Month: December 2012

Gespräche mit J. auf Deutsch 2

2012-12-31 14.52.51s

Jede Woche treffe ich mit meinem Freund J, mit wem ich Deutsch lerne. Unser Zweck ist Deutsch zu üben und wir besprechen immer verschiedene Themen. Diese Blog händelt von unserer Gespräche. Bevor jedes Gespräch bereiten wir uns nicht vor, und wenn wir ein Wort nicht kennen, benutzen wir ein Wörterbuch.

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Dieser Woche habe ich „The Hobbit“ gesehen, und wir hat über dem Film diskutiert. J. sagte, daß dieser Film  die erste von drei Teile sei, obwohl es gibt nur ein Buch. Peter Jackson wird viel Material von Anhangen verwenden um drei Filme zu machen. Jetzt gibt es nicht so viele gute Filme im Kino zu sehen. Vieleicht sehe ich „Reacher,“ weil ich gern die Romane von Lee Child lesen. Aber Tom Cruise als Reacher?

Golden Screens Cinema gibt man eine freie Kinokarte, wenn man ein Geburtstag hat, und dieser Monat hatte meine Frau ihr Geburtstag. Sie sah lieber „The Hobbit“ als „Reacher“. Man muss nur einem Mitgleid im Internet beitreten, um die freie Kinokarte zu bekommen. Man erhält eine E-Mail, und die ausdrucken.

Am Freitag letzer Woche hat J. nach Bukit Laksama gewandert.  Er wurde gesagt, daß es zwei Stunden nehmen würde, aber er hat sechs Stunden gewandert.  Und der Aufstieg war sehr steil.  Er sei sehr fit, aber seine Freunde seien junger und fitter, sagte er.  Jedoch, die Blick war sehr gut. Er hat viele Flüsskeit getrunken.

Einer meiner Neujahrvorsätze ist Bukit Bendera aufzusteigen. J. sagte daß, es zweieinhalb Stunden dauerte. Ein Restaurant „David Brown“ liegt auf dem Gipfel, und es ist sehr gut.  Um aufzusteigen braucht man viele Schokolade für Energie, und frische Kleidung für das Restaurant.

Diese Woche sprachen wir auch ein bisschen über Langkawi, weil ich letze Woche dorthin gefahren bin. Außer der Sache des Preises, war die Reise sehr gut. Jetzt ist Hochsaison, und alles kosten mehr wie üblich. Wenn wir ein Auto gemietete, hat es für ein altes kleine Auto viel mehr als ein neues große Auto in April gekostet. In Langkawi wohnten wir in „homestay“, und das nächtes Mal werden wir direkt mit dem Besitzer am Telefon buchen, weil es viel billiger ist.

J’s Frau hat Gutscheine, und einkauft in Popular.

Neue Wörter für mich:

Der Anhang = appendix for book

Der Blinddarm = appendix (medical)

Beitreten + Dativ = become a member of

Ausdrucken = to print

Steil = steep

Fit = fit

Die Flüsskeit = liquid

Der Vorsatz = resolution, intention

Aufsteigen = to climb up

Heruntersteigen = to climb down

Der Aufstieg = climb

Der Vorschlag = suggestion

Der Besitzer = owner

Der Gutschein = voucher

http://german.typeit.org/ ist nützlich.

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Gespräche mit J. auf Deutsch 1

2012-12-31 14.52.51s

Jede Woche treffe ich mit meinem Freund J, mit wem ich Deutsch lerne. Unser Zweck ist Deutsch zu üben und wir besprechen immer verschiedene Themen. Diese Blog händelt von unserer Gespräche. Bevor jedes Gespräch bereiten wir uns nicht vor, und wenn wir ein Wort nicht kennen, benutzen wir ein Wörterbuch.

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Diese Woche sprachen wir ein bisschen über Langkawi, weil ich bald dorthin reise. Ich habe einen Freund, der bei Langkawi ein Segelboot hatte, aber er hat es verkauft. Es war zu viele Arbeit zu halten.

J. segele gern, aber er denkt, daß in Penang nicht so viel Spaß ist. Jedoch, in Langkawi gibt es viele mehre Ortes zu besichtigen.

Der Film “Der Hobbit“ spielt hier seit letzer Woche. J. und seine Frau sehen ihn diese Woche. Er hofft, daß der Film treuer dem Buch als “Lord of the Rings„ ist. Ich will auch den Film sehen. Ich las das Buch vor vielen Jahren.

Neue Wörter für mich:

der Zweck = purpose

Langkawi – December 2012. Holidaying here. Retiring here?

One Malay word you should know if you are in Langkawi – “Pantai” = “Beach”.

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Tanjong Rhu beach – in the north of Langkawi

I wrote a blog about Langkawi after my visit in April 2012, and I have just returned from my third holiday in Langkawi in about four years. I will combine my previous blog with this, adding more information. The smaller photos are from April 2012, the larger from December 2012 – so you can tell

GETTING THERE

  • In August 2008 we drove up to Kuala Perlis and caught the ferry over to the main ferry terminal in Langkawi.  All we had to do was phone a contact who ran a parking lot, give an approximate arrival time, and he bought the ferry tickets.  When we arrived we could park undercover and he gave us the tickets, and pointed out where to catch the ferry.
  • In April we flew on Air Asia from Penang to Langkawi, which is about 25 minutes in the air, but from when we left home by taxi to when we were in our hotel room about four hours had elapsed.  Which was about the same amount of time as driving and catching the ferry, although the flight was less strenuous.
  • In December 2012 we drove again to Kuala Perlis and caught the ferry over to the main ferry terminal in Langkawi.
  • There are other alternatives, such as a ferry from Penang to Langkawi, directly; or driving to Alor Setar, and catching a ferry from near there. See blog on this.

WHEN

  • High season is supposed to be between mid-November and mid-April, which corresponds to the dry season -but we got low season prices in early April, and rain didn’t bother us. As I mentioned, we’d previously visited in August, and again we had no problems with the weather. In December 2012 it was often overcast, and rained sometimes, but it wasn’t a problem – however, prices are far higher in high season, so it really isn’t worth coming at this time, unless you have no choice. Car hire in December was RM90 a day for a smaller car than we hired in April for RM70 a day. Accommodation is also far more expensive – perhaps 40% more.

ACCOMMODATION

  • Langkawi has changed quite a bit in the intervening four years. Now there is a vast range of accommodation available – from very cheap to very expensive (resorts), and many choices in between.  Cenang Beach is the mass tourism area.  There are a lot of motels now, homestays all over the island, and you can even stay in a caravan at a beach. Or you can camp at the government fruit farm, mentioned below. Homestay seems to mean that the owner lives in part of the building, and has also built separate (often en-suite) rooms with separate entrances, so you have little interaction with the family. They are like motels.
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You can rent this caravan at the beach

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caravans

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a “homestay” – battled mosquitos for two nights

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another “homestay” – much nicer – and had mosquito screens

GETTING AROUND

  • Car rental is cheap – from RM40 or so a day for an old car in poor condition, RM70 for a newish car in good condition, and motorcycle hire is also available.  It seems you can also rent bicycles.  If you rent a car, check the tyre condition before you drive off, too.  They will also give you a road map, most likely.  Of course, there are taxis; and buses exist, but I saw very few, so you’d need a lot of time.

This one year old Proton Saga cost RM70 a day to rent, and RM50 deposit, in April 2012.

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A tiny Kia Picanto with 93,000km on the clock – RM90 per day in high season

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If you park in Kuah they have a parking voucher system – you can buy vouchers in the Panasonic store. I have never seen it enforced, but the vouchers are cheap, anyway.

DRIVING

  • The standard of driving in Langkawi is better than in Penang, and there are not so many cars on the road, so driving can be quite relaxing.  As Langkawi is quite small, it doesn’t take very long to get where you are going.  I think it took about 40 minutes to drive from the crocodile farm in the north-west, to Kuah, the main town,  in the south. Cenang Beach to Tanjong Rhu, about 30 minutes.  A GPS is handy, as the maps you get are not so detailed.
  • Petrol is cost the same as the mainland, at 1.90 a litre.  In three nights / four days we used about RM40 of petrol for about 250KM – but put in RM50 as we didn’t want to be low on petrol on the other side of the island where there is no petrol station so near. (Yes, this happened to us last time.) In December 2012 we saw many more petrol stations – in five days, four nights we put in RM50 and did quite a lot of driving.
  • You are warned not to drive at night because of cows and water buffaloes on the road.  Cows are a tan colour, and not so hard to see, but water buffalo are grey, and hard to spot.

cows wander the roads at night

ATTRACTIONS

  • As a tourist there are some nice things to do, and the airport tourist office has brochures and maps, of course.  I’ll just mention a few activities.
  • Our favourite beach is Tanjong Rhu in the north of the island – but there are some other nice beaches, too.  And I have never seen jellyfish there – so you can swim in the sea.  As you approach Tanjong Rhu there is an open manned barrier for some reason.  As of December 2012 you are stopped and given a sheet of rules to follow. From the second time we stopped and showed we already had the paper, and then were waved through. The speed bumps on this road are nasty, and there is one secret unmarked one near one of the bends in the road – watch out if you don’t want to become airborne.
barrier on road to Tanjong Rhu

barrier on road to Tanjong Rhu beach

  • Another nice beach on the north coast, past the crocodile farm – which is quite fun, but hot.
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Pantai Pasir Tengkorak, I think

  • You can  also swim in waterfall pools in the jungle.

waterfall pool – the wet season hasn’t yet started, so water level fairly low

  • When we were there we could walk off into the jungle and not get attacked by mosquitoes – much.  We did get the odd bite, but nothing like the jungle, or even anywhere outside,  in Penang.
  • The government agricultural research facility – Taman Agro-Teknologi is interesting. They take you on a bus within the grounds to eat the fruit in season, and then drive you around, stopping to show you different fruit trees and landscapes.

Dragon fruit plants at the Taman Agro-Teknologi

  • And the Bird Paradise and Wildlife Park is worth a visit if you like birds.  Many attractions charge tourists a higher price than Malaysians. I dislike this, so I asked if I could get the lower price as I was a resident; and I showed my Malaysian visa.  I was charged the lower price, which was RM15 instead of RM22.  The tickets we were given had printed on them that they were children’s tickets. This question is worth trying everywhere there is discriminatory pricing.

one of my favourites

and this is a friendly one

  • There is far less litter than much of Malaysia. It was so nice to see beaches and jungle paths with the only litter being leaf litter.  This is so different from elsewhere in Malaysia.
  • You can fly micro-light planes at a spot on the perimeter road of the airport.

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  • There is a Thursday night market, and a Sunday night market in Cenang Beach area. We went to the Thursday night one. Half of what they sell is food, but also clothes, knick knacks, etc.
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Thursday night market

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  • Oriental Village in the west of the island.

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  • Oriental Village is really just like a craft village with the cable car, restaurants, and a hotel. The cable car is the star attrraction. You can read reviews here. In high season, arrived at 10AM, the starting time, and already there was a very long queue.  There is no guidance as to how long one will have to wait. Plus, one member of a large family might wait in line, and just before boarding the rest of the family will turn up.  This can really slow down the queue. The adult price is RM30 for a ticket, but if you pay RM50 extra per person you can jump the queue – but not so many people were doing this the day we were there.  A major problem is that the cable car is often suspended because of the wind.
part of the queue for the cable car

part of the queue for the cable car

VIP queue - extra RM50 per person, please

VIP queue – extra RM50 per person, please

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  • It is a pleasant enough place just to wander around, and there are other attractions too, as shown in photos below.
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it’s nice just to wander around

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shops selling clothes, souvenirs, and there’s even a Zon Duty Free shop.

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you can rent Segways

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flying fox

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or take a duck tour

  • I really enjoyed the island hopping tour.  We found one for RM25 per person from an agent along the Cenang Beach road, with a 9AM pickup from accommodation, and a 1PM drop off.  As we were staying on Jalan Pantai Tengah it was only five minutes by van to the launching beach. First you visit an island with a fresh water lake in the middle, which is a ten minute walk from the jetty, and you can swim and/or hire a paddle boat. Then you go to a spot where you can see eagles flying. Finally you disembark again at an island beach where you can swim for an hour.  There are too many photos to display here, so please see another blog I wrote on island hopping.
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About five minutes walk uphill, and five downhill to the lake.

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RM20 to rent a paddle boat – but guess what – they are all rented, so you have to rent a solar “powered” one for RM30. Bait and switch. You still have to paddle as the “power” is almost non-existent.

plenty of eagles to see

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we had an hour to swim and laze on this beach. Guard your belongings against the monkeys!

FOOD AND DRINK

  • Food is more expensive than Penang and it is much more expensive to eat out, and there is less variety.
  • Since we live in Penang we didn’t really see the point in spending a lot on food. In April 2012 we had a big breakfast at the hotel, which was included, and ate fairly lightly later in the day. In December, there was no breakfast included or available where we stayed, so we ate some fruit and chocolate we’d bought, and had an early lunch.
  • The biggest variety of restaurants is in Cenang Beach. Kuah, the main town, of course has restaurants, too, as do the various malls. And there are the usual hawker centres and roadside stalls.
  • It is difficult to get enough vegetables. There are markets around the island, however, where you can buy them.  Or ensure you have a hotel buffet breakfast to ensure you have your daily allocation of vegetables.
  • We enjoyed fish and chips on the north coast, at Scarborough Fish and chips.

English style fish and chips

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The menu – very reasonable for Langkawi – but it is on the north coast, so perhaps not so convenient. Good to visit after the beach as you can use their shower, and change.

  • Very basic restaurants charge quite a lot for each dish, perhaps RM20 – RM30. There were a few restaurants that had food not available in Penang, and thus of interest to us, but the prices were way too high for an open-air shack where mosquitos would eat you alive at night. If you spend a tiny bit more you can eat in much nicer restaurants. We particularly liked the Little Mexican, and its charming hostess, Karima.  We ate outside, and there were no mosquitos there.
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at the top of Jalan Pantai Tengah, on the right hand side.

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fish fajita – delicious

  • Restaurants close quite early, so try to get there before 8PM. Rasa (Malaysian and International cuisine), on the main Cenang road, seems to stay open later, and is popular, good, and a similar price to other restaurants.
  • Of course, Langkawi is tax-free for at least alcohol and tobacco products.  There are many duty-free stores, and Cenang prices are about the same as Kuah.  It also means restaurants often charge a lot less for alcohol, too. A can of Royal Stout cost me RM1.80 in a store.  Sparkling wine costs RM30 and up, and champagne RM150 and up. For more, read this on Langkawi’s tax status.

this cost RM47 – the view somewhat more per night

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beer prices in a duty free store – cold or non-chilled are the same price

COULD I RETIRE HERE?

  • I think it is too quiet for me to retire here, and too isolated – you can’t just drive onto the mainland and go somewhere.  And I would miss the variety and low price of food in Penang. Vegetables are a big hard to track down in Langkawi, and eating out is a bit expensive in Malaysian terms.  There is not such a variety of things to do.
  • Certainly the tax status of Langkawi is attractive, though.  As a result, you can afford to drink alcohol in restaurants.  And Malays are much more relaxed about alcohol than elsewhere in Malaysia. The chocolate selection in shops is good, and far cheaper than the rest of Malaysia. The driving standard is better than Penang even though some drivers have yet to discover indicators in their cars.  And police leave you alone – I have never seen police roadblocks there. The beaches are quite nice, and are swimmable with no jellyfish in north that I have noticed.
  • A local Japanese lady we spoke to said that the two downsides of living in Langkawi are you really need to speak Bahasa, and for some hospital treatment you have to go to the mainland – Penang etc.
  • However, if you wanted a very quiet life, perhaps it would suit you, if you had no medical concerns. Bahasa doesn’t strike me as too difficult to learn.

Gespräche mit J. auf Deutsch 0 – Dezember 2012

2012-12-31 14.52.51s

Jede Woche treffe ich mit meinem Freund J, mit wem ich Deutsch lerne. Unser Zweck ist Deutsch zu üben und wir besprechen immer verschiedene Themen. Diese Blog händelt von unserer Gespräche. Bevor jedes Gespräch bereiten wir uns nicht vor, und wenn wir ein Wort nicht kennen, benutzen wir ein Wörterbuch.

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Wir haben uber Chile, Argentina, das Essen, Pisco Sour, die Wuste, Das Wahlen, die Medien, die Verdorbenheit, und AES gesprochen.

Zuerst, Jonathan hat gesagt, dass das Essen in Argentina kultivierter als in Chile sei, aber er hatte in beide Lander gut gegessen. In die Wuste von Chile war das Essen nicht so interessant, aber noch gut. In Santiago und Valparaiso hat er pizza und Rindfleish gegessen. Aber wahrend der Wahl Chiles, Alkohol konnte nicht verkaufen werden.

Er hat auch gern viele Pisco Sours getrunken, und denkt das es eine schade sei, dass Pisco hier nicht verkauft wird. Ich auch.

Ich meinte, dass in der Schweiz das System der Wahl und Volksabstimmung die beste der Welt sei. Und weil Internet Banking glatt und sicher ist, ist es nicht unmoglich, dass wir via Internet wahlen konnten?

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Neue Wörter für mich:

die Wuste = desert

die Medien = the media

die Verdorbenheit = corruption

AES = Automatic Enforcement System = Malaysian traffic radar

kultiviert = sophisticated

die Volksabstimmung = referendum

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http://german.typeit.org/ ist nützlich.

Gurney Plaza Coffee Watch – December 28th, 2012 – full list

Tropical Expat has been checking where you can buy coffee at Gurney Plaza. Of course, establishments come and go, or move to different locations. There are coffee shops, of course, but also ice cream parlours, restaurants, etc. where you can also drink coffee. You could choose by price, their coffee quality, decor, location, service, or even how fast their Wi-Fi connection is. I have been working my way through them gradually, although I don’t intend to try them all – for me, going to a Chinese restaurant for coffee, for example, isn’t what I would do. However, for example, Swensens Ice cream Parlour is quite pleasant, they have Wi-Fi, I believe, and the coffee price is below average, so I intend to try it.

This year, around Chinese New Year in February, a great many establishments increased their prices, (causing some to go out of business), so at this time I am just checking for price of a black brewed coffee.  In most cases government tax of 6% and service charge of 10 % will be added when payment is made. I will see in due course if they raise prices again next year.

I won’t bother with photos as it makes the data harder to compare. Places underlined I have drunk coffee at.

So, starting at the SEVENTH (top) FLOOR:

  • Next Stop: RM4
  • Max Gourmet: RM4.50. (They also have durian coffee, so I will try this sometime.)

SIXTH FLOOR:

  • Subway: RM3.90
  • Big Apple: RM6
  • Macaron Coffee: RM6.90
  • Old Town White Coffee: RM3.30. In this case they have a Malay style thick coffee. And Wi-Fi.

FIFTH FLOOR:

nothing

FOURTH FLOOR:

  • Chopping Board: RM3.50

THIRD FLOOR:

  • Kim Gary: RM3.40
  • Sakae Sushi: RM5.90
  • Xuan Xin: RM3.50 They have a nice view if you sit by the window, even if they are a Chinese restaurant.

SECOND FLOOR:

  • Golden Crust: RM5

FIRST FLOOR:

  • Nando’s: RM6.90
  • Swensons: RM4.90
  • Gelatomio: RM8.00

GROUND FLOOR: – incomplete – to be continued soon. I ran out of time.

  • Chili’s: RM5.95
  • Michelangelo’s: RM10.00
  • Coffee Bean: RM7.50
  • Eurodeli: RM6.00
  • Winter Warmers: RM5.50
  • Starbucks: RM7.00
  • Dome: RM8.50
  • Chicago Rib House: RM4.90
  • Nando’s: RM6.90
  • McDonalds: About RM3.40 with tax.  Menu on wall too small for me to read.
  • Manila Place: RM6.50
  • Segafredo:   RM7.80. Their morning deal of coffee plus panini is quite good. Watch mosquitos.
  • Secret Recipe: RM5.80

BASEMENT:

  • Xuan Xin: RM3.50
  • 1901: RM3.50
  • 600cc: RM3.80
  • Rotiboy: RM3.00
  • Each a Cup: RM3.00
  • Mr Teppanyaki: RM3.00
  • Wong Kok: RM3.90
  • Daily Fresh: RM2.80
  • Chicken Rice Shop: RM3.00
  • BBQ Plaza: RM3.50
  • Hawker Centre: RM1.30 – the cheapest, generally
  • Kenny Rogers: RM6.50
  • Kopitam Classic: RM2.80
  • Little Nonya Cuisine: RM3.80
  • Siam Express: RM5.00

BEST DEAL AT PRESENT:

Chicago Rib House at present has Coffee, Cappucino, Latte for RM1++ between 3PM and 6PM weekdays. Still available December 2012.

image

They are located in the Gurney Alfresco area between Gurney Plaza and G Hotel.

Here is the receipt RM2.30 including tax, for two coffees.

For more information, also see Gurney Plaza‘s web site. However, it is often not kept up to date.

COMMENTS:

If I am by myself I like Segafredo best.  The coffee is very good, the Wi-Fi works well, it’s comfortable and relaxing. But there are usually three mosquitos lurking in the area with armchairs, so either quickly track them down and kill them, or ensure your skin is covered.  Or sit at one of the tables. Also, their morning panini and coffee deal is good, as is the panini.

First thing in the morning (meaning from around 10:30AM), I like the breakfast menu at Old Town White Coffee – kaya toast, eggs and coffee for around RM5 (sorry, I can’t remember exactly). Old Town Wi-Fi is OK.

If I am with people I prefer Starbucks or Coffee Bean, inside or outside, depending on the day. Their coffee is good, the Wi-Fi signal strong, and it’s pleasant. But if it’s between 3PM & 6PM on a weekday, I’d be at Chicago Rib House for RM1 coffee – their Wi-Fi is patchy, though.

There are other establishments I want to try: Max Gourmet for their durian coffee, Swensens because it’s quite pleasant, and the hawker centre just to see what the coffee is like.

Finally, a few photos:

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