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  • Day2

    So today was all about having a rest. Breakfast was outside mostly, which I don't think was an option back in March, but it was just as lovely and I bet the gardens were even more beautiful a couple of months ago if the amount of now faded bourganvillea flowers are anything to go by. We also found the hotel shop and bought a Telegraph, a book and a fridge magnet. Ted moaned about the price of the paper (especially as it was yesterday's!) but proceeded to read it from cover to cover! 😏
    We took up our position by the pool where we stayed, apart from a short lunch break, for most of the day. Two swims each in the pool when the sun burnt through the clouds and some 💤!
    We saw the Gatwick crew arrive just after 1 pm, looking tired and dishevelled after their early flight and felt very pleased with ourselves for being there another night and being fully rested today. Checked in with Irene the Tour Manager and Aziz the local guide and reminisced about the March misadventure! Longer chat with Irene later, which was very entertaining, about previous disasters she has encountered as a tour manager in various countries and I can only say when Legionnaires' Disease and Death were mentioned that I got off lightly with the broken fibula 6 months' ago!
    Met the group with the communal evening meal at 8pm-well, 3 other couples of the group anyway. Better meal than in March as there were 3 choices for every course. On to Day 3 .......
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  • Day1

    Well .... here we are six months later. Following our aborted March trip (broken fibula on the first day, no less!) we are making another attempt at a Great Railway Journey to the Imperial Cities of Morocco. At present, Ted and I are sitting in Terminal 1awaiting the 17.35 to Marrakesh. Following a tagine (Ted) and an indifferent Caesar salad (Hazel) the world looks rosy after a large glass of vino! In no time at all, well three and a half hours, we were once more en route to The Hotel Es Saadi via the very smart arrivals hall of the Menara Airport. Once more we entered the security gate of the hotel, once more it buzzed madly at us and the bags and once more the guard smilingly ushered us in saying it didn't matter- good job I left the bomb at home then! 😂Read more

  • Day3

    To say I was bothered about the snakes would be an understatement! !!🐍🐍🐍🐍🐍🐍🐍
    However, as Irene the Tour Manager, has a similar aversion, I stuck close to her and only saw what could have been one of the little blighters from a distance whilst more robust members of the group paid good money to put them round their necks! How could they?! However, the sights, sounds and smells of the main square were fantastically Moorish, inviting, romantic and thrilling otherwise with story tellers, street hawkers, actors, Mendi painters and countless other people gathering as dusk settled. The typical Moroccan restaurant served up typically Moroccan food (with alcohol!) and both the "musician" and the belly dancer took a fancy to Ted! Back to the hotel with alarms set for an early start to Casablanca!Read more

  • Day4

    An early start! Cases outside the door by 7.15, breakfast, then off to the station to catch the 8.20 to Casablanca. Fabulous station building remembered from the Michael Portillo programme. Old fashioned train in compartments for 6 and into Casablanca by just after 12.30pm. Landscape on the way barren but punctuated by irrigated areas of greenery. The 3 major industries are Tourism, Agriculture and Phosphate exportation in that order. Unable to see the mounds of white phosphate as they were obscured by mist but a lot of it is on the way to Casablanca.
    Casablanca is a very modern and smart city with 5 million people. King of Saudi Arabia has his holiday home there and there are lots of very prosperous residences with swimming pools in the way to The Corniche-the promenade really-where we had our lunch at a hotel. Various types of fried fish for all with salad and fruit. We had stopped at the "heart" of the city (Mohammed V Square) with its fantastic fountains, for photos but after lunch went to visit the iconic Hassan II Mosque which is absolutely huge, built over the sea and occupies 9 hectares. We had a comprehensive tour and talk of the mosque and ablutions! Rick's cafe ( not the original!) scene if the film Casablanca was photographed from the bus then it was on to Rabat for a two night stay.
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  • Day169

    We woke up at 2am and got in our taxi at 2:30am 😒
    Our driver was an absolute freakin loon. Whenever we have a pre agreed price the driver just tries to get us there as quickly as possible. Today's driver got up to 110 MILES per hour. That is about 175kmph
    Like, what a psycho . Lucky the roads were empty.
    Either way we made it in one piece.
    We paid our 64 pound... and off he sped. The airport was 42 kilometers away from our hotel and we got there in like 20/25 mins when it should have taken 40.

    We had longer to wait because we were so early. The check in counters didn't open until about 3.40am. So many people were sleeping on the floor.
    Checked in no issues.
    Will had to do the big body X-ray thing thing.
    I was having a chuckle at the Muslim lady in front of me.
    She took her shoes off and had the blue plastic shoe covering things ready to go.
    She then got chosen to do the extra security checks.
    Obviously Not her first rodeo.
    How many times do you get picked before you just start always bringing temporary shoes to get through security with 😂😂😂😂😂

    I am really tired.

    We had hungry jacks because lots of things were closed. Didn't want to eat it so I didn't have much. Just enough to keep the hungry sick feeling away.

    We went to or gate and boarded.

    We were 'priority' again so we got to board first. Don't know why we keep having priority tickets - No complaints though.
    We waited next to this chatty weird woman who has never caught a plane before - she didn't know how to find seat and took like 50 photos of the plane.
    We were so pleased we weren't seated next to her.

    I got a nosebleed as people were boarding and of course didn't have tissues so I had to shove a tampon up my nose which was awkward as crap being surrounded my many Moroccan men.
    I eventually got help.

    We both think we slept a little bit on the plane but am so so so happy we woke up just in time for the drama... 🤗

    I heard this thump sound and turn around to see some bloke punching another guy screaming at him. People stood between them while the guy kept SCREAMING


    He was going ballistic and trying to keep punching him.

    The other guy was like a sloth and took so many hits to the face.

    Ok so backstory is the guy that bit him and got punched bought vodka in duty free and drank half the bottle. The bottle has already been confiscated by this point and Will had overheard the worker say she was going to report him because he had been swearing at her and was off his face.

    So yeah, he then bit someone's ear and the guy gave him what he had coming.

    The dude who got bit was all hyped on adrenaline and causing such a scene that the captain was very close to doing an emergency stop in Portugal. He was warning everyone to sit down. The whole plane was so frustrated that the scene was going on for so long

    It was a bit like yes, I know he bit you but you are the one that is going to cause 200 people problems if we have to land this plane because you are losing your mind.
    People had to make a barrier between them to escort the drunk guy up the front to sit away from him. He looked so dazed.

    The captain was full dead set serious though. I thought we were gonna do an emergency landing.

    So many people were trying to keep the peace.
    It was intense but so juicy all the same.

    When we finally arrived in Morocco we didn't go straight to the terminal port thing - instead the plane stayed in the middle out in the open. We stayed there for 10 minutes and everyone was so annoying trying to get their bags. The captain told everyone several times to sit down and put their belt back on.

    I don't understand how the hell people hadn't cottoned on to what was happening. They were waiting for the Police.
    The 2 men got escorted off and we were then allowed to leave.

    It took ages to get through customs. Will was surprised by the Moroccans appearance. He was expecting black. I was not, they looked exactly how I though - Arab.
    We found out driver and he drove us to our hostel. Lucky I pre organized cause no chance would have we been able to find it. It's up a few back alleys.

    First impressions of hostel are great.
    They gave us breakfast which was fan-freaking-tastic!
    Best breakfast in ages!!
    I think we get it everyday so pretty stoked about that.

    I got given my first bottom bunk - or rather I had the opportunity to chose it yayayay
    We both got a bottom :D

    We dumped our stuff and went for a walk to the markets.
    Hooly dooly! you could get lost for days in there!
    Shop after shop after shop of silks, ceramic plates, clothes, lights, statues, jewelry, gold everything, wools, spices, nuts and more!

    Everyone is so damn nice!
    We ended up in some carpet place that also had like Arabian guns and swords and the carpets are wonderful - very reasonably priced but still too much for us.
    We then ended up in a food section and a nice man asked us where we were from - we said Australia and he said "ahh kangaroo" he then sent us in the right direction. We had the exact same convo 10 seconds later about the damn kangaroos. People always sound so proud that they know about kangaroos.

    Anyway, the second dude then took it upon himself to become our tour guide lol.

    He took us first too a wool weaving dude and then another man took us into his shop to show us his lume*.
    Our "guide" had waited for us and then took us to a silk section and handed us over to another man. He showed us all the natural dyes they use to stain the scarfs.
    He showed us his dad staining the wool and silk.
    He then dressed us in headscarfs and took our photo.
    He wanted us to buy but we awkwardly said no which he didn't like but oh well.

    On went our tour 😂

    He took us to a spice shop.
    The dude in there knew that as Australians we couldn't buy his stuff so considering there wasn't even a possibility of a sale he was extra lovely.
    We smelt 3 spices unique to morocco and others that he said are used elsewhere.
    He rubbed musk soap stuff on us for us to smell and explained that you can't wear perfume in a mosque because it has alcohol in it so they use this for smell instead.
    He talked about Moroccan oil which he put on my arm. He said it shouldn't be in the sun so the people outside selling it have a crappy product and that it should always be yellow and not orange.

    Because he was great and so informative ( and because I wanted one.. ) I took advantage of the cheap massage option also advertised in his shop.
    It cost 2 euro. Winning.
    I had to take my shirt off though (because he needed to reach my shoulders for the oil) which was very risqué considering my location but Will stayed in the room with me and he put up a curtain.
    Bra stayed on just for clarification. Lol
    I sat on a chair and he rubbed my shoulders.
    Mum would have loved it, he showed me no mercy! So painful but so good lol!

    We went outside and our guide was missing so we quickly walked off because our next and final shop was going to be his families shop and even though he promised we didn't have to buy like 5 times, once there he might had been less chill.
    Still, if he had been waiting I would have been happy to follow. He was really nice and said he just wanted to speak with us because his brother is studying in London and he likes to talk in English.
    It was a good free guide and I actually learnt a lot because of it.
    We then saw sunlight for the first time in an hour and followed it out into a market square - we found a cage with tortoises in it and then another with a Chameleon which, when the store owner saw me looking he got out and handed it to me.
    It has a strong grip! So cute! It's eyes are crazy!
    This guys shop was also spices and showed me similar stuff but also some like pure eucalyptus oil that after one sniff cleared the sinuses!!
    We walked on and finally found the correct exit.

    In the open area section - which is huge btw - were some monkeys on leads and snake charmers.
    I'm trying to settle my feelings about the monkeys because they didn't appear mistreated or stressed.
    I didn't like people posing for photos.
    Some dick wanted to give me a henna tattoo I said no but he went to try anyway and squirted the ink all over my hand which has stained and basically looks like I have shat myself. I wiped it off on his coat though 😎

    We had a drink in a resturant where people kept approaching us to sell us things.

    There is a big orange juice market here.

    We went home and had a five hour "nap" hahahahaha

    We went out for dinner to a place just up the street which was great, walked around a bit but the went back to chill at the Hostel.

    We ended up having a terrific night!
    We made friends with everyone at the hostel because it's sort of set up so you have to talk.
    The 2 men workers we have met are really friendly and made us all mint tea which I had so much of I got the shakes hahah
    I'll be peeing all night - toilet not on our floor though so thats a pain.

    Our group of 10 included 3 Germans, 1 English speaking Canadian and 2 French speaking ones and the 2 workers who came and went.
    We talked about the differences in countries and just about everything really.
    I really enjoyed myself.

    In bed now and shockingly, I need to pee.

    Hey, look at that! A proper diary entry. Woo.
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  • Day170

    Slept what felt like an age but it was still only 9:30 when I woke up which meant breakfast was still on woo.
    Same as yesterday and sooo good.
    We then went walking to find a mosque and garden.
    The city was so busy. People busling everywhere. I love the tradition dress.
    The city/buildings are all neutral colours of browns and reds.
    We walked to where the mosque should have been except it wasn't 🤔 a job for another day - we headed to the gardens. It's called Jardin Majorelle. It took some dude 40 years to create the garden.
    It wasn't worth the hype. While it is lovely it's not impressive.
    Lots of cactus plants - apparently there is like 300 specie of plants but there was no really variety in appearance which made it dull.
    It was pretty busy too. We had to wait 15+ minutes in line to buy our ticket.
    There was an attached museum but we skipped it because it was all in French.
    They speak 3 languages here- Berber, Arabic and French. A very surprisingly large amount also speak English well enough to hold a conversation.

    I don't like the state of their horses, a lot of them you can see their ribs. The donkeys look so sad too 😔

    They sell why j think is cactus to eat on the side of the road which I must try before we leave.

    We walked back from the garden through the market maze again - it was suppose to only be 1km away but I think our route was well over 3 - got money out then found a place to eat just around the corner from our hostel.

    One of the guys on the street tried to sell us something and I almost considered it due to his excellent catch phrase - "it's almost free"

    We hung around the hostel a bit, showered and booked 2 excursions for later in the week.

    We went out to eat at cheap place. I got to feed some cats :) :) :) :) :)

    We are so itchy from suspected bed bug bites.

    We played cards upstairs but retired to bed shortly after because we have to get up early tomorrow for our day trip.

    I felt a little sick in bed :(
    I need to drink more water - maybe a little constipated.

    We Emailed the insurance company because the laptop would FINALLY connect woo.
    There were new Aussies in our room. Everyone is always from bloody Melbourne but.

    While Morocco is cheap it's not as cheap as it could be.

    Africans can't drive either.
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  • Day171

    So we both have Bed bugs bites everywherreeeeeee. Between the two of us I'd say over 70.

    We got up at 7, got ready - this included some dude walking in on me on the toilet because I didn't lock it properly. Oh well shit happens... it was just awkward sitting near each other eating breakfast.😅
    We got picked up at 8 by a taxi dude who drove us the the real pick up point. It took 3 different attempts on different buses to get on our way but we got there!
    It was about a 2.5hr drive.
    God I love Africa.
    It's real and raw.

    Sand, trees, little groups of dilapidated buildings, workers, herders, donkeys tied up to trees and space. So much space.

    We had a toilet stop and we bought some snacks just in case there was no lunch option.

    We kept driving, arrived and were passed on to our guide.
    He was great! He explained everything in English then Spanish (maybe Italian) then French.

    Probably should have mentioned earlier... today's excursion was to Ouzoud falls.

    So we started at the top of a waterfall - took pictures then began the walk down the hill to the bottom.
    He explained a bit of Moroccan fun facts on the way the only ones I really remember is Morocco is 75% Berber 25% Arabic people.

    We reached the bottom of the waterfall and we had a little while there so people could go for a swim. We didn't because we didn't want to be wet in the bus.
    It's really pretty.

    We then walked on and came to the big water fall.
    It's the 2nd biggest in Africa coming in behind Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe/Zambia.

    It was so nice.
    We would he enjoyed it more IF WE WERE NOT DYING FROM OUR BITES AND WANTING TO RIP OUR SKIN OFF. We still liked it we were both just fed up and cranky about being so uncomfortable.

    Only 2 other people on our tour were English speakers but this nice Italian or Spanish person offered to take our photo and Will got in it YAYAYAY

    We then paid 2€ each to jump in a boat thing that takes you across the pond and the bottom to get closer to the falls. We got a little wet but it felt nice because it was really quite hot.

    We then had 1.5hrs to have lunch in a place opposite the water wall. Lovely.

    They didn't have a menu so we had no idea on prices. It was way overpriced considering but it was the only option so I bet they make a killing.
    We kept walking on to a view including a nice rainbow and then further up.
    Lots of little stores on the way and donkeys carrying stuff - we made it to the monkey section.

    I was going to get a photo with one but then Will reminded me that if it scratches me I'll be in trouble so i decided against it..... that was until I was just standing there and one just walked up behind me and sat on my shoulders 😍😍😍😍😍🙊
    He was given food by a dude there and then I got some to feed him too.
    Let's just hope I don't die from an infection lol.

    Walk walk walk - back to the bus. We had to pay our guide 3€ which is more than fair but Will was cross because he must not have heard the hostel tell us yesterday we only pay for transportation through them.
    he knows 3€ is nothing but doesn't like that he didn't know. about it. I told him he needs to listen!! Lol
    The drive home was soooo hot.

    Arrived back and got dropped off not where we started from - bless google maps.

    We went back to the hostel via a chemist where we picked up some cream for our bites - we told the hostel and we changed rooms.
    Feeling better about going to bed tonight now.

    We had showers, applied the cream and made friends with 2 girls in our rooms.
    We went out to dinner with them - Vivian and Vicky.
    Vivian is from Melbourne and Vicky is from Austria - she is a social worker in a prison - how cool!!!

    The medina was more crowded today.
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  • Day3

    Memories of 6 months' ago were fresh in our minds this morning as we retraced our steps with Aziz to the Medina. I took a photo of the offending man-hole cover and felt the ghost had been laid as we traversed into the Bahia Palace. Plenty of history plus present day facts from Aziz plus dodging the attentions of the souvenir sellers, especially the one with the most life-like wriggling wooden 🐍 - horrible! The morning tour finished with a visit to the Apothecary with an interesting talk and chance to buy the various wares which, of course, everyone did. The chance to anoint my gammy worn out hip with a magic elixir was just too tempting although no-one came forward to purchase the Moroccan version of Viagra we noticed!!Read more

  • Day172

    I didn't think I got any new bites last night. If I did then only one or two.
    Will has a few more on his back but still nothing compared to our other bed.
    This morning was wasted because we spent the whole time trying to get what the insurance company needs.
    I finally figured out why I can never find Bronwyn's emails - it's because she doesn't label them as assumed titles such as " certificate of insurance"
    We only left the hostel at 12 (up since 10:15)
    We walked past the big famous mosque - Koutoubia Mosque. We couldn't go in because we are not Muslim. It's built up to be the most impressive mosque... yes its old as crap but it's not impressive - definitely not after you have seen the outrageous Abu Dhabi one.
    We walked along the main highway which was actually really nice - quite pretty. We saw a man screaming at his wife with the rest of his family just standing there. The wife looked so unfazed by it. I just wanted to smack the man. That's the treatment outside the hose i don't like what I imagine inside might be..
    The further we walked the richer the area got.

    We ate at mcdonalds...
    Their traffic lights are more efficient than the U.K.
    We walked back to the hostel

    I crashed on the couch. My oh my it's so comfortable!
    We spent a few hours chatting with the Germans we met the other night - Rosa, Louisa and Axel. They are lovely. Rosa has given me a list of stuff to see in Germany. I felt bad for them - they were going home because Louisa was sick :( she didn't seem sick but probably a personal issues. She did get be us some insect repellent though woo!
    They have also said to message them when in Germany - Rosa is the only one with fb though (strange considering they are all 20's)
    Louisa said she will take us skiing.
    Axel wanted to exchange numbers... I have not been asked for my number in years. Like, I don't even have all my closest friends numbers.
    I would have if we had working phones....

    We went to dinner up the road with Vivienne . Will went back to drink at the hostel because he had preplanned it with Moha (main worker dude) I went with Vivienne to the ATM.
    It's Islamic new year so the square was CHOCKERS!
    Is it terrible I felt safe because they don't blow there own people up ... 🤔🙄?
    The stupid shit they had going on - it ranged from putt putt golf to dancing to falcons.

    Still need to try a street cactus.

    We stayed upstairs chatting for ages before bed.

    I am genuinely HORRIFIED by the lack of sex education Moha received. Not that I'm surprised but more that he told 3 separate sex jokes that a person in year 4 could have understood.

    One was something about how do you tell if something is a boy or girl? You shake it and you will hear its balls rattle.........
    another was people put a condom on and were like oh shit I need to pee... he had to explain the joke to us - it was suppose to be funny because the people having sex didn't know they didn't have to pee in the condom.

    I was sitting there like omg.

    The girl next to me - Vicki (Austrian) was in hysterics with me
    She just leans over and goes
    I guess it's a better story in Berber?
    Laughed so loudly.
    He genuinely thought these stories were funny.

    Vicki is the one that works in a prison.
    I know it's a long leap from me but still a cool story -
    Austria had a really really famous serial killer - he got released because he wrote books and everyone was like he has changed ... he killed more, got put back in prison then hung himself.
    Her boss or friend was the person that cut him down off the roof.

    I ate a lot of Vicki's street nuts - so yum!

    If we go to Graz in Austria she said she had a free couch :)

    A lot of the streets are lined with red and white stripes which make the roads look like a giant go kart track.
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  • Day173

    6am start. The hostel was pitch black. We were told we could have an early breakfast but as Abdo (other worker) was asleep on the couch that seemed unlikely lol.
    Vivienne was coming on the excursion with us so she gave us a banana which I was thankful for so my tummy wasn't empty.

    Got picked up at 7:20 (they were late) then got in a big spacious bus - I was so happy until we got kicked out and put on the most ridiculous vehicle.
    I am not a tall person and there was not enough space for my knees to make a right angle. I spent 4 hours in total discomfort because the dude next to me was overweight and then had not leg room so he had to open his legs up meaning my spine was twisted the while journey with half my body off the seat dangling in the aisle.
    Whatever we made it - we had 2 photo ops on the journey too where I got out and complained to my hearts content.

    So yeah first stop was Ait Ben Haddou. It's a fortified village along the former caravan route between the Sahara and Marrakech.
    It was really really cool.
    Our guide was terrible at English so I didn't pick up on much info other than a lot of movies have been filmed there and they are so so so proud of it.
    Some include Gladiator, the mummy, Lawrence of Arabia, Indiana Jones and Game of Thrones - the list is quite long though!
    We walked up the village to reach the top and look out at the hectic view - one house had a pool and it looked sooo good. It was about 38 degrees I think today but no shade available so it was a scorcher.
    We saw lots of donkeys working hard.
    I wish I could say more about it but I didn't learn much. Even my google research isn't very helpful.
    Cool to look at though.

    We next went to Ouarzazate which was totally unnecessary. It's like the film studio part I think and about 20 mins away from stop 1.
    We stopped in for lunch and it cost us 30€!!!! 😱😱😱 what a joke! We were so cross and I wasn't quiet about it. Our entire group was like what the hell.
    We didn't even eat anything really.
    There was a cat who came and sat with me though so that was great.

    I'm not as itchy today but Will is still struggling because he developed blister ones. Having self control issues over not popping them haha

    We went walking to the medina except it was empty so i don't understand.
    I can't accurately say anything about this part of the trip other than we went to a rug store and saw the chiefs house only I don't think he lives there???
    I really don't know... lol

    I couldn't stand sitting in the same spot for the 4.5 hours back without having a major tantrum so I asked if I could swap with the dude next to me's wife. She agreed 😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭 yay window seat - I had somewhere to put my legs and it was great.
    I liked looking out the window until I couldn't take anymore and crashed for a bit.
    Such a longhgggh ride and day.
    Not worth it to be honest. The first place was nice but not worth the pain ! Lol

    We had dinner and now are relaxing in bed.
    Only one more night in flea beds 🤗
    Read more

You might also know this place by the following names:

Kingdom of Morocco, Marokko, Morocco, Moroko, ሞሮኮ, Marruecos, المغرب, Morokko, Марока, Мароко, Marɔku, মরোক্কো, མོ་རོ་ཀྐོ།, Maroko, Marroc, Moroco, މައުރިބު, Moroko nutome, Μαρόκο, مراکو, Maruk, Maroc, Maracó, Maroco, Marrocos, મોરોક્કો, Yn Varoc, מרוקו, मोरक्को, Marokkó, Մարոկո, Marocco, モロッコ王国, მაროკო, Marocko, ម៉ារ៉ុក, ಮೊರಾಕ್ಕೊ, 모로코, मोराको, مەغریب, Marokk, Marocum, Marokɛ, ໂມລັອກໂຄ, Marokas, Maroke, Maroka, Marôka, മൊറോക്കൊ, मोरोक्को, Maghribi, မော်ရိုကို, Morokho, Marròc, ମୋରୋକ୍କୋ, Maròch, مراکش, Марокко, Maroccu, Marôko, මොරොක්කෝව, Marooko, மொராக்கோ, మొరాక్కో, Марокаш, ประเทศโมร็อกโก, Maruekos, Molako, Fas, ماراكەش, Мороко, مراقش, Ma-rốc (Morocco), Marokän, Marok, Orílẹ́ède Moroko, 摩洛哥, i-Morocco

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