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Dawgs Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Mar-12-06 02:57 PM
Original message
SAN FRANCISCO!!
My wife and I are taking our vacation in San Francisco this year. I'm looking for help on planning the trip.

We like sports, hiking, museums, shopping, history. We are in our mid-thirties.

These are the things we need help on.

Hotel? 3 to 4 star would be nice, obviously not too expensive.
Transportation? I've heard that getting a week long pass for public transportation is a good idea.

What to do?

She's never been so we're looking at some fairly touristy ideas. What do you guys think?

China Town
Baseball Game
Redwood Forest
Haight Ashbury
Kayaking in Bay
Cable Car
Fisherman's Warf
Alcatraz

Thanks in advance.
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LeftyMom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Mar-12-06 02:58 PM
Response to Original message
1. Eat and shop in chinatown.
If you want touristy, Pier 39 is the place to go.
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Dawgs Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Mar-12-06 03:00 PM
Response to Reply #1
2. Not looking for touristy, just what we've come up with so far.
Thanks.
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LeftyMom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Mar-12-06 03:03 PM
Response to Reply #2
4. I really like Lucky Creation vegetarian restraunt in chinatown
Thier food is amazingly good and really cheap. It's not a fancy place, but it's my favorite place in SF to eat.
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XemaSab Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Mar-13-06 01:52 AM
Response to Reply #4
36. It's Kosher, too!
:bounce:
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Book Lover Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Mar-12-06 03:03 PM
Response to Original message
3. I took my niece on the Alcatraz night tour, which was cold but fun
Edited on Sun Mar-12-06 03:04 PM by Book Lover
Depending on where you base yourselves, the easiest-to-reach forested area with good varied hiking trails will probably be Mount Tam http://www.mttam.net/
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democracyindanger Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Mar-12-06 03:04 PM
Response to Original message
5. Hotel Boheme
It's where Kurt Vonnegut likes to stay when he comes to town. Take cabs in the City. Rent a car for trips to Marin, Muir, et al. Nothing to see on Haight except head shops and teenage panhandlers. Walking across the Golden Gate is a touristy thing. Catching a performance of Beach Blanket Babylon is another. Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) usually has something worthwhile, might check out the Legion of Honor as well. Check out who's playing at the Fillmore; if you're into jazz a ferry ride to Yoshi's in Oakland for a gig and Japanese food would be good.

And always carry a sweater.
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LeftyMom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Mar-12-06 03:07 PM
Response to Original message
6. Oh, make sure to go to the Palace of Fine Arts
It's one of the better places in the city to take pictures and a nice spot to eat a little picnic lunch if the weather cooperates. The Exploratorium is right there and that's great fun too.
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Gormy Cuss Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Mar-12-06 03:09 PM
Response to Original message
7. Definitely get a MUNI pass.
Edited on Sun Mar-12-06 03:12 PM by Gormy Cuss
Even if you rent a car for a few days to see things outside of the city, MUNI is the way to go in SF.
There are many smaller boutique hotels in good locations for tourists.

Hotels: I'm not the four star type, but the St. Francis, now a Westin, is a lovely place right on Union Square. I would also suggest checking the Kimpton Group. They have boutique hotels around the city. The Villa Florence on Powell St. in Union Square is a great little hotel. Alternatively, the Cow Hollow Suites on Lombard St. in the Marina district is great find if you're staying for a week, but only in their suites. Lovely bed/living room suites with antique furnishings, modern kitchenettes and bath, in a happening neighborhood with good MUNI access.

On edit: rent a car for at least a couple of days and drive north. Muir Woods is the first interesting stand of redwoods. Further north in the wine country town of Healdsburg one can take a side trip to Armstrong Redwoods state park.
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Patiod Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Mar-12-06 05:12 PM
Response to Reply #7
23. The St. Francis is gorgeous and historic
I LOVE the St. Francis!

The hotel's TV channel loops a History Channel piece on the hotel - it withstood the 1906 earthquake (very reassuring) but caught fire afterwards. Fatty Arbuckle had his famous party in there, and Al Jolson died playing cards in his room.

http://www.gayot.com/travel/hotels/westin_st_francis.ht...

It is costly, but you might be able to find a deal on line for a night or two - and then stay somewhere cheaper for the other days in your vacation.

You can leave SF in the morning, take a nice long tour of one of the wine valleys (either Napa or Sonoma) and be back in SF for dinner - both valleys are gorgeous, but I know Napa gets crowded on weekends.

/am going out there in April for work, and REALLY looking forward to it!
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Oeditpus Rex Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Mar-12-06 03:10 PM
Response to Original message
8. Here's some help for Giants games
http://sanfrancisco.giants.mlb.com/NASApp/mlb/sf/ticket...

But why do anything else? :shrug:

Well, wait. I always love to go to the Castro and the Mission and check out the used book stores and eat at that crepe restaurant that's around Valencia/Guerrero and 22nd or thereabouts.

But that's just me.
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CatholicEdHead Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Mar-12-06 04:51 PM
Response to Reply #8
21. In the intrest of fairness, here is the A's schedule
http://oakland.athletics.mlb.com/NASApp/mlb/schedule/in...

In case they want to cross to the other side of the Bay and see some American League baseball.
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SaveElmer Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Mar-12-06 03:10 PM
Response to Original message
9. Sausalito...
Good food, and really funny kind of place!
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GalleryGod Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Mar-12-06 03:24 PM
Response to Original message
10. MUNI Weekly Pass is the Best! We were there in October,'05
Edited on Sun Mar-12-06 03:27 PM by GalleryGod


Stayed at the St. Francis...if you can afford it...do so! The beds,comforters and showers alone are worth the trip ! It is Cable Car central.too.

Ah,yes..The Wharf! Cable cars will take you there and back!
Take the Boudin's Bread Factory tour while there! Very worthwhile! (free food!) O8)
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alittlelark Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Mar-12-06 03:27 PM
Response to Original message
11. For a really wonderful dinner try Harris Steakhouse.
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maveric Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Mar-12-06 03:29 PM
Response to Original message
12. SF in August. 85 degrees in the sun. 47 degrees in the shade.
But in spite of the crappy weather, San Francisco is one of the most beautiful and culturally rich cities in America.
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bridgit Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Mar-12-06 03:37 PM
Response to Original message
13. wee goody!!! you guys just gotta run up & down Columbus Ave a little...
Edited on Sun Mar-12-06 03:40 PM by bridgit
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malmapus Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Mar-12-06 03:40 PM
Response to Original message
14. The Dutch windmills that use to provide water to Golden Gate Park
One of them is somewhat renovated with its blades repaired.

Also would recommend the Cliff House? (sorry use to live in SF but it's been 3 years now). Basically built overlooking where San Francisco use to have this HUGE bath house, can still go see the remains of the thing and see photos of it there.
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alcibiades_mystery Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Mar-12-06 03:42 PM
Response to Original message
15. There's a great tapas place on Russian Hill that you should hit
Price is right and food is incredible.
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Metta Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Mar-12-06 03:48 PM
Response to Original message
16. Yes, by all means.
Edited on Sun Mar-12-06 03:52 PM by Metta
We stayed at a bed and breakfast right across the park from the Four Sisters, the four Victorian houses that are in every shot of SF. Very convenient. We had our best times in Muir Woods, great if you're into the magic of old growth; a boat ride into the bay from Fisherman's Wharf and our best meal was at a vegan Indian place downtown, across the street from the post office. Their neatloaf was a thing of beauty. We also had a great meal at an Indian restaurant that had salmon curry. We also had great tapas at a Spanish place in Union Square. Mmmmm. :drool: If you're interestd about these restaurants, let me know and I'll go through our guide books. Also, you cannot go their and not drive through Golden Gate Park. There's a really good Japanese garden with a superb 17th century bronze Buddha and you're just down the road from the Pacific Ocean! Lucky you.
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BrotherBuzz Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Mar-12-06 03:57 PM
Response to Original message
17. Sausalito is the place for kayaking on the bay...
Sea Trek is the joint to check out. I watched the business grow from one rusty van with a couple of kayaks piled on top to a top notch operation. The owner, Bob Licht, is a neat guy and employs very good people. Weather permitting, you can have a great adventure.
http://www.seatrekkayak.com/
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sakabatou Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Mar-12-06 04:03 PM
Response to Original message
18. Museums
SFMOMA
Exploritorium
SF Academy of Science
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jane_pippin Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Mar-12-06 04:06 PM
Response to Original message
19. If you have a day/funds to rent a car go to Muir Woods.
The first time I went to San Francisco my friends took me and we had a wonderful time. It's just beautiful. Plus, they have a "free speech zone" at Muir Woods so at least you'll know where one is in case you ever need it. ;)

Honestly, Muir Woods and Muir Beach are just about the most gorgeous places I've ever seen.
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BrotherBuzz Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Mar-12-06 04:45 PM
Response to Reply #19
20. LOL, free speech zone in Muir Woods?
Why would they need one of those with Druid Heights, the hidden hearth of bohemian culture, a "beatnik" enclave years before the term was born or needed, and later a party spot for famous freaks a mere 500 yards away? Scores of sculptors, sex rebels, stars and seekers lived or visited the spot over the decades, including Gary Snyder, Dizzy Gillespie, John Handy, Alan Watts, Neil Young, Tom Robbins, Catherine McKinnon and the colorful prostitute activist Margo St. James. Cripes, even the 'Hot Tub' was invented there! Lots of good Juju still lingers in Franks Valley today to make a 'Free speech zone' in Muir Woods unnecessary.

As for Muir Woods proper, I never felt it necessary to speak in God's boudoir.
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jane_pippin Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Mar-12-06 05:57 PM
Response to Reply #20
31. Wow, I had no idea about the history of the area. Thanks for that.
Maybe they have it there so they can contain those "free speechifyin'" to one little spot? I don't know, but we all had a good laugh about it when we saw it at the entrance. We didn't say much after that though other than some oohs and ahs--especially when we saw salmon working their way upriver in the Woods. At the Beach--well what can you say there? Nothing. It's too breathtaking to ruin it by blathering about it.
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XNASA Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Mar-13-06 09:47 AM
Response to Reply #19
39. I'll second that.
And add that the view from Mt. Tam should not be ignored. At least on a clear day.
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SeattleGirl Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Mar-12-06 04:57 PM
Response to Original message
22. Rent bikes and go for a ride.
There are a number of bike rental places near the waterfront. Last time we was in SF, we did that, and rode across the Golden Gate Bridge. It was an absolute blast, and a beautiful ride.
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fishwax Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Mar-12-06 05:15 PM
Response to Reply #22
24. I wish I'd done that
I had a friend who did that on her visit to SF, too, and she had a great time :)
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SeattleGirl Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Mar-12-06 05:19 PM
Response to Reply #24
26. What surprised me was unless we were standing still on the
bridge, we didn't feel the wind. We thought we'd really have to work hard riding into the wind, but that wasn't the case at all. Oh, and what they've done is make one side of the bridge be for pedestrians only, and the other side for bicyclists.
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fishwax Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Mar-12-06 05:33 PM
Response to Reply #26
28. sounds awesome! if i ever go back, i'm definitely doing that
i've walked across it a time or two, but biking around there sounds like so much fun.
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fishwax Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Mar-12-06 05:17 PM
Response to Original message
25. If you like music, check out Amoeba Records in Haight
it's a fantastic music store on Haight, right near the panhandle of Golden Gate Park.

I definitely recommend the muni pass--it's very easy to get around town.
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Room101 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Mar-12-06 05:25 PM
Response to Original message
27. A visit to Twin peaks is a must!! Best view of the city.


The best time is on a clear night.
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malmapus Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Mar-12-06 09:28 PM
Response to Reply #27
33. Ugh, that shot makes me miss SF all the more =(
I use to live practically at the base of Twin Peaks in the Sunset district. Could just walk a couple blocks and be at the base it seems lol. Plus walking out my front door and seeing the Golden Gate down in the distance as well as the Pacific.
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China_cat Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Mar-12-06 05:54 PM
Response to Original message
29. All of those
Edited on Sun Mar-12-06 05:57 PM by China_cat
and take the ferry to Tiburon.

Oh, and if you're going to be there the first week of the month, first Wednesdays are free days at the museums, the aquarium, the Exploratorium.

And Ghiradelli Square. Can't miss that.

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maveric Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Mar-12-06 05:56 PM
Response to Original message
30. The "Haight" Baby! For a real sub-cultural experience.
Love The "Haight"!
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trof Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Mar-12-06 06:18 PM
Response to Original message
32. The Stinking Rose for dinner.
Only if you like garlic.
Just follow your nose.
;-)
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pinniped Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Mar-12-06 10:33 PM
Response to Original message
34. Check out these two fine museums:
Edited on Sun Mar-12-06 10:33 PM by pinniped
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XemaSab Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Mar-13-06 01:51 AM
Response to Original message
35. Spend a day in Marin!
:bounce:

The Golden Gate Bridge will take you to a scenic yuppie wonderland!

You can check out the Marin Headlands (Golden Gate National Recreation Area) for hiking, Mt. Tamalpais for scenic views, Sausalito for upscale dining and shopping, Muir Woods for BIG TREES, Bolinas for hippie culture, Stinson Beach for... uh... the beach, and of course Point Reyes for hiking and just a generally awesome good time. :D

Shoot, it might even be worth two days. :D
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Dawgs Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Mar-13-06 07:43 AM
Response to Original message
37. Thanks to all!!!
I knew I would get some great ideas from a great group of people.

:toast: :yourock: :applause:

Here are few that we like (so far)...

Renting and riding bikes over the GGB.
Going to a Giants game. Sorry Oakland, but I'd rather see the Giants stadium.
Muir Woods.
China town for a few meals.
Kayaking in the Bay.

We are still looking for a decent hotel.

Thanks again!!! You guys are great.
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meegbear Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Mar-13-06 09:38 AM
Response to Original message
38. Fisherman's Wharf is great!
One of the main attractions are the sea lions. The city set up flat floating docks in the harbor and a group of easily 30 sea lions jump around, sleep, play, etc.

The shops are great and there's a section with seafood restaurants with staff out front hawking to get you in. All good food.
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tjwash Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Mar-13-06 10:14 AM
Response to Original message
40. Go over the golden gate bridge down the 101,and take the first exit...
...on the other side after you get over the bridge. You will come to a fork, and see a sign that tells you to turn right to go into Sausalito. Turn left instead, and follow the road and you will be treated to some of the most magnificent views you will ever get.

You'll thank yourself afterward...
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Gormy Cuss Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Mar-13-06 11:05 AM
Response to Reply #40
41. Conselman Road.
Edited on Mon Mar-13-06 11:07 AM by Gormy Cuss
And tjwash is right. It's worth it.
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tjwash Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Mar-13-06 01:24 PM
Response to Reply #41
43. Thank you, that's the name I was trying to grasp.
Every time I come up there, I take my bike up the trail.
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smirkymonkey Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Mar-13-06 12:59 PM
Response to Original message
42. Must go to Golden Gate Park - Japanese Tea Garden is my
Edited on Mon Mar-13-06 01:02 PM by smirkymonkey
favorite! Walk all the way down to Ocean Beach - Have a drink at the Cliff House (a shadow of it's former self, but still a great view on a nice day.)

Hotels: Hotel Monaco, Clift Hotel

Restaurant: The Slanted Door was always my favorite

Museum: Palace of the Legion of Honor - not sure what is showing, but it is a beautiful spot w/ great views.

Coit Tower on Telegraph Hill is also another great spot w/ wonderful views.

Walk across the Golden Gate Bridge (unless you are afraid of heights) go to Sausalito for Lunch on the water.

Go for a sundae (or hot cocoa if it's chilly) at Ghirardelli Chocolate factory (The cannery, near Fisherman's wharf)

Walk around neighborhoods - Pacific Heights, Russian Hill, Marina (kind of yuppie-ish) but lots of cute cafes and shops.

Have a great time!
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tigereye Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Mar-13-06 01:26 PM
Response to Original message
44. we went last year
it was so wonderful!!!!

What we liked:

The weather! Cool, no humidity, sunny skies.
The ferry from Alameda - great first view of the bay ( other than from the plane)
Coit Tower (amazing view and really cool WPA murals)
Then we walked down the hill to
City Lights bookstore ( this is where I most wanted to go. It's an amazing institution) The poetry room upstairs is to die for.
North Beach is so cool if you love the Beats like I do. And the espresso and gelato are stellar
We stayed in a hotel on Powell near Union Square - near the cable car turnaround. Great fun to people watch.
Muir Woods - amazingly beautiful - our friends drove us there after a great brunch in the Mission District
Golden Gate Bridge is even more beautiful close up - I loved looking at the bridge and at all the people who wanted to see it from the observation point across the bay.
National Maritime Museum near the Piers was great with lots of old schooners.
A drive down Highway One, a side trip through Silicon Valley and then Marin? down an old steep and windy road near Neil Young's house. At the bottom of a drive was an old post office/general store with ice cream.
The Pacific Ocean - it's so cold and beautiful!


Our friends were great tour guides. Hope you have a wonderful time!
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Sequoia Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Mar-13-06 01:29 PM
Response to Original message
45. Chinatown hands down!
Near the wharf too.
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ronnykmarshall Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Mar-13-06 01:31 PM
Response to Original message
46. Walk down Castro Street w/ a picture of me ...
with a sign that reads: "If you had sex with this guy .... please dontate one dollar".



You'll have your trip paid for with money to spare.
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