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 Post subject: Dotty-4 oldies ambling around-2008
Unread postPosted: Thu Nov 13, 2008 1:43 am 
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Location: another national park.. in England
Four Oldies ambling around.......

Things started off a bit shaky. The airline we had booked with (Nationwide) went bust I didn’t realise until I read it on the forum. PANIC!!!! :big_eyes: (I can’t remember but I think it was saraf who put it on the forum. Thank you for the heads up) :thumbs_up: of course it was a bank holiday so we couldn’t get in touch with our travel company.
I had lots of lovely messages of thoughts and holding thumbs from fellow forumites. This worked!! Oh! the power of forum thought :clap: After a few sleepless nights, we were on track again.
3months in SA…I couldn’t wait. The day came to leave.
A neighbour came to say bye-bye
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We arrived safely after a good flight, on S.A.A. The choice of food was a bit uninventive... Lamb curry or vegetable curry. You don’t like curry!! Tough (and so was the lamb*)
A week of anticipation in Johannesburg with, friends and their families and then (see friends in meets and greets) courtesy of Bigman…thank you Bigman :clap:
Before we set off we had this lovely surprise
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It was made by some very special little girls, Kylie and Tarryn.

At this stage let me say if somebody out there looks at a photo and thinks that it wasn’t taken in the place I am talking about, forgive me I couldn’t find my way out of a paper bag. :redface: let alone remember where I was when I took a photo. :roll:

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 Post subject: Re: 4 oldies ambling around
Unread postPosted: Thu Nov 13, 2008 8:23 pm 
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Location: another national park.. in England
@ elsa
@ Matthys
@ mikerid
@ p@m
@ icurrie
@ aboon
@ anne-marie
:thumbs_up: :redface:
Thank you for your encouragement,here I go again....
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Off to Mopani for 5days and then, 5days in Oliphants.
When we left Johannesburg for the long drive to Phalaborwa I had three wishes
One to see the Elephant Hall at Letaba
Two to see the waterhole at Satara
Three to see a Secretary bird…
Did KP come up with the goods? Read on if you want to know
After packing the car we drove to our stop over point near Tzaneen. We stayed in a hotel to break the journey, as we only had one driver. In the gardens I saw my first Samango monkey.
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Soon we arrived at one of my best places on earth
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The first sightings were the usual suspects :)
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Plus a Nyala who quickly disappeared into the bush .Far too quickly for a decent pic :redface:
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 Post subject: Re: 4 oldies ambling around
Unread postPosted: Fri Nov 14, 2008 2:13 pm 
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Location: another national park.. in England
Four tired and hot (it was 39deg) oldies booked in and found our guesthouse
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After unpacking and having a good look round, off we went to the restaurant Not a happy experience. The food was awful, the service was slow, but we made the most of it.
Afterwards we stood for a while in the dark listening to the grunts off the hippos, then back to the guest house to sleep.
How come sleep is sweeter in the park??????
Image Link The next morning we all slept late. We had decided this trip was going to be relaxing… We have spent our working lives up and at it from dawn until dark so now it’s our time to take it easy :dance:

A leisurely morning watching the hornbills, ground squirrels, some glossy starlings, grey louries, a crested barbet and francolins vie for breakfast crumbs
Image LinkThen we strolled to the restaurant….To give them another chance. :roll: Better all round this time :D . We discussed our plans for the afternoon. :hmz:
It was decided to do the Mooiplas Loop at 3pm.
It might seem to some hard and fast Krugerites that we were wasting a lot of viewing time, but we were relaxed and happy. :thumbs_up:

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 Post subject: Re: 4 oldies ambling around
Unread postPosted: Sat Nov 15, 2008 1:41 am 
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Location: another national park.. in England
Off we went, not expecting too much, but……
These are some of the highlights
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We will draw a veil over what happened next (X-rated and this is a family forum :big_eyes: :lol: )

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 Post subject: Re: 4 oldies ambling around
Unread postPosted: Sun Nov 16, 2008 12:44 am 
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The next day we all woke late-ish again and decided to go for breakfast SO and I decided to walk the little path along the fence Friends took the car. As we walked we felt closer to the bush, although protected by the fence
Path
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Impalas danced away when they heard us coming. Notices at reading level gave good information with pictures of flora and fauna all along the path. (Thank you Honorary Rangers West Rand Region Project) :clap:
Birds were singing and as we turned the corner …. Ellies on the opposite bank!
Wow! They seemed so close; I could hear all the noises….. Rumbles, burps etc :shock: and splashes it was wonderful.
Ellies on bank
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SO and I stood and watched them in silence, I was absolutely enraptured. When I think that I cried the first time I saw a real wild elephant. This was so special to me.
If you knew how long I’ve been collecting Ellies, toys, pictures, ornaments even a loo brush holder :redface: and how many I have, you’d know what a special moment this was. They stayed for about 20mins…….
Breakfast was late. :lol:
After breakfast we and our friends walked back along the trail
We didn’t see any animals but, again the birds were singing and we were in the fresh air :D We took our time ambling along and read all the notices.
We decided to walk through the camp collect the car and go for a drive. Sad to say we were pestered by children on bikes circling and racing close to us. Finally we spoke sharply to them :naughty: as one of my friends was almost bowled over. :( When we got to reception we reported them. I don’t know if it was followed up.

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 Post subject: Re: 4 oldies ambling around
Unread postPosted: Sun Nov 16, 2008 11:58 pm 
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Location: another national park.. in England
The drive took us via the Tropic of Capricorn. We saw more Tsessebee, Kori Bustards, Lilac Rollers, and Lapwing
Elephants
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Giraffe jam
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Heron or stork?
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Impala Ram in great condition
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(Probably ready for some of the shenanigans the Ostrich were up to) :redface: :wink:
Also lots of birds which to my embarrassment :redface: I can’t name, and bird photography seems so much harder to get right.
The ground was much burnt around the Tropic of Capricorn.
Do birds prefer cooked meat? There seemed to be quite a lot of birds on the burnt areas.
I had been told tsessebee and kori bustards were quite unusual but we saw lots of both. :huh:
Then we saw an Elephant leaning on a water tank and then he walked right up to us. All that space and we were in his way!!!!
Elephant on tank
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Elephant coming
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closer Image link
And too close :big_eyes:
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We moved :lol: :tongue: off back “home” for an early night. We had decided on an early drive in the morning.

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 Post subject: Re: 4 oldies ambling around
Unread postPosted: Mon Nov 17, 2008 9:21 am 
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Dotty wrote:
Heron or stork?
Image


Looks like a Wooly Neck Stork :)

Another great installment, Thanks Dotty

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 Post subject: Re: 4 oldies ambling around
Unread postPosted: Mon Nov 17, 2008 7:38 pm 
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Location: another national park.. in England
@ CC how do you like your steak?? :lol: :lol:
seriously as you say probably easier to find

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 Post subject: Re: 4 oldies ambling around
Unread postPosted: Mon Nov 17, 2008 10:23 pm 
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Location: another national park.. in England
Out through the gates at 6am and off on the Shongololo Route via the Shipandani Hide and the Pioneer Dam.
.A quick visit to Shingwedzi to the restaurant .
Where I watched impala in the dry river bed and others watched ….the rugby :roll:
River bed at Shingwedzi restaraunt
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TV watchers :roll:
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Shingwedzi Flowers
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My highlights were
Ground Hornbill
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Buffalo
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White fronted Bee Eater
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Steenbok
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Hippo
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King fisher
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link

Also Hoopoe, Malachite Kingfisher, Giant Kingfisher, Pied Kingfisher, (sorry no proof. just my dear friends’ identification) and terrapins Then back to for a shower and an ice cream.
We sat on the deck overlooking the dam with binos and counted the crocs on the far off banks. (lots) :wink:
We ate at the restaurant that evening. Service and food much better :) It see ms to depend on who is on duty, as I am sure it was the same staff when service was better. Perhaps some customer relation training is needed for some.
We got into bed tired and happy again, but could I sleep? No :huh: why not???

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Last edited by Dotty on Mon Nov 17, 2008 11:45 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: 4 oldies ambling around
Unread postPosted: Wed Nov 19, 2008 11:13 am 
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Location: another national park.. in England
Why couldn’t I sleep? .....
......
I awoke in the night to hear hyenas whooping.
I lay there and enjoyed the sound and then…. a lion in the distance, I peeked at my clock it was 3am.
Gradually he got closer and closer Oh!.....:big_eyes: The sound, I swear he was outside the window.
SO awoke too and we lay there cuddled up and just enjoyed the thrilling sounds. The lion roared for what seemed like ages.
I could feel the vibrations in my heart. It is a primal sound that touches your soul.
We saw spotlights outside perhaps they thought like us, that he was very close. Was he inside the fence?? :huh: Perhaps somebody out there knows?
When our friends awoke next morning, we said what a wonderful sound and they had slept through it!!
Was I in trouble for not tapping their door :redface: Ooops.

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 Post subject: Re: 4 oldies ambling around
Unread postPosted: Wed Nov 19, 2008 6:59 pm 
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Location: another national park.. in England
The weather had changed it was cold and windy, and after the lion concerto we were tired One of our friends is self-employed so he used the time to do some work, we stayed in camp and watched the birds ( not many of them) and read our books
Reading
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Grey Louries on Braai
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We all just enjoyed the peace and quiet..
“More wasted time” Do I hear from the back row? :roll: :twisted:
We took some clothes to the laundry where we found the staff extremely helpful.


The next morning we got up early to pack for Oliphants but before we left Mopani I had to check out the big Baobab tree. It is a stunning tree and has a presence. I wonder what tales it could tell if it could speak?
Baobab
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Signs
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Shrike at an old nest
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Impala lily flowers
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Our first visit to Mopani was enjoyed very much I loved the “unkempt” look of the long dry grass, the colours of the Mopane Trees, the decking overlooking the dam, and especially the trail along the fence.* The Guest bungalow was very comfortable it was nice to sit in comfort in the evening with friends or around the table looking at the days’ photographs.
Colourful Mopane trees
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On to Oliphants :dance:

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Last edited by Dotty on Wed Nov 19, 2008 8:18 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: 4 oldies ambling around
Unread postPosted: Fri Nov 21, 2008 2:11 am 
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Location: another national park.. in England
On the road to Oliphants we bumped into a huge herd of Buffalo with young ones hiding in amongst the big ones. Even little buffs can be pretty! They were on both sides of the road and just kept coming!
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Buffalo and baby, see the little horns :)
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in the far distance I saw a rhino to far away to photograph :( and then also hippos and waterbuck
The birds were beautiful, I just wish I could use a camera like other people on this forum, we saw a Redbilled Firefinch, Drongos, Longtailed shrike No pics of them sorry. I did manage to snap a Korhaan though
Korhaan
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Water buck
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As we had left Mopani at 9-00am it was time for a late breakfast/brunch. As I said I have no idea where we are at any time… I leave driving and navigation to those who have a sense of direction. So imagine my delight when we turned into gates marked LETABA :dance:
Breakfast over I walked to the hall.
Entrance Letaba hall
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I was in heaven, the stories of individual elephants the pictures, the displays, the tusks and …....just everything.
WOW just as I had dreamed it would be :D :D
One of my wishes had come true. :dance:
Tusks.
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On this journey somewhere :roll: we crossed a bridge and saw a little bat that Batmad kindly id for me. He thinks it is an Angolan free tailed bat Thanks Batmad :clap:
Other sightings were Chinspot batis, Brown Snake Eagle and a Little Sparrow Hawk.
Bat
Image link

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Last edited by Dotty on Fri Nov 21, 2008 2:37 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: 4 oldies ambling around
Unread postPosted: Fri Nov 21, 2008 5:36 pm 
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Location: another national park.. in England
As we arrived at reception, we had to change cars;
We had phone calls when in Mopani saying the car company needed the car back! We had to negotiate to get a similar car although we had paid for a particular model.
The driver met us at Oliphants Reception area, and we asked him to drive down to our bungalows so we didn’t have to unpack twice.
He had to leave Oliphants and drive out via Phalaborwa and on to Polkwane. I hope he didn’t speed. :naughty:
Off to the restaurant for dinner, curry, it was awful, what is it with us and curries?
In fact my SO said jokingly “if I didn’t know better I would think. ? xx#~xx ? (The company he worked before he retired) runs this catering set up.”
When we got the bill it was a division of guess who? … The company that he worked for! :lol:
To give the staff the benefit of the doubt the whole area was being rebuilt and things were a bit cramped and makeshift.
We had booked 2seperate bungalows this time as we couldn’t get a guest house. Not as good for us. But the view was fantastic.
View Oliphants
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can you see the waterbucks crossing the river?

I heard hippos and hyena in the night, but was up before sunrise to see a civet dashing along the wall at the base of the fence I got a photo which Duques kindly lightened for me in the Animal Thread (African civet) I have had a bash as well this is my version :roll:
Civet
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From the stoep I saw so much even before I got dressed.
Will I ever leave camp with a view like this?
While standing watching all the morning activity Maribou Stork, Kudu, Giraffes, all came down to the river to drink Birds all came to see if there was any breakfast left red-winged starlings, bulbuls, glossies, and others
Paradise fly catcher
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see what I mean about bird photography? :roll:
Redwinged starlings
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Giraffe drinking on the river bend
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Out for a short drive ……..

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 Post subject: Re: 4 oldies ambling around
Unread postPosted: Sun Nov 23, 2008 1:22 pm 
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Location: another national park.. in England
I saw lots of things I hadn’t seen before a Burchells Coucal, canaries, a 3banded plover, a white-backed Vulture all identified by my friends. We also saw Giraffe, Zebra, and Impalas getting ready for spring and testing each other out. Also saw Vervets, Hippo, and some adult Kudus, with a young one hiding in a shrub.
Vervet
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Young Kudu hiding
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Egret with turtle bonus :dance:
When I took the photo I didn’t see the turtle!
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Hadeda
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Hamerkop
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Back to camp for a braai, and then off to sleep with a serenade of hippo grunts

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 Post subject: Re: 4 oldies ambling around
Unread postPosted: Mon Nov 24, 2008 12:20 am 
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Location: another national park.. in England
Another day in paradise - how many times has that been said on this forum?
We left camp late-ish. (10am) We saw all the usual animals Elephant, Zebra, Hippo, Giraffe, Wildebeest, some huge crocs, Ground hornbills an Ostrich in the distance. Several Kori Bustards and a Korhaan .
Crocodile
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G Hornbill
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The adult Ground Hornbills were being pestered by the immature one.
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Immature behaviour? Hmm! If I were his Mum I’d send him to his room :naughty: He never stopped squawking, and followed them everywhere, close behind them at all times. Yelling his beak off.
Again my sense of direction worked in my favour, suddenly its lunchtime and we turn into SATARA another wish come true! :dance:
This restaurant was being remodelled, and things were hectic, but the food was good.
I sat where I could see The Web Cam as I so often do at home The tree on the lawn is so beautiful (not sure, I think it’s a fever tree)
Tree
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Web Cam Giraffe
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Wood pecker on lawn, bit far away sorry.
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Me in Paradise :thumbs_up:
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Whilst we had lunch I knew pictures of the animals at the waterholes would be winging their way across cyber space to you forumites, as they slaked their thirsts. (Probably the forumites doing the same) :lotsocoffee: ??? :tongue:
As we drove away I realised I had forgotten the scops owl :( Never mind no time to go back.
The drive back was very good, lots to see, Water buck, Ellies, Kudu, and several Steenboks
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A stationary driver waved us over. As we pulled up beside him his face changed from excitement to disappointment and in much laboured English he said “I so sorree I tort it was an rrheeeeeno but ‘tis only a bufflo. We told him we were very pleased to see the buffs, but now Rhinos are forever called rheeeeenos amongst us four amblers. Thank you whoever you are, we did enjoy the buffalo.
Rheeno or bufflo?
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sorreeee buff
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On we went and what do we see????????????
Secretary birds Woo Hoo!! :clap:
Two wishes in one day I should have done the lotto!
and my third wish come true :dance:
Last time I saw a Secretary Bird it was caged and very unhappy which is why I wanted to see a happy one.
Secretary bird
Image link
The day couldn’t be bettered… .............or could it?? :| :hmz: :cam:

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