Welcome to Jamaican in China!

Can a single, minimalist, vegan, Jamaican author and nomadpreneur escape the rat race, reinvent his life, live true to himself, find love, happiness, organic food, but more importantly, an apartment with a kitchen, sunshine and a wi-fi connection in China without paying the ultimate price….the foreigner’s price?

Where is Walt? The photo below shows where I am!

Walt F.J. Goodridge is Jamaican in China Welcome to the blog scroll down to view latest post

spacerI am on Saipan!

Recent locations:
jamaican in china logoChina! Saipan! Laos! Singapore!
New York! Kingston! Virgin Islands! Pagan!

Learn MY secret for achieving the freedom to ESCAPE!

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You won’t believe what just happened at NMC!

BREAKING NEWS! On Tuesday, July 22, 2014, between 11:30am and 1pm, a group of about a dozen culinary adventurers transformed the Northern Marianas College (NMC) Boardroom into Vegetarian Central Station!

Yes, it’s true! It was an event conceived and spearheaded by Lisa Hacskaylo, long time Saipan resident, currently working with the Office of Institutional Effectiveness at the college. With the support of NMC Radiant (a newly formed group focused on improving the health and wellness of everyone at NMC) and The Spirit Squad (A group of employees who lead activities that promote camaraderie and team spirit!), whose members contributed to purchase the food and supplies, I was invited to do a brief, healthy cooking demonstration for folks looking to lose weight, have more energy and simply eat healthier!

The day before the event, we went shopping around island (Joeten, I Luv Saipan, 99 Cents Store, Sunleader, San Jose Mart and Payless) for all the ingredients–from coconut oil to dried mushrooms to broccoli, Terra Chips (and, Lara bars, of course) and much more! Locally-grown avocados for my magic coleslaw provided courtesy of group members.

In attendance at this groundbreaking event was a mix of administrators, staff, and faculty from all over the campus.

The event was a success, and as difficult as it may be to believe, 11 people were fed (albeit small portions) and not a single animal was harmed in the process!

THIS JUST IN: Word’s getting around, and according to feedback I just received from Lisa: “The NMC Breakpoint Cafe (snack bar) is now going to offer brown rice and a vegetarian stir fry dish prepared with coconut oil as a lunch option once a week–every Wednesday. Yipee! It’s a HUGE start!”

Stay tuned for more!
(Yep, I think I’m getting better at writing compelling headlines! Made you look!)


Lisa kicks things off with a welcome and introduction


Healthy shopping tips, products and dishes!


…And not a single animal was harmed during the preparation of this meal


left to right: Christopher Morabe, Amanda Allen, Ivyanne Ealy, Ni Deleon Guerrero, Frankie Eliptico, Jacqueline Che, Lisa Hacskaylo, Velma Deleon Guerrero, and the Jamaican vegan on Saipan. (Not shown: Floyd Masga and Jack Kiyoshi.)

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What you can get for $20 on Saipan!

“What’s the cost of living on Saipan?” “Can I survive on my $700/month SSI?” I get questions like that a lot on my www.saipanliving.com website. So, as a public service for those seeking to relocate here, here’s what you can get for $20 on Saipan, Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, as of Saturday, July 12, 2014.

cost of living on saipan
1 pineapple ($2.60)
1 watermelon ($4.50; ~7lb @ 0.65/lb)
1 pack peppers (1.00; 24count)
bananas (0.75; small bunch)
1 papaya (2.00)
guavas (1.60)
avocados (1.50)
sweetsop (2.00; plate of 6)
soursop (1.00)
mangos (1.00; bag of 5)
dry coconut (1.00)
Total: 18.95

…purchased at the Sabalu Market* on Saipan! (*every Saturday from 6am to noon next to World Resort/Hanwha Hotel and Naked Fish Restaurant). If you hurry you can still catch it!

Narcisim Alert:
That list also answers another frequent question I get: “What on earth do you eat, then, you crazy vegan nutjob?” Well, for the past 44 days I’ve been doing a completely raw food diet; nothing fried, poached, steamed, boiled, baked, or barbecued. Simply fruits and vegetables (including sprouted lentils). Except for coconut water, lara bars, Terra chips, and my “Jamaican-Superman-please-stop-I-can’t-take it anymore” Coleslaw (top secret, but if you ask nicely, I’ll share it) that list is pretty much all that I eat. That purchase should be completely consumed by about Tuesday–just in time for the Tuesday Market in Garapan!

If you’ve ever wondered what you’d look like if you ate completely raw for 44 days after being completely vegan since 1992, here’s a sample (your mileage may vary):
vegan on saipan
Vegan nomad eats raw; Fries brain with cell phone

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Jamaican on Pagan: First Farewell!

On the final day of the Pagan adventure, we pack our gear and say our goodbyes…



JR, Ern (boat captain) and Sandy share a few laughs

 

We head north up the west coast of the island and circle

down the east side…

passing the southern end of the island



Pagan in the mist

 

The dolphins gave a brief send off as flying fish also escorted us on our way!

 

 



Dolphin and flying fish send off!

 



Final look at  Pagan

 

As I take my final look at the amazing island of Pagan and settle in for the 18-hour sail back to Saipan, I know there is more to come. There's much of the island I didn't get to see and experience. There's more of the history of the island, the story of the 1981 volcanic eruption, the lives of the displaced residents, the story of the resettlement efforts, the US Navy's plans for using the island for war games as well as more of the lifestyle and ecosystems on the island! So much more, in fact, that I've vowed to return to help tell the story in its entirety. There are still interviews and photos I haven't blogged about, as well as the unique contribution of a Saipan resident and well-wisher (Atty. Joe Hill) to the island's new era of ecotourism! All this and more shall be told over the next few months here on this blog as well as in other media, including, perhaps…wait for it….wait for it…a book! (You knew it was bound to happen!) Stay tuned!

 

 



"…to boldly go where no Jamaican has gone before!"

[Bob Marley painting by Analee Camacho Villagomez]
More to come? 

 

NOTE ABOUT THE FLIES: Before I embarked on my Pagan adventure, people on Saipan were warning me: "I hope you like flies!" "Watch out for the centipedes!" As a result I bought a special hat with netting and high-top sneakers in preparation.

 

Well, I can now report that–for whatever reason–there are no flies on Pagan! Of course, if you chop up freshly-killed boar and cow, or prepare a meal out in the open on any tropical island, they'll come uninvited. However, the great infestation that people have associated with Pagan (co-captain Waki told me that the last time he took the trip, "As far as three miles out at sea, the ship was still covered with flies!")–that level–at least as of April 2014–is no more! It is now the stuff of legend!

 

And while one fellow did get bitten by a centipede while I was there, I personally only saw ONE centipede the entire time I was there! (and that one was in a crate, caught by someone who wanted to show me how big they grew!)

So, pack your bags, leave your fly fears and centipede cautions behind and take a trip to Pagan!

 

Make sure you didn't miss any of the adventure: Visit Jamaican In China! and check out the China, Singapore, Laos and St. Thomas adventures if you missed them!

 

Discover about the military's plans for the island at

SAVEPAGANISLAND.ORG

 

Learn more about Chamorro people and culture at

CHAMORRO.COM

 

Book your own adventure to Pagan at

DISCOVERPAGAN.COM

 

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Jamaican on Pagan DAY 4: Dolphins and such


Jamaican on Pagan DAY 4: Dolphins and such
 

By day four and five of my adventure on Pagan, I've got my routine down. I get up before sunrise and head to the north bay. Sandy had told me there's something to watch every day about 7:00am.

 

While I wait, I take care of a few things…

 

Shave and shampoo on the north bay

 

Take a run on the beach…

 

Jamaican on the black sands of Pagan island

Click here to see video |

 

Then, sure enough, like clockwork, at 7:00am, a school of dolphins arrives at the north bay for some frolicking!

 

Dolphin pirouette off the coast of Pagan

Click here to see it in video

 

Later, I head back to the boat to take a real shower!

 

back to Pagan…

 

 

 

Hang out with and interview 60% of the current population of the island…

 

Me and the boys! JR, Tyron and Jun

 

 

Take in more of the island…

 

Japanese monument erected during the 1970s

 

 

Take a walk through the woods

 

 

 

If it all gets too exciting, I take a break in my budget accommodations on Pagan….

 

and wait for yet another calming Pacific sunset….

 

Sunset on Pagan

 

Tomorrow, we head back to Saipan!

 

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Jamaican on Pagan DAY 3: Meet the Pioneers

PAGAN IS NOT UNINHABITED. There are people on Pagan!

 

According to Wikipedia:

"Pagan is a volcanic island in the Mariana Islands archipelago in the Pacific Ocean, belonging to the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands. Formerly inhabited, the inhabitants were evacuated due to volcanic eruptions in 1981."
 

True, but what the current conventional wisdom doesn't tell you is that some people have moved back to the island! The resettlement has begun!

 

Pagan is not "uninhabited. There are people on Pagan.

 

There are people hunting, farming, making crafts, playing music, living and enjoying the life of their ancestors…There are people who have dreams of a life for their children and with plans to raise them close to the land and culture.

 

Pagan is not "uninhabited. There are people on Pagan.

I've been to the island. I've met those people….and now you will too:

 

Here is a brief interview I conducted with the 5 residents of Pagan explaining who they are and why they've chosen to start new lives on this remote island:

If youtube not available in your country, click here
 

Yes, there are people on Pagan. There are people hunting, farming, making crafts, playing music, living and enjoying the life of their ancestors, dreaming of a life for their children…and listening to Bob Marley on their ipods!

 

It's always been a cool thing–as a Jamaican nomad–to arrive in Hawaii, Saipan, Pohnpei, Guam and pretty much the world over to discover that Reggae music–Jamaica's signature gift to the world–is enjoyed by millions thousands of miles away from the little island on which it originated.  So, while it wasn't a surprise, it was still a pleasant reminder of that reality when I entered a home on a remote island in the middle of the Pacific, and was greeted by a huge painting of Bob Marley, Jamaica's prime musical ambassador. Yes, it seems another Jamaican has beaten me here to Pagan!

 
Jun (left) shows off his spondylus shells while Tyron tunes his guitar

 

Here's a video of the pioneers taking a musical interlude

If youtube not available in your country, click here
Tyron plays guitar, Jun (Daniel) provides backing vocals and JR (Herman) looks on while Bob Marley watches over a summer afternoon musical interlude on the island of Pagan. 
 

Yes, there are people on Pagan.

 

EDUCATIONAL INTERLUDE:

Pagan = 18.53 square miles in size
Manhattan = 33.77 square miles in size
Saipan= 44.55 square miles in size
 

 

What's it like to be the five people living on an island half the size of Manhattan? What do you do all day? Well, for one thing, you've got to eat. 

 

In this video, Jun (Daniel) demonstrates an easy-to-follow, step-by-step method for getting and preparing coconuts on the island of Pagan!

If youtube not available in your country, click here
 
Yes, there's a lot to do….


…enjoy the view..



enjoy the view some more

 



…ponder the insanity of civilization…"I want to live a natural life with no need for money."–JR



…Go hunting with the dogs



Relax in Paradise

 



Welcome visiting Jamaicans…

Chamorros, Champinos, Palauans and Jamaicans on Pagan

[Bob Marley painting by Analee Camacho Villagomez]



Enjoy the sunset on Pagan

 

 

And thus ends my third day on the island of Pagan!

 

Learn more about Chamorro people and culture at

http://www.chamorro.com

 

Learn about the threats to the pristine beauty and life on this island at http://www.savepaganisland.org

 

 

Support the alternative: sign up for a unique "Ecotourism Instead" adventure to Pagan at http://www.DiscoverPagan.com
 

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Jamaican on Pagan Day 2: In the name of Jamaica!

DAY 2: In the name of Jamaica!

 

What if Chuck Noland were Jamaican?  I think abut these things. Remember the movie Castaway starring Tom Hanks as Fedex employee, Chuck Noland? His plane crashes off a deserted island in the middle of nowhere and Chuck, as the lone survivor, has to figure out how to stay alive. Great movie. Well, what if the same fate befell a Jamaican castaway? How would the story be different?

 

Tom Hanks as Chuck Noland in Castaway

 

Well, for one, our Jamaican castaway would already know how to open a coconut, so that wouldn't be a major challenge to survival. Two, his best friend would probably be a soccer ball rather than a volley ball if he had his way.  



I can see it now! Walt Goodridge as Dexter Style in "Jamaican Castaway on Pag-an" coming soon to a theatre near you!

 

In any case, I'll leave you to ponder those possibilities (please contact me for the movie rights) while I continue with my real life adventure! 

Yes, I am now Jamaican on Pag-an! (standing on the black sand of the north bay)

 

 

On my first full day on Pag-an, I meet Sandy, better known as the chief of Pag-an! I'll share more about him and the four other residents of the island a bit later. For now, Sandy was nice enough to welcome me to the island and give me a brief tour..

 

Sandy, the chief of Pag-an

 

First stop: a high point in plain sight from which to plant the Jamaican flag and claim this island in the name of the people of Jamaica!! This one is for the record books! Walt Goodridge is the first Jamaican to set foot on the Pacific island of Pag-an! That's my story and I'm sticking with it!

Jamaica claims Pagan!

 

 

Let the ecotourism begin! Bring your own flag and discover Pag-an for yourself! 

 

Next, a few historical sites. Until I started doing WWII tours of Saipan and Guam, I had no idea how widespread the Pacific conflict had been. It touched practically every island in Micronesia. Most of these islands were occupied by the Japanese at that time. Here on Pag-an, too, there were once at least 8,000 Japanese and about 300 indigenous I'm told.

Japanese "Zero" a crashed fighter plane on Pag-an

 

The black rock is cooled lava. When the volcano on Pag-an erupted in 1980, this is where the flow stopped, just a few feet from this WWII relic

 

70 years later, huge craters from the aerial bombing of the island still remain.

 

Sidebar: While we were there, a helicopter arrived with a member a team of researchers monitoring the seismic activity of the volcano.

 

Well, we've been here for a while now. Curious to meet the 5 residents of the island of Pag-an? Want to know what modern-day pioneer life is like on a little island in the middle of the Pacific?  Let's approach their homes…

Well, actually, let's wait until tomorrow for that!! Stay tuned!

 

NEXT! DAY 3: WHAT??? Another Jamaican?????

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Jamaican on….wait for it…wait for it….PAGAN!

DAY 1: The Cure for Seasickness
Riza, Harald, Wayne and Ken all gave great advice and tips for combatting seasickness. However, the best advice so far was from Gus:

"hey Walt, Marijuana could probably help.  Unfortunately, it's not legal. Whenever you feel nauseous, it's best to lay flat on your back.  It also helps to grab some fresh air at a spot where you don't have to smell the diesel fuel/engine's exhaust.  Eat hours before your departure and try to relax during the voyage. Enjoy. gus :D"
 

So, I took his advice, got some weed, and, um—just kidding! The advice that worked for me was to simply lie on my back whenever I felt a little nauseous. Fortunately, I didn't have to use that tip until halfway through the 18-hour boat ride to the island of Pagan!

 

That's right! At this very moment, I'm Jamaican my way on the high seas to the remote, pristine Northern Island of Pagan!

Pronounced: PAG-an. (Emphasis on the PAG)

NOTE: If pronounced correctly, Pagan rhymes with wagon and dragon. I'm going to exercise a little creative license and write it as PAG-an from now on to help with your pronunciation even as you read silently to yourself.

 

Pagan is often called the "crown jewel" of the Marianas!

It is one of the most biologically and geologically diverse islands  in the archipelago, and is home to many threatened and endangered species, some of which are found nowhere else in the world. 

 

I've left my laptop behind in safe hands and I'm off to experience what the Tom Hanks character in the movie, Castaway, experienced, being way out on a small island in the middle of nowhere with just my wits for survival! (Well, in this case, I'll get by with a little help from my friends, but you get the idea!)

 

We pulled out at 10pm

Boat owner, Keli, gives us a quick orientation

 

It's a beautiful night as we pull out from Saipan harbor

 

 

By 5:30am the next morning, we pass Anatahan, another of the islands of the Northern Mariana Islands

 

I have, of course, left out the tossing and the bucking and puking! Actually, it wasn't a bad trip. Once I heaved out the small amount of liquid that had accumulated in my stomach overnight, I felt much better! (That's my cure for seasickness!)

 

The morning of the journey, I did a saltwater flush to complete clear my stomach and colon (ask me if you don't know what that is). It's something I typically do before every journey. In this case, I figured that I'd get less seasick with a completely empty system. It seems to have worked.

 

18 hours later, we arrive at PAG-an at about 4pm in the afternoon

 

I hadn't planned on eating during this short two day journey. I figured I'd simply fast for the duration. However, I changed my mind and whipped out my just-in-case bag of lentils and made myself a simple soup before the other crew members started their cooking.

 

We made several trips to unload gear and personal items aboard a 15-foot speedboat.

 

 After spending 18 hours aboard the boat, I actually felt a twinge of sadness upon leaving to start the adventure on PAG-an!

 

 

 We set up tents and call it a night!

 

 

NEXT! DAY 2: Claiming the island in the name of Jamaica!!

 

 

Meanwhile, 

 

Learn more about PAG-an and the military's plans for bombing it at

http://www.savepaganisland.org/

 
Get more information about actually visiting PAG-an as an eco-tourism destination at

http://www.discoverpagan.com

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Transportation!

Next item on the checklist: Transportation!

Okay. Let’s do something different this time! I’ve done Canada by car, Laos by bus, China by plane… What’s next? I know, let’s do the boat thing!

Uh-oh, waitaminit!! Last time I did Tinian by ferry back in 2007, I started to get nauseous, but I’m willing to give it another adventurous Jamaican try! In the spirit of the great Jamaican explorers of past and present, I will explore strange new worlds, seek out new life and new civilizations; boldly go where NO JAMAICAN HAS GONE BEFORE!!! Um, sorry…got a little carried away there. Ahem.

So, where to find a boat? Hmmmm. Well, I’m on a little island in the middle of the Pacific. Shouldn’t be too hard!

Voila! a boat:


Inspecting the boat with a few curious passengers




Discussing logistics with the owner and captain

Cool! Cool! Cool! Seems like I’m all set. I’ve got my tent. I’ve got my boat. Packed a few things of tremendous importance (i.e. Lara bars), and I’m almost ready to push on through!

The only question that remains: Where on earth is this nomadpreneuring, minimalist, vegan Jamaican heading this time???? Patience, my dear friend. Patience. Stay tuned!

Walt

 p.s. If you know of any NATURAL anti-seasickness remedies or advice (no drugs, no patches), please let me know (just hit reply)

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Somewhere’s calling!

Note for folks on Saipan: For a split second a few days ago, I  thought to myself "Ruth is going to enjoy these new emails!" Then I quickly remembered that my late friend, Ruth Tighe now has a much wider vantage point from which to enjoy this adventure, and so I dedicate this new adventure to her! (Her email comments throughout my last 6-month adventure in China have been immortalized in the book Guess Who's Coming to Dim Sum: The Jamaican in China; full color pdf download; Also available in Paperback on Amazon!)

 

Jamaican's Log: April 1, 2014

 

Yes, it's time for a new "Jamaican in Somewhere" adventure! I've been to Jamaica, the US, Canada, Mexico, China, Singapore, Laos, Virgin Islands, Saipan, Guam, Tinian….but where next? This is a critical question, you see, because I've got to  fulfill the United Nations mandate that requires there be at least one Jamaican on every land mass in the world…at all times!

 

Somwhere is calling!

 

First, however, I must prepare. First stop: Fishing Tackle and Sporting Goods on Beach Road here on Saipan!  Checklist item #1: sleeping tent! If I should ever be without accommodations like I almost was when I was homeless on Hainan, I'll have a "Plan B!"

 

I chose the size that fits two people (hey, you never know if I might have to entertain a tent guest!)

 
Dan the man at Fishing Tackle shows me how to set it up!
It's easy once you know how!
 

Yep! That'll work! Hmmm…Now, what's next on my pre-adventure checklist? Transportation! Stay tuned! 

 
 

You don't want to miss this one!

 
Walt

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Food heaven’z now on Saipan!

Ever since my escape from America in 2006, and since arriving on Saipan and launching my nomad travels, I’ve had a few milestone culinary experiences that stand out in my mind.

The first was finding a box of healthy, wheat-free, dairy-free cookies amid the sugar-laden treats at Joeten supermarket. Second, was discovering that the Payless supermarkets on Guam carried a range of health-food items including Ezekiel bread! (That was a game changer) which led to me having the good folks at Joeten order it for me here (as chronicled in the Bestseller bestseller Jamaican on Saipan, now available at Bestseller bookstore next to Joeten)

The third–which was actually in China–was discovering a vegan restaurant in Beijing during my first few days of being Jamaican in China! (as chronicled in Guess Who’s Coming to Dim Sum: Jamaican in China)

Fourth, was discovering the vegetarian paradise of Singapore!

Well, now, with Lara bars, Terra chips and soy yogurt available here on Saipan to satisfy my decadent packaged-food cravings, I’ve been content to continue preparing my own natural meals–whether in coffeepots or woks–as I’ve done for years.


Perhaps one of the last meals I’ll prepare for myself!

I’ll share a secret: The fact is, I’ve never actually eaten at a restaurant on Saipan. Well, actually, a few years I did have a meal at the now defunct Magic Lamp Restaurant because Victor and Linda were aware of the style and requirements of my daily diet and prepared something special that was not on the menu. Well that, my friends, may be about to change.

A few days ago, I discovered something that left me speechless! After returning from a two-year detour in New York, I discovered (thanks to my friend, Joe Hill) that Saipan has made a significant change. This change, I tell you, this newest milestone in culinary and dining experiences on Saipan may trump all others combined! Are you ready? Wait for it now.

A few days ago, during day 6 of my water fast, I discovered TROPICAL BLENDZ!!! That’s right! Tropical Blendz Restaurant/Juice bar on Middle Road. From the brief conversation I had with partner, Svetlana, they’ve been on island for about a year, opening up while I was gone.


Svetlana and me

So, what’s so special about a little juice bar cafe on Middle Road?” you ask.

Well, I’ll tell you!

This is not just any juice bar/health food cafe. They’ve got fresh juices using local fruits, protein and fruit smoothies with spirulina, moringa powder (malunggay), maca and other superfood names I never thought I’d hear anyone else utter here on Saipan! But that’s not all! They’ve got meals–veggie burgers, salads, soups, wraps and more! They’ve got desserts–wheat free, dairy-free, raw desserts! My heavens, I think I’m in heaven!! If I weren’t in the middle of a fast at the time, I would have purchased just about everything on the menu! Heck, I might be camping outside the door every night waiting for them to open up the next morning!

Svetlana, herself, is a raw foodist, so she understands the lifestyle of fanatic vegans like myself, and even takes it a few steps further by advocating enzyme-rich, uncooked, raw food for sustenance! Finally, (as a tear rolls down my cheek), someone who understands me!

This is the sort of establishment I’ve always wanted to see on Saipan. It’s the sort of restaurant I would open and run myself if I weren’t addicted to my nomadpreneur lifestyle running around Asia! I’d rather support them and share the news and encourage you to pay them a visit. Tropical Blendz is across Middle Road from Sugar King Park (the same street (Gold’s Gym and the park are on the east side of Middle Road, and Tropical Blendz is o on the west side)


The view from the inside


The view from the outside

Wow! All this excitement and I haven’t even eaten there yet! But that, too is about to change. Now that I’m going into Day 10 of my fast, and will probably start transitioning back to solid food over the next several days, I’m looking forward to writing another post about specific dishes! Get your cameras ready! If you stop by and see me there, you’ll get one of the only photos of me actually sitting and eating at a restaurant on Saipan! Stay tuned! More to come!

Contact Tropical Blendz at (670) 233-8809 or by email at tropicalblendzsaipan@gmail.com. Monday to Saturday 9-6pm; Closed on Sundays. Tell them Walt sent you!

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