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My review of Orient & Maho Beaches


mitsugirly
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St Maarten

 

We arrived at St Maarten as scheduled and decided (prior to the cruise) to do the island on our own to just the destinations we were interested in.

 

The taxi cab station was a short walk from the port where you sat down according to the “signs” they had on it as to where you wanted to go. Taxi’s where there waiting and pulling in and out with not much of a wait.

 

We decided to go to Orient Beach first. Our trip cost us $18 to get there. I have to say that the island was ok, but not like I had pictured it (like a piece of paradise). We were dropped off at Pedro’s place and decided to walk to the right toward the ‘nude” part of the beach. We only encountered a handful of nude sunbathers and a nude man walking along the beach. People were right about the “scenery” there…we didn’t encounter any “hot bodies” running around and the closest girl I seen with a decent body had a thong bathing suit on and a top on. Then you have the two 300+ pound ladies baring it all. It was interesting to say the least, but didn’t bother me one bit. We walked all the way to the end where it started to get rocky. The beach itself was ok, but not the paradise beach I had imagined.

 

We walked back down close to where we had came in and just a little further and decided we would put our stuff there. There really wasn’t a need to rent chairs because we had planned on staying in the water most of the time. We encountered a few small fish in the water, but there were no reefs anywhere, so not much to write home about. The beach was not crowded at all. There were some older ladies topless on this side as well walking around and laying in the beach chairs. So you will encounter nudity even in the non-nude areas.

 

There were 2 dogs running loose everywhere on the beach and my husband LOVES animals so he made friends quickly with them.

 

About 11am we decided to head over to Maho Beach to watch the planes come in. I knew this was going to be the highlight of my day and had long waited for this day to happen and witness the low flying planes first hand that I had watched so many times on YouTube.

 

We arrived at Maho to a fairly large crowd already plane watching. Just as we pulled up, we had just enough time to get out of the van and walk down to the beach (climbing over all the big rocks) and along came a really BIG plane. It was amazing! They started coming in one after another. Small planes and big planes arrived over and over.

 

Then when we finally got a break, we decided to walk over to Sunset and get a bite to eat and a drink. The food was good and the service was very good as well. Sunset had plenty of space to eat even though all tables seem to fill up quickly, people quickly ate and went back down to the beach for more plane spotting. I believe we spent a total of $28 plus tip on the food and 3 alcohol drinks. Sunset also has a garden hose hooked up on the deck that you were welcome to hose the sand off of you. It was a nice touch and very appreciated (along with inside bathrooms).

 

There were 2 young girls (probably in their 20’s) that were sunbathing and walking up and down the beach with their tops off. They were Paris Hilton imposters with the bleached out white short hair and a very small furry dog they were acting like it was their child. LOL So, you will see nudity there as well. Just not as much. I believe Sunset does offer a free drink for those that choose to go topless there (girls of course).

 

As for the beach…I had read by many that it really wasn’t much of a beach, so I didn’t have high expectations when I arrived, but I actually enjoyed it. It wasn’t as bad as I had pictured it to be. Yes, there wasn’t much beach area and there were a lot of rocks, but I still liked it for some reason. You don’t go far out into the water before it drops off and gets deep quickly. Maybe not the best place for small children or inexperienced swimmers (even though I seen a lot of small children there). There were some REALLY big waves coming in there. It was kind of rough and would knock you down at times. Sometimes it was hard to gain your footing from the waves and they did seem to go higher and higher hitting the huge rocks down below and working its way up. I can see where this beach would not be a good choice to swim for certain people.

 

After a little more time of plane watching and a little bit of swimming, we figured we should probably head back toward the ship so that we could spend a little bit of time shopping right there at the port. I believe it was probably around 2-2:30 when we walked back to Sunset to try to get a cab.

 

Along the way back, we decided instead of taking the beach and rocks way, we would walk the concrete divider instead (since we were already at the top of the rocks anyhow from watching the last plane come in). Since we were in port about a week or so after hurricane Earl had passed, there was A LOT of sand still on the roads. It made a narrow road to begin with even narrower. If someone was walking in the street, a car could not pass. We walked along the concrete about ½ way and I decided to look back to see if any cars were coming and jump down into the street and walk to make it easier. About the time I looked back, there was a gap in the concrete…YEP, down I went in between the gap. I completely scuffed up my entire left leg from my toes to my thigh…blood everywhere and stinging pretty bad. My right foot, 3rd toe must have taken a hit because it instantly swelled pretty big. My right hand came down because of instinct to break the fall and took the worse hit. (By the time I made it back to the port, you couldn’t even see 3 of my knuckles, it was swollen so bad it looked like it could pop any minute now, and my palm was completely bruised up). Then all I can say is thank goodness for eating SO MANY MEALS on the Epic prior to this island and gaining a little added cushion to the belly (LOL) I truly believe it saved my face from something that could have turned out worse than it did. My chin was the last thing to hit and stop on the concrete. Nothing like hearing in your head a bone in your face hitting hard concrete. YUCK. My husband came running over (he had been walking ahead of me and only caught the last half of my fall as I screamed and he witnessed me hitting my face). Thank goodness for his quick reaction of grabbing me because I was seeing stars at that point and I thought I would have passed out if he had not grabbed me in time and sat me down.

 

After sitting for awhile, I hopped over to the entrance of Sunset and ask a lady there with a walkie talkie to call us a cab. There were TONS of people waiting at that point. Everyone was anxious and dishing in line to get a taxi. It was a mad house. Taxi’s were pulling up and taking people back, I was standing in line. I didn’t feel good at all, bleeding, in pain, and still feeling like I was light headed. My husband went to the lady and told her “we need to get her back to the ship NOW, she is hurt and needs help”. About that time 3 older ladies came around everyone, with Carnival beach towels wrapped around them and got in front of everyone. When the next cab pulled up, they said they had room for 3 people, the lady with the walkie talkie came over to us and told us to get in. Of course I could barely walk, so it was taking me awhile to make it there. The 3 ladies jumped in front of me and on the taxi van. SERIOUSLY??? At that point I was really upset and pissed to be exact. I started yelling at them that I was hurt, how are they going to not only dish everyone in line, but jump in a cab that was offered to me and that I needed medical attention. Never ONCE did they turn around, acknowledge that I was talking, or said a word back. But I KNOW they heard me. People are just plain rude. So the lady said she would make absolutely sure that I got in the next cab. As soon as it pulled up, they put me in it first and told the driver he was to take me (even though another family had called for the taxi for them). The family didn’t say a word about it to me, just gave me “looks” for being in “their” taxi.

 

Traffic was TERRIBLE at this time. The cab driver said that it would be quicker if he took a different way back to the port by crossing over to the French side and going around. I do have to say the area that we passed going back looked a lot nicer than the way we had came getting there. It was smooth sailing all the way into town to drop the other family off and then we were in traffic again at the port.

 

The bad part is, I ask the driver how much it would cost us to get back to the port. He replied $7 pp. The family that we were in the cab with did not speak English (other than the son riding in the front seat who had to translate everything to the rest of the family). When they got out (a stop before us at the center of town for shopping), they started gathering their money and the cab driver told them “no, it was $154 for the cab ride. YIKES! (There was only 8 of them) They didn’t speak up or say one word but was trying to get enough money together to give to the driver. I was in shock that they had to pay that and thought it was crappy that he took advantage of them for not understanding.

 

We got back to the port finally and it took me awhile to get back on the ship, but I finally made it. WHEW! I’m still trying to heal, but watching the planes come in was definitely the highlight of the day for me. I had waited so long to see them and highly suggest Maho to anyone else that would be interested. Orient, I would probably pass on given the chance to ever go back there again.

 

I just thought I would share my experience and if anyone has any questions, I’ll try my best to answer them for you based on my experience.

 

 

Here are my pictures taken at Orient and Maho. Enjoy:

http://kimbakerphotography.smugmug.com/Vacation/4th-day-St-Maarten/13875330_oysuz#1017690191_vKgcw

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I'm on the Epic in two weeks and am interested in going to Maho Beach and watching the planes. I read that the best way to go was to catch a cab there and back, but after reading your last post I don't want to encounter any fare issues. Do you think this was just because of the language barrier? Can I expect to get there and back for about $15?

 

Thanks for your review! :)

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Kim -

Thanks for your trip report. Sorry to hear of your injuries and hope you healed without any problems. I've seen a few people take a tumble off the concrete wall there, it's easy to do.

L T

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I'm on the Epic in two weeks and am interested in going to Maho Beach and watching the planes. I read that the best way to go was to catch a cab there and back, but after reading your last post I don't want to encounter any fare issues. Do you think this was just because of the language barrier? Can I expect to get there and back for about $15?

 

Thanks for your review! :)

 

Yes, I do believe it was a language barrier. I can't say for sure that they were taken advantage of. I just got that impression by the way they acted and looks on their faces. They could have hired this company as their personal cab (which might have taken them there and been on call to come and get them when they were ready to return). I really don't know for sure. I'm just going off the vibe that I got. I hope it's not the case, but you never know.

 

From what I understand, the drivers are suppose to all charge the regulated rate. I wouldn't worry too much about it and being over charged. You can always ask them how much to get to ______ before you enter the cab to confirm. :)

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Just read your review and glad you enjoyed Maho. Orient Beach was nice and to say the least different in some ways but Maho was our favorite also. Sorry to hear about the accident and hope you were able to enjoy the rest of your trip. Nice pictures.

 

The Ump

John

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Now that is a thorough review. I agree 100% that the physical beauty of St. Thomas is hard to beat, with the exception of St. John. It is more mountainous and lush than St. Martin without question. Visiting in the day on a cruise however, and visiting for a week at a hotel would be two completely different things to me. I have passed up many opportunities to vacation at a timeshare in St. Thomas because I like to go out in the evening and I really would not feel safe to do that in St. Thomas like I do in St. Martin. This is not a new thing for me and dates back to the early 90's. I would love to vacation on St. John and do day trips to other nearby Virgin Islands though. I think that Orient is one of those beaches that changes alot depending on the weather and the beach conditions. I have seen it covered with seagrass to the point that the vendors can't keep up with it and the water is so rough that it doesn't make for a relaxing day at the beach. On the other hand, I have seen it look like a postcard of a Caribbean beach as well. I went to Sapphire beach in St. Thomas once as well and the snorkeling was great and we enjoyed our day very much, but to me Coki and Megan's are nicer beaches than Sapphire and St. Martin has beaches such as Mullet and Pinel that are nicer still, to me at least. Maho is a special place but honestly I could not imagine spending more than an hour/hour and a half there. The road is so close to the beach and to me the thrill is gone within an hour. Next time that you are in St.Martin give Mullet or Pinel a try. Mullet is the next beach past Maho so you could do Mullet in the morning and Maho in the afternoon. Heal Quick!

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Just read your review and glad you enjoyed Maho. Orient Beach was nice and to say the least different in some ways but Maho was our favorite also. Sorry to hear about the accident and hope you were able to enjoy the rest of your trip. Nice pictures.

 

The Ump

John

 

Thanks and I'm still healing and my hand is still very painful. However, I didn't let it get the best of me and I still enjoyed the rest of the trip. I'm not going to let that hold me back. I'm a trooper (just a trooper at a slower pace) :D :eek:

 

Now that is a thorough review. I agree 100% that the physical beauty of St. Thomas is hard to beat, with the exception of St. John. It is more mountainous and lush than St. Martin without question. Visiting in the day on a cruise however, and visiting for a week at a hotel would be two completely different things to me. I have passed up many opportunities to vacation at a timeshare in St. Thomas because I like to go out in the evening and I really would not feel safe to do that in St. Thomas like I do in St. Martin. This is not a new thing for me and dates back to the early 90's. I would love to vacation on St. John and do day trips to other nearby Virgin Islands though. I think that Orient is one of those beaches that changes alot depending on the weather and the beach conditions. I have seen it covered with seagrass to the point that the vendors can't keep up with it and the water is so rough that it doesn't make for a relaxing day at the beach. On the other hand, I have seen it look like a postcard of a Caribbean beach as well. I went to Sapphire beach in St. Thomas once as well and the snorkeling was great and we enjoyed our day very much, but to me Coki and Megan's are nicer beaches than Sapphire and St. Martin has beaches such as Mullet and Pinel that are nicer still, to me at least. Maho is a special place but honestly I could not imagine spending more than an hour/hour and a half there. The road is so close to the beach and to me the thrill is gone within an hour. Next time that you are in St.Martin give Mullet or Pinel a try. Mullet is the next beach past Maho so you could do Mullet in the morning and Maho in the afternoon. Heal Quick!

 

 

I completely agree with you about the safety on being on St Thomas at night. I've read a lot about it and if I was to go there, I definitely wouldn't venture out after dark. They say the people on the island even tell you not to go out after dark and it's very dangerous. That's the only thing I was worried about if I was to stay there.

 

It was my first time to the island and I would love to see more of it (the reason I'd like to go and stay for a week). I know there has to be so many beautiful beaches there. I would still like to see Megans (especially since they are rated one of the top 10 beaches in the world). But I knew there wasn't good snorkeling there, so we decided to stay at Sapphire.

 

We stayed a couple of hours watching the planes. That was long enough for us. If I go back there, I will probably only go to Maho if we have our children with us so that they can experience the planes. Otherwise, I'll pick somewhere else to go.

 

Thanks for the advice on Mullet and Pinel. I guess I'm just going to have to start doing more traveling :D (no complaints here)

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I completely agree with you about the safety on being on St Thomas at night. I've read a lot about it and if I was to go there, I definitely wouldn't venture out after dark. They say the people on the island even tell you not to go out after dark and it's very dangerous. That's the only thing I was worried about if I was to stay there.

 

It was my first time to the island and I would love to see more of it (the reason I'd like to go and stay for a week). I know there has to be so many beautiful beaches there. I would still like to see Megans (especially since they are rated one of the top 10 beaches in the world). But I knew there wasn't good snorkeling there, so we decided to stay at Sapphire.

 

We stayed a couple of hours watching the planes. That was long enough for us. If I go back there, I will probably only go to Maho if we have our children with us so that they can experience the planes. Otherwise, I'll pick somewhere else to go.

 

Thanks for the advice on Mullet and Pinel. I guess I'm just going to have to start doing more traveling :D (no complaints here)

 

More traveling sounds good to me too! :D

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Now that is a thorough review. I agree 100% that the physical beauty of St. Thomas is hard to beat, with the exception of St. John. It is more mountainous and lush than St. Martin without question. Visiting in the day on a cruise however, and visiting for a week at a hotel would be two completely different things to me. I have passed up many opportunities to vacation at a timeshare in St. Thomas because I like to go out in the evening and I really would not feel safe to do that in St. Thomas like I do in St. Martin. This is not a new thing for me and dates back to the early 90's. I would love to vacation on St. John and do day trips to other nearby Virgin Islands though. I think that Orient is one of those beaches that changes alot depending on the weather and the beach conditions. I have seen it covered with seagrass to the point that the vendors can't keep up with it and the water is so rough that it doesn't make for a relaxing day at the beach. On the other hand, I have seen it look like a postcard of a Caribbean beach as well. I went to Sapphire beach in St. Thomas once as well and the snorkeling was great and we enjoyed our day very much, but to me Coki and Megan's are nicer beaches than Sapphire and St. Martin has beaches such as Mullet and Pinel that are nicer still, to me at least. Maho is a special place but honestly I could not imagine spending more than an hour/hour and a half there. The road is so close to the beach and to me the thrill is gone within an hour. Next time that you are in St.Martin give Mullet or Pinel a try. Mullet is the next beach past Maho so you could do Mullet in the morning and Maho in the afternoon. Heal Quick!

 

Sorry to all those that I have confused yet again.:o I had read Kim's thorough reviews of her St. Thomas and St. Martin days and based my reply on that information in case anyone is wondering.

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Hi,

 

What a fantastic and interesting review, I loved the photo's and glad to hear your feeling better and your accident did not spoil your vacation.

 

I am going on a cruise to St Maarten in March, I know we are the only Ship in port that day so it should make the traffic congestion easier but my question is if you had left Maho at 2pm instead of 2.30pm if that would have been easier getting a taxi and if you think the trip was worth it?

 

How many Ships was in port on the day you arrived and how many passengers do you think was their in total?

 

Thanks for your great review!

Regards

Lynn

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Maho Beach looks like fun. We are going to go to Orient Beach, too. How much time should we expect the taxi will take to get back to the ship? Also, please tell me what the 9/11 symbol means, if you are comfortable sharing that.

 

9/11 is the date that we went on the cruise (9/11/10). So all of us on here that were going on the cruise and did the meet & greet group called ourselves the 9/11 group. (There were over 100 of us on here and the fb group). :)

 

Hi,

 

What a fantastic and interesting review, I loved the photo's and glad to hear your feeling better and your accident did not spoil your vacation.

 

I am going on a cruise to St Maarten in March, I know we are the only Ship in port that day so it should make the traffic congestion easier but my question is if you had left Maho at 2pm instead of 2.30pm if that would have been easier getting a taxi and if you think the trip was worth it?

 

How many Ships was in port on the day you arrived and how many passengers do you think was their in total?

 

Thanks for your great review!

Regards

Lynn

 

I'm not sure if it would have made too much of a difference getting up there 1/2 hour earlier. There was quite a crowd there during those hours. However, we had PLENTY of time to not only get back toward the port, but also time for some shopping (I sat down at the Taxi station and the hubby ran around shopping within distance for me to see). Then I finally got up and wobbled over to a few different stands to buy some things and then the LONG haul back to the ship (for me since I couldn't walk fast) and we got on the ship earlier than needed.

 

We did not know, until we returned to the dock, that there were other ships that were there with us...especially the OASIS! They announced that this was the first time in history (since Epic was released) that the 3 biggest cruise ships had been there all on the same day...Oasis, Epic and Dream. Oasis was only there that day because they had changed their itinerary due to the Hurricane. So the Oasis also followed us to St Thomas as well (where we ended up having 4 cruise ships there with us there that day).

 

I also read on someone another post that there is a lot of construction in the airport area right now, which takes it longer to get around. I didn't see any construction, but then again, we went a different way around to avoid all the traffic, so we might have missed it.

 

I definitely think it was worth it. It's a must see (at least for a few hours). I don't think you'll have a problem, especially if you are the only ship there that day.

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9/11 is the date that we went on the cruise (9/11/10). So all of us on here that were going on the cruise and did the meet & greet group called ourselves the 9/11 group. (There were over 100 of us on here and the fb group). :)

 

 

 

I'm not sure if it would have made too much of a difference getting up there 1/2 hour earlier. There was quite a crowd there during those hours. However, we had PLENTY of time to not only get back toward the port, but also time for some shopping (I sat down at the Taxi station and the hubby ran around shopping within distance for me to see). Then I finally got up and wobbled over to a few different stands to buy some things and then the LONG haul back to the ship (for me since I couldn't walk fast) and we got on the ship earlier than needed.

 

We did not know, until we returned to the dock, that there were other ships that were there with us...especially the OASIS! They announced that this was the first time in history (since Epic was released) that the 3 biggest cruise ships had been there all on the same day...Oasis, Epic and Dream. Oasis was only there that day because they had changed their itinerary due to the Hurricane. So the Oasis also followed us to St Thomas as well (where we ended up having 4 cruise ships there with us there that day).

 

I also read on someone another post that there is a lot of construction in the airport area right now, which takes it longer to get around. I didn't see any construction, but then again, we went a different way around to avoid all the traffic, so we might have missed it.

 

I definitely think it was worth it. It's a must see (at least for a few hours). I don't think you'll have a problem, especially if you are the only ship there that day.

 

Thank you :)

Lynn

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Hi,

 

What a fantastic and interesting review, I loved the photo's and glad to hear your feeling better and your accident did not spoil your vacation.

 

I am going on a cruise to St Maarten in March, I know we are the only Ship in port that day so it should make the traffic congestion easier but my question is if you had left Maho at 2pm instead of 2.30pm if that would have been easier getting a taxi and if you think the trip was worth it?

 

How many Ships was in port on the day you arrived and how many passengers do you think was their in total?

 

 

 

Just a heads up. If you are going to be on the island in March during the Heinekin Regatta even if there is only one ship in port the traffic will still be busy and there might even be more bridge opening times as there will be lots of boat traffic as well. Also on Saturdays and Sundays in high season like March there are lots of people arriving by plane and many are going to timeshares in the Simpson Bay area so don't just base your time management on how many ships are going to be in port.

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I enjoyed hearing about your experience and pictures. How much was the taxi from Orient beach and how long did it take to get to Maho? I guess how long did each of the rides take? Sorry about your fall. I had a fall in Stockholm this summer. It is such a helpless feeling. Marlyne

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Hi,

 

What a fantastic and interesting review, I loved the photo's and glad to hear your feeling better and your accident did not spoil your vacation.

 

I am going on a cruise to St Maarten in March, I know we are the only Ship in port that day so it should make the traffic congestion easier but my question is if you had left Maho at 2pm instead of 2.30pm if that would have been easier getting a taxi and if you think the trip was worth it?

 

How many Ships was in port on the day you arrived and how many passengers do you think was their in total?

 

 

 

Just a heads up. If you are going to be on the island in March during the Heinekin Regatta even if there is only one ship in port the traffic will still be busy and there might even be more bridge opening times as there will be lots of boat traffic as well. Also on Saturdays and Sundays in high season like March there are lots of people arriving by plane and many are going to timeshares in the Simpson Bay area so don't just base your time management on how many ships are going to be in port.

 

Thank you so much for this information, I checked it out and the Heinekin Regatta is 3rd-6th March 2011. we are in port on a Monday.

 

I love this forum for all the help we get :)

 

Regards

Lynn

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Well, the swelling has gone down in my hand after the fall at Maho, however, it's still very painful. So I decided to have it checked out today...yep, it's broke. :( Bad thing is I'm right handed and it's my right hand. Typing and writing for work and school is not going to go well. :mad:

 

 

IMG_2395.jpg

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Well, the swelling has gone down in my hand after the fall at Maho, however, it's still very painful. So I decided to have it checked out today...yep, it's broke. :( Bad thing is I'm right handed and it's my right hand. Typing and writing for work and school is not going to go well. :mad:

 

 

IMG_2395.jpg

 

OUCH:eek: That was quite a story, I hope you recover fast. I felt your pain as you fell. You are truly a trooper:D God Bless.

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I know you have researched for the Bernard tour. Why you decided not to go with the tour? I am just curious...

 

How much is the total taxi fare for the whole day?

 

Thanks so much.

 

We didn't go with Bernard because he "toured" the island and that's not really something we were interested in. We just wanted to go to the 2 beaches and that was it. In order to have him just do that, we would have to book a private tour with him which is about300-400. Plus he only stopped at Maho for 45 min and i wanted to stay longer than that.

 

Cost ere port to orient-18 for both orient to maho-30 for both and maho to port 14 for both

 

OUCH:eek: That was quite a story, I hope you recover fast. I felt your pain as you fell. You are truly a trooper:D God Bless.

 

 

 

Thanks. If only everything else would heal as well...I also ended up with a pinched nerve in the other arm-causing 2 fingers to be numb and what I believe to be a hairline fracture on my ankle) BLAH

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