Browse Tag

aerial photography

Clouds rivers out to sea Phuket

Thailand: Flying to Chiang Mai; views from Doi Suthep

Date: 22nd November 2012

We had our hotel book us a van taxi to take us to Phuket airport. Our Air Asia flight was at 10:35am, and even though the van taxi had to pick up other passengers, we all got to the airport on time. We didn’t have breakfast, so the Dunkin Donuts at the departures area was where we stopped first after checking-in and collecting our boarding passes.

Air Asia Phuket flight interiors
It’s been a while since I flew Air Asia
Flying over Chiang Mai Thailand
There weren’t any delays and the flight left on time
Phuket tributary Thailand from sky
Goodbye sun and sand
Archipelago Phuket islands from sky
Quite an archipelago

Clouds rivers out to sea PhuketRivers out to sea Phuket aerial view

Clouds over hills Thailand
One and half hours later, we were flying over Chiang Mai province

We landed on time, and ready and waiting for our arrival was the driver assigned to pick us up from Chiang Mai international airport. The driver was courtesy of Rux Thai, the hotel we were staying at. Rux Thai is where I first stayed at when I came to Chiang Mai in 2009, and again when I returned in 2010. Needless to say, I booked at Rux Thai a third time after I e-mailed them and got a good deal (฿500 per night) for a twin room on the ground floor for three nights. Continue reading “Thailand: Flying to Chiang Mai; views from Doi Suthep” »

Udaipur city palace Rajasthan

Second trip to Rajasthan: Udaipur City Palace, Lake Palace

This is a continuation of a journey that began in Jodhpur. En route to the “City of Lakes,” we stopped at Ranakpur which is famed for its Jain temple.

Seth Anandji Kalyanji Pedhi Ranakpur temple Rajasthan
Sadly, by the time we arrived at the temple, it was pretty late in the evening
Ranakpur temple panorama
But we still went in
Seth Anandji Kalyanji Pedhi Ranakpur temple entrance
Even though I couldn't get any photos from inside, take my word for it - it's very impressive!
Jain Temple Ranakpur temple at night
The most impressive aspect of this temple is inside you will see over 1,400 beautifully sculpted marble pillars
Jain temple Ranakpur at night Rajasthan
But do get here by daytime
Udaipur fountain at night Rajasthan
We reached Udaipur at night and went to Sukhadia Circle
Udaipur street food stalls Rajasthan India
This roundabout is a popular hangout and famous for its street food. We had some pav bhajji and kulfis. Yummy indeed.

Continue reading “Second trip to Rajasthan: Udaipur City Palace, Lake Palace” »

Infinity pool view Marina bay sands hotel Singapore

Singapore: Day 4 – Marina Bay Sands Casino and views from the SkyPark observation deck

Date: September 22nd, 2011

Yesterday turned out to be better than I hoped. Today I was adamant to make it even better!

Geylang wet neighbourhood Singapore
UNfortunately, it was raining (Taken on my phone)
Singapore post park mrt station
Fortunately, the rain was reduced to a slight drizzle a few minutes later
Singapore Post headquarters building
I took a bus and got down near the Singapore Post building
Malay village Geylang Singapore
I was on my way to the Geylang Serai hawker centre & fresh market
Geylang Serai hawker centre market Singapore
I wanted to check out the food stalls
Geylang Serai fresh market Singapore
This market was recently renovated
Geylang Serai market stalls Singapore
So I didn’t really sense a “charm” to this place

Geylang Serai market meat shops SingaporeGeylang Serai fish market SingaporeGeylang Serai market fresh fish Singapore

Geylang Serai market fruits vegetable shops Singapore
I went upstairs to where the food stalls were
Geylang Serai market clothes Singapore
They have a few other stores too
Geylang Serai market history Singapore
This place is quite famous in Singapore — or at least it used to be in it’s original form
Geylang Serai hawker centre Singapore
I wondered what to eat
Malay biriyani stall Geylang Serai Singapore
This ‘baryani’ stall seemed fairly popular as they were dishing out hot plates is quick succession
Malay chicken biriyani Geylang Serai market Singapore
At $4 (Rs.160/$3/€2.4 ) a plate, the ‘bariyani’ was just about alright as far as taste went. Fairly similar to Hyderabadi biriyani in taste.

I shared my table with a local who began chatting with me after he asked me why I was taking photos of what I was going to eat. I told him about my website, and why I was taking many photos. He asked me whether I worked here, and I told him ‘no’. I gave him my brief life story and in the end, he complimented my English. He suggested I could try for a job in Singapore but all this while, my food was getting cold.

Sucks. The only reason I ordered the biriyani was because it looked piping hot as they served it. Most of the food served at these kind of stalls restaurants are rarely ever hot. They’re usually pre-cooked and served out of buffet trays as per order.

The local sat with me long after he finished his meal as he continued to make conversation with me. The only thing I asked him was “what other good hawker centres are there?” He told me a few, and I noted them down. I gave him the link to my website and we parted ways.

Post lunch, I headed straight to Funan IT mall to pick up my 70-200mm lens from John 3:16.

Maid cafe Funan IT mall Singapore
Fortunately my lens was fixed and I tested it by taking a few shots

They told me the Canon service center had to drill two holes on the filter and break the filter carefully so as not to touch the main lens glass. The lens was checked thoroughly and re-calibrated. Sadly, I had now lost my rather pricey HD filter, to which they said it’s not even required that I use those expensive filters, as even a standard UV filters would suffice. All said and done, the damage wasn’t over. The cost of all this repair: $130 (Rs. 5100!). I had no choice but to pay up. I was just glad to see my most expensive lens back in my bag in perfect working condition.

But when you’re unemployed and trying be very careful with your spending, losing $130 plus the $50 I spent day before yesterday at the clinic simply felt like unnecessary waste of money. Sigh…

Gaming world software store Funan IT mall Singapore
I prefer shopping at Funan IT mall over Sim Lim Square

Bally photo store soldier Funan IT mall Singapore

Nikon store John 3:16 Funan IT mall Singapore
The shops here are good and slightly more trustworthy
Central fire station building Singapore
Left Funan IT mall. This is the Central Fire Station bang opposite.
Ministry of Information Communications and Arts building Singapore
MICA building

The treasury building Singapore

Singapore parliament building junction
That’s the Singapore parliament
Funan IT mall building Singapore
I walked to City Hall MRT and headed towards Marina Bay
Marina Bay blue building construction Singapore
Marina Bay was still buzzing with construction activity

Citibank building Marina Bay SingaporeConstruction site safety warning SingaporeMarina Bay trucks construction siteBusiness lady Singapore Marina BayWay to Marina Bay Sands hotel Singapore

Singapore Marina Bay financial center buildings
Panorama comprised of 7 shots

Marina Bay Sands hotel wooden promenade Singapore

Marina bay city gallery Singapore
Decided to see what was in here
Inside Marina Bay city gallery Singapore
Inside were interactive displays showcasing Singapore’s development history
Singapore Marina Bay planning model
Specifically Marina Bay
Marina Bay model plan Singapore
Marina Bay was mostly developed by dredging and land reclamation
Singapore passing of land acquisition act
The Land Acquisition Act was passed in 1966
Singapore developing the city phase
The Merlion Statue at the mouth of Singapore River was installed in 1972
Singapore concept plan 1971
It was in 1971, with the help of the UN, that the first major infrastructure plan of Singapore was laid out
Review of Singapore masterplan 1980
They made some changes to the masterplan for Marina Bay in the early 1980s
Singapore masterplan 1998
It wasn’t until the mid 1990s that Singapore even thought about implementing a Common Service Tunnel, which would house piping and essential utilities. At least they did it. How many cities in Asia have such massive underground infrastructure?
Singapore masterplan 2003
In 2003, another draw-up of Marina Bay
Singapore infrastructure interactive display
If I had the time, I would have just sat there and read through it all
Marina bay future concept Singapore
I was really keen on learning about all this

Singapore Marina Bay gallerySingapore Marina Bay gallery display

Walter bunny art exhibit Singapore
This bunny is an art exhibit. He’s been spotted around Singapore.
Oue Bayfront building Marina Bay Singapore
Had to crop this tight for a closer look
Audi Ultra sail boat Singapore Marina Bay
Audi had this impressive boat, but it was for invited guests only
Singa lion mascot Singapore marina
Singa, the mascot for Singapore’s Happiness Movement. (Seriously).

Singapore Marina Bay Olympic walk

Marina Bay Sands walk mist cooler Singapore
They have placed these mist coolers to make the walk here more comfortable
Cool mist pipe Singapore Marina baywalk
But Singapore’s humidity being what it is, the mist had little cooling effect
Marina Bay financial centre Singapore panorama
One final panorama before going in

The Shoppes Marina bay sands Singapore

Salvatore Dali art exhibit Singapore Marina Bay
There was an exhibition of Salvador Dali’s work going on
Marina Bay Sands Shoppes Singapore
This was the mall
Marina bay sands shoppes mall Singapore
When I came here last year the mall was rather empty as Marina Bay Sands had just opened

Marina Bay Sands Shoppes Harley Davidson Ferrari Singapore

Marina Bay Sands shoppes fountain
The Shoppes has slowly started to fill up
Singapore Marina Bay Sands mall Venetian gondola boats
Marina Bay Sands Singapore is after all by same people behind The Venetian in Las Vegas

Singapore Marina Bay Sands mall Chanel Tiffany & CoElevated coffee bar Marina Bay Sands Singapore

Way to casino Singapore Marina Bay Sands
Enough of the mall. Time for the first thing on my to-do list – the casino!

I walked to towards the entrance, past the security and straight to the baggage counter. Last year when I came to Marina Bay Sands, I couldn’t enter the casino because I got wet in the rain and I was wearing shorts. There was a dress code and the casino was only open to foreign tourists. This time around, I came dressed in formal wear and now Singaporeans could enter — after paying a $100 entry fee (which is ridiculous!).

No bags are allowed, and more strictly – no photography… at all… not even using your mobile. Which sucked, because you should have seen how the casino looked! Man, the chandelier inside was huuuge! Hundreds of slot machines, and  other games with each one with scores of people playing.

I had never been to a casino before this, and had only seen them in Hollywood movies, so this was quite a revelation for me. I came with the intention of gambling a little bit, because hey, I didn’t have a job — so I thought I’d try my luck at winning some money! I even set aside a $100 just for this, but obviously I wasn’t going plonk it all down in one easy shot. Since I had never gambled before, I didn’t even know how to play most of the games. Slots was easy, pull a lever and hope you get match. Or at least that’s what I thought, because now, slot machines have gone digital — and they had way more buttons than a single lever.

You can play for as little as $1 and that made it easy for everyone to get in and begin. I converted $30 into chips/tokens and started with the Wheel of Fortune. Waged $10, placed my bets on a ‘x 10’ multiplier and a number. The lady spun the wheel and the needle stopped… at a number three stops after mine. Damn, there goes my first $10. The lady smiled and asked if I would want to try again. I thought, “Yeah, why not?” and put down another $10. She spun the wheel again, it stopped and she smiled again. I walked away after losing another $10. Sigh.

I then moved on to the slot machines and sat down at Queen slot machine. I played for $10, and ended up winning $17! I could have played for more but I decided to cash in my winnings and printed the receipt. Besides cards and tokens, the machines can use the same receipts to begin play. I had $17 with me and I started to wonder if my luck was improving. I walked past the roulette table and asked the attendant how the game worked. After he told how the game worked, I had to go and buy some more tokens as I obviously couldn’t place a receipt print on the table. So I got chips for $30 more.

I placed $10 as that was the minimum bet for this table (there were tables with $20 and $30 minimum bets too, larger payouts obviously). He spun the wheel in one direction and then the ball in the opposite direction. As the ball slowly lost momentum, it did the bounce  – just as in the movies. But in my present real world scenario, it finally dropped into a number I didn’t select. So I tried again, and believe it or not, the ball stopped at a number just one spot away from mine.

So another $20 lost. So much for my hopes of being on a winning streak. I just played the slots after that. I won, wagered my winnings and then lost it all. At the end of it all, I had spent $60 and not really won anything big. I decided to stop.

I had no regrets though. It was an experience I smiled through. Looking around, it’s amazing how many people (most of whom were Chinese tourists) were spending so much money and I could only imagine how much money the casino was making — daily! You would think playing for as little as $1 is simple, harmless fun. But as I experienced it myself, human greed is what makes gambling harmful. And it’s as though the casinos have figured how a gambler’s mind works. There is a science to gambling and it’s a good bet to assume, very few ever make it out of a casino with more than what they spent in the hopes of winning big. It’s fair to see why gambling, to this day, remains controversial and banned in many places. Just because I stopped after losing $60, doesn’t mean others will. I even saw labourers from the sub-continent playing, and imagine how much they make in a month here in Singapore.

That said, there were the high rollers too. Some Korean guy came to the roulette table I was playing at and just dumped chips worth $1000. $1000, just like that! And to think above the two floors I could walk around on, were private rooms meant for even bigger players. Now think of the kind of money they’re playing for!

In the end, this place was not for a middle-class guy who spent the last eight years working and trying to save up as much as possible. I left the casino and collected my camera bag from the counter.

If you’re a foreign passport holder in Singapore, I still recommend visiting the casino at the Marina Bay Sands, the place is really well done up. The chandelier alone is worth seeing, it’s one of the world’s largest and it really is impressive.

Patek Philippe Vacheron Constantin Singapore Marina Bay Sands
I made my way to the hotel towers

Elevator up to hotel Marina Bay Sands

Marina Bay sands hotel lobby Singapore
This is the lobby of Tower 3
Marina Bay Sands hotel reception
I walked towards Tower 1
Marina Bay Sands skypark ticket counter Singapore
Took a left and went downstairs to the ticket counter of the Sands SkyPark

When I came here last year, I made it all the way to the ticket counter, but only told be told that the SkyPark was closed due to rains that day. It rained earlier today as well, but fortunately the observation deck was open! I bought my ticket, which cost SG$20 (Rs. 800/$15/€12).

Marina Bay Sands Singapore modelSands SkyPark entrance Singapore

Inside elevator Marina Bay Sands skypark

On top Marina Bay Sands SkyPark Singapore
Here we go…
Marina Bay Sands Skypark first sight Singapore
The views from up here, are needless to say, awesome!
Gardens by the Bay construction panorama Singapore
The first thing you see is this – the Gardens by the Bay project (still under construction)
Gardens by the bay glasshouse Singapore
This Flower Dome will house plants and trees and re-create a Mediterranean climate
Supertree grove construction gardens by the bay Singapore
This is the Supertree Grove, another attraction part of the Gardens by the Bay

Gardens by the Bay Singapore aerial view

Singapore bay ships docked in sea panorama
This is how many ships are anchored outside Singapore Port…
Container ships waiting Singapore dock panorama
… and some more. It goes all the way like this until the port.
Singapore Marina Barrage reservoir ships sea
The Marina Barrage
Marina Barrage Singapore bay
It controls the flow of water in and out of the reservoir
Bay East garden Marina Bay Singapore
That’s the Bay East gardens
Singapore East coast aerial view
I guess that’s where East Coast beach is

Singapore flyer F1 circuit aerial viewSingapore Helix bridge aerial view

Floating stage zone 3 Singapore F1 circuit
The Zone 3 grandstand of the Singapore F1 circuit

View from Sands Skypark Marina Bay Singapore

Singapore Marina Bay skyline evening sky
I don’t think I’ll ever tire of this skyline
Singapore Marina Bay bank buildings panorama
Panorama comprised of 3 shots

Fullerton bay hotel Customs House Singapore

One Fullerton Hotel aerial view Singapore
The Fullerton Hotel & One Fullerton entertainment complex
Singapore Merlion park aerial view from Marina Bay Sands Skypark
The Merlion Park
Marina Bay Sands Arts Science museum Louis Vuitton
The Arts Science museum is one on the right
Louis Vuitton floating store Singapore Marina Bay
The Louis Vuitton ‘floating’ store
Avalon club Marina Bay Sands Singapore
I was disappointed to know the Avalon Club was down there since I had initially read it was up on the SkyPark
Boat ripple Marina Bay Singapore
But I was really happy I got my 70-200mm lens back
Marina Bay Sands convention centre mall roof Singapore
The Shoppes down below
Marina Bay financial center buildings panorama
You can tell the new from the old — by the use of glass mainly

Singapore city concrete skyline buildings

Singapore concrete jungle aerial view
Concrete jungle or what!
Singapore Padang grounds stage Esplanade Marina Bay aerial view
The lawn in the back is the Padang stage, where the big concerts this F1 weekend were going to happen
Esplanade theatres by the Bay aerial view Singapore
The Esplanade theatres glow at night — imagine the sight from up here!
Singapore boat Clarke Quay aerial view
Singapore river, passing through Boat and Clarke Quay
Singapore port view from Sands SkyPark
That’s Singapore port, in the back
Singapore port container cranes
One of the busiest ports in the world
Way to swimming pool Marina Bay Sands hotel Singapore
Okay, now time to check out the coolest attraction at the Marina Bay Sands Hotel
Infinity pool trees Marina Bay Sands hotel guests Singapore
The infinity swimming pool!
Infinity pool trees Marina Bay sands hotel Singapore
Quite possibly the most famous infinity pool in the world
Infinity pool access Marina Bay Sands hotel
The swimming pool is accessible to hotel guests only. Damn, so there goes my plan to just sit by the pool and have a drink.
Infinity pool view Marina bay sands hotel Singapore
How cool is this view!
Couple swimming infinity pool Singapore
Sigh, one day. One day I will definitely stay at this hotel.
Marina Bay Sands hotel kids playing infinity pool
And to those who think: “Oh my god, it looks so scary!”
Marina Bay Sands infinity pool walkway Singapore
Don’t be, it’s just an illusion. There’s no way you are going to fall over. I mean, you could try…

 Marina Bay Sands observation deck visitorsMarina Bay Sands skypark visitors Singapore

No access door infinity pool sands skypark
Access is for hotel staff only
Marina bay sands skydeck steps Singapore
Went back up to take one final look around

Roof top garden Singapore marina bay sands skypark
Marina bay sands hotel skypark sea view

Singapore Flyer east coast highway panorama
I had plans to even go on the Singapore Flyer
Singapore Flyer observation wheel panorama
A ride on this costs $29.50
Singapore Flyer view from Sands skypark
But look at the height difference!

I don’t mind checking out the Singapore Flyer now… but I decided to keep it for next time. If you had to choose between the two, I’d recommend the Sands SkyPark over the Flyer any day.

Singapore evening traffic jam aerial view
Evening traffic was starting to pile up, that too with the diversions due to F1 work
Container ships sea Singapore
Traffic, even at sea 🙂
Singapore building skyline hill distance
Wonder which hill that is in the background
High rise buildings concrete jungle Singapore from above
Took the last few shots, just to make sure I got every view possible
Residential apartments new construction Singapore
Wonder what they’re constructing over there
Singapore skypark observation deck Marina Bay Sands
It was 6pm, time for me to leave
Marina Bay Sands view from skydeck panorama
One final panorama
Mithun Divakaran Marina Bay Sands skypark Singapore
Got a picture of myself taken… (yeah, Mithun in formals, save it)
Marina Bay Sands sky park restaurant panorama
… and I left the SkyPark
Closed road Marina Bay Sands hotel Singapore F1
Mithun has left the building
Marina Bay Sands hotel and casino Singapore panorama
I tried to fix the distortion in this panorama as much as possible
Helix bridge Marina bay sands hotel Singapore
Planned to walk on the Helix Bridge next
Helix bridge during Formula 1 Singapore
The Helix Bridge is closed during F1 weekend as it’s one of the entry points to the circuit
Helix bridge Marina Bay Singapore
Still, people were walking on it, so I figured I could check it out until a certain point
Helix bridge Singapore evening
The Helix Bridge lights up, and looks even more impressive at night
Helix bridge Gate 10 Singapore F1
Pedestrians couldn’t go beyond a few metres from here as there was a private event taking place
Arts Science museum Marina Bay from Helix bridge Singapore
So I walked back

Marina Bay river cruise Helix bridge Singapore

Singapore river cruise Marina Bay station
You can take the river cruise from here too

Steps to Arts Science museum Singapore Marina bay

ArtsScience museum Marina Bay Singapore
The design of the ArtsScience museum is inspired from a lotus flower
Salvador Dali melting clock display museum Singapore
The signature melting clock artwork of Salvador Dali
ArtsScience museum Singapore
There’s an entry ticket here too

Singapore ArtsScience museum logo water reflection

Marina Bay Sands ice skating rink panorama
Went back into the mall for some air-conditioning (Panorama comprised of 5 shots)

Marina Bay Sands Shoppes panorama

Empty stores Marina Bay Sands shoppes Singapore
I guess there’s still more leasable space left
Marina Bay Sands shoppes mall interior
‘The Lion King’ was in town
Singapore marina bay arts Science pool
What was that?
Singapore Arts Science space in pool
Clever design
Rectangle gap in pool Arts Science Singapore
Pretty cool none the less

Arts Science museum Dali exhibition SingaporeSingapore Marina Bay waterfrontMarina Bay Sands hotel casino Singapore

Marina Bay buildings Singapore
Again, I keep photographing this skyline

Louis Vuitton floating store Marina Bay Singapore

Marina Bay Louis Vuitton customers Singapore
Felt like stepping in, just to see what the store looked like from the inside. Not like I could afford anything in there anyway.

Steps Marina bay SingaporeMarina Bay Sands shoppes wedding shoot Singapore

Singapore Marina Bay Sands hotel panorama
Panorama comprised of 6 shots
Avalon club Marina Bay Sands Singapore evening
Avalon Club
Avalon Club Marina Bay Sands Singapore
Sunday night – The Chemical Brothers, it’s going to be one heck of a Sunday for me!
Hippo River Cruise station Marina Bay
Hippo River Cruise is another boat tour company
Marina Towers blue glass Audi boat Singapore
Panorama comprised of 5 shots
Audi sailing boat Singapore dock Marina Bay
Pretty impressive sail boat
Wedding photograph Marina Bay Singapore
I guess a lot of wedding shoots happen at Marina Bay
Marina Bay solar panels jogging park
Instead of taking the MRT, I decided to walk around the bay area a bit more
Marina Bay link Singapore
I guess this connects you straight to the MRT station
Customs House Marina bay Singapore
A lot of choice for the bankers in the area to hang out after work

Skyscraper Marina Bay SingaporeMarina Bay traffic signal people tree SingaporeMarina Bay junction road office buildings SingaporeI walked to Raffles Place MRT and boarded the train from there. Got down at Bugis, simply because I felt like walking through the area I first saw when I visited Singapore last year.

Bugis Junction mall Singapore
Did a bit of mall hopping
Bugis street shopping market Singapore
Walked through the Bugis Street Shopping market, where they had recently opened an upper level
Bugis Chinese market statue Singapore
After doing a bit of shopping at Bugis Street, I walked around the adjoining Chinese market

Fu Lu Shou complex Bugis SingaporeAlbert centre Bugis Singapore

Bugis apartment complex shops building Singapore
I somehow just enjoy walking and soaking up the local life, even if it isn’t always buzzing
Raffles hospital junction Singapore at night
The junction at Raffles Hospital
Kampong glam at night Singapore
I walked to Kampong Glam (the ‘Arab area’), which is where I stayed last year
Singapore Zam Zam deer meat biriyani Kampong Glam
Deer meat. As weird as it sounds… I felt the temptation to try it.
Grand Sultan Mosque at night Singapore
The Grand Sultan Mosque

Grand Sultan mosque Kampong Glam alley SingaporeAlsacoff Arab school Kampong Glam SingaporeKampong Glam area at night Singapore

Victoria street traffic signal Singapore
I decided to walk to Victoria MRT

Victoria street apartments at night SingaporeTall apartment at night Singapore

Wendy's Victoria street Singapore
Spotted a Wendy’s across the road, knew right away what I wanted for dinner.

Had a shrimp burger meal from Wendy’s, one of my favourites from the chain. Also picked up some donuts from a local bakery in the same block and then took the MRT back to Aljunied.

Today was a good day. I was really happy with the photographs I clicked, though I do wish I got a bit of sunshine, which seems to be something of a rarity in Singapore.

Tomorrow begins the first of my three day F1 weekend.

Next posts in this series:

Singapore 2011: Day 5 – Chinatown, F1 Friday (Charice, Seungri and GD&TOP concerts)

Singapore 2011: Day 6 – F1 Saturday (Rick Astley, Shakira and Shaggy concerts)

Singapore 2011: Day 7 – Little India, F1 Sunday race, Linkin Park concert and Avalon Club

Leaving Singapore, and discovering certain truths about this famous city state

Previous posts in this series:

Singapore 2011: Day 3 – Bukit Timah and Singapore Botanic Gardens

Singapore 2011: Day 2 – Jurong Bird Park and… *ouch!*

Singapore 2011: Day 1 – Landing a second time; walking around CBD

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