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READY-TO-GO - LIVE  REPORTS FROM CRYSTAL SERENITY FOLLOWING A “MAGICAL FAMILY” GETAWAY


Keith1010
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WELCOME TO SYDNEY

 

Enjoyed our final sea day  on Serenity yesterday.   We sure benefited from the course Serenity took to avoid the convergence of storms over the Tasman Sea on the route we were originally scheduled to take.  Overall, smooth seas yesterday and wonderful weather.  

 

Today is our last full day on Serenity.

 

We have spoken to several friends  who have elected to remain on board for the rest of the World Cruise.  They all had similar comments.  They are  happy to stay.  Some  thought about it for a short time while others didn't  need to think about it  They want to stay and understand the  itinerary  is fluid and there will be less people on board.  Many call it an adventure.

 

Yes it will be a somewhat  different experience.  After the economic downturn of  2008 we had far less people on WC 2010 with some segments  around 300  to 350 people.  We still  had a great time.

 

With guests at around 220 plus enrichment/entertainers the ship will be around 260+ people.

 

The amount of crew in several areas will be adjusted to take into account fewer guests.

 

If we were on board we for the full World Cruise we would have elected to stay.  Yes it will be an adventure and there are always the positive points.  Fewer  guests means getting to know more people in an intimate atmosphere and being part of something unique.


The good news is everyone had a choice to stay or to go and both packages were quite good.   We also spoke with various people who elected not to stay.   There are some who thought they would stay  but continued reports of the spread of the virus caused them to reverse cause.

 

Some who stayed and some who didn't stay consulted with family and friends back home and with their travel specialists.

 

We found more of the people who we know  very well  decided to stay.

 

In the end whether or not there are additional changes to the itinerary is anyone's guess.

 

Unlike Symphony there is no dry dock planned for Serenity so they continue with far fewer guests than thee norm.   

 

Last year the Serenity had many voyages where the ship was full.  With several empty  rooms they will have time to do additional detailing of those rooms.  I know when we have gone on overlands in the past vacating the room for a few days this allowed for things such as cleaning of the carpet to occur and this time with additional time they can do additional cleaning and detailing beyond this.

 

Switching gears, In about 30 hours we leave Serenity.  

 

Before dinner we enjoyed a pre-dinner with friends who we have sailed on a couple of World Cruises with and who are on the full World Cruise and elected to stay.  For them they said a true adventure.  Also the very nice couple we did the wine tour and had dinner with the night before came by.   Like us, they leave tomorrow.

 

We enjoyed our final dinner at Prego last evening.  It was fitting they had an additional entree which as  soon as the Waiter mentioned it I said to myself "sold".  A delicious entrée of Sea Bass over pasta.

 

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The special World Cruise Show "The Sound Of Music" was performed twice last evening.  It is a fitting to perform this show with its beautiful music since Julie Andrews is the Godmother for Crystal Serenity.

 

Cheers,

 

Keith

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Hello Keith1010,

 

Welcome to Sydney.  We turned on the heat for you today but this southerly has certainly cooled it down.  Thank you for sharing your trip with everyone.  It was certainly good to read every day.  My wife and I will be boarding Serenity in Barcelona on 22 May this year and thanks to you we are more excited than ever.  It will be our first time on a Crystal ship. Have a safe trip home and we look forward to your next adventure.   

 

Dean & Jenny

Edited by DeanHenderson
I forgot to add our names at the end.
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Dean and Jenny,

 

Thank you for your nice comments and I wish you  both a  wonderful cruise.

 

You all seemed to have a mix of seasons yesterday.  Fell  like Fall/Spring and then Summer and when the  winds picked up later in the day there was a chill in the air.

 

We look forward to spending a week in this beautiful city.

 

Keith

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WELCOME TO SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA
 
We anchored off Sydney early yesterday morning.
 
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After breakfast we took care of loose ends until our group number was called to go through the mandatory Australian Border Force Immigration Inspection. There was a line which moved quickly. We were asked what our plans were for the day.
 
Since we are spending one week in Sydney after we depart Serenity today we decided not to take the ships tenders over there. Instead we focused on packing and visiting with friends and members of the crew. We ran into several people.
 
There were four cruises ships in port. The Celebrity Solstice is anchored as we are and the Queen Elizabeth and the Regent Seven Seas Mariner were docked at Circular Quay and White Bay Cruise Terminal respectively.
 
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We enjoyed our final lunch at Marketplace of this voyage and thanked the waitstaff team who has taken great care of us.
 
As we were leaving  we thanked Captain Birger for all he did to make this voyage special and for his frequent and thorough communications keeping everyone informed and  safe.   Thank you Captain Birger.
 
We enjoyed the rest of the afternoon taking a walk together on the shady side of the promenade deck.     I went for one more walk and walked both sides  of the  ship and on the sunny  side it was "HOT, HOT, HOT."
 
Spoke  later with  several guests some staying and others going home.
 
As we have done the last few years, we had our final dinner of the cruise in our room. Back in the days when we dined with other guests at larger tables with fixed dining times we would go to the dining room for that final meal. Subsequently we went to a two person table and would go to the dining room but in recent years we have enjoyed a quiet dinner.
 
We began with appetizers from the Umi Uma Japanese Specialty Restaurant and had Pizza for the main course.
 
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Shortly after we finished dinner Serenity move from being anchored over to Circular Quay where we are docked. We enjoyed some brilliant  views of the Harbor, the city including the Opera House as we made our way to our docking position.
 
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To those of you staying on board I wish you a  wonderful time.  Where precisely you go is anyone's guess.  I read  yesterday that some Caribbean ports are not accepting cruise ships.  As has been the case so far much of this will be out of Crystal's control and some could involved last minute changes like the port which refused our entry at the last minute.  
 
We've been on some sailings with a relatively small guest count.  It will have  a  different feel but then again so does a short cruise with  a very high occupancy rate.  
 
I know a few people boarding today and they are excited.
 
Tomorrow I will post a summary  highlighting a few areas about our time on Serenity and a little about today.  I plan to post  during our stay  in Sydney and the path we take when we leave Sydney to head to the  States.
 
In the meantime, safe travels to those traveling on Serenity, (may  we  meet again) or are traveling to or from home and good health to everyone.
 
Cheers,
 
Keith
 
 

 

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Some tidbits:

 

Someone was asking the other day about times for The Supper Club but I couldn't find the original question.

 

Doors open 6:15 PM as I remember people saying.   For those wanting to choose a table towards the front the queue  usually starts  at 5:45 PM plus or minus  a  few minutes.  No table is perfect IMHO  because even the front tables will have one seat per table where your back is to the dance floor.  Almost all tables are for four with exceptions where they have two tables where they place two at  each.  

 

Doors close 6:35 PM which encourages guests to  arrive on-time.

 

Switching gears I know we are all familiar with Crystal and there  has been lots of discussion and threads devoted to the impact that the cruise revisions/cancellations  have had on travelers.   They have been a challenge for those impacted  with people having cruising plans which were impacted by the Coronavirus and the recent changes.  My  heart goes out to each person.

 

Friends of ours who live in our home town have been in Sydney and their story reminds of the impact Coronavirus has had on travel plans across cruise lines.

 

So here is summary of their story.

 

They boarded  a flight to Sydney.  They had signed up for a cruise that  was two legs of a Regent Seven Seas World Cruise.  Due to Coronavirus fears itineraries for both legs  were drastically altered.  Options were to take a complete refund to cancel or a discount off the cruise fare if they accepted the change.  This seemed straightforward to them but it wasn't in their case.  They decided to cancel the first of the two legs and rather than boarding in Sydney they would board in Perth which replaced Singapore.   They were disappointed they would begin  with seven sea days and miss the Great  Barrier Reed, Bali, Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Phuket and other places.  Tthe only way  Regent could handle their situations was to cancel both  legs completely instead of the first leg only and rebook them on the second leg.  However,  the price would be 60% over the original price they paid and no longer included the side trip to Agra and the Taj Mahal which was a driving factor on why they selected the cruise in the first place.  So they canceled that cruise and since they won't get to Dubai they will have two airline tickets they can't use from Dubai back to our Regional Airport.

 

Next tidbit.  Getting news about the United States on subjects other than politics and the virus on TV has been a challenge.  Today we were missing some of those stations but today had NHK Japan TV news.  I got more information from the broadcast than in weeks from the USA based stations.  I remember a few years ago saying the same thing about a China TV station oriented to an English speaking public.

 

Final tidbit while eating breakfast we have had various visitors on the  Verandah.  This is one of them , but we  have had several others.  Before you say it, "no"  we were not feeding them.   LOL.

 

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Cheers,

 

Keith

 

 

 

 

 

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Today was the first time on ten World Cruises Anne Marie and I departed before thee entire World Cruise was over.   We planned it this way though as seeing our family in Sydney is very important to us.  

 

Before we left we say our until next times to others from guests to crew and to officers.

 

We were blessed having a wonderful penthouse attendant on thee first leg and then another wonderful one on legs two to three who we said until next time today.  There were so many crew to thank thee past 72 hours and this included our Butler today.

 

There was no room to put the cushions in the room last evening  as they  are washing Verandahs today so we said to the Penthouse Attendant she could come early  for that but they  are so kind and didn't want to bother us so Anne Marie showed our kindness by bringing them in this morning.  

 

We had a car pickup at 10:00 AM and a scheduled departure of 9:30 AM.   We wanted the buffer in case there  were issues with Luggage Concierge.  Good news they were in the terminal so we dropped of three pieces with them.

 

The hotel is about a 10 minute walk from thee terminal but not practical to do with luggage as there are portions which are up hill so we had a car take us there.  I had planned to use Uber but thought  a few days  ago with so many people leaving that could be a challenge so we had the hotel arrange for a  car.  Surprisingly  not much demand for Uber but there was a  large queue for taxis.  

 

We got to Deck 6 where disembarkation was done at 9:00 AM as we wanted to give time for our penthouse attendant to clean thee room although no one is likely to be using it.  Friends of ours  were supposed to have that room but regretfully canceled.

 

The good news is it gave us lots of time to speak with crew  and officers and to people leaving the ship and one staying.   People  leaving who were on the full world cruise were leaving for various reasons.  I did feel sad for many but this virus  was out of everyone's control and staying on for some was just not going to happen. I respect that.

 

While we were waiting for the car we saw some  crew returning  such as Sommelier Ross and we also saw Future Sales Consultant Daniele.

 

While some crew are leaving early  because of less guests particularly the penthouse and stateroom attendants and wait staff many departments require all their people as whether there are 50 guests  or 900 you still need many areas covered by 100% of the people.

 

Got to thee hotel at 10:15 AM.  Didn't expect our room to be ready until  3:00 PM.  Surprise...Surprise....It was ready.

 

A short while later we went out to walk around.  

 

We gave a kiss to Serenity .

 

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Saw a local fella spreading out his or her wings.

 

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As I mentioned I plan to post some thoughts from the cruise tomorrow.

 

Cheers,

 

Keith

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I thought you would stay  with your daughter and family. Well, I can only name three hotels I would stay in. One I uses stairs to get to for a drink tonight. Since we  like the same hotels it will be interesting to find out which of the three you picked band why.

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Robin, we find it easier to stay at a hotel as the place they have been renting is a tight squeeze for us.  We just Uber back and forth.  We went with the Shangri La Hotel where  we have stayed on two previous visits to Sydney.  We like the location of the hotel, the layout of the suite (separate living area divided by a door so I can get up early  and not disturb Anne Marie) and their club lounge.  Both our room and the Club Lounge offer beautiful views of the city.  

 

Keith

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We got our a second time yesterday and walked for quite awhile.

 

With rain in the forecast for most of this week we wanted to take advantage of yesterday's weather.  We ran into several guests from Serenity who  were out shopping, eating or drinking and we ran into a few members from Team Serenity  who were out on walks.  

A few light rain drops which quickly went away.

 

I had thought I would post today about some thoughts on the cruise and more importantly  the main reason we sail Crystal but wanted to take a few days to reflect on all of this.

 

Cheers,

 

Keith

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6 hours ago, Keith1010 said:

Robin, we find it easier to stay at a hotel as the place they have been renting is a tight squeeze for us.  We just Uber back and forth.  We went with the Shangri La Hotel where  we have stayed on two previous visits to Sydney.  We like the location of the hotel, the layout of the suite (separate living area divided by a door so I can get up early  and not disturb Anne Marie) and their club lounge.  Both our room and the Club Lounge offer beautiful views of the city.  

 

Keith

I was right! I was there last night having a drink before a late dinner at Sake.  We were watching the bridge. I was more interested looking out windows than my friend. For some reason you could have on sneakers but not thongs. I switch shoes just for there. 

You really need to know the steps to get to and from hotel . 

 

Never had dinner there. Bet club floor great.

 

oh I know they clean empty rooms. Some had wine in them. Others had sun beds leaving.

 

wonder when the Ave getting their music back. Not a Dan fan but it needed music. They should of kept Joel on to,Perth.

 

going out shortly for a walk and lunch out.

 

thought about a hotel over night in AU.but at this point it would be ten nights..not worth it.

 

Rob

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Robin  you are right.

 

Great hotel but it is helpful to know those steps.  In fact there are various routes to take to Circular Quay  by foot and thee steps provide a shortcut.

 

Hope you had a great day today.  

 

The goodness is the rain cleared up in the afternoon.

 

We wish you all the best as you continue on the next leg of WC 2020.

 

Keith

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21 hours ago, Keith1010 said:

We got our a second time yesterday and walked for quite awhile.

 

With rain in the forecast for most of this week we wanted to take advantage of yesterday's weather.  We ran into several guests from Serenity who  were out shopping, eating or drinking and we ran into a few members from Team Serenity  who were out on walks.  

A few light rain drops which quickly went away.

 

I had thought I would post today about some thoughts on the cruise and more importantly  the main reason we sail Crystal but wanted to take a few days to reflect on all of this.

 

Cheers,

 

Keith

 

Keith - Your reports have been a sea of tranquility during these rocky times.  I've enjoyed each picture and post of your journey and look forward to your "wrap-up."  Thank you!

 

Bill

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SYDNEY DAY 3 & CRYSTAL SERENITY DEPARTS
 
Yesterday morning began with a slightly different twist than our time on Crystal Serenity.  No trip to the Fitness Center.  No walk inside the ship.  No breakfast in our room.  However, we did have coffee in the room.  LOL.
 
As we had breakfast in the club lounge of the Hotel we could see Crystal Serenity all lit up. However it was dark outside and the photo I took mainly has a reflection of the lounge but if you look closely you will see Serenity.
 
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The only difference with the Club Lounge from our previous visits is several hand sanitizer pumps in the lounge which is a sign of the times.
 
It was a rainy morning in Sydney and windy when we left the hotel. We have visited Sydney in February and in March on prior trips mainly on Crystal Serenity and between the rain we've already had and the forecast it's probably the rainiest of all visits. We realize though the importance of rain and given the drought Australia experienced I am sure rain is very much welcome.
 
For us this part of the visit is with our family who has been living here for the past two-and-one-half years and will return back to the States this July. This is why we booked half of the World Cruise from Miami to Sydney.
 
Our day was spent with the family including going to the school where our grandchildren attend (one has started third grade and the other kindergarten) and spending the rest of the day with our daughter. Although rainy in the morning we got a reprieve in the afternoon.
 
For those of you who have visited Australia and New Zealand we find the coffee to be a treat from what we are used to in the States so I've included a photo of a cup of coffee.
 
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The morning  was spent in downtown Mosman and in locations nearby.  With umbrellas in hand along with raincoats and overhangs above us it was easier to walk around without getting drenched from the rain.
 
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We drove to another location for Lunch and from there walked around.
 
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While we can try New Zealand and Australia wine at home there is always something special about having local wine when we travel recognizing some of it is not shipped to our respective countries.  
 
I wish I could say when we began last evening we had a pre-dinner drink at the Crystal Cove, Avenue Saloon or Palm Court but alas this was not the case.
 
However, we did begin the evening with some wine. This included a white wine for my wife which we had purchased on the wine tour of Marlborough in New Zealand so it brought back nice memories of our adventure on Serenity. I had a local Australian wine which we purchased yesterday.
 
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We did enjoy a final view of Crystal Serenity from the Hotel. We wish those who are on-board a wonderful adventure. We miss you already.
 
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Cheers,
 
Keith
 
 
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keith,

thank you so much for your wonderful descriptions and photos of your journey on the serenity.  i've read your blog every day and lived vicarously through your cruise critic reports.  i'm sure you're having a good visit with your family in sydney.  the pictures are fabulous and the food and wine look wonderful.  do you have many future cruises booked with crystal? would love to know your cruising plans.

 

thanks again for your reporting.

 

cheers,

david

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David,

 

Thank you for  your  comments and I am glad   you  have enjoyed  the photos and writeup.

 

We do have cruises planned later this year all the way through late 2022.  Because of  Anne Marie's health issues I've  waited till much  closer to the  actual cruises to post about them.

 

Thank you  again, David.

 

Keith

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SYDNEY DAY  4

=============

 

RAIN RAIN GO AWAY -  COME BACK ANOTHER  DAY.

 

Although we would prefer sunshine over rain after the drought Australia has gone through even we as tourists appreciate the rain as it is needed.  We have visited Sydney many  times in February and in March and this week has been the wettest we have experienced. 

 

We  did have to change up family plans yesterday as we had planned to go to a couple of beach areas for long walks and yesterday  was not the day for that.  As the day progress, we experienced more rainfall.


So we ended up an an indoor shopping wall for a couple of hours where we could walk, talk and browse.

 

At one point we spotted macpac.  We discovered and shopped at these stores in New Zealand on the 2016 World  Cruise in preparation for Northwest Passage to purchase some clothing to keep us warm.  They are New Zealand based but have  stores in Australia.  More recently, we looked at one in Auckland and this one but didn't find anything this time around.

 

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Our daughter suggested we visit a similar store which is Australia based called Kathmandu. It was located across from macpac.  They also sell lots of clothing which is outdoor based and I bought three shirts.

 

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We went to a grocery store  at the mall.  We had heard the other  day there was a run on toilet paper because of the Corona Virus.  Ironically,  we had discussed this with the Uber driver earlier in the morning.  He said  he was not going to run out to stock up  on it.    He said he could understand this if it was Noro Virus but not for Coronavirus.  LOL.    I happened to walk by  the area with toilet paper which was empty  a woman customer was irate that a man snatched one package out of her hands.  I mentioned to our daughter in the USA if say a hurricane is expected there is a run on water and batteries and sand.

 

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Later in the day our daughter shopped at a grocery store which is more like Whole Foods in the USA and we did see toilet paper there but at $6.49 for a four pack.   The price was driven by what it is made out of.   

 

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Well let's switch to food.

 

We went to a cafe for lunch.  Had one of the more delicious salad entrees we have had over the  years.

 

We find vegetables/salads to be more creative than say  in comparable places back home with much fresher ingredients.

 

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I guess I should have begun with breakfast photos but with so many I've chosen to save them to the end.   Although we stick to a simple breakfast of cereal and a banana the hotel lounge does offer a nice breakfast with hot and cold food to chose from.

 

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Today's weather forecast looks more promising so let's see what unfolds.

 

In the meantime rain or shine we are enjoying our time with family and our time in Sydney as part of our post-cruise plans.

 

Keith

 

 

 

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Keith, this is a beautiful breakfast buffet. It's also very interesting that there are apparently no sneeze guards or covers on any of the open dishes, platters and bowls. Different health regulations in Sydney, apparently. This type of buffet presentation would never be allowed in the US, or on a Crystal cruise ship, for that matter.

 

Hoping for a little sun for you & the family before you leave Sydney. 

 

Rob

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Thank you  Rob and good catch.

 

On another note a friend told me in the USA at their local Costco and the shelves were bare for paper towels, water and toilet paper.   I realize some have a  fear of getting sick but just seems strange to me.  I wonder during flu season if people do this and also don't they have friends who could pick things up should they be sick and there is always Amazon.Com to get paper products from and many places also offer grocery delivery.  Oh well.  Just not something I would be doing if at home.

 

Keith

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I think some people are concerned about supply chain breakdowns (especially if products/components arrive from China) and re Amazon, etc., what if the pickers/delivery people get sick in large numbers?  Or if I and my neighbors/friends all feel fairly unwell at the same time?  I'm not saying people should hew to true 'prepper' mentality, but never hurts to have a good supply of canned goods/bottled water/paper products at hand.  Including pet supplies.  I always have a decent supply of easy to prepare food and paper products during flu and norovirus season FWIW.

 

Total change of subject but for those in the US, Medicare has just announced that testing for Covid-19 will be covered by Medicare if ordered by a physician/medical provider.  Tests are starting to show up in greater supply, but at least we know they're covered by Medicare and hopefully other insurance carriers will follow their lead.  I'm also hoping for the (hopefully developed soon) vaccine to be covered like the flu shot, not like Shingrix LOL!

Edited by greykitty
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I think people are over reacting with respect to things such as toilet paper. 

 

16.5 million plus people in the USA with influenza.   
 

Most  if the delivery people do not fall into the category of those in the greTest jeopardy of getting very ill.

 

I’m not saying this is trivial. Only that we would be better off if people not hoard things IMHO. 

 

Keith

 

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