Category Archives: Travel

Let Me Plan Your Next Trip

Your Personal Travel Guide

Vacation on the horizon? Awesome!

So many people have to work extra before their vacation in order to leave and not worry about loose ends, etc., leaving no time to read an entire guide book, much less make a plan. You tell yourself you will read it on the plane, but let’s be honest, you end up watching a movie and trying to sleep. Instead, hire me to plan your trip for you by personalizing your tour guide book around your interests and schedule.

Your personal plan for your trip will include:

  • ♦ Purchase a DK Travel Guide corresponding with the country(s) you are visiting.
  • ♦ Star the most important/interesting things to see.
  • ♦ Mark all applicable maps with your hotel location.
  • ♦ Based on the amount of time you have each day to tour, your preferences and map proximity, I will write out a personal guide for each day.
  • ♦ Organize your day by the times and days certain destinations are open so that you have the best chance of seeing as much as possible.
  • ♦ Include restaurant recommendations for dinner that correspond to the area you are touring each day.
  • ♦ Highlight tips about culture, dress code, currency used, etc.

The Main Trip Layout

Each overall plan will be laid out with the day of the week, date, city or area to be explored and activities or destinations (indicated by the #’s which also correspond with the #’s the guide book uses on its descriptions and maps). This will be placed onto the inside cover of your book.

After making your purchase, please fill out this form so I can better assist you in planning your trip.

Please only list the country(s) & City(s) you will want travel guides personalized. If you list more than one, please select the total number you would like at the checkout.
Please let me know what dates and times you will have available to tour. For example, if you are on a business trip and only have the afternoons to tour, I will choose destinations to see that are open at that time.
If you would like your flight, hotel, tour guides, etc. confirmation codes written in one place on the book so that you have them all together, please list them here.
In order to best recommend restaurants for you. Please also list if you would like to do fine dining, just a quick bite or a variation of the two.

Turn Around Time: 7-10 days (including shipping)

Contact Us with any questions you may have.

Sawat Di Kah & Goodbye

Our final day has come. While I was packing, Fierce picked up the hotel phone and said, “Sawat De Kah” as if he was talking to someone. This means “Hello” in Thai…I guess he was paying attention this week! I know he picked up on the fact that people were not speaking his language quite early on because I heard him saying “Opengado” to people and this is his way of saying “Obrigado” or “Thank you” in Portuguese. It was pretty cute.

We finished packing, checkout out of the hotel and brought our bags to the pool. We stayed there most of the day and took turns getting lunch so someone was with our bags. We took a taxi to the airport, which was beautiful with nice shops and artwork throughout. There was a really nice bathroom…the best we have seen, especially compared to the ones you have to squat over with byo-toilet paper. Lol. At the airport, Fierce wanted to hold his own Lightning McQueen suitcase from Papa all by himself. He LOVES airplanes. After the first 3.5 hour flight he cried as we were leaving because he didn’t want to get off. I told him we were going on another one and only then was he willing to leave his seat. Now, 6.5 hours into a 15 hour flight he did ask if the airplane ride was over yet, but he also continued to have a good attitude. I am writing this last blog post about two weeks after the trip and I don’t think there has been a day that Fierce has not either asked if we were going on a plane ride or actually gotten his suitcase out and said, “I am going to the airport mommy.” Gotta love this kid and what a wonderful trip with my family πŸ™‚

Thai Silk & A Floating Market

First things first, we had coffee on our usual corner and then we had a delicious spicy soup about two blocks down. Then we were ready to tour. Thailand is known for its silk so my Mom, Fierce and I went to a reputable silk shop and had lots of fun looking at all of the beautiful fabrics. We both bought a few items and then stopped at a coffee shop. I bought Fierce a cake, but it was so bland he ate the free sugar packet instead πŸ˜‰ lol Back on the street, my mom saw a tall building and swore she thought it would be a mall so we headed over there and sure enough it was the City Center Mall…she has quite the knack. Later we picked up Lynnae and Blake and had a nice dinner.

Day 11:

We woke up early to take a two hour taxi ride to the Floating Market, which really ended up being us renting a boat and floating through canals of stalls on land. There were a few people selling items from boats, but not many. It was still scenic and we ordered some Pad Thai with seafood. It had an octopus in it and Fierce actually tried it! He wouldn’t eat anything “different” all week, but octopus looked good πŸ˜‰ We stopped at a temple and Fierce wouldn’t give up the Pad Thai. All of the locals were laughing at the baby clinging to his Pad Thai. One guy got him a bag so he could carry it around the temple. Thinking about it later, I realized Fierce really just cared about that octopus.

Driving Through Thailand. Yes, this is a street where huge vans pass through. lol

We decided to hang around the pool until we went to a really nice dinner at Aquitina Restaurant with Blake later. I got steamed sea bass with a spicy lime sauce and it was delicious. We did a little shopping. Blake made up a deal that he would get a better price on a ring if he won at rock, paper, scissors and then lost and had to pay the asking price. haha. I bought Fierce a scorpion on a stick and he tasted it as well! We have come a long way! Then we headed back to get ready to pack.

Scorpion on a Stick

Koh Phi Phi Ley & Krabi

Day 8:

Today we chilled by the beach for a while and then moved 10ft over to the pool. We decided to go see Koh Phi Phi Ley (we are on Koh Phi Phi Don). There is a Viking cave with drawings, but we were only allowed to see the entrance. Afterwards our boat taxi brought us to a cove where we could swim…so fun! We even toasted with drinks πŸ™‚ Then we went to a bay with a small beach, but it felt like you walked into a hidden treasure cave. Afterwards we ended our boat tour at the more populated Maya Bay. It was a three hour tour in total and Fierce slept through the whole thing! He fell asleep on me and then I moved him to the bottom of the boat. The driver set up a towel so the sun wouldn’t be in his eyes…so sweet. The Thai people truly love children.

After the tour, we went to the pool and then got dinner and ice cream. Fierce got some yellow curry chicken on a stick and it was the first time he really chowed down on a Thai dish. My Mom took a Thai cooking class which she loved. Meanwhile, Fierce and I made our way back, but he wanted to stop at the beach. It was low tide so he ran pretty far out and jumped in the “sand” puddles. Then he rolled around in the sand and tried to bury himself. We also made the letters of his name in shells on the beach sand. It was a great day!

Day 9:

We left Koh Phi Phi today and took the ferry to Krabi. We spent the day here until our flight. I found a really pretty silk robe at one of the shops. We also beached it on a large but thin strip of beach. I am not sure it was the one I asked the taxi driver for or not, but we did find a good lunch spot. They had a whole carpet set up with toys for kids to play on and Fierce looked up at me and said, “Please” with the cutest little pleading face. He played with airplanes, went down the slide, etc., but my favorite part was when he found a phone and said, “This is the Magic School Bus, producers speaking.”

Lynnae and Blake spotted a hotel pool across the street and asked if we could swim. They said it was fine as long as we bought drinks or food. It was really beautiful with dolphin fountains and a swim up to bar. Fierce wanted to stand on the stools at one point and jump off of them (we were the only ones there so no big deal). Well, Lynnae had taught him a phrase a while back and Blake thought it would be oh so funny to have Fierce say it while standing at the bar. Fierce picked up on all of this infectious energy and said it for Blake on camera…”Put it on my Tab!” —You know what guys, I think it is time for our flight πŸ˜‰

Put It On My Tab!

Must See Tourists Attractions: Bangkok Day 5

Lynnae needed a vacation from her vacation so my Mom, Fierce and I went to Wat Arun. I had asked Fierce what he wanted to do and he said, “Go to a temple, see a statue and take off my shoes.” Yup, he has got it down! He especially likes the part about taking off his shoes. This Wat was unique in that we had a steep climb which he also appreciated. There was a little market surrounding the Wat so we did a bit of shopping. There were not many places to eat in this area so we took a taxi to our next destination, the Jim Thompson House and got a Thai lunch at a cafe nearby. Then we headed to the house. It was actually six houses attached together to make one huge Thai styled house with a courtyard in the middle.Jim Thompson was an art collector and had several beautiful pieces throughout the home. He was an architect in the USA, but moved to Thailand and revitalized the hand made silk industry so the people revere him. He visited a friend in Malaysia and disappeared so he is somewhat of a legend now. Silk bought from Jim Thompson is considered some of the best in the country so I bought Wes a pocket scarf as a souvenir.

We headed back to the hotel to get ready for a dinner show we booked for the evening. I bought Fierce a bow tie on a whim and handed it to him while I paid. I turned around and while looking at it with excitement he said, “I can’t wait to wear it!” The evening ended up being so much more than we expected. Elephants greeted us as we came into the main courtyard. Then, there was a traditional Thai village set up just beyond them. There were musicians that let Fierce sit on their laps to play the drums as well as a traditional guitar. Women were showing how to weave silk, one man was giving canoe rides, another was making a rice treat topped with coconut. It was almost like being at a carnival, but stepping back in time and really beautiful. Before the main show the performers did an outdoor show and also taught members of the audience how to do a few of the dances. We had a dinner which was fine, but not great. However, the main show was a series of traditional Koh dances and was AMAZING! It was an hour and a half of pure opulence. The stage and costumes were incredibly detailed. It was also a bonus that the written dialog was in English and Thai.

Thai Traditional Music

Thailand: A Day in the Dusit Area & a Day Full of Shopping

Day 3:

Today we explored around our hotel in the Dusit area. We took a Tuk Tuk to Wat Benchamabophit. Fierce climbed up like a pro and decided the side seat was his. Mr. all grown up πŸ˜‰ This Wat was a smaller one, but it had a bridge and you could buy fish and then feed the bigger fish in the pond. Fierce thought this was fun. Then a girl asked to get her picture with us. With all of these photo ops, Fierce might be famous after this trip πŸ˜‰ One interesting thing I noticed on a poster at this Wat is that one should not use the image of Buddah for decoration and certainly not in a tattoo. It is considered extremely disrespectful.

We started walking to a nearby park, but ended up at the Dusit Zoo and decided to go inside. We saw snakes, bears, crocodiles, tigers and hippos. They had a kiddie pool area with a slide in the middle. Gigi gave Fierce some $ to go check it out and he loved it! Of course, I had to laugh because you had to buy a swimming cap in order to enter and if the adult wanted to go in the ankle deep water they had to wear a swimsuit too. Oh well, Fierce splashed away and had fun. He wanted to go down the slide, but buckets of water would come splashing down right before you got to it so one of the lifeguards helped him find a path away from the water above…so sweet.

The afternoon’s activities started by heading to see Blake’s apartment and Love, Love Cafe where he eats breakfast, lunch and dinner because he likes the people who work there and delicious food so much. Blake even gave Fierce a short motorcycle ride. Yup and let Fierce wear his helmet. Uncle Blake is the coolest! Afterwards, Blake watched Fierce for an hour while we all got massages. It had been raining and it finally let up so we went to the Chatachak Market. It is five football fields long and full of really touristy, artsy and fun wares. We tried some of the street food and everything was really good. I think my favorite was a seafood pancake with a sweet sauce on top that Lynnae let me try. We went to Mazzola Botique for dinner and had the best food yet! I had a beef tenderloin and veggies dish. Lynnae got a green curry pizza which tasted a lot better than it sounds. My mom got a stirfry seafood dish. Yum!

Day 4:

Happy Easter everyone! He is Risen! We went to St. Francis Xavier Church and listened to a service in Thai. We could only understand the Hallelujas, but it was really nice to see such a large group of Christians worshiping the Lord together in such a predominantly Buddhist country.

Jesus Loves the Little Children:

We shopped till we dropped today. We went downtown to Siam Center and Siam Square. The first is a shopping mall and the other is an outdoor market. I bought a Starbucks at the first and personalized luggage tags at the second.

It down poured so we ducked into Discover Center and shopped some more. Then we met up with Blake at a night market called Rot Fai Train. It was my favorite market. I got a skirt for myself and a shirt and pants for Fierce. We ate Korean Barbeque over an open flame grill. Delicious! The ambiance was nice too. There were Christmas lights overhead, antique cars in the back and cute restaurants and bars around the perimeter. Β If you ever go to Bangkok…don’t miss this market!

Bangkok Exploration Day 2

The first day we were here, we were seriously concerned that we couldn’t find a coffee shop….aaaahhhhh! My Mom and Lynnae came to our rescue by finding a man selling dixie cup sized hot coffee on a busy street corner near our hotel. It was strong, black like coal and doused with sweetened condensed milk…wow…good! Anyways, his stall became our first stop every morning.

Since it was our first day just exploring we decided to walk and see if things were easy to get to, etc. Lynnae found a little walkway to the river and we saw our first long boats racing passengers up and down the river to different destinations. This set off a buzz of excitement! What a fun place! Soon we made it to our first destination Wat Saket and the Golden Mount. The Wat was very peaceful and quiet, which is unusual in this bustling city. Β There was a very pretty garden in front that led you to the entrance of the Wat. Next door was the Golden Mount. In order to get to it you have to walk up steps through luscious tropical plants and waterfalls littered with Buddhist statues. There is a landing with bells and a huge drum or gong you could hit. Fierce especially appreciated this musical and thunderous event. We climbed on and finally wound our way to the main building where patrons could offer incense and a class for boys wanting to become monks was being held. The views were incredible. You could see everything from little homes on stilts to grand buildings. When we went down to the bottom again Fierce found a “cave” and had to explore it with his race car.

 

So, we all decided we had walked enough in the heat. I thought we were pretty close to our next destination, but I decided to ask a tuk tuk driver just in case it was really forever away. He assured me it was very far so we all climbed in to his tuk tuk. We started off in the exact opposite direction I would have taken us so I thought, “Wow, I was really turned around.” However, he stopped talking on his phone, looked at his gps and turned right around then proceeded to pass the exact spot we had gotten in at and turn down one street and stop. We were all like, “hey! that’s where you picked us up!!!!” He smiled a sheepish grin and my mom said, “You are lucky you are cute!” lol We got swindled!!!! lol All this to see Wat Suthat and the Giant Swing. We looked around yet another beautiful Wat, but didn’t see a swing anywhere. Well, come to find out it was under construction with very little construction being done…ha!

Off to China Town! Asked a tuk tuk driver to take us and a guy in what looked like a police uniform came up and said, “Oh, it is very far. You should take a long boat, get a little tour of the city and then get dropped off in China Town.” What a fun experience. It was about and hour boat ride and at one point they stopped at a 2 person floating market. My mom bought a little colorful tuk tuk toy for Fierce. He was so excited. We did a little shopping in China Town and then stopped for our first street food. I can’t say it was my favorite, but it was good. We shopped along the way to a silk market and also a flower market. Both were a bit underwhelming. We decided to head back, but before we hailed a taxi I read a sign that said coffee shop upstairs. My Mom and Lynnae agreed to go inside. I went in first and the minute I saw the place, I was giddy. I thought, “They are going to love this! What a gem!” First you walked through a flower shop then upstairs there were dried flowers and vases hanging from it every inch of the ceiling. Beautiful cakes with little roses on them were displayed on glass cake plates. My Mom ordered a lychee smoothie that came with a lychee that looked as if it had just bloomed on top of the drink. Lynnae had a chai tea and I had a latte and a raspberry chocolate cake. Everything was displayed beautifully. It was like a little haven in the midst of the craziness of China Town. On our way back to the hotel we realized that China Town was actually only about two blocks from where we had asked about a tuk tuk ride…but we all agreed that the boat ride had been worth the hour ride and yet again being taken in as a tourist.

Later that night we met up with Blake again and had a beautiful dinner on the lake. I had picked out a dinner spot that was supposed to have traditional Koh dance performances, but when we got there it was shut down. Blake found another restaurant and it had a view of Wat Arun all lit up in the dark night. The food was delicious! I am definitely beginning to see why Blake likes this city so much. It has a certain charm and the people here are incredibly friendly.

Welcome to Thailand!

I have to admit right off the bat that I was trying to prepare for a 18 hours worth of flights so I didn’t pack light this time…plus my mom already said she would help carrying some bags πŸ˜‰ I made “busy bags” or small crafts for Fierce like making Mr. Potato Head out of felt pieces. I also brought books and a LOT of toys for him to play with. My mom spoiled him with a few which included his new favorite toy, Marshall by Paw Patrol. I think Marshall is in every photo of the trip. One of our friends, Susan gave him Β a few books as well. I can’t tell you how many times I read The Little Red Caboose πŸ™‚ My dad gave us all cards for the plane. He is so thoughtful. To keep Fierce busy before the flight, my mom was the “funnest” grandma ever and ran the belts that take you from one section of the airport to another. He had his little elbows up and pumping! Then a lady selling dinosaurs actually played with him for a good ten minutes. Fierce loved being on the plane for the first 12 hours. He was a little out-of-sorts during the layover in Japan and a bit grumpy for the start of the next 6 hour flight, but he fell asleep and we were all good. When we arrived in the airport he said, “It’s all over?” in a sweet, happy voice.

It took us a minute to find a taxi because the self service kiosk was not working, but Lynnae and my mom found us a nice mid sized vehicle and we made it to our beautiful hotel safe and sound. It was about 2:30 pm for us back home, but 2:30 am for us here in Thailand so we went to sleep and had very little jet lag. I did wake up at about 5 am staring at the ceiling so when Fierce woke up a little bit later and was getting louder, I took him to a wading pool to watch the sunrise. It was beautiful. Fierce put his feet in the water, then his legs, and then he was “swimming” and soaking wet. lol. People started to come up to him, say “hello” and then take his picture. By about 10:30 am I thought we were not going to make it 5 feet without someone wanting a photo with him.

Blake met up with us around about this time and we crammed into a tuk tuk along with the fold up stroller and weaved and dodged out way to the National Museum. They litterally don’t have stop signs so you just edge your way in until someone lets you turn. They also don’t believe in staying in the lanes of traffic and somehow it all works itself out. Aaaahhh freedom πŸ™‚

The National museum was great! It was not at all like a traditional museum. It is mostly outdoors filled with ornate temples and courtyards. And…a 150′ Buddah! Fierce said, “It’s a statue! It’s a giant!” My mom was taking a group picture of Lynnae, Blake, Fierce and I when a Buddhist monk came by with his professional camera and also took our picture. I asked him if we could get another picture with him and he nodded yes and then wanted to make sure he got the same picture on his camera as well. I really don’t think under any other circumstance, that I would have ever dreamed of asking or even speaking to a monk.

We grabbed a Thai lunch afterwards where I had my first fruit smoothie here. They have tons of tropical flavors available. Mine was watermelon and it was so good I swore to try every flavor before we leave Thailand. I think I just replaced my ice cream addiction!

After lunch we went across the street to the Grand Palace where we were told that although our shoulders and knees were covered we had to have long pants and longer sleeves. Did I mention it is over a 100 degrees and muggy? Ya, we had to go back across the street to a set of vendors who just so happen to sell the appropriate pajama pants covered in a beautiful elephant pattern. Sometimes there is joy in laughing at yourself being a tourist. The Grand Palace was definitely worth seeing. We did have to get used to the wall to wall people also trying to visit the palace, but it was beautiful. The buildings temples are incredibly ornate and covered in murals.

I mentioned it was hot in Bangkok in March…we were drenched in sweat and decided to go back to the hotel to swim in the pool. Lynnae and Blake took turns splashing and throwing Fierce in the water. He was having so much fun. I could hardly get him out again. We all took really long naps. Then headed out to a street that was hopping. Every other restaurant and bar had their own music blaring. People were selling all kinds of street food, kids toys, clothing, etc. For dinner Fierce had a pizza while the rest of us loved every Thai dish we ordered. So far I have had a Chicken Pad Thai and a Green Curry. Both were delicious! I tried the Papaya smoothie with my dinner and it was also amazing. We took in the noise, sights and generall bustle for a bit longer and then took a taxi back to the hotel. Can’t wait for tomorrow’s adventures!

Copenhagen & The End to a Great Trip

Our first tourist stop was Denmark’s castle. It was very intrinsically decorated, but had a dark hunting lodge feel. They wouldn’t let me take the stroller in and Fierce had just fallen asleep again so I had to carry him through the whole castle and up three flights of stairs and then down one to see the treasury. I thought the rings were neat. At least three of them had bugs on top as a decoration. I might have to bring this back, but I might stick to ladybugs πŸ˜‰

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Fierce was up for the Art Museum so I just made sure we stopped at all things interactive. The coolest was a Japanese exhibit where you could paint with water and it would disappear so the next person could give it a try. IΒ pointed out every puppy, bird, flower, etc. that Fierce might like in the paintings. “Oh look! It’s a puppy!!!” We did a puzzle of sorts in the Eurpean Art section as well as some drawing. He tried out some headphones that told a story of one of the paintings. I think he wished it had music.

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Later we went shopping because I almost always find something cool for Wes to wear and I really hadn’t seen anything. We got stuck at a toy store for a while and then got back to the hunt. I finally did find a cool dress shirt…yaya!

We started out the next day at the pool because even I was disappointed it wasn’t open the night before. We spent about three hours going from toddler pool to toddler pool. They are all different temperatures and heights. Fierce loved playing with the buckets and balls as well as the fountains. He was so tired that by the time I asked him if he wanted to leave, he just laid his head on my shoulder.

We dried off and put our winter gear back on and headed for food. I ordered pancakes and ice cream and a latte. Fierce fell asleep on my lap before the food came. It was delicious and so beautiful!

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We went to the Palace afterwards. The church is stunning and is done in yellows, creams and whites. The ruins are pretty neat since they are basically what is left of the original two palaces after fires destroyed them. The third construction is what you see today and is mostly used for government entertaining. These rooms are grand. I would love to spend a day reading in its library. I also wouldn’t mind having one of the chandeliers in my entry way πŸ™‚ This was one of my favorite places to see in Copenhagen.

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I took a different path to the shopping center and found a brunch spot…so good! I think Fierce ate more there than he has all week. The street had an H&M with sales! I got Fierce a few shirts and then we headed back. We made one last stop at the Disney Store and he hugged a plush doll of Mickey like it was his best friend. Then he saw a Cars die cast and started jumping up and down. I told him he could have one for the plane ride home and he picked the cars while signing “please” over and over again. He played with them in the store until they closed. He didn’t want to leave…What a great way to end a full and fun day πŸ™‚

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Time to go home and see Wes and Zuko! I am so grateful for our little adventure and hope there are many more to come in the future!

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Ireland

I have been using Ryan Air for all of my little flights in-between countries. In order to get from Romania back to Denmark, I had to go to Ireland first because Ryan Air doesn’t fly to and from all countries. I had already been to Dublin and explored the bustling city, so I decided to stay by the water and have a more scenic day. We arrived very late at night in Ireland. I knew this in advance so I had previously e-mailed the hotel to let them know…Always check your hotel’s check-in policy. If I hadn’t done this, we would have been stuck in the cold because this hotel’s reception desk is not normally open at night.

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Fierce was ready to go the next morning so we fueled up on granola bars and I downed a coffee. Then we went exploring around our hotel. It was right on the water so I was pretty excited to soak up the scenery. I brought Fierce’s soccer ball with us too. First we walked the shore. It was fantastic! Then Fierce was complaining about the wind in his face which really meant he was tired so we went back and grabbed his stroller and went on a snooze cruise. I saw a few village houses before the sidewalk ended and then went the other way back to the shoreline and followed it until it ended at an old mental health hospital…spooky on such a gray and cloudy day. lol…not really.

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Later in the afternoon we did all of this all over again, but added some drumming on the rocks and throwing rocks into the ocean.

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I realized it was St. Patrick’s Day the next day so we decided to check out the vibe of the city. I had read that some of the main buildings would be lit up green so I thought it would be fun to walk around and see it all. My hotel gave us a ride to the train station and in 20 minutes we were at the city center. We walked all the way to St. Patrick’s Cathedral and waited for it to be lit up green. It really was worth the effort. On the way back we got to see several churches, a library and other government buildings all lit up green for the festivities. I really wish we didn’t have to fly out on St. Patrick’s Day because there is supposed to be a big parade. However, it was really fun to be apart of the Greening of the City. I bought Fierce an Irish flag and a bear and got some cute pics…yaya!

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