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Old 02-15-2013, 07:12 AM   #151
AK Smitty OP
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Ipailes

We got into Ipailes about 5 and went to the hotel that Pete and Wim stayed at 2 days earlier. As soon as we parked the bikes the skies opened up an it started to pour!! Perfect timing.

The town of Ipailes did not have much appeal to me but Las Lajas was really cool. We pulled into the church about 9 and actually had some sunny skies for pictures!

The church from the overlook on our way in.





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Two ladies that ran this fruit and veggie stand told us we could park here for a buck each.

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Its a short walk down to the church. We blamed the altitude for our struggle back up the hill, not the lack of exercise from sitting on a motorcycle for 3 plus months.

Guinea Pig is eaten here. We did not try it but here it is at a restaurant on the way to the church.



I could have taken hundreds pictures of the church but tried to keep it under control. I am always fascinated in the architecture and engineering marvel these places are, especially for when they were built. Las Lajas is very impressive!!









Thanks to the Virgin Mary





Inside the church









Me at the church



There are many more pictures on smugmug. Like I said I was very impressed with the detail and size of Las Lajas. Well worth the stop if you are in the area. We tried to go to the museum about it to learn more of the history and struggle building it but it was closed. Off to the Colombia Ecuador border.

One last one pic
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Old 02-15-2013, 10:33 AM   #152
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AK Smitty View Post
I dont remember but he does. He is very interested in the Tenere and Super Tenere.

Are you living in Medellin? If so I am jealous! It is a great place for a variety of reasons. Perfect temps and amazing riding are just two of them.

I will be turning around and heading North soon. I am shipping my bike from Bogata to Miami. I hope to squeeze in a few more days in Medellin, but we will see.
Yes I live in Medellin. Let me know If coming to Medellin again.
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Old 02-16-2013, 08:34 AM   #153
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Good Bye Colombia Hello Ecuador

It is not easy to leave Colombia but I need to at least see one another country in South America. I am NOT going to make Machu Picchu for sure but I am ok with that. I was thinking about dipping into Peru and riding Canyon del Pato but I think that I may just stick in Ecuador. I will be back to South America sooner than later and really need to pick my battles now.

Colombia has been amazing. The people, landscape, history and sites. The people young and old are very concerned about outsiders image of Colombia. Even the young college students questions focused around "How does your family feel about you traveling to Colombia?" "Do you feel safe?" and "How has your experience been?". Our discussion finished with me saying that in America I feel that the opinion of Colombia is starting to change and it is really their age group that will continue to move Colombia in a positive direction. They agreed and want nothing more than to improve Colombia in the view of the public and for future generations.

I found their awareness and interest refreshing and encouraging. I dont feel most 20 somethings(including my self in my early 20s) in North America have this level of awareness and concern. I have had several wonderful conversation with many people about Colombia and where it is at in its history. Colombia has so much to offer and is rapidly changing for the better. There is a strong military presence improving safety and economic growth is strong in a lot of regions. The people here love and are very passionate about their country. They want all travelers to take home positive experiences and stories.

I can say that will take home only positive stories and I have loved my time in Colombia. I also know that the four other moto travelers that I have been spending time with off and on since Nica will do the same. See the usual suspects below.

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The five us were sitting in the plaza in Popayan and this guy came up to us and very passionately started talking to us. He went on and on and on. Luckily Mihai was there to translate most of it. The guy spoke fast and used a lot of slang so he did not get it all. He may or may not have been drinking we never did figure that out but the passion was unmistakable. The gist of his message was that he was asking us to enjoy the country that he loved and know that there are many good people here. He wished luck in our travels and that we take home a great experience and stories of Colombia. I love the Colombian passion for their country!!

One of the last friends I made in Colombia! Haha

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I stopped to pet this little guy(girl actually) and then she decided I was good enough gringo and hopped up for more attention. I was all the guys and they got a pretty good laugh out of it.

Now off to Ecuador. We were on a record pace to get processed out of Colombia and into Ecuador until... the Ecuador Aduana and the 2 hour lunch. We were thinking a big day and getting to Quito but not after a four hour border crossing. Stayed in the border town of Tulcan. Tomorrow the Equator and Qutio.

Mihai taking a little time to be a kid before hitting the road.

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A very cool plaza on our way to the Equator



Locals



The entire country is in a foam water ballon fight due to a religous holiday. More on that in my next post. But Mihai and I had to participate. I mean if the locals are doing it!

DCIM\100GOPRO

And of course Lat 0 pics



Foamed at Lat 0










All quito and big foam fight up next. Great times!
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Old 02-16-2013, 08:43 PM   #154
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Qutio

So as I mentioned all of Ecuador is in a water ballon and foam fight. It is due to a religious celebration that I havent totally figured out but I am loving it. No one is safe and all you can do is embrace it. Kids spray us with foam as we are driving by them and throw water balloons at us. Mihai and I got cans of foam for self defense.

As we are driving kids pop up from the beds of pick ups and out of car windows to get us. It is hilarious. While I was driving I saw 3 little kids dump a bucket of water off a second story roof onto a guy that looked like e had just left his office from work. He just looked up and laughed. Also saw two younger guys waiting for a bus and a pick up drove by and nailed both of them with water balloons and foam. It was awesome. So all we could do is join them.

Some of the kids were fast so I had to get Wim

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These girls were in an all out war!




I held Mihai while the girls totally covered him in foam and some egg stuff. I think Pawel has the pictures.

These kids were covered in some black chalk/paint. It is also part of the celebration.



and a giant piece of fried dough to cap off the night.



And the sights of Quito.











Inside the above church. The detail is amazing





More on Quito...
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Old 02-20-2013, 09:56 AM   #155
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Qutio and off to Puerto Lopez

My last post was not my best work. Someone came up and starting chatting about the trip so I just hit submit where I was. There are some many great buildings and sights to see in Quito. I would have spent more time here but I wanted to get to the beach. Also we choose to stay in "Gringolandia" which seemed like the right call with the information that we had. After having visited Quito the old city has much more appeal to me. It is a 3 dollar cab ride from the old city to gringo land so getting between the 2 is not hard.

We went up to the top of this church for 2 dollars

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Some great views from up here.

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It was a little sketchy going up the ladder/stairs to the top. I like sketchy and didn't think it was bad but a lot of people wanted no part of it. Well worth the extra steps I thought.


Little bridge that we had to cross to get to the top.



The tower access has definitely undergone some renovations. It was interesting to see how they just make it work.







This church is not as detailed inside as the other but its size and external detail are very impressive.





At least some of McDonalds advertising is true! Pawel had coffee cake and it did equal smile!! Here;s the proof and parting shot of Quito.



The cute girls inside thought that we were idiots, I think. Same reaction I get in the states so no big deal. We were having fun and wanted to make sure people in Quito knew there were some loco gringos in town.

Oh wait one last shot if Quito! Mihai and I were over the cold wet weather and wanted to get the beach. Pawel stayed behind to work on his blog and see some more of Quito. This is only the second time in four months they have been apart. It reminded me of Strange Brew the movie. Side note: these tow are Canadians and don't know about the movie Strange Brew!!!! I wonder if they even like hockey?




Now off to Pueto Lopez for a 500k plus day. Not to many pictures b/c of the big day we were trying to put down and I spent a lot of time trying to get good Go Pro footage of the awesome mountain road that we took.

Ride to Puerto Lopez





These guys making what they had work for towing. Ropes and a pipe! Awesome and better than towing with just rope.



I was setting up my go pro and these had to know what was going on. Talked with them all for about 45 min. They all got pictures on the bike and with me. It was fun.

DCIM\100GOPRO

A cool lily pad type flower. They had a nice but strong smell. You could smell them as you drove by.
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gotta stop and smell the roses or whatever flower may be available. Maybe I do that too often since I didn't time for an entire country that I had planned on going to!! haha

Made it to Puerto Lopez about 6 PM. Felt good to put down a nice big day.
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Old 02-21-2013, 08:36 PM   #156
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Around Puerto Lopez

Mihai and I went a little north for the day to Frailes beach. There are actually 3 beaches and they are in a national park and all pristine. We did some snorkeling and chilling. Mihai has the beach pics and I took a lot of underwater pics but there was a lot of debris in the water so the photos are not great. We saw some cool fish.

Some big blurry fish

DCIM\100GOPRO

Evidence that I was down there with them.

DCIM\100GOPRO

Sunset in PL.



Where is Pawel?

Pawel was a little late getting in! Breaking the rule of riding after dark! Major no no! Mihai and I waited at the front of the hotel like a couple of mother hens! Actually we just wanted to go get some beer and were getting tired of waiting haha.



Wash that road grime off your face! Its time for beer!



He only road about 20 min after sunset and the road he was on is the best we've seen since the states or Mexico. He was all good.

The next day we went Agua Blanco.
Native Cultural center museum and mud bath. Its 5 bucks so a little steep by Ecuador standards but I think all or most of it gets to the community so worth it.

Here are a few shots from the museum. The people were placed in these big pots. They are actually not that big and it is surprising that a person could fit here. Sometimes 2 people.

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Other artifacts found at the site.





Weapons for hunting





seats



Example of the community center



and boat used on the river



They girl did a pretty good job of running us through the museum and the history, then a short dirt ride on the bikes to the mud bath.

Mudbath



I need to get the pics from Pawel. Mihai and I did it up local style but smearing the mud head to toe.

We told a group of young kids that I was brown before I went in and the mud turned me white. They just kept whispering to each other and staring at me. Very funny.



Flowers at the mud bath







Now off to Montanita. Time to surf!

They girl did a pretty good job of running us through the museum and the history, then a short dirt ride on the bikes to the mud bath.
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Old 02-23-2013, 06:03 PM   #157
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Montanita

So a quick word on Puerto Lopez. I was very unimpressed with the town itself. It is a good jump off point to the National Park since it is only a few kilometers away. The town had no real appeal to me activity wise or ascetically.

As for Montanita....wow what a contrast! The town is constantly alive, well except for early in the morning. It is like San Juan del in Nica on on RedBull. It seems to have it all. There is a great break right in town and lots of activity on the beach. It seems to be mainly Argentineans and Chileans that vacation here. I met and talked with a lot of both and they seem to just be overly friendly caring outgoing people. Especially Argentineans! We had so much fun there 2 nights turned into 5 and once again the schedule was slipping away. The days went by fast between socializing, surfing and hanging on the beach. It was a great time. For me the center of town is a little much and on my next visit I would opt for a little more chill part of town.

We arrived on a friday which normally is overly active but due to the election there was no alcohol for 3 days. Well at bars at least. Tiendas seemed to have no problem selling beer if you put it straight into a bag.

On monday the town came alive! Prohibition was over! We were told it is like this every Fri and Sat. Would have been nice to find this place about 7-10 years ago. It is a lot for an aging guy like me.

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It is only one short street so it is not as crazy as it looks.


This little bars line the streets making fresh fruit cocktails and all cranking different music. It funny at first then not. haha I hope this movie will play. These guys are the best!



Here is the beach and one of the nicest hotels.

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There is for sure a party scene but also a big surf scene and lots of people being active and healthy. People jogging and just enjoying the town. Many good restaurants and places to hang out. I liked to get a big beer at night and just sit on the curb and people watch. There is also a large hippy following here. I don't normally care for that but it seems to work here.

Our hotel from the beach



The town

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Another great sunset







The last one like this I will see over the Pacific for some time.

So Pawel was feeling the schedule pressure and was off a day ahead of us. He had a friend in Southern Ecuador that he wanted to visit. Mihai and I were walking around that last day and he asked me my plan. Actually he said "what are you going to do?" This was my answer: "I don't know. I dont want to do anything. I dont want to pack, i dont want to ride, I dont want to leave, I dont want to stay."

Oh know I thought to myself its happening! My one remaining feeling was starting to activate! I usually just cruise and dont worry about feelings but the end of the trip was starting to weigh on me. Let me clarify about not wanting to stay. i didn't want to stay in the centro anymore. i could have stayed for who knows how long and surfed everyday. I also need to say for a guy that is a decision maker and a driver this feeling of truly not wanting to nothing may have been a first in my life.

I knew that once I turned that front tire north and parted ways with everyone headed south I was admitting a lot of things I didn't want to accept. I was admitting I didn't have the guts to quit my job months ago. I was admitting it was time to get serious about logistics and plane tickets. I was admitting the end was near. I actually thought can I just stay in Montanita and just remain in limbo? I wanted time to stand still here but unfortunately it doesn't even though it feels like it does. I admitted I was packing and leaving in the morning for Banos. I had to do something I didn't want to. The polar opposite to what this entire trip is and has been!

I still am totally appreciative of the opportunity I have been give to accomplish such a trip. Something this good you just dont want to end!
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Old 02-24-2013, 09:54 AM   #158
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Hey I know that guy

Yo AK,
Am enjoying your post, and hope to follow the trip as soon as I can,. I also do a lot of solo trips, and like the way that you run across people and make friends. It really restores my faith in humanity.

I know the guy in your post #90 on new year's day Wilhem, he is from Canada and owns a hotel in Thailand. Do you have his contact info? You can PM me offline if you do. Talk about a small world. But then similar interests help bring it together.

Cheers,

Greg
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Old 02-24-2013, 10:25 AM   #159
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Old 02-24-2013, 03:23 PM   #160
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Great Blog

Hey,
I really enjoyed reading your blog. I guess it is not over, so I look forward to more, and a safe trip home and back to W#%@ (4-letter word). I admire your discipline to write the blog. I travel quite a bit myself. I generally start out with good intentions, and then well.... no one really knows what happens next because....

That is so cool, you are riding with a guy I know from Thailand, Whim. Last I saw Whim was about 4 years ago and he was taking a moto tour in Laos.

As for the melancholy return, think of it as a means to get you back to working on that checklist. When you get back home, you will enjoy it more than you think at the moment. I used to work out of Punta Arenas, Chile, and would see bikes arriving there often after finishing the Pan-AM. After reading your blog, I am doing it much sooner than later. I know you are heading north now, but for that same $850 you can turn around and finish it up next year. Peru is awesome! Patagonia too!

I remember after my first globe trot, I had a new 06 Triumph ST, and rode it from Brownsville, TX up through Yellowstone to the Montana Bear Tooth Hwy, and thinking "Damn, what a beautiful country we come from". You're going back to Alaska. I tell everyone I meet, AK should be up near the top of that list. Are you riding from Miami to AK? That would be too much. The Al-Can is on my list too!

Isn't it funny that the more places you see in the world, the more places you realize that you haven't seen. It seems that the world just gets bigger the more of I see. The sad thing is to think that the majority of the folks in the states don't even have a passport. What a better place it would be if more folks got out and about.

So, sorry for eating up all the real estate on your blog, but I'm all geared up after reading it, and will close with a few questions:

As for gear can you tell me what you took with you and didn't need? How about things you wish you had or will take next time, beside a saddle bag of money and time, that is. You had a laptop with you? Did it survive? I haven't seen a gerry can, so assume you had no trouble finding fuel. Finally was there a particular travel log or preparatory reading you started with, or did you just point it Southward?

Again, have really enjoyed the blog and have a safe trip North. I look forward to hearing more soon!

Greg
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Old 02-24-2013, 08:04 PM   #161
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I just read through your report while sitting in my hotel in Bogota waiting to ship my bike north. We met at the Colombia/Ecuador border and chatted for a while. I'm on the 950 Super Enduro. I thought about trying to start my report while on the trip but the internet connections have been spotty and I've been riding most of each day so I decided to write it up when I get home. Kudos to you for getting much of it done on the road. Great report.
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Old 02-26-2013, 05:52 PM   #162
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PM sent. Wim and his buddy Pete are awesome!!


Quote:
Originally Posted by gregsfrontporch View Post
Yo AK,
Am enjoying your post, and hope to follow the trip as soon as I can,. I also do a lot of solo trips, and like the way that you run across people and make friends. It really restores my faith in humanity.

I know the guy in your post #90 on new year's day Wilhem, he is from Canada and owns a hotel in Thailand. Do you have his contact info? You can PM me offline if you do. Talk about a small world. But then similar interests help bring it together.

Cheers,

Greg
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Old 02-26-2013, 06:12 PM   #163
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Work is a 4 letter word but a means to an end. I am damn lucky to be where I am in life at my age.

The blog is a battle but I know in the end it is for me and family so that keeps me going. I am just shy of a week behind now but I keep a journal to keep it all as real and accurate as possible. I am also not a real stickler about proof reading or punctuation as I am sure you have noticed. It is for me to remember the highlights and others to get some information. I am not writing a book here.

Thanks for following along and the positive words. I am already scheming my next adventure!

To ride or not; if a person doesnt go to AK in their life they are missing some of the most amazing nature to be seen in the world. It is a very special place!

I do have a mac book pro and it is holding up like a champ after 2 crashes. If money were no object I would get a mac book air. Once this hard drive takes a crap in mine pro I will be replacing with a solid state.

I do have a 3l Tourtech jerry can(mounted on non-exhuast passenger foot peg) which is enough to get me out of a jam but fuel has not been an issue. I am not sure yet what I would get rid of but something. I am like a girl with a eating disorder that looks in the mirror and always sees a fat person; every time I look at my bike I just see too much stuff. No matter how much stuff i get rid of I always see myself as a fat girl. From seeing others I am on the middle to light end but it is still too much!!! Smaller tank bag comes to mind. I hate my current one. Smaller back pack for day hikes.

Just point it south and make a list of places you don't want to miss. Planning in my opinion is a complete waste of time b/c the plan changes daily. You gotta be dynamic or you will miss more than you see!

Thanks again for following. No plan for from Florida yet. Maybe visit my sister in VA. Its all up to US Customs!!!

Quote:
Originally Posted by gregsfrontporch View Post
Hey,
I really enjoyed reading your blog. I guess it is not over, so I look forward to more, and a safe trip home and back to W#%@ (4-letter word). I admire your discipline to write the blog. I travel quite a bit myself. I generally start out with good intentions, and then well.... no one really knows what happens next because....

That is so cool, you are riding with a guy I know from Thailand, Whim. Last I saw Whim was about 4 years ago and he was taking a moto tour in Laos.

As for the melancholy return, think of it as a means to get you back to working on that checklist. When you get back home, you will enjoy it more than you think at the moment. I used to work out of Punta Arenas, Chile, and would see bikes arriving there often after finishing the Pan-AM. After reading your blog, I am doing it much sooner than later. I know you are heading north now, but for that same $850 you can turn around and finish it up next year. Peru is awesome! Patagonia too!

I remember after my first globe trot, I had a new 06 Triumph ST, and rode it from Brownsville, TX up through Yellowstone to the Montana Bear Tooth Hwy, and thinking "Damn, what a beautiful country we come from". You're going back to Alaska. I tell everyone I meet, AK should be up near the top of that list. Are you riding from Miami to AK? That would be too much. The Al-Can is on my list too!

Isn't it funny that the more places you see in the world, the more places you realize that you haven't seen. It seems that the world just gets bigger the more of I see. The sad thing is to think that the majority of the folks in the states don't even have a passport. What a better place it would be if more folks got out and about.

So, sorry for eating up all the real estate on your blog, but I'm all geared up after reading it, and will close with a few questions:

As for gear can you tell me what you took with you and didn't need? How about things you wish you had or will take next time, beside a saddle bag of money and time, that is. You had a laptop with you? Did it survive? I haven't seen a gerry can, so assume you had no trouble finding fuel. Finally was there a particular travel log or preparatory reading you started with, or did you just point it Southward?

Again, have really enjoyed the blog and have a safe trip North. I look forward to hearing more soon!

Greg
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Old 02-26-2013, 06:15 PM   #164
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See previous reply. And i will restate it is a battle at times but know in the end the real time will all be worth it and it wont get done otherwise.

Great talking to you at the border.

Who are you shipping with? An how much is you dont mind me asking? PM info or post here your call.

I will be PMing you in the future. Thinking about an SE in the future!!! The F800 is awesome but I like the hooligan attitude of the SE

Quote:
Originally Posted by jonz View Post
I just read through your report while sitting in my hotel in Bogota waiting to ship my bike north. We met at the Colombia/Ecuador border and chatted for a while. I'm on the 950 Super Enduro. I thought about trying to start my report while on the trip but the internet connections have been spotty and I've been riding most of each day so I decided to write it up when I get home. Kudos to you for getting much of it done on the road. Great report.
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Old 02-27-2013, 05:57 AM   #165
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AK

Great Stuff.

When are U heading to FLA?

Remember Daytona 200 is 3/16.

I know what you mean about adventures changing, but U have the correct perspective, just roll with it baby

Keep em on 2 wheels & Stay Safe

Rhino
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AVO - R.I.P. - "When you don't have goals, you can't fail" - Neil Fallon
"He said, Son, remember where U came From" - LOA
Until the colour of a man's skin - Is of no more significance than the colour of his eyes -Me say war RNM
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