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  1. #76
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
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    Cruzing
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    11,984
    I was being a bit sarcastic. You would need to pass through border control each time coming in and you’d be far from most of the places you’d want to visit likely. Most of the places to visit are in the south. OTOH, you can stay in super luxury for about S$80 on the other side of the border.

    I’d search around SG and read some reviews. I’m sure there are some options outside the major hotel lines that are more affordable. When we thought we had two nights between our housing we looked around and I found some reasonable prices, but with a third person and a commute to Woodlands for school and work, none of them worked.

    When I looked at cross border car service it was super pricey.

    The Port by Quarters is a hostel downtown with a queen bed capsule for $38 usd mid December.

    The Mono in Chinatown is $86

    Hotel 1929 in Duxton Hill &68 for 100 Sq ft room

    It would be better to even need to switch hotels in the area than travel in from Malaysia daily.

    I just did a quick look on Trivago and chose 4 weeknights in Dec under $120 and 8.0 rating or above.

    Worth poking around and being more local. It can also take a while to cross border after 8am as there is a lot of traffic coming into SG daily.

  2. #77
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    Jun 2007
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    We spent our second morning walking into town to gather coffee and fruit from the market. We scored at the locals market, with two mangoes for about $.60 usd. After, we mostly huddled in our housing, cozy, reading books and waiting out the rain. And strolled about twin looking for some brunch.

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    Every home houses a temple. I thought this one looked like a super hero.

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    The rain was off an on all day. We ducked into a cafe for brunch just as the sky opened up, and then back out after it lightened up. I fully enjoyed all the stone work and age of everything. Even a basic entrance way.

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    Wedding decorations.

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    Living across from he Central Catchment and seeing hordes of monkeys daily, we did not expect much of the Monkey Forest - but is was something to do on an otherwise rainy day. We were warned not many monkeys would be out an about due to the rain. We only saw a few hundred. This guy was rolling around a coconut continuously, protecting it from bigger monkeys. I could see one guy eyeing him - looking like he was thinking, "I'll wait till he cracks it before taking it from him."

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    What makes the Monkey Forest special for us, was the combination of jungle ravines and old stone bridges and temples smack dab in the middle of the city.
    Last edited by Ottime; 10-31-2022 at 08:19 PM.

  3. #78
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    Jun 2007
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    Cruzing
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    Lactating statues?

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    My kid enjoying rainbows in the forest.

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    It was really quite cool in there. This view of the bridge gives a sense of how old everything looked.

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    Monkey jungle gym.

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    Sacred cow.

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    Saraswati Temple

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    More serpents.

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    We were hoping the eatery over looking the lotus was decent, but upon reading reviews, we avoided. Too bad, as it had such great views, and even can be a dinner show when they have dance performances at the temple.

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    More rain, stone and lotus.

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    I finally found a quality beer in the region and it is brewed in Bali. If you find yourself down this way, check out Island Brewing. Good quality low alcohol Hazy, for a reasonable (by SE Asia standards) $4usd a can.

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    After dinner we attended a Legong Dance performance. Live music. Our seats were right behind the musicians, giving us a great view of the dance and we certainly could hear plenty well.

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    The Legong is studied for years, and the dancers use every muscle of their bodies including finger and eye muscles in their performance. It is quite stunning to see, and I was stoked to have found such good seats. The dances are narratives. My favorite performer was one for the three golden deer in this show. The woman was amazing in her movements and expressions of mischief. I think I feel in love a little bit. It was that good.
    Last edited by Ottime; 10-31-2022 at 08:30 PM.

  4. #79
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    Jun 2007
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    Cruzing
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    My kid really wanted to get on one of the swings that are popular around Ubud. We found a place that is just a little bit off the beaten track and had a decent breakfast spot. We were hitting it up for breakfast, so entry was free and we just had to pay for swing time. This is a huge market here, that is mostly driven by Instagram. We got there early, got a few minutes on the swing and then had breakfast. Kid was stoked.

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    Uma Ceking was the place we went. Food was decent. Grounds were nice to walk around. There were two groups there at the same time we were with professional photographers and stagers in tow. Adjusting makeup, adjusting gowns, blowing fans, etc. Its pretty intense.

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    If you forgot to bring your own gown, you could rent these yellow ones, to make sure your swing shots were not too lame.

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    This land is lush. Everywhere you look is green and flowers. Just a random roadside view.

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    After a walk around the rice paddies, we were off to Gungung Kawi Sebatu. These temple grounds are perhaps the prettiest we visited, built in a hollow of the surrounding hills.

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    It is on the site of natural springs and has a few pools you can take a swim in. The water is purifying, and meant to wash away bad spirits and allow good spirits to enter you.

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    At Pura Tirta Empul, they offer a cleansing ceremony. My child was interested, so I joined them. You wore juts a sari and sash (tho being a modest country, they asked you to wear shorts of some type underneath), made an offering and meditated on what changes you wished to see in yourself. Then proceeded through a series of fountains, praying on a specific intention before each washing. While very touristy feeling, it was something I could get into once involved and is an actual ceremony performed at this site.


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    There was also a massive koi pond with massive koi. One of the highlights of my kids day was creating a feeding frenzy with the fish.

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    Penjor poles - erected for Galungan - a time marked by the Balinese calendar (only 210 days per year) when ancestors roam the earth. With the Balinese calendar, people celebrate their birthday from both calendars, so in some years, one can have three birthdays to celebrate. The Balinese do not shy away from celebration.
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    Last edited by Ottime; 11-03-2022 at 06:57 PM.

  5. #80
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    Cruzing
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    Steps ascending to the more sacred temples on the grounds. I just liked the way these looked.

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    Then we were off to Gunung Kawi, tucked into a deep river valley.

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    We first enjoyed lunch before descending the 300 odd steps to the temple. A roadside warung as you strode past trinket shops served up a wonderful lunch for 3 for about $10 usd. While not in the center of Ubud, this was still a tourist location, with tourist prices. Such a great and cheap meal. When we tried to tip, the owner would not accept and suggested we took some ice cream bars if we wanted to spend more money - which my kid was happy to oblige.

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    The river cutting through. Again, a bit lush.

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    Ganung Kawi was the oldest temple we visited with some parts date back to before the 10th century. You were permitted to enter this part of the temple - but no shoes were allowed. Having rained for days, the mud looked thick and oozy, so we declined.

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    The youngest parts of the temple are less than a century old. The temple is currently used for worship and dance performances. All of it with a backdrop of think jungle.

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    The natural beauty of this place is juts astounding. Even without the historical structures it was such a pleasure to wander about the grounds. It was by far the quietest temple we visited all day. Maybe another five or eight people wandering about. So quiet.

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    Sections of the old temples were carved directly into the canyon walls.

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    These pieces are part of the 10th century constructions.

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    Just dangling feet above the river taking it all in. There was a light drizzle while we visited. Almost just a mist. Perhaps that dampened (hey, that's a pun) the crowds, but it had been off and on rain all day, and other places were much busier. The mist gave the valley a special ambiance that was hard to beat. By far my favorite place we visited. I would highly suggest if you find yourself in the area.

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    Heading back to the stairway climb up and out of the valley. Maybe it was the stairs that kept everyone at bay.
    Last edited by Ottime; 11-04-2022 at 03:41 AM.

  6. #81
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    Jun 2007
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    Our final stop for the day was the Elephant Cave Temple - Goa Gajah

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    Kid was stoked - cause caves. Another example of old temples. The cave was worked on in the 9th century.

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    Offerings are still made inside this portion of the temple.

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    Festival decoration obstructed some of the carvings and the rock wall at the cave entrance. It is a tight area, dug by hand held tools.

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    What makes Goa Gajong unique is that it adjoins a Hindu temple and Buddhist temple on the same grounds. A short walk down a stair case brings you into the Buddhist portion of the grounds.

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    It is a strikingly different area, as you head down into yet another river canyon.

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    Accentuating the age of the area, eroded, crumbling temple pieces litter the area.

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    The large banyan tree dominates the landscape in the lower Buddhist area. We enjoyed some coconut and juices at a warung as we exited the temple. Again, if you and yourself in the area, it is a great place to stop for drinks. Food looks decent as well, but we had dinner plans.

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    Nusatara was our splurge meal of the trip. By Indo standards, we spent a ton of money here. It was by far the most amazing meal of our trip and well worth the coin. But for starters, we had some pretty delicious cocktails.
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    Last edited by Ottime; 11-06-2022 at 03:10 AM.

  7. #82
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
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    here and there
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    OT is the TGR Cultural guide!

    Beautiful places!
    watch out for snakes

  8. #83
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    Cruzing
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    Looks like I need to go back and fix that last post. It was showing pics at first…

    As for cultural guide, okay. Sure. I am learning a bit about this corner of the world. It is so different than home. And posting up what I have learned. I do want to share here, but it is servings a different purpose as well.

    Living in SG is by far the most challenging thing I have ever done. It is really stretching all of my family. I have a few ways of getting through the rough times when it can feel like everything is just too much. One is to remind myself how, in the end, everything works out. Another is posting up pics and remembering all the really cool shit we get to do while living here. Another is just remembering that I’m buying fresh mangos for about $.50 each and eating out nearly everyday for lunch for $2-4 an awesome meal.

    I did visit the Asian Cultural Museum last week and plan to go back. It was really pretty cool and a reminder of how cross pollinated these SE Asian cultures are. Example would be how common the swastika (a Hindu symbol) is across cultures - found in Korans and Buddhist art from Indo to China.

    Sitting on a clean, safe, efficient train right now headed to a screen printing class with my kid. So not all culture. We are playing with art as well.

  9. #84
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    Nusatara was by far the most expensive meal we had in Bali. 3x more expensive than the next priciest meal. We ordered the tasting menu, but this appetizer taster I believe comes with any order. Very much enjoyed the small bites of different flavors from around the archipelago. Nusatara does for Indonesia, what Alice Waters did for vegetables. They take classic dishes from different regions, and refines them - I'm not sure "refines" is the correct word, but that is best I can do. Like I said, what Waters did for vegetables and California cuisine.

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    Their menu is locally sourced, supporting small organic farms giving homage to regional techniques and flavors. The tasting menu included soft shell crab, duck, squid, pork, coconut soup, sautéed spinach, sambals and rice. We added a chicken dish. All of it was amazing, and was the highlight meal of our visit. Like I said, not a cheap meal (at least by Indo standards) but if you enjoy proper care given to food, this place is well worth a visit. Oddly, our second best dinner meal in Ubud was by far the cheapest. Maybe 22% of the cost of this one.

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    The next morning, my wife and I got up early to get out for a walk, while our kiddo slept in, ate some mango and read. We headed to the Campuhan Ridge Walk. About 10 minutes through the busy main streets of town, and then down to Pura Gunung Lebah Temple. The temple was hoping with ceremony preparations. We headed around and started up the ridge walk.

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    The walk is basically pavers along a rising ridge with river valleys dropping away to both sides. After a few kilometers you hit a plateau with rice paddies.

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    There were more than a few bird watchers out this morning. A few of them were interested in this character. I know nothing about birds, other that I've never seen this one before.

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    We stopped in at Karsa Kafe for breakfast. My bowl of black rice with coconut milk and bananas, avocado juice and cappuccino came to about 60,000 rupiah, or $4.50 usd.

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    Heading back down the ridge walk.

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    Back in town, we grabbed the kid and brought them out to get some breakfast. One thing that stuck me about Ubud, and Bai in general, is all the intricate stone, wood and metal work that is literally everywhere. This piece was just a post topper along an alleyway wall.

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    Kiddo opted for açaí bowl. On a swing.

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    Then we were off to the Bukit. On our way south we stopped at Batik factory. This traditional fabric method starts with the artist using wax to create a design on a piece of fabric. It is then dyed before it is washed to remove the wax. The end result is varied and unique every time. A bit time consuming, but you get a piece of artwork and not just a piece of printed material. Behind this artist you see the rest of the team taking a break playing cards and sipping coffee

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    The white portions are where the wax had once been.

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    The particular factory also creates patterned fabrics with the use of a hand loom. The threads are dyed first, so they create the pattern when woven. The dye process is done by hand, so another time consuming process. They use math for this process.

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    We stopped for lunch on the beach in Jimaran - grilled fish on the beach. And then directly to Ulu Watu Temple for sunset and the Kecak 'fire' Dance. It tells the same story we saw with the Legong, but in a different fashion. The music is the voices and chants of some 50 odd men - no instruments. The dance is less refined (correct word for sure this time), and a bit more violent - and acrobatic. Here you can see the White Monkey climbing up on the stone work.

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    And then the fire part - the White Monkey is captured by King Ravana and burned at the stake - but with his magic, he defeats death and uses the fire to defeat his enemies. The dancer is surrounded by fire, the heat of which we could feel several rows back. He then kicks and scatters the fire with his bare feet. It is a special skill.

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    And then off to our new lodgings at the Green Escape Eco Resort enjoying again my favorite SE Asia beer yet.
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    Last edited by Ottime; 11-08-2022 at 06:00 PM.

  10. #85
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    We were near Bingin Beach. My kid enjoying a juice after their best surf session ever. Had their best wave of their life and their biggest beating of their life. It was a last hurrah as a few hours later they came down with a fever and were sick for the rest of the trip. At least that happened during rest and relax part of the trip.

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    The accommodations were a two bedroom bungalow with semi outdoor bathroom. They were closed for two years during the pandemic and recently re-opened. We were pretty happy with this place as well.

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    Breakfast was included. A fresh juice, coffee and entree of choice along with a buffet of breads, yogurt, granola and pastries. I surf dawn each morning and returned for a great breakfast.

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    My kiddos last jump of joy on Bingin. It is a trek to the beach. 165 steps down and back up - a German kid counted them for us.

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    Silver lining of a sick kid is date night. My 2nd favorite SE Asian beer.

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    Wife is rocking the fanny pack and helmet steeze.

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    I went a little more Mad Max style. Or Cali boy. We headed to Balangan for lunch. Super pretty beach, decent surf and a row of warung with tase and cheap lunches. The smoke in the background is a heap of spent coconut shells burning.




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    From one of my favorite surf check points. Looking down on Bingin, with Impossibles behind. Pandang Padang in the distance and the horizon is Ulu Watus. This a pretty small day, with Bingin almost flat.

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    Looking in the other direction to Dreamland. You can see a bunch of people just floating around in the channel. When there is swell, that zone is a huge shore break. Dreamland is two short reefs that break over a moderately deep reef and peel into deeper water. Great spot for intermediates, but it does get crowded with the surf schools.

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    Pool at the resort was pretty simple, but with only five bungalows on the property, you could always find a lounger to get sound she and read.

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    Our last moment in Bali we enjoyed some smoothies at Chestnut Tree - a bit hip, but the juice was still good.
    Last edited by Ottime; 11-08-2022 at 05:57 PM.

  11. #86
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    Back in SG and back to running errands and eating at hawker centers. Meal and beverage cost about $5 USD. Forgot what this dish is called but I’ll call it Noodles with Pork, Bean Curd and Black Vinegar Sauce. Super tasty yet again. Paired with a Soursop Dragonfruit juice. Got around to trying the soursop as suggested. Both straight and blended. Good stuff. Not sour. But I still keep going back to Avocado for the meal of it, or Sugarcane while hydrating.

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    While in Bali I got the idea I needed to buy myself a blender while sipping a banana and coconut water. Found a cheap one down around Buena Vista. I keeping popping out from behind a tree or high rise to catch a view of The Star, Need to find a reason to go inside there some day soon.

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    One of my hobbies while her win SG is to run an errand and find a Food Centre nearby to visit. Only grabbed myself a You Tiao (friend dough stick) here as it was still early for my lunch, but the place was hopping with both breakfast and lunch folks. Call it brunch hour. Walked the wet and dry market areas and found another good shop for cheap snacks and household items - Pringles, Ritter, Cadbury, Duracell - all things I was looking for.

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    Took my usual route home from this area, along the Singapore River to the CBD, and back up the Kallang. The view coming toward the CBD is always stunning.

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    Took this pic to show off the Pandam Shake. Pandam is basically a reed that grows regionally and its extract is a common ingredient and plenty of sweet and savory dishes. Chendol is a good example. I noticed myself in this pic, and can share that good bread is hard to come by here - a lot of it has sugar in it, even savory breads. Woodlands Sourdough has the best loaf I've found, at $8 a round. Tasty, but a tad bit moist. Bread Talk is a local chain and has a decent baguette for $3.80. I usually stop at the Junction 8 outlet on my way home from the south. You can see me holding my just purchased loaf while checking out the new Shake Shack opening nearby.

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    I bike about 15-16 KM to a market when I need to buy eggs. They are not only the best price, but the freshest eggs I've found yet on the island. While a bit of a trek to get, the eggs at the grocery are pretty crap and the eggs at closer markets are either pricier and/or not as fresh. There is also a great fruit market and snack store, as well as one of my favorite cheap and local food centre all in the same area. Marsling Lane Food and Market Centre - well off the tourist track. And the ride to get there is pretty nice.

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    The ride starts with a paved bike path along and rarely used road with jungle on either side. After a few KM, you ride on side walk along Upper Thomson, which is a busy road for about KM, and then ride Mandai Road for two, before hitting up another bike path for one more. You then ride about six kilometer on a bike path through the jungle with no roads nearby. It is a pretty sweet section. Then 3KM of path along side roads and the last half kilometer on city streets. Along the Mandai bike path you need to dodge gangs of monkeys for a couple hundred meters. Not sure why they congregate here, but every time I pass through you usually see at least a dozen, sometimes numbered in the 50-70 range.
    Last edited by Ottime; 11-22-2022 at 04:34 AM.

  12. #87
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    People's Park Food Centre is in Chinatown and is huge and not the largest market in Chinatown. I ended up here as market (and specific stalls) I had wanted to eat at ran out of food. That is one of the problems with the more well reviewed stalls. They get busy and you need to be there early if you want to be sure to get a piece. So visited a stall at People’s Park that is known for its dumplings. This was a “small” for about $2.90usd. Very tasty and more than I needed. Should have not bothered with the sliced fish soup, but being on my bike, I ate it all.

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    Yishun Park. Guess what. There is a hawkers center nearby. I made a loop from home to Chong Pang Market to Yishun Park Market to home. Great mushroom noodles at the first stop, yummy coconut charcoal pancakes at the second. Good PCN riding almost the entire way.

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    The park itself was pretty fun to ride. Hilly and jungle. Found a pretty fun looking ropes course but can’t find out anything online about it. Guess I need to bike back up there to get the details about when it is open.

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    Went back out on the MTB. For sure I’m getting better riding my Northrock XC27 clunker on the wet, muddy, rooty, rocky, slippery, off camber riding. Word is they are working on draining this section of trail. Hoping so, as it blocks perhaps my favorite section of the Bukit Timah loop.

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    This bike was clean about five miles earlier. Kind of glad I don’t have my proper bike out here with me. Can't imagine components last long in this place.

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    My wife asked if we could take her on a walk across the Southern Ridges. Took the Circle Line to Pasir Panjang and ate at the hawkers center right at the exit. Ate at the same stall as my last visit. Good stall but made that call because a lot was closed by 2pm on a Sunday. Crispy noodles with seafood egg sauce. Then off to Horst Park and toward the Alexandra Arch. This was supposed to be a pic of my family, but one closed their eyes and the other wanted to check out the Interlace.
    Last edited by Ottime; 11-22-2022 at 08:04 AM.

  13. #88
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    The Interlace from Alexandra Arch. This place can be so Vegas. The Arch is a bridge over Alexandra Road connecting Hort Park and Telok Blangah Hill Park. It connects directly onto the Forest Trail in TB Hill Park. The Forest Trail is an elevated metal walkway nearly a mile long through and just under the canopy. Back to the Vegas part - the Alexandra Arch has an LED light show every night after dark. It is pretty cool bridge in its own right, but offers one fo the best views of the Interlace - so designed such that your nosy neighbors can not look into your windows.

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    Reflections at Keppel Bay - this city is not shy on interesting architecture to catch your eye. You get a great view of these towers as you cross another bridge - Henderson Waves. I think one of the things that stands out for me with Reflections, is when you get closer and look at the surrounding buildings. It is down near a yacht dock and the rest of the residences have the look of Florida condos trying to excuse tropical charm, and these buildings defy and reach and bend toward the sky instead.


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    Sundays are busy out along the Southern Ridges but my kid still found some space to jump and run around as we crossed Henderson Waves. One day I hope to organize some of my pics and get them to be a little less random. Here I'm just posting as they happen, but the entire Southern Ridges area is a pretty worthy walk. Can't quite call it a hike, as you are nearly always on man made surfaces, but I imagine we climbed and descended about 500 plus vertical feet during our four plus miles. A little bit of exercise and plenty of views.


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    Faber Pointe is the highest point along the Southern Ridges. Near the lookout there is one of the seven official Murlions on the island. I know where one other is, but have decided to learn where and to find the other five in my time here. Just another something to get me out and exploring new places.
    Last edited by Ottime; 11-13-2022 at 06:19 AM.

  14. #89
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    Rain days are a dime a dozen, or more. November is the start of the rainier season. October over performed and it looks like November is doing the same. Has rained nearly every day since early September, and its has rained every day this month. I was running errands in the CBD (exchanging money for our trip to Penang next week) and stopped into Amoy Food Centre. After checking out the some odd 80 stalls on the ground floor, I noticed the sign stating "more stalls upstairs". It was hard to make a decision, but finally settled on Batang Fish Soup. Needless to say, there were plenty of other options, so I will be back. As soon as I finished my meal and started to head back to my bike, the sky opened up and a few centimeters began to fall. Mild rain, and I and still ride. Heavy rain was not the only issue. The wind was blowing the rain sideways, sending water 10-20 meters into the hawkers center. So I had to stick around.

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    Luckily the Brewlander Session IPA on tap at one of the stalls was tasty, and only $8. They even gave me a free portion of popcorn chicken to snack on while I waited for the worse of the storm to pass.

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    The good thing about the rain here, is it rarely last longer than an hour. I mean, sometime it rains and rains and rains. But mostly, it's brief. And then the light after the storm is stunning. North side of Marina Bay from the Durian to the Flyer. This section of riverfront is a regular ride for me, as it accesses the north-south PCN. This is one part of my life here I will miss when we return. Just cruising the waterfront near and around the CBD.

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    The Durian(s) or the Esplanade. These two domes house a 1600 seat concert hall and 2000 seat theatre. Just another performing arts center with some great curbside appeal. The durian effect is due to triangular sunshields over the glass domes.

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    Perhaps the most visited of the 7 sanctioned Merlions, just off the Esplanade Bridge. If you are wondering about the "sanctioned" part, the SG Tourism Board owns the right to the use of Merlion likeness. Yes, you read that correctly. You can not infringe on this right without their permission. Cause, ya know, you don't want too many random merlons running about.

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    The banking cluster. These reflective glass towers stand alone in the CBD, and most of them house the bigger banking interest in SG. We spent a few hours in the DBS building upon arrival to gain the right (well, my wife gained the right. I just get to use her rights with her permission as I'm only a Dependent Pass holder and have no rights of my own here) to open up a bank account. Everything is tracked here. I imagine these post may be tracked, and linked back to me.

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    Occasionally you get to see some really cool human shit here. These offerings were floated out onto the Kallang on my ride home. A couple lit the candles, and pushed them out onto the river, even in the light rain.

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    This is the Kallang River though Bishan - And Mo Kio Park just after the heavy rain. Typically the river is a bit more than a trickle through here, and is just a central channel about 3 meters wide. This is not the highest the water gets, but each month we have been here, I get to see a bigger and bigger river. Up until recently the river and flooding would receded drastically soon after the rain. Now, it is taking longer and longer to recede and not fully falling back into the central channel.
    Last edited by Ottime; 11-15-2022 at 09:24 PM.

  15. #90
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    The food scene here is insane. I typically grab lunch at one of the 116 National Environment Agency Food Centres, commonly known as Hawker's Centres. Some of these centers have just cooked food stalls, but most also house wet and dry markets. So far I've visited about 50. Many have reasonable names based on their location. Some have two names like the center closest to us - Sembawang Hill or Julan Leban - either works. Others are oddly specific, like this one pictured - "Ang Mo Kio Avenue 8 Block 724" I'll often research a center before visiting, to get an idea of where I might want to eat. But you can always just show up and look for a line. Ang Mo Kio Avenue 8 Block 724 is about a 7 minute bike ride from my home, has about 45 food stalls and my favorite juice stall on the island (they make a killer avocado & fresh coconut). Yunos has had a line every time I visited, so I finally got in it.

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    Yunos serves muslim Halal foods. I opted for the Gado Gado with Drumstick. Paired it with the mentioned Avocado Coconut Juice. It was certainly a good lunch.

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    Beauty World is a Food Centre on the top floor of a five story mall. It is near Bukit Timah Nature Park and the the only centre anywhere near my MTB rides. I've been there five times so far. Four times on rides, and once for dinner with the family. Lots of great options at this place and two stalls that sell craft beer. I've been visiting "economical rice" recently. Went for the big plate this day. $6 SGD.

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    The Bukit Timah Loop. All of the riding here is full on Jungle. I'm starting to get used to it a bit and am headed back out tomorrow. Weather permitting. Every ride has been wet, but I am trying to avoid being caught int he rain. On this day pictured, the sky opened up when I still had four miles left to the jungle. It was wet and sloppy on my exit. And my bike was absolutely coated in mud. The Bukit Timah Loop is fun enough. Would be more fun with a dropper post. The hardest sections are the wet, uneven rock garden climbs.
    Last edited by Ottime; 11-15-2022 at 09:22 PM.

  16. #91
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    Glad you got to try soursop! It's been almost 4 years since I've been to a region that grows it and I still crave it.

  17. #92
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    I’ve gotten it a few times. And have bought it at the market and juice it at home as well. My new blender gets used daily. Some times multiple times a day. Just made myself some banana dragonfruit coconut water for pre lunch snack. One of the things I’l miss about this place is the many options for inexpensive juice and blended drinks.

  18. #93
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    Back out riding Bukit Timah again. I'm starting to know the trail well enough to know when its suddenly going to get especially rugged and can plan for it. Also learning where to adjust my seat post and to what height - low, mid, high. I can pretty much ride the entire loop in mid, but then I need to take some of the more fun downhill sections slow so I don't get bucked. A lot of this area was quarry, and the old walls are pretty cool looking through the jungle.

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    The locals at the pump track are pretty surly - even more so than in Santa Cruz. These guys gave no shits if you wanted to pump.

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    The track itself is a pretty nice track with four distinct zones and a central bowl. You'd think these would pretty common in all the parks and public spaces across the island that already have a lot of paved surfaces. But, no. The only one I've found is in the jungle and and the middle of a "nature park"

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    I was kind of impressed that this tree was removed today, just 6 days after I took this pic. Trees fall over all the time in SG. The road our complex is along side has been closed twice due to felled trees. The storms can get pretty windy. Combined with super saturated soil, things fall. Every time I'm out biking, I come across at least one. Today it was so big, I had to turn around, as walking through the jungle is not advised. I spotted a Malaysian Blue Coral Snake on my ride today. It was shy and dipped back into the brush before I could take a pic, but those things have the largest venom glands in the snake world - so stepping into the brush can be a risk.

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    My after ride beer is an avocado shake. I lose so much water to sweat, that if I imbibe after a ride, I get dehydration headaches. I'm learning, but this is such a different place from home in so many different ways. Normally I'd reward myself with a pint or two of 7.5% hazy - that would kick my ass here.
    Last edited by Ottime; 11-17-2022 at 05:48 AM.

  19. #94
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    Along the Singapore River, headed in the opposite direction. Elgin Bridge at the end of North Bridge Road. NBR is a long road that connects several areas. Near where it crosses Jin Sultan there are several blocks of row houses worth walking around. Shops and lots of eateries. Behind the bridge you can see the Old Hill Police Station.

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    Helix Bridge, Marina Bay Sands, The Arts & Sciences Museum, and the banking cluster.

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    It rains a lot here. I was on my way home from buying cheese in Outram. It's about a 70 minute bike ride, when the rain started. I pulled over at first, hoping it was just a passing cell. When it lightened up, I started out again, to only duck for cover a few miles later. Mid way home the sky just opened up. Here I was crossing the PIE (Pan Island Expressway) and stopped to wring out my shirt, as the over pass is covered. I watched the cars driving the road for a bit. 30 minutes earlier this road was completely dry.

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    The Kallang River again. Deeper and wider. When I biked past this place a few hours earlier, the river was maybe 3 meters wide.

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    Got. my kid out on a tarmac ride Sunday to visit Chong Pang Food Centre. Xiang Xiang is renowned for their fish balls, and my kid, for some reason, loves fish balls. These are made with 100% yellow tail. Their entire dish was super tasty, but I don't understand why you need to do anything to yellow tail. It is fine the way nature made it.
    Last edited by Ottime; 11-17-2022 at 05:50 AM.

  20. #95
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    Aspen
    Posts
    3,116
    Love the TR and family adventure!

    Bali MTB: We rode some fun singletrack up high on the volcano, then a lot of rice paddy paths with these guys back in 2015. Definitely "bikers" and were passionate. Owner/lead guide had biked a bunch in the states and was super stoked - https://www.facebook.com/bali.rides

  21. #96
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    Cruzing
    Posts
    11,984
    ^^^that looks like it would be a blast. It was for sure too wet when we were there. The top of the volcano was encased in clouds the day we rode. So even if not too wet, white out conditions up high. The rice paddies we biked through were thick mud when you came off the pavers. But that would be a blast. The riding here in SG is character building for sure. Took a pick today of the trail armor - broken glass, bricks, glass bottles, plastic, broken ceramic. Good stuff.

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    We ate our lunch, and planned to bike to Yishan Park Hawker Center for dessert. They have great pancake place there. I like the charcoal pancake with coconut. My kid was thinking of Matcha with Oreo stuffing. And then Singapore happened. Its hard to capture just how hard it rains when it rains, but it was dumping.

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    So we grabbed a Chendol. Grated ice, Pandam rice jellies, coconut milk and gula malaka (palm sugar) syrup. Oddly yum.


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    Lower Seleter Reservoir. A portion of our ride is along the west shore of this body of water. These boats are used to scrap the algae that grows along, and just under the surface. They are out at work every day, in all the reservoirs. The algae grows so quickly in these conditions, SG has build square platforms that the algae can be deposited on until a barge comes through to remove it too somewhere.
    Last edited by Ottime; 11-17-2022 at 05:57 AM.

  22. #97
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Movin' On
    Posts
    3,766
    Quote Originally Posted by Ottime View Post
    I’ve gotten it a few times. And have bought it at the market and juice it at home as well. My new blender gets used daily. Some times multiple times a day. Just made myself some banana dragonfruit coconut water for pre lunch snack. One of the things I’l miss about this place is the many options for inexpensive juice and blended drinks.
    That sounds delicious. The wide variety and abundance of tropical fruit is one of my favorite things about SEA.

  23. #98
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    Cruzing
    Posts
    11,984
    Quote Originally Posted by emmaamelia View Post
    I am planning to go to Singapore next year after new year celebration
    Let me know if or your group want to hook up while here. I’m going to be off island and then busy with in-laws until about Jan 10th, but if you are around after an happy to tour around. Especially if interested in biking around and eating at centers. That is my specialty. Otherwise, if you have any questions about visiting, feel free to PM. I posted so stuff up thread that is worth looking at. SIM cards, Grab Ap, etc. enjoy your visit. This is for sure an interesting place

  24. #99
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    Cruzing
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    You Tiao is one of my favorite treats. Basically sticks of fried dough for about $.85 SGD. If you are feeling just a tad hungry out on a ride, pull into any hawker center and look for a stall frying them fresh. They are best hot, right out of oil.


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    Dried Scallop, Mushrooms nd Shredded Chicken Congee. Congee is basically a rice porridge. In fact, a lot of places just call it Porridge. Always a feeling meal. This one was particularly good. I'm also quite found of Sliced Fish Congee, usually with slices of fresh grouper.


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    This stall had the goods. Circuit Road Blk 79/79A is in Geylang along the PCN and has 108 stalls. There were plenty of good looking options in the two buildings that house the vendors. If that is not enough option, Circuit Road Blk 80 is across the road with 16 more and Blk 89 down the road with an additional 41. So many options in this small area, and Geylang is a great place to visit to check out the old Malay and Peranakan shophouse. I did not do that, as I was running errands (turns out I need a good chain brush to clean my mountain bike). But I will be back in the area to eat some more and visit the sights.


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    This sand is likely from Cambodia or Thailand. Indonesia and Malaysia have banned exporting sand, and that was a blow to the sand imports in Singapore. Singapore is very limited and size and and working to reclaim swamps, wasteland and territorial waters. Unfortunately, the sand needs to come from some where, and that somewhere usually needs its sand more than Singapore does, but the folks in charge of selling and making money off said sand usually live some where else.


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    On my ride from Geyland to Pasir Riis, just north of the Bedok Reservoir, I passed through this area on my way into Tampines. One hundred percent, 360 degree view of construction. That sand pile pictures is situated just west of this area and I'm betting it was used as s aging grounds for landfilling before construction. It boggles my mind the amount of building and units going up currently here. I wonder - where will all these people come from. From what I gather, the population growth rate here is low, although there was a rebound this past year with opening up after COVID. I just wish I arrived after all these new units were built so I ws not paying so much for rent here. Oh, well. Someone is making money and is happy about it.
    Last edited by Ottime; 11-21-2022 at 07:32 AM.

  25. #100
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    Cruzing
    Posts
    11,984
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    For some reason I can't get this pic in the previous post. Sri Sivan Temple in Geylang. A fairly large (for Singapore) and ornate Hindu temple. In the other direction was the industrial park I was headed toward to find a bike shop and buy some cheap gloves to replace the left hand glove I lost on my last MTB outing.


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    After running a few errands in the south, I decided to take the long way home and explore some 20 km of PCN I had yet to traverse. It eventually brought me through Pasir Ris Park in the north. Some of the best parts of the Park Connector Network is when you connect with the parks.


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    Loaded with trees and air plants. The park has a kilometers of bike path loops, waterways to kayak and a boardwalk through mangroves. This is not unique here, as there are no less than five coastal parks with similar details.




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    Palms. I need to look into the palm thing because the coastal parks are littered with them, but I don't see much of them elsewhere and none in the jungle. I'm guessing they are imported. But it does look like a tropical beach.

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    Back near home. This is the first section of my MTB ride. The first 6 miles are asphalt, but at least the first mile is on a PCN through the jungle. I really see a car on this stretch of Old Upper Thomson as it winds through the jungle. I also always see monkeys.


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    Here is the trail armoring at Chestnut Bike Park - manned by the National Parks. Bricks, plastic bottles, glass bottles, broken glass, broken ceramic, and other odd bits. I try to bike around the broken glass.


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    Typically section of trail winding through the jungle and crossing streams. I lost count of the number of waterways I had to cross on my 18 miles through the jungle. To get that mileage, I crisscrossed a lot on my tracks, so I might of just crossed two creeks many many different times. We are in inter-monsoon right now, and can't imagine how wet it is going to become once the monsoonal rains really come.


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    I loved biking through this section with all the roots and vines hanging fro the plants above. It was like biking through folds of a curtain.


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    You see a lot of these drainage culverts - like everywhere. But I found these along the jungle trails interesting. It is muddy as fuck, but it would be just unrideable without this drainage. But these things are literally all over the island. They have put in some serious work to keep this place from being a partial swamp. Or less so than it would have been.
    Last edited by Ottime; 11-22-2022 at 04:14 AM.

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