves that Disney sells. They sell them in the parks, too.

    Another amazing report Corrina! What a wonderful trip...I have to go to Seattle and Alaska now...well, and San Francisco!

    Jill in CO
    Thanks for following along. I can recommend all of those places whole-heartedly

    I give you kudos for sleeping on the flight. I have a hard time doing so. I drool for one. LOL And then I flop around.
    Glad you made it home safely.
    Thanks to to you, too. I never used to be able to sleep on planes, but since I started cruising, I sleep like a baby on planes providing I can keep warm. I think the movement of the plane reminds me of the movement of the ship.

    Corinna
     



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