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Pink Sand, Blue Water and... Cockroaches! Caribtraveler's Bahamas Trip Report

Pink Sand, Blue Water and... Cockroaches! Caribtraveler's Bahamas Trip Report

Aug 12th, 2007, 06:26 AM
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Pink Sand, Blue Water and... Cockroaches! Caribtraveler's Bahamas Trip Report

My husband, our 5-year-old son and I just came back from the Bahamas. We spent 9 nights on Eleuthera, took a day trip to Harbour Island, and ended our vacation with 3 nights in Nassau. We LOVED Eleuthera. This was a WONDERFULLY RELAXING vacation.

A big thank you goes to Mnag whose trip report left me no choice but to book our trip . Thank you to Joan, Travelbuff and Mymoosie for all your valuable information .

GETTING THERE: We flew from Newark to Nassau on a non-stop Continental flight. We had a 2-hour layover before getting on a non-stop Bahamas Air flight to Governor's Harbour on Eleuthera. We were surprised to see that on a Saturday the airports in Newark and Nassau weren't packed. It all went quite smoothly.


THE BEACHES: Before our trip, I purchased "The Elusive Beaches of Eleuthera" book (2007 edition). You should get it if you head to the island and plan to check out lots of beaches. It helped us find beaches we would have never been able to find otherwise.

We did have some issues with the book. The directions to one beach (Papaw Beach) were wrong and we disagreed with their top ten list of beaches. The one statement we really couldn't get over was the one saying that Jack's Bay rivaled Lighthouse beach in terms of beauty. What?! I know that beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but goodness, those two don't even come close... Also, my dear husband kept obsessing over the fact that there wasn't a map in the book even though I had printed maps of the island from the following web site (scroll down to "Online Eleuthera Map in 4 Sections"):

We usually had the beaches to ourselves. LOVED that! Our FAVORITE beaches were Lighthouse, French Leave, the one in front of the Singing Sands Resort in North Palmetto Point and one we "discovered" by accident not far from our resort. Those BEAUTIFUL beaches were clean, had beautiful soft sand and a gentle entry into the clear and calm water. We unfortunately found trash on some of the other beaches like Papaw Beach and Jack's Bay.

ADVICE: Take a portable soft cooler bag for sandwiches and drinks for those far away beaches.


SNORKELING: We didn't have a lot of luck with snorkeling . The days we visited the places where snorkeling is reportedly good, the water was a bit choppy and the currents were strong. The "best" snorkeling we found was in front of the Singing Sands Resort in North Palmetto Point. The reefs we saw were in pretty sad shape though.

RENTAL VEHICLE: We rented a car for our entire stay but if we were to do it again, we'd get a 4x4. Some of the access roads to the beaches were quite awful . We rented a '98 Chevy Lumina with Mr. Naaman Rolle for $60/day. Everything worked out well. We would recommend him. I don't know that he has 4x4s. He is reachable via email at [email protected] or via cell phone at 242-359-7166. He only takes cash or traveler's checks. Gas at the Shell station near our place was $4.87/gallon.

WHERE WE STAYED: http://www.pineapplefields.com/home.html
This is a new property (timeshare/rental). Construction has ended. However, some cosmetic work is still being done on some of the units as well as some of the landscaping. The property is located across the street from the beach.

We stayed in a spacious upper level one bedroom apartment (#722). The decoration is light and airy. Everything looks very new and very pretty. There's a living room, bedroom, small kitchen (with all the cooking appliances and dinnerware), bathroom, and 2 decks (front and back). The unit has a.c., ceiling fans, washer/dryer, a safe, tv/dvd player in bedroom and living room, tape/cd player in living room. There is daily maid service. A nice pool is located in the middle of the property (deepest depth 4.5 feet). Definitely a home away from home. We loved it.

Some negatives:
--I had a big issue with holes in the ground that weren't covered properly. Not a good thing if you have kids running around (a picture is included in the link below).
--The landscaping around our building wasn't done, so the immediate surrounding area wasn't very pretty to look at.
--The water pressure in our shower wasn't good.


~ TIPPY'S: This restaurant is part of Pineapple Fields. It's located right on the beach, across from the resort. They only serve lunch and dinner, and are closed on Mondays. You can ask them to charge the bill to your room. We loved the look of the place, but the food and the service were a mixed bag. One particular waitress seriously needs to think about changing jobs since she seemed so unhappy to work there. Anyhoo, we had dinner at Tippy's 4 times. On our first night we had the lasagna ($15/each) which was EXCELLENT. On our second night, I had the cajun grouper ($25) which was JUST OKAY. My husband had the blackened tuna with mango salsa ($28) which he said was NOT GOOD (not cooked enough). For our third dinner, we had the NY steak with herbs and mustard butter ($25/each) which was OKAY. Our son had the cheese pizza ($13.50) which we tasted and thought it was GOOD. For our fourth dinner, my husband went back to the lasagna and I tried the chicken fajitas ($23) which were VERY GOOD. With desserts and drinks, dinner would usually come to a little over $100.

Some other prices:
--Caesar salad $8
--Creme brulee cheesecake $8 - EXCELLENT
--Chocolate brownie cake $8 - VERY GOOD
--Strawberry daiquiri $7
--Small bottle of water $2.50
--Juice $3

~ DELI: There's a deli where the Pineapple Fields office is. We ordered sandwiches on our last day and wished we had done so sooner. They were VERY GOOD. Cost is about $9. The deli closes at 3pm.
caribtraveler is offline  
Aug 12th, 2007, 06:28 AM
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OTHER RESTAURANTS/FOOD: Bring LOTS OF CASH as many places will only take that. All the places we ate at had a 15% gratuity included in the bill. We found that places that will accept credit cards will charge you a fee for paying that way (for example, Dolcevita will charge a 5% fee for paying with a cc). You can find a list of restaurants at www.discover-eleuthera-bahamas.com

~ DOLCEVITA: This restaurant is owned by a lovely couple: Paolo who is from Sicily and Manon, his French Canadian wife. It's in a house on RunAway Bay Marina. We sat on the outside deck with a view of the water. I had the filet mignon ($36), my husband had the pork loin ($24), and our son had the pasta with marinara sauce. We had the chocolate tarte for dessert ($9/each). With drinks, dinner came to $125. We thought our food was VERY GOOD.

~ JOE'S BAR & GRILL: This is located on a beautiful stretch of beach at the very colorful Singing Sands Resort in North Palmetto Point (which, by the way, looks like it would be a very cool place to stay at). The menu is very limited (maybe 5-6 items on it). We had lunch there twice and had their VERY GOOD cheeseburgers with fries ($11/each). Lunch for 3 people came to about $45.

~ BERTHA'S GO GO RIBS: This local place is located in Tarpum Bay. We stopped there on our way back from a beach trip. We were hoping it'd be one of those non-descript local places that serves unbelievable food. The food was disappointing, unfortunately.

~ CIGATOO RESORT: We had breakfast there once because our son wanted some scrambled eggs. We sat at a table only to find dozens of ants all over it. We moved to another table where at least there were just a few ants. The scrambled eggs with toast and back ($9/each) were OKAY. Nothing to write home about. Breakfast for three came to about $40.

~ GROCERY SHOPPING: We shopped at Eleuthera Supply in Governor's Harbour where we bought water, milk, juices, bread, etc... We thought it was pretty well stocked. We don't cook while on vacation so we didn't look at the prices of meat or fish in case you're wondering. Some prices:
--Loaf of bread $2.29
--1/2 gallon of milk $3.45
--64 fl oz of Mott apple juice $5.50
--Dozen eggs $1.75

~ BAKERY: There's a bakery in Governor's Harbour which makes wonderful bread, croissants, glazed donuts and cinnamon rolls. Stop by to get a few of those DELICIOUS things.
caribtraveler is offline  
Aug 12th, 2007, 06:29 AM
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The water taxi to and from Harbour Island is $5/person. We were surprised by how developed and crowded the island was. We thought it took away some of its quaintness and charm. We rented a golf cart for $40 (our son just LOVED riding in it). We were so glad we did as it was a HOT day ! We drove around to see some of its cute homes and lovely churches, but spent most of the day enjoying its famous pink sand beach 8-) . We used the public beach access between the Pink Sands and Coral Sands hotels. There's a guy there who rents 2 beach chairs and an umbrella for $10 . The water had a bit of wave action which our son thoroughly enjoyed. We had lunch at Ma Ruby's and I'm sorry to say we weren't crazy about the cheeseburgers. We stopped at Arthur's Bakery but it had closed for the day . I bought a cute straw bag from Ms. Sarah who has a stall near the dock. We very much enjoyed our day trip but we were happy to be staying on much quieter Eleuthera.

caribtraveler is offline  
Aug 12th, 2007, 06:33 AM
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~~ NASSAU ~~

COMPASS POINT: I was so excited when I learned that this resort reopened. It looked SO FUNKY and it was away from the touristy area of Nassau. I just knew it would be a great place for us. We stayed in a one bedroom elevated seafront hut (#115). It was so CUTE and COLORFUL with a GREAT little balcony and a FANTASTIC view. The octagonal room is small, fine for a couple but a bit cramped if you have a little one. The bathroom is tiny.

The resort is near the airport (taxi cost is $13 one way) so you can hear the airplanes flying in and out. We only heard them during the day though, and not during the night. They didn't bother us but I can see how it could annoy some.

There's a pool that is divided in two. The smaller one is 3.5 ft deep. The bigger one goes as deep as 6 ft. We would have enjoyed the pool a lot more if it weren't for a large group made up of several Italian families whose 10 kids or so took over the pool. The kids were loud and rowdy. There's also a hot tub near the beach area. After spending so much time on Eleuthera, our beach standard was pretty high so the beach at Compass Point didn't rate very well. There are 2 small coves on each side of a pier. It was just okay.


THE FOOD: We were pleasantly surprised by the extensive menu as well as the kids menu. However, we found the food to be average. No complaints but no raves either. You can find the menu with prices on the resort's web site.

THE STAFF: Friendly. Great attitude. Really great. Each one of them. =D>

THE SPA: I had the 60-minute full body massage and the masseuse was really good. The only negative is that it's in a hut so the sound is not blocked off. Despite the soothing music, you can still hear people walking by, cars driving by, and of course, the planes. So much for total relaxation.

THE BAD: The really really bad... COCKROACHES! Yes! In our bathroom! I walk into our bathroom on our 2nd night, and there IT is... at least 2 inches long, scurrying across the vanity. I run out, all skived out, to let my fearless husband save the day. The huge thing disappears but smaller ones appear. By that time, my son and I are on the bed. My husband kills 5 of them (yes, FIVE) . Thank goodness I brought a can of Raid on this trip - It was for flying insects but using half of the can seemed to do the job. By the way, I called the front desk asking for a can of Raid for cockroaches. I was told they would check with the food and beverage manager. I couldn't help thinking "I don't want to hear that your FOOD and beverage manager may have something to kill cockroaches! Eewwwwww!" Anyway, they ended up bringing us a can of OFF :-s . The next morning, I went to the front desk and I was told they were not cockroaches but some type of flying bugs. Both my husband and I stand by our belief that those were cockroaches. We saw them. They didn't. They sent someone right away to do whatever needed to be done. Well, we saw one more later that day and my husband killed it. We didn't see anymore the rest of that day or the next morning. I haven't seen any reviews complaining about this problem, so maybe it was an anomaly. Still, this really put a damper on our original excitement.

OH AND THE OTHER BAD: Finding out that the booking company we used, VHR WORLDWIDE, did NOT give Compass Point our payment (which was made in full, by the way) . VHR was listed on the OLD Compass Point web site as the booking agent, that's how I ended up using them. Apparently, there are some "issues" between Island Outposts (the company that owns Compass Point) and VHR. According to the Compass Point managers, Island Outposts suggested that we be charged again. Um, I don't think so. Thank goodness, the managers didn't think so either, so it did not get ugly. But it galls me that Island Outposts thought it was okay to even suggest that. We'll never stay at any of their properties because of that. However, I will see what I can do on my end since I liked how the managers dealt with us about this problem. Bottom line, if you want to stay there, book directly with the resort.

ATLANTIS & ITS AQUARIUM: Atlantis itself has ZERO appeal to us. We only went there because we wanted our fish-loving son to see the aquarium. I had read that if you go after 7:30pm, no one is guarding the entrance and you can view it all for free instead of the $20 something per person. That turned out to be true. We headed to the aquarium our first night in Nassau. Unfortunately, it was a public holiday so the traffic was pretty bad. What a wake up call from Eleuthera! It took us about 45 minutes to get to Atlantis (taxi cost $35 one way). Walking around Atlantis... Wow... And I don't mean that in a good way. No offense to those who love it. Anyway, it was all worth it just to see the excitement on our son's face during the aquarium tour.

SIGHTSEEING: That didn't happen. We had planned to see some historial sights like Fort Charlotte but changed our minds. We chose to continue vegging out at Compass Point. Yes, just call us lazy bums.
caribtraveler is offline  
Aug 12th, 2007, 06:34 AM
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MOSQUITOES/NO-SEE-UMS: I need to learn to coat myself with repellent BEFORE I get off the plane. You'd think I would have learned by now. I got bitten pretty badly the first day we got to Eleuthera. I was very vigilant the rest of the trip and avoived more bites. My son only got 1 or 2 bites, thank goodness. My husband walked on the beach after dusk. The next day, he had lots of "lovely" red marks all over the lower part of his legs, courtesy of the no-see-ums. It was his first time ever being bitten that way . I'm mean, I know . By the way, the mosquitoes in the Bahamas must be really small. I never saw any of the ones that did a number on me. I normally spot them right away.

WEATHER/WATER TEMP: We lucked out with mostly great weather. On Eleuthera, it rained twice at night and twice in the morning (cleared up by midday). In Nassau, it rained once in the afternoon. The weather was fantastic the rest of the time. It was HOT, mainly in the 90s . The water temp was PERFECT .

LEAVING NASSAU: Make sure you get to the airport a MINIMUM OF 2 HOURS before your flight since you'll go through U.S. Customs and Immigration there. The line is slow and they won't let you jump it if you're late for your flight. We witnessed quite a few people who learned that the hard away. The departure tax ($15/person) and security fee ($7/person) have to be paid in CASH at the airport.

Happy travels everyone! 8-)
caribtraveler is offline  
Aug 12th, 2007, 08:46 AM
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Loved your trip report caribtraveler. I am so glad you enjoyed Eleuthera. Your pictures are just fabulous and I can't beleive the number of beaches you covered in 9 days. I can't wait to go back especially after seeing the pics of lighthouse beach which we didn't get to see in our past two trips. We felt the same way about HI. Its nice but only for a day trip.
mnag is offline  
Aug 12th, 2007, 01:23 PM
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Looks like a great trip-the funny thing is, I'm going Tuesday almost same trip! (2 nights Harbor
island, 3 nights Pineapple Fields, and 3 nights The Cove-not your style!)

I actually went to Rainbow Beach about 10 years ago, it was actually prettier then!

A couple of the beaches in your pictures are stunning!

Please tell me-your absolute favorite beaches-the do not miss ones.

Just based on your pictures-I'm definately eating at Joes. My kind of place.

Which beach was the "discovered" one? I'm thinking we can maybe skip Papaw?

Definately on list: LightHouse, and French Leave. Do you think Ben Bay is worth it?

We are also flying BahamasAir from NAS-they were fine?

I always enjoy your travel reports-they way you incorporate pictures, always fun to read!

We actually went to Harbor Island about 10 years ago for a week-and day tripped to Eleuthera. We had a taxi, Royal-show me his favorite beaches-they we're great-but we didn't know the names of them! We never made it down to lighthouse beach though, just to the old Club Med one.

Any advice for me?

blamona is offline  
Aug 12th, 2007, 02:50 PM
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Yay! You're back and you've written another excellent trip report. Thoroughly enjoyed reading it, and now I'm about to go drool over your photos.

So, are you and your husband going away again next month for your Hot Date Getaway? Where are you headed next?

BTW, you were asking about my full Grenada trip report earlier--it's up and posted on that forum and if you search you you can find the link.
ejcrowe is offline  
Aug 12th, 2007, 04:22 PM
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Thanks for the nice trip report as always. Patrick looked like he was having a great time in the waves.
brenandg is offline  
Aug 13th, 2007, 05:55 AM
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mnag: Of all the beaches we saw, Lighthouse beach was the MOST BEAUTIFUL in our humble opinion. Make sure you go there the next time you're on the island. It is worth that long drive and that awful access road.

blamona: Have a great time! Lighthouse beach was our favorite, no contest. French Leave was a closed second (it's actually the old Club Med beach). Double Bay is very beautiful too. Yes, go to Joe's beach!! If I remember correctly, the days the restaurant is closed are Wednesdays & Thursdays. The Canadian couple we met who pointed us to Joe's Beach said Ten Bay (not Ben Bay) is really beautiful too. We would have gone but by that time I had given our Eleuthera Beaches book to another family so we didn't have the directions. Those would be the beaches I would suggest you focus on.

I actually did not see Ben Bay. It was at the tail end of a downpour and there was a huge pool of water on the access road. I was afraid to drive the car through it and get stuck. So my husband got out and walked to it. He said it was pretty but that there was a lot of trash on the beach. He didn't think it was worth going to it.
I'd skip Papaw Beach. We looked hard for it and were so disappointed when we found it.

No problems with Bahamas Air. On time departure.

ejcrowe: Great regarding your Grenada trip report! I'll go look for it. My husband and I did a "hot date" trip in June . We went to Houston to see The Police reunion concert. It was lots of fun. I posted a trip report on the U.S. board if you're bored and feel like reading it. We are going to take a long weekend trip in mid-October (Great Exuma) but we'll take Patrick with us.

brenandg: It was priceless to watch him get hit by waves. Is that wrong?
caribtraveler is offline  
Aug 13th, 2007, 11:20 AM
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Hey Caribtraveler,

I just skimmed through this and will do a thorough reading later this evening.
But I did read the part about Harbour Island and was so disappointed to hear about how crowded & developed it is.

I've been trying to plan a trip there since last year, just looking forward to the peace and quiet and stillness that I've so often read about.

Do you know if it was crowded because of a cruise ship in port that day or is it always like that?
JAGIRL is offline  
Aug 13th, 2007, 04:00 PM
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Hi JaGirl. Compared to Eleuthera, it felt crowded and built up. I had this preconceived notion that HI would be a miniture version of Eleuthera.

On Eleuthera, we were usually the only ones on a beach (it is a bigger island and it has many more beaches). On HI's famous pink sand beach, there were quite a few people... but we were sitting between 2 hotels so the other end of the beach might have felt less crowded. I don't know. Plus, the myriad of golf carts there took a bit away from the peace and quiet feeling, in my opinion. I also imagined that since it was August, there would be less tourists but I was wrong.

Re: the island being developed. We didn't see every square inch of the island but from what we saw, it looked to us like there wouldn't be a plot available to sell to build a home. Every square inch seemed to be used.

Hopefully, people who know the island much better than me will be able to also give you their opinion.
caribtraveler is offline  
Aug 13th, 2007, 05:43 PM
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I've got to stop reading your reports as I am getting quite jealous.....3 great caribbean trips in 4 months. Where do I sign up????? I love reading your reports. I agree with Atlantis. It's ok to see, but ugh!!!! all those people. I'd need a vacation after vacationing there.
beachbum2 is offline  
Aug 14th, 2007, 06:01 AM
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Blamona, here is great website that details the beaches of eleuthera by location. You should focus on central eleuthera since you are staying at tippys. The ones not to miss in my opinion in that area are club med (or french leave), the beach by Joes restaurant (my favorite) and Ten Bay when the tide is low. Ten Bay at high tide is not great but at low tide is spectacular. Also as caribtraveler says Lighthouse beach which is at the southern tip of the island which we didnt get to. Others if you have time are double bay and ofcourse the beach by tippys is nice. If you click on the individual beach the website below will give you directions to follow to get there. We have relied on these and they are pretty accurate. Looking forward to reading your trip report.

mnag is offline  
Aug 14th, 2007, 09:40 AM
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From Caribtraveler's pictures, French Leave looks absolutely amazing!
JAGIRL is offline  
Aug 14th, 2007, 11:32 AM
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Caribtraveler, thanks for the great trip report! Question-which island did you prefer? Eleuthera or Anguilla? I loved your pictures and trip report from Anguilla, but Eleuthera looks just as nice! We're thinking of trying an island of that type (clear blue water, flat/scrubby land) for our next trip (after our St. John trip in a couple of weeks!). We prefer to rent a villa, and the less people the better! Those beaches looked amazing! Thanks!
kellybeaches is offline  
Aug 14th, 2007, 04:18 PM
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An update on the payment to Compass Point Resort. The manager told me VHR and Island Outposts resolved their "issues". Good.

beachbum2: 3 trips in 4 months?? Forget you, I wanna sign up! LOL. I wish. But yes, we did have some very 3 good trips this year.

kellybeaches: Eleuthera hands down. Have a great time in St. John (one of our favorite islands).

caribtraveler is offline  
Aug 15th, 2007, 08:34 AM
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Hi caribtraveler! let me say that you have just inspired me. I have been poking around looking for a place for a short trip for hubby and I this fall since we already have our big trip with the kids planned for next June (Grand Cayman).

Though I would love to (and will do at some point when we ahve more time) HI or Eleuthra, Compass Point looks just perfect... I love the colors and the caribbean quaintness! Aside for the cockroaches and samll beach it sounds like you really enjoyed it.

So where will you be off to next?
Kristen1206 is offline  
Aug 15th, 2007, 10:21 AM
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Hi caribtraveler, I really enjoyed your trip report.

So sorry about the snorkeling, and about Ma Ruby's. I guess her "time has come". Next time you'll have to try Angela's Starfish - and get the conch.

By the way, did Compass Point call those bugs "palmetto bugs"? Because they are roaches. But somehow it sounds less offensive to call them palmettos.
joan is offline  
Aug 15th, 2007, 12:03 PM
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Hey Kristen. Let me tell you. When my husband and I arrived in our room at Compass Point, we were just gushing... and we don't usually gush. My husband admitted to me then that he really didn't want to go there (Nassau et al) but now that we were, he was so happy we did and that he thought the place was just too cool.
We don't usually go back to the same places but I thought then that he and I could come back for a quick weekend getaway without Patrick. Especially since flying to Nassau is so easy and so darn cheap (at least from NJ). The staff is really great too. The cockroach thing was such a bummer.
My husband is too funny. He loved Eleuthera so much, he started to check out what other Out Islands we could go to next. Anyway, we're planning a long weekend in Great Exuma mid-October. Good luck planning a little getaway with your husband. Those are fun!

Hi Joan. She did not name them. She really said they were a type of "flying bugs". Knowing me, I probably gave her "a look" when I responded "they looked like cockroaches to me". She then said they'd take care of it right away. That was the end of the conversation. So I just looked up Palmetto bugs and I think you're right. That's what they were. Definitely a nicer name than cockroach. I still say "eewwwww".
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