Odessa Local Customs

  • Local Customs
    by arturowan
  • Local Customs
    by arturowan
  • Local Customs
    by arturowan

Best Rated Local Customs in Odessa

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    WATCH YOUR FEET!

    by arturowan Updated Nov 7, 2013

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    The new Ukraine might like to believe it is up to par with western Europe, but 1 area where the standards are lamentably Third World, is the condition of pavements & roads - potholes in this country, night be regarded as crevasses in the west...
    0dessa suffers worse than maybe any other Ukrainian city, owing to its age, with the cobbled, tram-lined, main streets giving a very old world feel to the centre, where there does not appear to have been any effectual maintenance throughout the Soviet era...
    0dessa's centre is characterised by courtyards & cellar-level dwellings, reachable from a flight of stone steps set inconveniently into the pavements, WITHOUT railings, so considering there is no street lighting in the city, if you do not watch your step, you could suffer a serious fall...
    The drainage grids & manhole covers are bigger than is standard in the west, & the weight of metal in them makes them lucrative to scrap thieves, so there are many open holes in the roads, leaving a sheer fall into the sewers or buried cables - take particular caution in wet weather when crossing the road - what appears to be a deep puddle may be a fathomless pit...
    The trip hazards are increased by the tree & vine-lined streets, because roots from these plants have rippled the paving, in places making it resemble a ploughed field, covered in asphalt...
    As if all these faults in the pavement were not enough of a problem, to deter pavement parking, plant pots have been concreted to the surface by residents, & these more than all the other hazards listed, have caused me more trips & near mishaps, especially after dark...
    0dessa is built over a complex of catacombs & these do not seem to be that far below ground level - a problem when subsidence occurs, as it does by itself, or when a heavy vehicle is left too long on a vulnerable area...
    0n the tv news I have seen a delivery lorry, buried cab end down, up to the glazing, where the surface on which it was parked has sunk into the dark depths...
    Having mentioned all these very real dangers, Inever managed to actually fall over during any of my stays in 0dessa, but the biggest downside of all this careful stepping, was that the city's spectacular skyline cannot be appreciated while on the move, because it really requires eyes to be kept downwards...

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    Become a 'local' - rent your own 'kvarteera'...

    by arturowan Updated Jan 31, 2013

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    If you're staying in 0dessa more than a few nights, it makes sense financially & conveniently, to rent an apartment from a local 'vladyelitsa' (owner). For an out of season stay, this can work out quite cheap for a long stay & means that you're not obliged to go outside in bad weather, as in hotels when room staff come to change bedding, etc...
    A typical flat can be rented for 40EURO per night from a local, although be aware that many apartments advertised online, belong to westerners, whose prices are exhorbitant - do not expect anything special for this price, not that internal condition will be anything to complain about, but the main 'korpus', might be in something of a slum, with unmaintained exterior, or worse, amateurish building/electrical modifications.
    Doors, in particular, are a source of trouble in 0dessa, they tend to be big & heavy, & so old they are no longer plumb with the frame, causing locks not to engage properly - I managed to twist a key in half in such a badly fitting door, so locking myself out of my own room - embarassing!
    Another problem with a couple of these 40EURO apartments, were the windows - in 1 room, the only window was sited flush with next door's adjoining brick wall - no way to view the intriguing scenery & courtyrad life, which make 0dessa so fascinating...
    So, if you want a flat that feels like 'home', book in advance & use a website with photo's illustrating your location - many of these sites are US-owned, but there are Ukrainian 1's & local owners are more negotiable about price for long-term, out-of-season stays...
    Also, these more professional sites will have some1 available who speaks English, something important if you do have a problem during your stay...
    Rememeber, that staying in Ukraine in mid-summer, weather is described as - 'dooshna' - "suffocatingly hot" - so an air conditioning unit is essential if you wish to sleep at night...
    My last 2 winter visits to 0dessa, of 5 weeks each, were spent in a beautiful 'kvarteera', within a quiet courtyard, unbelievably secluded considering its central location on the corner of Deribasovskaya & Sadovaya - the very heart of this bustling city - & I only paid equivalent of $30 per night...

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    Ukrainian skip wars!

    by arturowan Updated Jan 31, 2013

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    0dessa has a deserved reputation for being a dusty, dirty metropolis & that was certainly my first impression on my original arrival in August - so it came as a surprise to discover in that the early hours of each morning, the streets are bustling with hunchbacks, bent over with short-handled brooms, sweeping. (When I returned in winter, I witnessed the same folk busy about sweeping snow from the pavements...)
    Their brushes are still traditionally made from a bundle of twigs, bound to a short handle, so it is back-straining work requiring a lot of stooping. 0dessa's streets are lined with dumpsters - 'moosarniy' - into which it might seem obvious to put the collected leaves, trash & dust, but instead it is heaped into piles in the kerbs - the consequence of which is that when the wind blows in from the coast, all this diligent brushing goes to waste...
    The blue dumpsters are a characteristic sight of 0dessa - bearing the tradename SOYUZ - synonymous with when Ukraine was part of the Soviet 'UNION' & all companies, privetely-owned or nationalised, were supposedly all 1-in-the-same...
    1 of the notable differences in the city when I returned later, was to see the new black skips lined along pavements, bearing the tradename EKOGRAD - a symbol of 'the new Ukraine' (& privatisation)...
    0n subsequent news features, this new competitor to the SOYUZ monopoly was shown as the victim of the wrath of the establishment's workforce, who on their rounds were sabotaging the EKOGRAD bins & leaving them upturned in the streets - so, as if 0dessa did not have a chronic enough litter problem, now the workforce paid to clear it, is in fact, adding to it - only in Ukraine...

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    NAKED...& funny?

    by arturowan Updated Jan 17, 2014

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    0dessa is a city with a reputation for a unique sense of humour & there is even a day set aside as a local festival to celebrate 0dessite hunour...
    The city can also be recognised in scenes from the locally made, but American financed, blend of Jeremy Beadle meets The Benny Hill Show - NAKED & FUNNY!
    This show is a supposed set-up of unsuspecting passers-by, usually involving at least 1 model losing her clothes, stripping-off, or appearing topless in such unlikely settings as a library...
    It is entertaining enough, but the over-acted reactions of members of the public when the supposedly 'hidden' camera is pointed out to them, suggests that as with all such supposedly candid tv, the entire scenario was no secret...
    This programme might not be regarded as typically 0dessite, but I do think it reflects the city's humour, because like the people, it is a tad immature/childish, akin to a McGill seaside postcard scene, minus the English subtlety & sophistication - adding any bikini model who is game enough to give an eyeful of her 'balshoi bankee' ("big jugs"...)
    I once presented a bottle of Californian wine to some folk in 0dessa, who found it hilarious when the label serving suggestion was translated to read, "with a barbecue, or while watching a DVD..."
    Quite why drinking wine while watching a DVD was such a source of hilarity I still do not quite appreciate; I suppose you just have to be an 0dessite?

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    'dooshna'

    by arturowan Written Mar 28, 2011

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    0dess'ka 0blast is a hardwater area - something you only have to turn any tap on to discover!
    Limescale emerges in flakes & even when boiled in strong tea or coffee, taints the taste. In Soviet times, drinking water was delivered daily by tanker, but now you have to go to the pathetically few & far between, for a city of 1.1million people, standpipe stations, with plastic containers to store your water in. To counteract the limescaling of pipes, an unforunate tradition has arisen in 0dessa, in August, when the weather is described as , "dooshna" (suffocatingly hot) to turn off hotwater systems. The result of which is THE worst thing about the city if you visit in this month - THE STENCH! You really do have to experience it to believe how bad it is - not only of unwashed bodies, but stale, sweaty clothes as well...Even in the evenings, when the streets are not so crowded, the air is still tainted by this pervasive odour...By far the worst afflicted is public transport, making trams & trolleybuses unusable, unless you're adapt at holding your breath, as the locals appear to be...

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    beggars can be choosers?

    by arturowan Updated Apr 23, 2011

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    The attitude of 0dessites is unlike any other I have experienced & is not easy to define; contrary & paradoxical as it is. Perhaps this is best typified by their reaction to receiving gifts, something that you might assume to be gratefully taken, considering the proportion of the population claiming they're too poor to afford food...
    In general, 0dessites are appreciative of a kindness, but it is tempered with a peculiarly strident perfectionism, that contradicts the adage; "beggars cannot be choosers..." I had the opportunity to talk to an 0dessite whose sister had lived in the States since she was 6, so this local woman had fluent English from visiting her there. She recited to me an incident when in USA, of being offered a new pair of jeans from an American friend of her sister, which, though being the correct size/fit, were turned down due to some displeasing detail. My 0dessite informer explained how her sister was caused great embarassment by this refusal & accused her of being "rude", as soon as their friend had gone...
    The woman reciting this to me, had no reserve in repeating the story or impressing upon me that Americans are so false for accepting things they do not really want. I believe this reflects the fundamental attitude difference between east & west, (& I did not mention at the time that us British are supposed to be more ingratiating than our American kin in such situations...)
    My 0dessite informer was indigant that by being honest, she was regarded as being rude - a concept that with other folk in the city I have observed & experienced is not understood. I can appreciate her viewpoint, but for someone living in the second most prosperous country on the planet, I just cannot make sense of this perfectionist choosiness in a nation with a Third World standard of living...
    There are genuine beggars of the streets of 0dessa, who are grateful for just a few kopeek in their cups, but others pretending to be borderline this status, are some of the choosiest folk I have had the misfortune of encountering in any culture! 0ne such person was the reason I ever visited the city in the first place, (though she had only married an 0dessite to raise her standard of living , & was originally a refugee from Tiraspol). She actually believed she was Russian aristocracy & had a birthright to be resident of the Winter Palace - but all she posessed to justify this, was the obnoxious ATTITUDE...
    Despite impressing upon me how she was, "living lika dog", too poor to eat properly or afford her rent, on my arrival she decided we had to eat in restaurants everyday & go the short distances there by taxi, because it was too much effort for her to walk in her high heels! The taxi fare alone cost the price of going to a supermarket & buying provisions, ironic, considering her insistance I rent an apartment so as to have a kitchen, yet the 1 time she actually cooked for me, she accused me of treating her as 'slooshanka' (maid)! I have never met a more choosy pedantic person in all my life - every time she opened her mouth it was to criticise some aspect of my appearance & anything I gave her had to be inspected for hours until she could discern some flaw in it that offended her perfectionist vision.
    In my country, her behaviour would be regarded as ill-mannered & egocentrically rude, like a badly brought up child, & in truth, that is what this 33 year old divorcee, still was - so do not go to 0dessa expecting politeness for generosity - you might receive a RUDE surprise...

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    Babooshka!

    by arturowan Updated Mar 3, 2014

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    'Babooshka' is 1 of the Russian words that most westerners know, maybe because Kate Bush once had a hit song of that title...
    (I know this is in Ukraine, but 0dessa remains a Russian-speaking city, & that is what everybody there calls a grandmother...)
    You cannot cross the border into Ukraine, without seeing the 'babooshki', & what a core part of the country these old ladies are...
    In the coutryside, they can be seen toiling in their gardens, or sitting on chairs outside their homes, hoping to supplement their meagre pension money by selling a bagload of apples or cucumbers to passers-by...
    In the cities they can be seen stooping in the streets in orange bibs, during the early hours, trying to make ends meet by sweeping up the leaves & litter...
    Many 'babooshki' have a hunched figure, & I think this is due to the amount of time they spend bending over with these short-handled brushes (- whyever are traditional Ukrainian brooms designed for use by dwarfs?)
    A 'babooshka' is easily identified, almost always wearing a traditional headscarf, often brightly coloured or decorated, with an apron, & 'varenki' (traditional felt boots...)
    Like most things in Ukraine, 'babooshki' have a reputation for being somewhat bi-polar - don't think because they're old ladies, they cannot hold their own, especially in an argument, or when pushing for the last place on public transport...
    It's not recommended to get in the way of a 'babooshka' at such fraught moments - many know how to literally throw their weight around, combined with shopping bags, to benefit their own ends...
    When I was visiting a home in 0dessa, 2 'babooshki' arrived, who did not like each other, & when they set eyes on each other, it was like a couple of banshee shrieking at each other...
    The first thing I noticed about the culture when I went to Ukraine, was how the people on the street all appear to be arguing, but in fact, they're just more expressive & volatile than what anybody in the west is accustomed to...
    A 'babooshka' might have a hardened glare for a stranger, but this will almost certainly melt into the sweetest, toothiest smile, if spoken to...
    It's even likely you'll be invited back to her home for tea & a feast, despite the fact the state pension is insufficiant to sustain herself upon...
    Ukrainian elderly folk are known to like to talk, even if you cannot understand a word they're saying!
    If you read the book, The Long Way Round, by Charley Boorman & Ewan McGregor, 1 of their experiences of entering Ukraine, is stopping in a village, where a 'babooshka' is keen to talk!
    Ewan McGregor does not know what she's saying to him, while she clasps his hands to hers, but is nonetheless touched by her sentiment...
    It's traditional in Russian-speaking culture, for the grandmother to take a full role in bringing up her grandchildren, & might even take over this duty in its entirety...
    I happen to think this might explain many of the problems in this culture, because I've seen for myself how 'babooshki' spoil & smother children, literally spoon-feeding babies, & without intervention, will insist on treating children as helpless babies, long after it's appropiate for their individual development...
    According to the statistics, 'babooshki' live a full 11years longer than their menfolk, but some can still be alive in their 90's...

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    The Museum of Numismatics

    by Klod5 Written Apr 30, 2003

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    The Odessa Museum of Numismatics is the first specialized numismatic museum in Ukraine and was opened for the people of Odessa as a present on the 205-th anniversary of the foundation of the city and started to work from the first of January in 1999. All the periods in the history of the origin of civilization and State systems on the Ukrainian land are shown in its funds. And also the history of monetary business and money circulation of Ukraine from the antique times to the period of the independent development of the State is presented there.

    The coins minted by different city-states, by the Bosporos and Scythian Kingdoms form the core of the museum funds. These states were founded in the period from VII to IV centuries BC on the Northern Black Sea Coast and existed for almost one thousand years.

    Together with the expositional activity the Odessa Museum of Numismatics also conducts a considerable scientific-research work, publishing the types of coins, which were unknown earlier and thus putting them into a scientific turnover and enriching the Frame of the antique coins of the Northern Black Sea Coast.

    The museum publishes its own scientific and practical collection of articles - " The Bulletin of the Odessa Museum of Numismatics". Except for it museum issues publicistic bulletin "The Almanac".

    The museum also communicates with different cultural and historical institutions and organizations of the collectors from 150 countries of the world.

    The founder of the Odessa Museum of Numismatics and the mover of the project of this virtual museum is a known numismatist and explorer, a deputy of the Odessa City Council - Peter G. Loboda.

    THE MUSEUM ADDRESS
    33, Grecheskaya str., Odessa 65000, Ukraine
    phone : (0038)-(0482) 25-02-77

    E-mail: oco@te.net.ua
    URL: http://www.museum.com.ua/
    Postal address: P.O. Box 17

    General Post Office
    65000 Odessa, Ukraine

    E-MAIL:
    od-museum@te.net.ua

    The Museum of Numismatics
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    Girls 0n The Street...

    by arturowan Updated Nov 13, 2014

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    0dessa is a city that has developed something of a reputation as a place you only go to, in order to pick up girls - an unfortunate image, as this always multi-cultural metropolis, deserves better than to be regarded as a location on the sex-tourist map...
    0dessa has a reputation for its beautiful young women, but to pretend they are all available & seeking foreign husbands, is an urban myth...
    Many are quite content in their native city, & I have even been told by native 0dessites, who spoke fluent English, that they could not live in any other city, even if the first language was Russian (which it is despite, the Ukrainian location & official signage...)
    0dessan girls are quite simply-minded, & only want to be well fed with a roof over their head & with a loving family; only some are serious about leaving their country for another culture, whatever their dreams...
    As mentioned in separate tips, the sex industry in 0dessa, does exist, but it is not blatant on the street - if you are seeking this sort of entertainment, you need to arrange it online...
    0dessa streets are full of working women, but they will mostly be occupied selling from kiosks or stalls...
    All sorts of wares will be available around the city - a centre of commerce if ever there was 1 - as it was always intended to be by Catherine the Great of Russia, whose idea it was to found 0dessa...
    Food & drink accounts for about half the street trade, but all sorts of goods are available for the seasonal visitor, such as cheap sunglasses, not to mention the tables of counterfeit DVD's...
    A female vendor is known as a 'prodavsheetsa', in Russian, & most of them are only speakers of that language (- if you cannot speak Russian, but wish to buy from them, the usual means of translation is via the screen of their mobile phone...)
    0dessa is known for the beauty of its women, who today reflect the multi-cultural origins of the original port-city, which was built by immigrant labourers from Italy, Germany, France, Bulgaria, Romania, & Turkey...
    However, no mention of the origins of the genetic pool which is unique to 0dessa, is complete without a men tion of its Jewish inhabitants...
    0dessa was once like a second Jewish Autonomous Region, when it was still part of the Soviet Union, & the many dark-haired, dark-eyed girls that remain, are proof of this...
    You will also see the rather rare combination of black hair & azure or jade eyes, which only occurs in those whose genetics originate from the area of Bulgaria & modern Moldova/Moldavia - only 100km from 0dessa itself...
    Walking the streets of 0dessa is always a pleasurable experience, once you have gotten used to the trip hazards & litter, because the native women are such a part of the surroundings...
    I could happily live there!
    But I went to art school; I see the world through the eyes of an artist, that is my excuse for loving the street life of 0dessa, & in the words of Louie Armstrong; "What a wonderful world it is..."
    If you tire of the sights on the streets of 0dessa, truly you are getting old!

    Sweet things aplenty in 0dessa... 0dessa - a city of :~) 's... Many locals are street vendors... Typical 0dessa street scene... A smile can sell a lot...
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    The beautiful Odessa

    by LarisaLove Written Aug 11, 2007

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    %
    In 1794 Odessa was founded by Catherine the Great.
    Then In 1764 the Empress formed the territories newly acquired
    in the S-West other empire into a province called Novorossiya, New Russia.

    The city name came because of a mistake!
    It was meant to be called after the ancient Greek city of Odessos or Ordissos,
    which was believed to have been founded in the
    area.
    But really, it was somewhere near the present day town of Varna in Bulgaria.
    But Catherine the Great liked "Adessa" — as it is pronounced by the Russians
    and Ukrainians.
    The population of Odessa is today just over 1 million people.
    It is one of the newest of European cities and maybe one of the biggest
    growth rate in the 19th Century.

    Old Odessa

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    'de-ribas-ovskaya'...

    by arturowan Written Oct 18, 2014

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    Josif de Ribas-i-Boyons was born in Naples, 6th June 1749
    He was the son of the Spanish consul in Naples, who had an Irish wife, so it is only fitting that he should become the chief administrator of the building of this truly metropolitan city, that was the concept for the original 0dessa...
    After service in the Neapolitan army, he joined the Russian army in 1772 - in time to serve the last 2 years of the Russo-Turkish war...
    During the Russo-Turkish war of 1787 - 1792, Deribas was made the liasion between John Paul Jones & General Potyomkin (see separate tip...)
    In 1789, Deribas' grenadiers captured the village of Khadjibey, after the Turkish soldiers surrendered after only half-an-hour...
    The line in the Russian national anthem;
    "Let the thunder of victory sound!"
    Refers to the victory of the storming of the fortress at Izmail, in 1790
    This win, under the supreme command of General Aleksander Suvorov, was a plan of attack devised by Deribas, & the devastating victory cost the 0ttoman Empire its morale in the conflict...
    It would seem to have been an episode of fate, & inspired Deribas with the idea for a Russian port on the settlement, an idea he suggested to Catherine The Great, who history usually credits as having had the idea...
    It is thought that Deribas suggested the name 0dessus for the settlement that would be developed into 0dessa - the name feminised by Queen Catherine, after she passed the edict to be founded, 27th May 1794...
    Deribas was promoted to Rear Admiral & commander of the Black Sea Fleet in 1791, in recognition of his leadership qualities during the conflicts with Turkey...
    In 1795 he was made Vice Admiral, & full Admiral in 1796
    Deribas died, perhaps due to poisoning, in Saint Petersburg 2nd December 1800
    0dessa's central street, Deribasovskaya, is derived from his name in Russian; Yosip Mikhailovich Deribas...
    0olitsa Deribasovskaya is the now pedestrianised thoroughfare, which is still surfaced in the original cobbles, laid by the Italian master cobblers, over 2 centuries ago...
    Deribasovskaya is the street which receives about 90% of the attention in any travel guide to 0dessa, & is also the location where the annual Christmas tree is erected (see separate tip...)

    Deribas in 0dessa street art...
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    EUROPE,UKRAINE,ODESSA;PROVERBS:25:25;'As...

    by mariettz Written Aug 24, 2002

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    EUROPE,UKRAINE,ODESSA;
    PROVERBS:25:25;
    'As could waters to a thirsty soul, so is good news from a far country'
    'Yosemita Falls';CALIFORNIA TRAVEL PAGE by KRYSTYNN;
    /WITH PERMISSION KRYSTYNN/;

    N i c o d e m u s - J e s u s;
    John:3:5;'...Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God'
    John:3:15

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    ODESSA DAY

    by A-Friend-Of-Belarus Written Jan 13, 2007

    September 2, the Odessa day. It's a day when the whole city is on the streets and the central manifestation is being held on the Potemking stairs where crowd listens to various Ukrainian/Russian pop-rock bands that play on the stage just above the stairs and in front of the "Morskiy vokzal".

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    Older dudes rule

    by Roadquill Written Jul 12, 2012

    Apparently the life expectancy for a male in Odessa is relatively low, like in the 50's. So if you happen to live to be an old dude (like this guy) you are outnumbered by the female population like amilliontoone. At the local park a young jazz orchestra was playing and the geriatric squad was rockin out so tunes like "sing, sing, sing".

    Mr. Awesome
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    Dried Fish Stands

    by Roadquill Written Nov 17, 2012

    These dried fish stands are acommon occurance in and around Odessa. This one was just outside Odessa. Dried fish of various kinds hanging showing off how yummy they would be if you were to cook them up....However, they looked particularly unappetizing in my book. The stands did sport sanitary green screens to ward of flies.

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