Monthly Archives: April 2012

Taking a Walk, Tanzania-Style

There’s not many things I like more than a good walk, especially here in Tanzania where I get to see so many interesting things while I’m outside.

Let's go!

Usually mom and I go for a walk around our neighborhood (called Isamilo) around 5 in the afternoon, just before it starts to get dark.  Today, I said hello to our Masai and he took a photo of me and mom before we left for our walk.

Hi Masai!

Me and mom, ready to go!

Once out of our gate (you HAVE to have a gate around your whole house in Tanzania just to be safe) we turn right and walk down the dirt road.  Then we get onto an even smaller dirt path and continue on to climb up some stairs over a stream.  I usually like to pee on things as we go so that everyone knows I was there.  Today, there was a man next to the stream, I barked at him because I didn’t know him and then I peed on a tree just to show him who was boss.

I'll show that guy who is boss!

When we get to a fork in the road, we turn right again and walk past Isamilo International School.  I usually see a lot of kids there and they yell at me and laugh and make weird barking noises too.  They need to grow up!  I’m just a small dog, JEEZ!

Once we’re past the school, again we turn right onto another  long dirt road.

Checking out the view in Isamilo

There’s a special spot on this road where there’s usually a lot of lizards and I love watching them and chasing them since we don’t have anything like them in Ithaca, where I grew up.  Today, we saw a whole bunch of different types of lizards hanging out together at their normal spot, EXCITING!

Me and mom looking at the lizard

After we got home, I made mom look up this cool, colorful lizard and she says it’s called a Rainbow Agama lizard.

The Rainbow Agama lizard I saw on my walk

Once we get to the end of the long dirt road, we pass a place called Corner Bar, which is basically just a shack on the corner where people gather to eat mishkaki and drink beer or soda.  Then we walk down a busier road where there are women selling fruits and vegetables.  It’s here that I get a lot of cat-calls (or maybe I should call them dog-calls).  Today, a group of children giggled at me, then a man walked past and said “mbwa?” and a pair of middle-aged ladies just stared and laughed outright.

At this point, I’m getting excited to get back inside where people aren’t always laughing and pointing, and then…I SEE MY HOUSE!

Almost home!

This is when mom finally lets go of my leash and I can run as fast as I want.  I always go straight to my gate like a good boy (usually stopping to pee on a plant just so that everyone knows that this is MY house!)

This is MY house

See, walking is super awesome, and I’m quite the spectacle for others too.

Super happy about my walk 🙂

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Speke Bay, I’m a Regular Now!

This weekend, one of my lady friends decided to plan a weekend trip to Speke Bay.  As you’ll remember, I’m a frequent visitor to Speke Bay, having been there in both February and March.  We got together 4 of my lady friends (Aunt Amanda, Annabelle, Catherine, and Jill) plus mom and my guy-friend John because I needed a bit of testosterone in the mix (and I’ve got no balls of my own, so…)

We left from Mwanza on Saturday and drove the 2 hours to Speke Bay.  I was happy because there’s lots of cows on the way and I LOVE COWS!!!

Me and my lady friends, Catherine and Annabelle

We arrived at Speke Bay and walked down the path to check in at reception.  Because I’d been in the car for 2 hours, I had to do a number #2 really badly, so I found a nice place OUTSIDE where I’ve been taught to do my business.  But just as I assumed the position, a man said, “He isn’t very well mannered is he?”  Well, Mister, actually, I am!   I was outside, and I don’t exactly read English (I just type it) so how was I to know that I was pooping in front of the reception?  Jeez!

After we checked in (and my poop had been cleaned up), we made our way down to the beach for some afternoon fun.  Mom brought my ball so I got to run around and chase it and squeak the crap out of it.

Hanging on the beach with my ball

I also got to do another of my favorite activities: digging!  Sand is SO much fun for digging 🙂

Digging with Catherine

Later, mom let me run without holding my leash, which is way more fun because mom is slow and when she doesn’t hold me, I can go as fast as I want, and I’m REALLY fast.  I’m so fast, that I made it down to the end of the beach where I saw a small green slithery thing with big teeth.  Mom screamed because she said it was a baby crocodile.  I’m brave, so I chased that baby crocodile into the water and then forged ahead into the tall grass to hunt for some more crocodiles.  But I think this freaked mom out because she started screaming my name, louder and louder.  Eventually, I realized I was gonna be in BIG trouble if I didn’t come out and also, when mom is that upset, usually there’s a good reason, she’s gonna be a doctor, you know.  Anyhow, I came back to mom, but I was still in a chasing mood, so I pretended she was the crocodile and I stalked and chased her instead.

Chasing mom

Stalking mom

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After I was tired of chasing mom, I decided to play some frisbee with Aunt Amanda and the others.

Playing frisbee on the beach

After all this action, I was pretty tired, I am a small puppy after all.  So, while the humans had fun playing weird games and drinking weird drinks, I slept in mom’s lap and I loved every second of it!

The next morning, mom and I explored the grounds around Speke Bay before leaving to go home.  This place is great for a little guy like me since there’s so many activities like swimming, digging, stalking, chasing, walking, running, and exploring, to name a few.  I promise you, we’ll be back to Speke Bay 🙂

Exploring

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Nakuru to Mwanza

Our final day in the car began in Nakuru.  I woke up to a misty view of Lake Nakuru.  On the way out of the National Park, we got to go on a mini-game drive where I saw a neat animal that wasn’t quite a cow, or a goat either; mom said she thought it was some kind of antelope.  Another new animal to check off my list!

A new animal!

When we got to the exit gate, mom wrapped me up and started acting all weird again.  I was excited because there were these tiny, hairy, human looking things that mom called baboons, but she told me I had to stay quiet and not move 😦  Apparently, I had to hide to get OUT of the National Park too.

Once we were out, I rested.

I LOVE SLEEPING!

A few hours into the drive, mom woke me up to see the scenery.  There were fields and fields and fields of green that mom said were tea fields.  It was so pretty!

Me and mom at the tea fields

After the tea fields, the scenery was the same old, same old again, so I found another comfy spot in the car.

Looking forward to getting home

Finally, we passed through the border at a familiar place, the Isebania/Sirari border.  As we were on the final stretch towards Mwanza, we were entertained by a fascinating lightning storm.  Welcome back to Mwanza!

Mwanza Lightning

 

The way we drove

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Dog-Friendly Hotels in East Africa

In general, people in Tanzania and Kenya seem not to like me, which is weird because in the US everyone loved me.  I’m discriminated by Precision Air, and many other places because I’m a dog, but there have been a few gems in my travels.  I want other doggies to have an easier time than me while traveling Africa so I’m going to keep a running list here of the places where I’ve been welcomed.

The Places I've Stayed

The Places I’ve Stayed

1. Hilton Hotel, Nairobi

All the people that worked at the Hilton were excited to see me and quickly learned my name.  Everyday at breakfast they would greet me by name and also they gave me my first meal of goat, yummy!  When my mom went back to the Hilton a month after our stay without me, everyone remembered me and asked where I was, they missed me!

The bed was super comfortable at the Hilton

The Pool at the Hilton

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2. Ryan’s Bay Hotel, Mwanza

  • Website: http://www.ryansbay.com/
  • Telephone number: +255-28-254-2347
  • Location: On the shore of Lake Victoria just next to downtown Mwanza
  • Price: $120/night for a double room

The people at Ryan’s Bay were super welcoming to me after a long drive from Nairobi.  Even though I only stayed there for one night, I kept going back for dinner because the people were so nice to me.  The room was huge and I had a great view of Lake Victoria every night at dinner.

View of Capri Point from Ryan’s Bay

The view from dinner at Ryan’s Bay

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3. Speke Bay, Lake Victoria

  • Website: http://www.spekebay.com/C01/UK/welcome.htm
  • Telephone number: +255-28-262-1236
  • Location: On the shores of Lake Victoria, about a 2 hour drive from Mwanza and 15 minute drive from the Western Corridor Gate of the Serengeti
  • Price: $300/night for a triple room, includes dinner and breakfast

This was my first real beach and it was beautiful!  There’s only 8 bungalows at the hotel so we basically had the whole beach to ourselves and I got to run up and down, digging and swimming!  They even let me come in the restaurant and when we left they asked me to bring back 3 more dogs just like me 🙂

Post Lake Victoria-swimming at Speke Bay

The view of Lake Victoria from our bungalow

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

4. Setavin Hotel, Musoma, Tanzania

  • Telephone number: +255 282 622 282
  • Location: The center of Musoma town, which is located on Lake Victoria, 1 1/2 hours from the border of Kenya and 2 1/2 hours from Mwanza
  • Price: $50/night for a double room, includes breakfast

Mom and I weren’t expecting much from the hotel selection in Musoma because Marcel had warned that the town was similar to Butare in Rwanda, however I was pleasantly surprised with Setavin Hotel.  The people who worked there accepted me right away and all learned my name and also helped me practice the ‘sit’ command.  The room was super clean and I had fun playing on the balcony while mom had dinner and breakfast.  Before I left, all the staff made sure to say goodbye and one of them even fed me by hand!

Me on the bed at Setavin Hotel

The outside of Setavin Hotel

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

5. Snowcrest Hotel, Arusha, Tanzania

  • Website: http://www.snowcresthotel.com/
  • Telephone number: +255 272 543 100
  • Location: Just outside the center of Arusha near the Arusha International Conference Center
  • Price: $230/night for a triple room, includes breakfast

We arrived here late at night and the guards and the reception were so nice and welcoming to us.  They smiled at me and quickly checked us in and showed us to our wonderful room.  The beds were comfy and had nice fluffy duvets.  We were really hungry so we ordered room service at 12:30am and it came quickly.  In the morning, the humans had a yummy breakfast buffet and I got to play in the huge gardens surrounding the hotel.  Five paws for the Snowcrest!

Me and mom at the Snowcrest

Me and the guard at Snowcrest Hotel

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

6. Sarova Lion Hill Lodge, Nakuru, Kenya

  • Website: http://www.sarovahotels.com/lionhill/
  • Telephone number: +254 020 231 5139
  • Location: On a hill overlooking Lake Nakuru inside Lake Nakuru National Park just outside of Nakuru town
  • Price: $180/night for a double room, includes breakfast

Even though it was difficult to enter Lake Nakuru National Park as a dog, once I arrived at the Sarova Lion Hill Lodge, I was treated like a star!  The individual bungalows are spaced far enough apart for lots of privacy and the view of the Lake in the morning is delightful!  Also, the beds are super comfy and have a hot water compress inside for a warm, snuggly, night’s sleep 🙂

Just outside our bungalow, overlooking Lake Nakuru

Me on the bed at the Sarova Lion Hill

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

7. Peacock Hotel, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania

  • Website: http://www.peacock-hotel.com/
  • Telephone number: +255 22 2120334
  • Location: The city center of Dar es Salaam
  • Price: $95/night, includes breakfast

This may be the only hotel that will allow dogs like me in all of Dar es Salaam, even though it’s a big city and the capital of Tanzania at that.  Mom, Sham (our awesome taxi driver), and I drove and drove and drove around the city looking for a place we could stay for almost an hour in the very early morning and the Peacock Hotel finally welcomed us with open arms.  They allowed us to check in at 7:00 am so that we could sleep after two long days of flying.  The rooms are clean with big, comfy beds, a tv, free wi-fi, and air conditioning.  We truly loved everything about our stay here!

In the bathroom on a pile of Peacock towels

In the bathroom on a pile of Peacock towels

Me on the comfy bed with LOTS of pillows

Me on the comfy bed with LOTS of pillows

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Mombasa to Nakuru

The third leg of our trip wasn’t nearly as exciting as the preceding four days, but we did get to stay in a neat place called Nakuru.

The drive was like all the others and by this time I was pretty bored with looking at cows from the window so I decided to rest for much of the drive.

Lucky me, Sleeping!

I did manage to wake up for a few exciting things along the way, like big, fat zebras along the side of the highway.

ZEBRAS!

We also drove through a town named after me, perhaps they’ve been following my blog 🙂  The town was called Mtito Andei and mom made sure to get a photo of me with my sign.

It's my town: Mtito Andei!

We finally got to the town of Nakuru around 9pm, but then we had to enter a National Park called Lake Nakuru National Park.   Apparently, National Parks don’t allow dogs, which is confusing for me since there are wild animals everywhere.  Since we were so late, the National Park was already closed, but our hotel was inside, so this was a problem, or a matatizo, as we say in Swahili.  It took Mr. Marcel a lot of bargaining with the guard to even let the humans enter the park so late.  Mom had me all wrapped up in one of her scarves and so the guard asked about mom’s “rafiki ndogo“; he thought I was a human baby, I’d never been so flattered!

So eventually, the Park allowed us to enter and we drove around Lake Nakuru to the Sarova Lion Hill Lodge where we slept for the night.

Our drive from Mombasa to Nakuru

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Mombasa

After two whole days in the car, I was excited to get out and start exploring Mombasa!  I was still a little sore from my accident the day before, but that wasn’t going to stop me from a day of firsts!

After a breakfast where the waitress was actually nice enough to ask me if I wanted cold or warm water, we headed south of Mombasa towards Tiwi Beach.  Aunt Amanda was playing a game called frisbee there and we were going to cheer her on.  I didn’t really want to ride in the car again, but boy, I’m glad I did!  Tiwi Beach was SO cool!  The water wasn’t the icky poopy-smelling water of Lake Victoria, but instead it was a delightful turquoise color and tasted of salty food and was as warm as the shower water mom uses to wash me when she finds a flea.  Why can’t Lake Victoria be like this wonderful water they call the Indian Ocean?

Tiwi Beach

Swimming in the ocean was super fun too.  The water held me up differently than when I was in Lake Victoria so it was easier to stay floating and concentrate on my technique.  And also, there were waves!  I got to body surf into shore a few times, WOOHOO!

Enjoying a swim in the Indian Ocean

Later on, mom bought this weird, brown, hairy thing from a man on the beach.  The man cut the top off and mom started drinking a strange liquid from inside.  My favorite food is any food that my mom eats, so I was super curious about this thing she was having.  Eventually she put in down in the sand and it was my chance to try.  It was a flavor I’d never before experienced, and boy was it yummy 🙂  Later mom told me that this new treat was a coconut.

Eating my first coconut

The frisbee team, called the Mwanza Tossers, was nice enough to make me a team t-shirt to wear while I supported them, I like to think of myself as their team mascot.  Anyway, I think I did a pretty good job of getting them excited and barking them on while they played another team from Arusha.  GO AUNT AMANDA!

Go, Mwanza Tossers!

After a day of firsts: First Ocean, First Coconut, I was tired and so was mom so we called it an early night.

The next day, we decided to check out another beach in Mombasa, called Nyali Beach, right behind where we were staying.  This beach wasn’t quite as nice as Tiwi Beach, especially since we arrived at low tide.

Nyali Beach with mom

But, just as I was thinking it was going to be just another day on the beach, another, new, giant animal strolled by.  This animal had weird long legs, and a funny humped body.  And it was wearing clothes, just like me!  Mom said we could sit on this animal while it walked around on the beach and I wondered why anyone would want to do that, but I agreed since I have to listen to my mom.  Apparently, this animal is called a camel.

Me and mom on a camel

So, as soon as I was that high up on the stinky camel I decided that I was not a fan and I let my mom know right away.  I didn’t want to sit up there while the camel walked around, I wanted to be on the ground PLAYING with the camel!  So, mom put me down and continued riding around by herself.

Afterwards, mom took me swimming again, which is great exercise for such an active little dog like me 🙂

Riding the waves

More swimming!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Do we really have to go back to Mwanza??

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Arusha to Mombasa

Friday morning we were up early to head the rest of the way to Mombasa.  Before we left, I made sure to get some photos of myself at the hotel for my blog.  I wanted to get one of me in the window of the hotel overlooking the gardens so I had mom put me on the windowsill, but because I’m still just a puppy I got distracted by a cool bug and leaped off the ledge and into a giant bush to catch it.  OOPS!!  Anyway, mom came to my rescue and since we were only on the first floor, I was fine.  After taking some photos, we were ready to begin the second day of our journey.

Here we go again...

The first town we passed through after Arusha was Moshi.  According to mom, they have yummy coffee there, so we stopped to get some for the humans.  I met a baby human there and we got along so well, probably because we’re both young and so we can understand each other.

My new friend

Moshi is also where I had my first exposure to an animal called an elephant.  Apparently, the elephant is the largest animal on land.  I wonder, how can an animal possibly be larger than a cow?  I must see a real-life version of this thing.  For the time being I decided to take a photo with the Nakumatt elephant.

Me and the Nakumatt elephant

Just after Moshi, we crossed the border into Kenya at a town called Taveta.  At the border, mom was being weird and forcing me to stay on the floor of the car and also telling me not to make noises.  Later, she explained that she didn’t want any trouble from the border guards and so I was actually smuggled into Kenya!  EXCITING!

It's Kenya!

From the border, we drove on a bumpy dirt road through Tsavo West National Park and the Taita Hills Wildlife Sanctuary.  This was the most exciting part of the drive because there were tons of new smells for me.  I was bouncing around, from one side of the car to the other trying to take it all in.  At one point in the wildlife sanctuary I caught a fascinating smell that I’d never experienced before.  I jumped over to Mr. Marcel’s window and saw giant creatures, maybe the elephants that mom was talking about.  I just couldn’t contain my excitement and it didn’t appear that the humans were going to stop so I decided to take matters into my own paws.

I leaped out the window, ready to land on my feet and run to investigate the elephants.  But, as I was flying through the air, my body turned and all of a sudden I landed hard on my back on the dirt and rolled head over feet at least three times.  I really screwed up this time, because the car was now ahead of me and every part of my body was hurting.  I stood up, ready to run after the car, but my hind leg was killing me and I couldn’t move.  Then, thankfully, mom appeared, running towards me.  She scooped me up and took me back to the car.  There was fear in her eyes and she was checking me everywhere.  Red gooey liquid was flowing out of my scrapes and so mom bundled me up in a towel and hugged me close to her as we continued driving.

My hurt eye and fat lip

Just after my accident

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

More photos of my injuries:

My knee injury

My foot injury

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Even more photos of my injuries:

Resting

Licking my wounds

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The rest of the drive was a blur as I dozed in mom’s lap.  We stopped briefly in a town called Voi at the junction of the dirt road and the main paved road.  At the gas station, a young Kenyan girl was nice to me, despite my obvious injuries and for that, I was thankful.

Me and the sweet girl I met

We arrived in Mombasa around 8:30pm and finally I could sleep on a real bed that was not bumpy or vibrating.  I needed rest so I could be ready to explore Mombasa in the morning.

Our route from Arusha to Mombasa

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Mwanza to Arusha

On Thursday, mom and Aunt Amanda started packing their bags and I got super nervous.  Usually suitcases mean that people are leaving and I’ll be all alone, but I had a happy surprise because they packed my bag too!  We set off in Mr. Marcel’s car around 12:30 in the afternoon and mom said we should be in another town in Tanzania, called Arusha, by about 7:30 that evening.  My godfather, Tito taxi-driver, told her that he drives that way all the time and it only takes him 7 hours.  I was excited to drive because Tanzania is known for having cows everywhere along the roads and as you know, I LOVE COWS!

Mom showed me on a map, the way that we would drive from Mwanza to Arusha.  It was hard for me to understand how it could take 7 hours to drive the length of my leg, but I assumed my mom knew what she was talking about.

Helping mom with the map

So, we drove, and we drove.  After about 2 hours, we stopped for a potty break.

Stopping for a potty break

Then we continued driving.  And we drove, and we drove.  Near Shinyanga we stopped at a store to buy more fuel for the car and also to get some drinks for the humans.  Lucky for me there were 3 baby cows at the store and I got to hang out with all 3 of them.  This was definitely the highlight of this part of the drive because playing with cows is way better than jumping around the car to see them for one second through the window.

YAY!!! COWS!!!

Here’s a video of me playing with the cows: http://youtu.be/tcsHRlXr4OI

Around the time when mom thought we would have been to Arusha already, we realized that we actually weren’t very near to our destination.  At this point, it was dark and there was lots of roadwork so we had to drive very, very slowly on the bumpy dirt roads.  Lucky for me, mom brought my bed and put it in the back of the car so I could sleep, but the humans weren’t quite so lucky.

Eventually, around 12:30am we reached the Snowcrest Hotel in Arusha.  That means that it took us 12 hours to reach Arusha! Two-legged Tito must drive really super fast if he is able to reach there in only 7 hours!

Here's where we drove

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The Mombasa Road Trip, A Preview

I just returned from the coolest adventure and there’s so much to tell!  I’ve made a little map for you all to see a summary of where I’ve been, and I’ll write more about each bit of my adventure this week.  So much happened, I don’t know where to start, but I’ll try to tell my story over the next couple days, STAY TUNED!

My Adventure

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The Tanzanian Veterinarian, Part 2

As I said in my previous post, I have to get daily shots of antibiotics to make sure that my foot injury doesn’t become serious.  On Saturday, we scheduled my second appointment with Jovi for 10am Sunday morning.  At around 9:45, mom and I set out for Jovi’s house, which he had described for us the day before.  But, as we learned, Tanzanians are not experts at giving directions.

After asking about 3 different people, we finally found the turn-off for the Mwanzan suburb where Jovi lived.  We drove down a long dirt road through several villages that we never even knew existed.  Again, we had to stop and ask where Jovi’s building was located.  Mom asked one man, “doktori mbwa?” and the man replied, “I know what a vet is, but I don’t know where he is, ask someone else”.  So we drove on and stopped at a pharmacy.  Mom had to wake the girl working there to ask, “do you know where Jovi the dog doctor lives?”  She looked at me and at mom with a blank stare, “what do you want?”  “We are looking for a man named Jovi”.  “A man?”  Clearly this was going nowhere, so we continued driving.

Looking for Jovi

Eventually, we found the compound where Jovi said he lived, but unfortunately his phone was not working and there were about 100 houses there.  Mom was going to start knocking on doors asking for Jovi, but I didn’t really think that was a smart idea and I didn’t really want to get another shot anyway.

After asking a few more people about Jovi with no helpful answers, we decided to just return home and wait until we could reach him on the phone.  I was happy because I got to ride in a car with mom for one and a half hours without having to get a shot, but mom was upset about using so much time.  We drove home and waited for Jovi’s call.

Driving home

Not surprisingly, Jovi’s call never came and I got to spend Sunday injection-free.  On Monday, however, I was not quite so lucky.

After mom got home from work yesterday, we went for a walk and then Jovi arrived with his bag of torture gear.  Mom thought she was clever and had some sticks with peanut butter and some sausages ready to distract me from the shot, but I’m not a little puppy anymore and that stuff doesn’t work on me like it used to.

Taking a breather while Jovi prepares

This time, I had to get TWO shots, one for antibiotics and one for internal and external parasites to control the mites that might be causing my mange.  The first one was in my neck and I survived.  The second one was in my bum and it hurt like heck!

Getting a shot in my bum

After the shot I leapt out of mom’s arms and ran away, while trying to itch my bum.  It was a stinging and an itching feeling both at the same time.  This caused me to run around in circles chasing the itchy spot; you should try to itch your bum with a long body like me!  And of course, everyone just sat and laughed at me; next time I’d like to see them get a shot in the bum and be totally cool about it.

Lastly, Jovi left my mom with a solution to mix in water and spray onto my skin to control mites, fleas, and ticks.  On the box of skin medicine was a picture of my favorite animal, the cow, so this made me feel cool.  It also made me wonder if Jovi thinks I’m a livestock…

Me and my livestock medicine

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