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    Red Sea Hotel: Don’t Bother in Massawa

    by DAO Written May 19, 2016

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness


    I was excited about dining at the Beaches Bar, Restaurant and Entertainment Center. It was listed as an excellent option for food and drink in the port of Massawa. Unfortunately it was closed. Worst still was I made the 15 minute walk to the Red Sea Hotel as I assumed that this modern hotel would have a nice restaurant. I was wrong. The hotel is a relatively modern building which I found out later gets lots of very bad reviews. The restaurant was downstairs close to their massive outdoor pool – that has no water in it.

    Service was bizarrely slow. It took a while to get a menu. They offer European dishes and Eritrean dishes. I ordered ‘Fit Fit’, also known as ‘Fir Fir’ in Ethiopia. This is a dish made from tiny pieces of injera soaked in spicy Berbere sauce. I ordered mine with meat, but this was pretty sparse when I got it. The injera did not seem fresh and was of poor quality. A pretty lacklustre meal. The beers were warm and bizarrely the dining area was ice cold. They had the air-conditioning set on ‘Arctic’. There are not many places to eat in Massawa these days, but best to avoid this place.

    Red Sea Hotel Restaurant, Massawa, Eritrea Red Sea Hotel Restaurant, Massawa, Eritrea Red Sea Hotel Restaurant, Massawa, Eritrea Red Sea Hotel Restaurant, Massawa, Eritrea Red Sea Hotel Restaurant, Massawa, Eritrea
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    Sallam Restaurant: An Old Favourite in Eritrea

    by DAO Updated Mar 9, 2016


    I do not know how long Sallam Restaurant has been serving up seafood, but they are mentioned fondly in 2 of my guidebooks, one of which is more than a decade old. What they both say is that this family run business has been serving up fresh fish as it comes in to the nearby port. It is located in the oldest part of the port of Massawa. You know you have found Sallam when you see a massive crowd of local cats. They know that at some point diners in this mostly outdoor restaurant will throw some tasty morsels to them. This is the most basic of restaurants, but their hygiene is excellent, the owner makes you smile and the fish is delicious. We were asked by the owner, Abdulah, to select out fish from his freezer. He then took us back into the kitchen to show us his tandoori style clay over and some of the spices he uses to make his delicious dishes. He also showed us how he makes his fresh bread. He serves the fish Yemeni style. This involves slicing the fish in half except leaving the head on. It is then spiced and baked in his oven. My fish was amazingly delicious and was served with fresh bread and cold coca cola. The fish are massive and I had a very filling meal with plenty left over to feed the cats. I threw the head off my fish and the cats cleaned it completely.

    Please not 2 things. In the past all the fish was kept in a cooler. All the fish has been caught that day, but they have to use a freezer now due to daily power cuts. The second is that they do not serve alcohol. If you ask the staff will go out and get beer for you or you can bring your own with you.

    If you are in Massawa for a night or 2, make sure you have a great meal at Sallam.

    Sallam Restaurant, Massawa, Eritrea Sallam Restaurant, Massawa, Eritrea Sallam Restaurant, Massawa, Eritrea Sallam Restaurant, Massawa, Eritrea Sallam Restaurant, Massawa, Eritrea
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    Midian Hotel: Excellent Meal in Asmara

    by DAO Written Mar 5, 2016


    My Guide recommended the Midian Hotel for a good place to eat. He was right. The hotel is one of the ‘luxury’ hotels in Asmara. The entrance and lobby are very nice. It has a definite colonial feel with a few antiques and old photos on the walls. Staff are in starched black and white outfits and there are even some mounted heads of Eritrean game animals. The restaurant is a large open venue where the staff can see all the tables easily. Service was polite and friendly. Just wave a hand and all is taken care of.

    My dining companion and I decided to order from their traditional Eritrean section of the menu. I ordered Gored Gored. This is large hunks of cooked beef in spicy berbere sauce served on injera. My companion decided on the vegetarian selection. This Shiro (chickpea puree with spices), salad, potatoes, greens and several mixed vegetable ensembles. Also delicious. In fact I would recommend that I there are 2 of you to order these 2 dishes and just share. A good sample of a multitude of tasty local cuisine. This delightful meal was served with a few cold local Asmara (Melotti) beers.

    Using the Black Market exchange rate, this all came to $23 including the ‘sales tax’. Expensive by Asmara/Eritrea standards but a very good meal.

    The Midian Hotel, Asmara The Midian Hotel, Asmara The Midian Hotel, Asmara The Midian Hotel, Asmara The Midian Hotel, Asmara
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    Grand Hotel Dahlak: Luxury Dining in Massawa, Eritrea

    by DAO Written Feb 27, 2016


    I discovered a little too late that the Dahlak Hotel has arguably the best restaurant in Massawa. There isn’t much competition here anymore, but this is actually a fantastic place to dine. It’s a beautiful covered and open air restaurant and bar. Sitting here or just at the water’s edge gives you great vies of the ancient port of Massawa and several nearby islands. The bar is amazingly well stocked by Eritrean standards. They never ran out of anything when I was there and they even had imported spirits and wines. The menu is heavily seafood based, but it’s all fresh. Literally right off the boat. I had lunch here the day before I left and it was delicious. I had a fried fish dish which came with a massive plate full of tender fish. Excellent. My dining companions order grilled fish skewers and they also had massive portions. Which I helped them finish of course! There grilled fish was moist, succulent and served with ripe salad and crispy vegetables marinated to perfection. I also enjoyed a few cold Asmara beers and watch the boats go by on their way out to the Red Sea. An excellent dining experience in Massawa.

    Grand Hotel Dahlak - Massawa Eritrea Grand Hotel Dahlak - Massawa Eritrea Grand Hotel Dahlak - Massawa Eritrea Grand Hotel Dahlak - Massawa Eritrea Grand Hotel Dahlak - Massawa Eritrea
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    Le Verdoyant: The Green - Burkina Faso

    by DAO Written Feb 21, 2016


    How good is the food here? The former President, Blaise Compaoré, had them deliver pizza to the Presidential Palace. And his wife used to dine here with visiting dignitaries. A few years ago a visiting French film star forgot to pay his bill. When he returned 2 years late the restaurant sent the bill to hi hotel – and got paid. I love that story and I loved my meal at Le Verdoyant (The Green). I was lucky came to dine in their pleasant and quiet on a weeknight and almost had the place to myself. You have no chance of getting on a weekend without a reservation – it may be huge, but it gets packed.

    When I arrived I could not have been greeted more warmly and every time I asked for something, it arrived instantly. I bowl full of shelled peanuts arrived with my cold Castel beer before my food order was even taken. They are first class here! I ordered a boring sounding cheese omelette and Chicken Yassa, a spicy Senegalese chicken dish.

    While I was waiting (they cook everything from scratch – so expect to drink a few beers) I stared taking pictures. A local gentleman who seemed to be in charge was delighted I was taking photos. A fantastic host! He showed me the wood burning oven where they cook handmade pizzas and showed me photos of a lot of famous French people I don’t k now. He also showed me to a series of lovely dining rooms. Business Meetings? No problem and he can supply any needed equipment. Weddings, birthday, funerals any occasion. This is a massive operation when it’s in high gear. I also had a chance to see the kitchens and they were spotlessly clean.

    They offer a massive menu – of alcohol. The food menu is a bit smaller by comparison, but has a lot to offer. They specialise in Italian and French dishes. So you can get frogs’ legs, pasta, escargot, pizza and of course wine. They also offer some African dishes.

    This is a top restaurant in Burkina Faso, but their prices are reasonable. I had a full meal and a few beers for $16 (14 €). I was also made to feel like family and I was even told goodbye by the staff. I really like this place. Ouagadougou can be a hot, dusty and sometimes frustrating city. A meal and a few drinks in the quiet oasis of Le Verdoyant will make any day a good day.

    Please note: This is a large set of gardens near several water sources. Take your mosquito spray with you. They are open:
    Thu-Tue Noon-2.30pm & 6.30-11pm

    Favorite Dish:

    Spicy Senegalese Chicken Yassa, rice and a few cold Castel beers.

    Le Verdoyant, Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso Le Verdoyant, Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso Le Verdoyant, Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso Le Verdoyant, Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso Le Verdoyant, Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso
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    New Monopole: A Cool Pool and Bar in Burkina Faso

    by DAO Written Feb 18, 2016


    OH YES !

    Africa can be hot. Ouagadougou can be blistering. To be able to combine a nice swimming pool, great food and ice cold beer - absolute heaven! The great folks at the New Monopole will make sure the only warm thing you will receive here is your welcome. The rest is all cold, hot or cool. The pool is great for families. It has a children’s swimming area and then a full pool for adults. They have a pool-side bar, lots of covered table areas and a very full menu. In fact I was really impressed with the menu. I ordered a beer and an omelette. I was ushered to a nice covered table and my ice cold Burkina beer was brought to me with some nice peanuts. Shortly after my delicious omelette arrived. I had a chance to see some of the other dished going out to other tables, and I can assure you this is an excellent place for a very good lunch. They seem to close around the late afternoon, so come for a swim and a great mid-day feast.

    The covered table areas have themes and are named after several 'Tourist' destinations in the country like Nazinga and Laongo.

    I did not take great pictures of the pool out of respect for the families swimming there when I visited. This is a great place for anyone. They have changing areas, toilets, nice grounds and a very welcoming atmosphere.

    They also cater for business meetings here. Sure beats the office.

    I still love their receipts. They say:
    * Bar - Restaurant - Piscine (Swimming pool)*

    Awesome!

    New Monopol, Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso New Monopol, Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso New Monopol, Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso New Monopol, Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso New Monopol, Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso
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    T-Family Restaurant: People Watching in Eritrea

    by DAO Written Feb 16, 2016

    3 out of 5 starsHelpfulness


    Before I explain the people watching, let me please tell you how wonderful this restaurant is. This is located in the middle of Ghindae and Ghindae is located in the middle of the road between Asmara and Massawa in Eritrea. It is an excellent place to stop on a journey that takes the better part of the day. They have a patisserie downstairs and a full restaurant upstairs. They also have excellent and clean bathrooms. You can even take a shower here. The food is delicious and the beer is cold. We paid $1.30 for a beer, $5 for Spaghetti and $6 for and Capretto (Roasted Goat). Capretto is an Eritrean specialty and is not always available. The restaurant is very pleasant, the food delicious and the service friendly. Just a note about spaghetti. Like most or Eritrea spaghetti sauce is made with Berbere sauce rather than an Italian style flavour. Good, but different.

    Now - the people watching. The restaurant is upstairs and has a massive balcony. This balcony overlooks all of Ghindae and the market area. You can watch Christians, Muslims, different tribes, camels, goats and all manner of transport pass by. If you have a good camera with a big lens, then you can see the multi-cultural blend of Eritrea while you enjoy your meal.

    T-Family Restaurant, Ghinda'e, Eritrea T-Family Restaurant, Ghinda'e, Eritrea T-Family Restaurant, Ghinda'e, Eritrea T-Family Restaurant, Ghinda'e, Eritrea T-Family Restaurant, Ghinda'e, Eritrea
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    Restaurant Ficki & Selam: One of Eritrea's Best

    by DAO Written Feb 13, 2016

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness


    FIgri and Selam Restaurant is simply the best place to eat in Keren. They have a nice outdoor seating area overlooking the Giro Fiori (Circle of Flowers) ring in the middle of the town. Inside they have a ‘full’ bar and glass top tables. Each table has a full menu underneath the glass in both Tigrinya and English. When you order from the friendly and attentive staff, the ladies in the kitchen produce fresh injera and wonderful dishes. Their main dishes are:

    • Capretto Alforno – wood-fired roast goat. Tender and takes a while, not always available
    • Capretto with and without Pepper. This is with spicy, but not overly hot Berbere.
    • Zigni – goat or beef with red pepper sauce, just ask
    • Pasta – usually spaghetti with Berbere sauce. Different, but tasty
    • Tibsi with and without pepper (goat meat)
    • Mixed vegetables (not always available)
    • Shiro (chickpea puree)

    You can wash this all down with a cold beer or coca cola. The injera and ingredients are fresh, of high quality and delicious. Their restaurant is clean and the kitchen is immaculate. A great please to eat.

    Please note: The meals in the first photo are (L-R) Shiro, Capetto, and Tbsi with pepper.

    Restaurant Ficki & Selam, Keren, Eritrea Restaurant Ficki & Selam, Keren, Eritrea Restaurant Ficki & Selam, Keren, Eritrea Restaurant Ficki & Selam, Keren, Eritrea Restaurant Ficki & Selam, Keren, Eritrea
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    Aregay Restaurant: Not Worth the Trouble in Eritrea

    by DAO Written Feb 13, 2016

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness


    This simple restaurant and bar used to get high praise for its excellent food. Its specialty was Capretto (Roasted Goat). When I dined here they had only a few dishes available and no other customers. They only have a menu in Tigrinya, but I managed to ask for virtually every Eritrean dish possible before the word ‘Zigni’ was greeted with a smile and trip to the large and clean kitchen. Zigni is made with either (lamb, goat or beef cooked in a hot berbere sauce and served with injera. When it arrived I had no idea what the meat was. It was tasteless and the sauce tasted like water. The injera was stale. I tried to order a beer. No beer. Gin? No Gin? Raki? Yes.

    I didn’t even finish my meal. This is another casualty of a crazy government system that has cut tourism by more than 50% over the last few years. Chances are with it hotel closed, that this will close soon as well. The excellent Fickri & Selam restaurant in less than 100 meters away on the Giro Fiori. I went back and to my hotel and had a lovely meal at the Sarina Hotel Restaurant. I ordered Zigni again and you can see the startling difference.

    Aregay Restaurant, Karen, Eritrea Aregay Restaurant, Karen, Eritrea Aregay Restaurant, Karen, Eritrea Aregay Restaurant, Karen, Eritrea Aregay Restaurant, Karen, Eritrea
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    Hidmona: Never Never Never in Eritrea

    by DAO Written Feb 6, 2016

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness


    My local guide in Asmara wanted to take me to a restaurant that he said offered a cultural show and live music as well as good food. I have to admit the word ‘Cultural Show’ in Africa can be a great experience or a criminal rip-off. Oddly I was advised that the rich and powerful people in Eritrea come here all the time and that bodyguards might stop me from taking pictures of anyone getting up to dance from any table. Otherwise I could take photos of the musicians and costumed dancers.

    When we arrived it look like a reasonable place and we found a table in the dining room. I noticed tables full of local people drinking the local, and cheap, Asmara Beer. I went to the bar and ordered an Asmara Beer from possibly the most retarded bartender in Africa. The menu said the beer was 60 Nakfa or $4 at the official exchange rate. The jerk handed me a can of Asmara beer. I had never seen it in a can before, always a bottle. He asked for some money and I handed over 60. Then I realised this jackass kept asking for money. A lot more money. At the end he asked for $13 for a small can of beer. A beer I had already opened. I had also order 2 other drinks. Funny, when I asked for a receipt the other 2 drinks – at reasonable prices – were on there. The $13 can of beer was not. Then I kept asking for the menu to return. It finally did and I asked why I couldn’t have a beer on the menu, but that I had been charged more than 4 times the most expensive drink price I could find on the menu. The story was that this was ‘export strength’ Asmara Beer and they were out of the local bottled beer. I smelled a rat. Actually a nest of rats.

    I saw Brandy was listed at 20 Nakfa. That is $1.30. I saw the stupid bartender who did not seem to understand the word ‘Brandy’. When several waitresses intervened, I realised it was deliberate. He then poured it without a measure and asked for 40 Nakfa. I told him he could buy it himself. I went back to the table to discuss the mater and ask for the menu again. The waitress in the dining room really did not want me looking and questioning prices. She also told me the bartender had poured me a double (without asking). I went to see this piece of human rubbish with the menu and he walked away from me and refused to serve me. This alarmed the waitresses. Then a man who seemed to be in charge. He asked me ‘Is there a problem?’. I said, no I just wanted a Gin (20 Nakfa). He told me that they didn’t have any. I am guessing that the 3 bottles of Gin I could see must have had water in them.

    That was it. I left money with my party to cover my meal and walked out the door. Criminal bastards. This place just wants to fleece any obvious tourist. I want back to the Crystal Hotal and had a lovely meal in my own room with my own minibar (photo 3).

    After I left I was told that guards had stopped some young locals from taking any pictures at all. And I saw security was like that at an airport when I walked out. My food? My wonderful guide took it home to his family to share. Apparently it was quite good. Well, at least I left with my self-respect intact. And I can tell you:

    %c
    ** AVOID THIS CRIMINAL TOURIST TRAP **

    Hidmona Restaurant - Asmara, Eritrea - AVOID Hidmona Restaurant - Asmara, Eritrea - AVOID Hidmona Restaurant - Asmara, Eritrea - AVOID Hidmona Restaurant - Asmara, Eritrea - AVOID Hidmona Restaurant - Asmara, Eritrea - AVOID
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    Sweet Asmara Café: The History of Eritrea in Pastries

    by DAO Written Feb 2, 2016

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness


    I do not eat cakes and pastries, so I would not be a good judge of their advertised selection of 36 types of cakes. Since Sweet Asmara Café opened in April 2000 and has had plenty of great reviews about the quality of the cakes and pastries they make fresh daily. I think the more interesting story is not the nicely decorate walls or the friendly staff. It’s actually the history of the founder, Mr. Mesfin Kidane.

    In the 1950’s he trained under an Italian pastry expert at Torino Pastry, in Asmara. After mastering his craft, he moved to Addis Ababa and opened his own pastry shop in the famous Piasa area. He married and had 3 children and had 3 successful locations. In the year 2000 however, the family was deported to the now independent Eritrea with nothing except their knowledge. They borrowed money from the government and family to start up Sweet Asmara Café. Today this and another location are run by his eldest son, Mr. Berhane Mesfin. He learned the trade during a 4 year apprenticeship in Bari, Italy.

    Asmara prides itself on having an Italian Café culture. So if you fancy a fresh cake and some good strong coffee, this is a great place to go on Harnet Avenue.

    Sweet Asmara Caf��, Asmara, Eritrea Sweet Asmara Caf��, Asmara, Eritrea Sweet Asmara Caf��, Asmara, Eritrea Sweet Asmara Caf��, Asmara, Eritrea Sweet Asmara Caf��, Asmara, Eritrea
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    NEM 24: PHO ON THE GO - TOGO

    by DAO Written Jan 9, 2016

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness


    Nem 24 must be the friendliest restaurant in Lomé. I was walking past this very nice, open-fronted restaurant when I somehow ended up speaking with one of the owners. I just wanted to look inside and one of the nice waitresses invited me to have a look. Then one of the 2 Vietnamese owners invited me to take photos. I was actually headed to another restaurant, but decided that I could do with a cold beer. The bar is an amazing sort of multi-coloured art installation and well stocked. They advertise outside that they offer ‘Service Rapide’. They are not joking. As I sat down with my instantly produced cold beer, I watched the other tables. The food looked and smelled lovely. They also had several waitresses who seemed to run everywhere. And have fun. You can just feel the great vibe here and they make sure you only have to tilt your head to get served.

    Nem simply means spring rolls, but they offer a lot more. Especially the Vietnamese national noodle soup dish – Pho. If you are looking for an inexpensive meal with a fantastic environment – take it slow and have a Pho. And a few cold beers as well.

    They advertise they are open 24 hours a day!

    Lom��, Togo Lom��, Togo Lom��, Togo Lom��, Togo Lom��, Togo
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    Le Grillade: The Name Says It All - Mauritania

    by DAO Written Oct 16, 2015

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness


    This very good restaurant in Nouakchott does what it says on the sign outside: “Poisson, Poulet, Viande”. Ok, if you read French, it says ‘Fish, Chicken, Meat’. This pleasant restaurant is located inside the Maison d'hôtes la Bienvenue and is located inside with the guest library. You can also ask to dine outside in their wonderful garden amongst the lemon and banana trees. I had the special salad which had tender meat, grilled shrimp (prawns), delightful cheese and tasted divine. This was followed up with a rare steak covered in green peppercorn sauce. Absolutely fantastic. This could have been finished off with a nice red wine, but the local authorities banned alcohol in 2011. Pick up a bottle at duty free before you fly here!

    This is advertised outside as both Restaurante Grillade and Maison d'hôtes la Bienvenue. It has also been advertised as ‘Bla Bla Thé cafe’

    Restaurante Le Grillade - Nouakchott, Mauritania Restaurante Le Grillade - Nouakchott, Mauritania Restaurante Le Grillade - Nouakchott, Mauritania Restaurante Le Grillade - Nouakchott, Mauritania Restaurante Le Grillade - Nouakchott, Mauritania
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    support the people: fresh healthy fruit

    by kenHuocj Updated Oct 11, 2015

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Buying it from the street vendors instead supermarket , it all comes from the same produce market
    and the vendor makes a small profit to support their kids at school. The vendors are at the produce market early, buy their carton or two fruit and/or vegetables, taxied to their preferred site of sale, they immediately prepak them to sell at 2 or 5 rand a pack , passing traffic of to be bought to take home for cooking,.
    During my visits back to africa during the past 2 decades, the vendors have been my source of fruit and veg, one strikes up a bond with them, getting to know them by firt names.

    Favorite Dish: be it fruit or nuts,
    it's healthy

    rosebank, adderly street or . . . .
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    Le Gourbi: Fresh Fish in Algeria

    by DAO Written Oct 9, 2015

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness


    Le Gourbi is a very nice restaurant located in 'Ain Taya, Algeria. It was opened by owner Ammi Louenes in 1972 and they have been serving fish and other dishes ever since. I just stopped in for a quick look and possibly a light lunch. It’s a large and nicely decorated, although slightly dark, restaurant. The staff were very nice and they made sure I had a nice cold beer while I looked the menu. Before I could even blink, one of the waiters arrived with a massive platter of fresh fish. They take delivery from the fishing boats every morning so it doesn’t get any fresher. Although they specialise in seafood, they also do a selection of French and Arabic dishes. They also take pride in offering ‘Méchoui’. This is a Northern African tradition of slow roasting a whole sheep or a lamb spit-roasted over an open fire. Definitely for large parties only!

    I had to pass on the large fish, but decided on a fish soup and some prawns (shrimp). Delicious. When they brought my soup they also brought what I would describe as large croutons, shredded cheese and a sauce to go with it. My prawns were served lightly spiced and in a flavourful oil. I just had a snack but there was a family inside having a very large and delicious looking meal.

    To stay in business since 1972, you have to be keeping the locals happy. I have a photo below of their sign in French and Arabic to show a taxi how to get here. Easy.

    They are open 7 days a week and well worth a meal here in Ain Taya.

    Le Gourbi, Ain Taya, Algeria Le Gourbi, Ain Taya, Algeria Le Gourbi, Ain Taya, Algeria Le Gourbi, Ain Taya, Algeria Le Gourbi, Ain Taya, Algeria
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