Maui Trip report 1 of 4

Old Jun 25th, 2004, 01:42 PM
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Maui Trip report 1 of 4

This comes from a different perspective than a lot of TRs as we were a large party (me, wife, father-in law and sister-in law) traveling with my small children (7 yr old boy, 5 yr old boy and 1 yr old girl). Call it Maui Family Travel Without Breaking the Bank (well, almost). Redeemed 5 AA frequent flyer tickets and purchased 1 ticket (in order to get the half price seat for the baby). Booked 2 bedroom condo in south Kihei and split cost with FIL and SIL (more on condo later). This is verrrry long but I found the minor details in trip reports to be the most informative things on this forum. Maui Revealed (MR) was our trusty companion on this trip. Apologize for spelling (especially hawaiian names) in advance.

June11th Friday: Depart Cleveland. Forget car seat in cab on the way to the airport for the first crisis of the trip...cabbie gone and can't be found. Let the games begin! After grilling multiple employees in 2 airports (Cleveland and O'Hare) there appears to be no way to get a car seat at an airport (loaners, comps, etc.). Baby rides in my lap for 1 hour flight to Chicago. Luckily, we have a long layover in Chicago. After more interrogation of airline employees, wife and father-in law hop in cab and go to a Target 10 minutes from the airport. Arrive back at gate with plenty of time to spare with brand new car seat! Crisis averted! Imagine 9 hours on a plane with a squirmy baby in your lap. Departure delayed for 1 hour due to mechanical checks and baby flies (mostly sleeps) happily in her new car seat the 9 or so hours after that. Boys watch DVDs and sleep and flight with 3 small children goes by pretty fast. For me, it was no worse than a long car trip...except I didn?t have to drive!

Arrive in Maui (direct from Chicago), pick up rentals at Aloha Rental Car (offsite so fees/taxes are lower). We got a good price at Aloha for 2 cars (cheaper than renting 1 mini-van at majors) and service was friendly and quick. Cars seemed a little dated (think you can request newer model years) and ours had a bit of a mystery odor and FIL's air conditioning could have worked better. Overall a good value but not for those who require luxury (we're used to strange odors with the kids!). Two car idea was fantastic...allowed parties to split up and avoid any itinerary arguments (well, almost all).

Arrive at Maui Kamaole condo in south Kihei (across from Kam III beach and Kihei boatramp). Verrry impressed with grounds compared to other condos in the area...this seems to be a gem in the Kihei condos. We joked that it was very annoying to have to step on all the flower petals on the ground on the way to the pool. Rented direct from owner in a "first row" 2nd floor unit (H cluster). Were a little nervous renting from owner but this went off without a hitch. The condo was very spacious 2 bedroom one a roomy loft...2 boys slept on pullout couch. Never felt crowded even with the large group. Rented port a crib and high chair from Baby's Away...were waiting for us in the condo. Just a quick thought on air conditioning. The trade winds did blow and cool things off but we considered the air conditioning a necessity. After dragging the kids and all the gear back from the beach we LOVED walking into a nice cool place. Trade winds wouldn't do the trick for us.

Views were spectacular of Lanai, the ocean and the West Maui mountains. I enjoyed watching the sun light up the West Maui mountains sipping my coffee in the mornings. We saw many awesome sunsets right from our lanai. Exhausted after trip...ordered pizza from Shaka Pizza (they deliver). Good pizza and the size is large. We ordered 2 but had leftovers for a week.

June 12th Saturday: Rose very early and enjoyed the sunrise from our lanai. Didn't see it rising (as our lanai faced west) but enjoyed how the light played off the West Maui mountains. Packed up stuff and were at Kam 3 beach across the street before 9 AM. Short walk across S. Kihei road (longer walk for those in condos farther back in the complex). Pedestrian crosswalks made crossing this fairly busy road easy (cars are supposed to stop to let people cross). Great family beach (waves not too big, not too small) and a cove at the far south end of the beach is more sheltered for younger kids. Little to no shade on the beach itself but lots of it in the grassy area above the beach. Snorkeling was pretty good with gentle waves around both ends of the beach. Recommend morning trips to beach with the keikis as the sun gets hot by noon.

FIL wanted to get aloha shirt and explore a bit so we went to Shops at Wailea with just the boys (girls went to Costco!). Done in 15 minutes (just the men shopping, remember) we headed south towards Makena to explore. Turned off at the black sand beach just north of the big hill in Makena (forgot the name, its in MR). Nice beach and got some good pictures. Road to get there was dirt and very rutted...easy to bottom out on the rental car. The boys learned a lesson about keeping your sandals on at a black sand beach on a sunny afternoon. That sand was hot, hot, hot!!! Hit the pool later in the afternoon. Upper pool at condo with waterfalls and sand bottom jaccuzi was nicer than the lower pool. After our earlier scouting expedition we drove back to Shops at Wailea with the whole group and had dinner at Cheeseburger and Mai Tais. Didn't expect gourmet but service was painfully slow and food average. A common thread for would-be family friendly "fun" restaurants in Maui. This was one area where we wasted a little money. These "fun" places were hard to take the kids to due to slow service and were still very pricey. Wised up later in the week with trips to Maui Taco and Da Kitchen for dinners.

June 13th Sunday: Headed off to Lahaina for shopping and historic sightseeing. We parked at the far north end of the "strip" near the ABC store and Hilo Hatties in the public pay parking lot. Parking is validated for the first 2 hours here with $10 purchase in the nearby shopping center. The idea was to stroll down the strip to the banyan tree, shop and see the historic sights and then stroll back. It turned into what I now refer to as the "Lahaina Death March". It was a looong, hot walk to the banyan tree from where we parked especially with all the stops for shopping. My father-in law was also on a quest to see the recreated hawaian village and went off searching for it a few times. It turned out it was right next our parking lot! We (finally) made it back to the car and drove to Leilani's for lunch at Whaler's Village at Kaanapali. We had a great lunch at the downstairs beach side café. (Upstairs restaurant not open for lunch). Service was pretty slow again but kids seemed to do a little better here. Made it back to the condo for more pool time in late afternoon. SIL had a taste for a cheese steak and we were wiped out from the forced (shopping) march so ordered sandwiches from Shaka Pizza. Great cheesesteaks! Better than the pizza.
(continued)
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Old Jun 25th, 2004, 02:09 PM
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Trip report 2 of 4:

June 14th Monday: Beach day today and we still all were waking early. Arrived before 9 AM at Ulua beach. Good shade near the back of the beach for most of the morning but is gone by noon. We got a good spot because we arrived early but this beach gets verrry crowded. Convenient parking and showers seems to draw the families here. Also, we saw a lot of beginning dive lessons and they tend to hog the parking spaces. A good family beach but honeymooners and love-birds should go elsewhere IMO. Snorkeling was good between Ulua and Mokopa beach. Waves tended to crash on shore at Ulua and the sandy bottom didn?t extend out very far. Still, waves were not too big and we enjoyed some decent boogie boarding. Done with beach a little after noon and crashed at the condo for a couple hours. Late afternoon again at the pool. The beach and pool time with the kids was probably the best and most relaxing part of the trip. Went to Secret Cove south of Big Beach (in Makena) to see the sunset. MR proved invaluable finding this wonderful spot (?find a hole in the stone wall across from telephone pole H2-3? or something like that). There were 2 wedding parties there taking pictures so the place isn?t so secret. The sunset was beautiful and I highly recommend a trip to see the sunset here for those staying in south Maui. Used MR again to stop on the way back to the condo at the Renaissance lobby bar for pupus and drinks for dinner?both were excellent! Very relaxing place with good service and easy to take the kids.

June 15th Tuesday: Sightseeing at I?ao valley and Maui Ocean Center. Kids enjoyed bird watching in the mornings from the lanai so we made a side trip to the Kelia pond on the way to I?ao valley. Pretty disappointing?we saw more birds from our lanai. Iao valley park at the end of the road was very nice. All paved, short trails. Easy to hike with the baby in the backpack with great views of the needle and the valley below. Lots of steps so strollers not a great idea. The baby backpack was invaluable as it allowed us to do a lot of the sightseeing without the baggage of a stroller. Enjoyed watching the local kids jump off the bridge into the stream. Stopped at the Hawaii Nature Center on the way in. Not worth the entry fee (even for the kids) but the café in back had a decent salad. The park near the parking lot was scenic and interesting. Spent the afternoon at Maui Ocean Center. There are outside exhibits so bring sunscreen and sunglasses. Lunch at the restaurant on site was good (but pricey even with the buy one get one free coupon you get with the admission fee). Excellent views of the harbor and good ambiance. Good gift shop at the end (can?t believe I said that??good? gift shop). Entry fee is $19 for adults (less for kids) but all in all worth it?an excellent aquarium. Late afternoon pool time again?back to the condo for the sunset. Dinner was hot dogs cooked on the grill at the condo. Fresh pineapple in the fruit salad and Maui chips gave us a more Hawaiian feel eating our hot dogs.

June 16th Wednesday: Back at Kam 3 beach early in the morning. Waves were bigger at the main beach so we set up at the more sheltered cove at the south end of the beach. There was one small area of shade for most of the morning. Baby happily napped in stroller (with sunshade, of course) most of the time but loved crawling along the sand as well. Saw a memorial service as a group of local Hawaiians walked in the surf and placed flowers in the water. Back in the condo again by noon. I had the afternoon off from the kids and golfed at Makena. Twilight rates start at 1:00 and it seemed to cloud over somewhat in Makena in the afternoon (making it not tooo hot). I was concerned about heavy trade winds playing in the afternoon but the trades didn?t seem to blow as hard in Makena as they did in Kihei and Wailea. Played the South course which was spectacular! Great layout and greens (although a little slow on the front nine). Great views of Molokini, Kahoolawe and up to Haleakalea. A bit disappointed with my 86 from the championship tees (I was even par through 7 holes) but golfing here was one of the highlight of my trip. After another spectacular sunset from our lanai picked up Maui Tacos in Kihei for dinner back at the condo (kids had PB&J). Check out the celebrity pictures on the wall and try all the salsas?especially the pineapple! .

June 17th Thursday: Boys, me and in-laws went on Pacific Whale Foundation snorkel trip to Lana?i. Wife stayed home and went shopping with baby (wife doesn?t care for snorkeling). It took almost a week but finally wised up and purchased UV shirts for the boys?the best purchases (in a long line of purchases) of the trip. This reduced the sunscreen slathering area by at least 60% (just face, arms and legs to worry about now) and took away a huge stress from us (kids getting sunburned). They came back as pasty as the arrived in Maui! Turned out there was a large shaded area on the boat inside and we got seats there. Trip out was pleasurable and uneventful. Stopped to see Spinner Dolphins (very cool) who swim right up to the boat. Snorkle spot was at Manele Bay. Boat was anchored a good 100 yds away from the reef so it was a pretty long swim to get to where the fish were. They provided plenty of floatation devices for beginners and were very good helping the children. Snorkeling was very good here?clear with plenty of fish and not too crowded with people. My 7 year old was out for a pretty long time with his Aunt as his partner. My 5 year old went in the water with me but didn?t like the taste of the salt water so we went back to the boat. (I went back in later after SIL returned with my older boy). With one exception, their ?naturalists? on the boat were very knowledgeable and friendly. The one exception was the crew member who almost set the boat on fire cooking lunch. No lunch on this trip unless you like the taste of fire extinguisher over raw burgers. They made up for it with deli sandwiches as we exited the boat back in Lahaina. Only saw Lanai from the boat but the island seemed dry and not very scenic?maybe not worth a day trip there(?) The trip back was very rough and some got seasick. I coached my 5 yr old about looking at the horizon and not laying down and it almost worked. He lost it about 2 minutes from port  Poor little guy. All in all a good snorkel trip (not great). Celebrated the wife?s birthday (early) with a dinner at Sarento?s (without the kids). Sunset there was breathtaking but bring sunglasses for before the sunset. Food and service were excellent and a minor quibble about not having a broader menu. We especially liked when they replaced our water glasses because they became too sweaty. I hate when my water glass gets sweaty ;-) This was our splurge dinner and found it worth the money.
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Old Jun 25th, 2004, 03:38 PM
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Great report!!! Wow, 1 of 4 eh? I'm anxiously waiting for your next part.
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Old Jun 25th, 2004, 03:57 PM
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Me too! I can't wait for part two! Great trip report--love the "Lahaina Death March" name!!
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Old Jun 25th, 2004, 04:16 PM
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This is a great report. Have you been taking lessons on trip-report-writing from maitaitom? Can't wait for the rest!
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Old Jun 25th, 2004, 04:48 PM
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Good report! Can't wait for the next pieces. Thanks.
Tip...If you keep posting as replies here, the pieces won't get separated
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Old Jun 25th, 2004, 07:05 PM
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Thanks and yes, I'll be posting all 4 installments here in this thread. Here's 3 of 4:

June 18th: Friday. Road to Hana. A grueling day but worth it in my opinion for the pictures and scenery. Took the 3 kids and they held up better than my FIL . Our stops were limited by where we could truck the children...backpack came in handy here. The Garden of Eden was a good stop despite the $7.50 per adult (kids free) entry. Lots of walking through "jungle" trails and good vistas of a waterfall and valley. We took pictures to show as if we hiked through a rainforest. It was nice place to experience the area without having to take the kids out of the car on the side of the (busy) road. Bring the bugspray. Next stop was the turnoff just after the YMCA camp (MR has exact name and location). Very scenic and cool to see the waves crashing against the rocks. Next stop was the black sand beach at Wainapanapa. Excellent stop and very picturesque (bathrooms here, too). Walked down to the beach but didn?t explore the caves or lava tubes with the kiddies. Cool to see flowers growing on the black sand beach. Next stop was lunch at Tutu?s snack shop at Hana Bay. Beach seemed a little dirty but it probably was just the salt and pepper color of the sand. Tutu?s had a pretty extensive menu for a snack shop...the greasy burgers were pretty good. FIL was getting cranky (forgot his cigarettes!) so we didn?t stop again until the O?eho gulch (Seven Pools). Very crowded there and took the 2 boys to dip their feet in the lower pool. Was a little more nervous watching the tourists jump from the rocks into the pools. Rocks were very slippery and not much room for mom and baby in the backpack at the bottom of the stairs. Gulch was greener than expected and very scenic (despite the throng). Taking MR advice, we continued to drive around the backside of Haleakala. Drive was longer than expected but verry worth it. The scenery of the valleys on this side of the volcano past Kaupo was breathtaking. I?d compare it to the Na Pali coast in Kauai in terms of beauty. The unpaved portion of the road was easy to drive in my Taurus. The paved road was actually bumpier than the unpaved road. My fear was driving the curves on the one lane road not knowing if a car was coming the other direction. The horn honking around the curves helped but there were times when it seemed a leap of faith. Returned in time to see the sunset from our lanai. Went down the street to Da Kitchen for dinner. Easy on us with the kids and very good authentic local food. Portions are HUGE so consider splitting a meal. Again, this option of small, local restaurant was better for us taking the kids (and tastier) than the ?fun? places (Cheeseburger, Bubba Gumps etc.)

June 19th: Saturday. Checked into the Grand Wailea for a one night junket for the kids to use the pools. Upgraded to ocean view! Actually, we preferred our condo?s view to the GW?s ocean view (I told you our condo had a good view!). FIL and SIL stayed at the condo. You can actually check in at 10 AM and use the pools until your room is ready (3 PM). And you can use the pools for the whole day after you check out. So, for the price of one night we had use of the pools and facilities for 2 days. This place really is "grand"...verrry impressive. The pools are very crowded and we had trouble finding chairs when we arrived at 11 AM. Great place for families but felt a little sorry for the honeymooners. Recommend flotation devices for young children who aren?t comfortable in the water. Slides were great but seemed geared for slightly older children than mine. I actually was surprised the facilities didn?t have a great area for the younger kids. A small sand "beach" type pool seemed to be it for pre-school age kids. A couple of smaller slides with fountains would have been nice. (My local municipal pool has a nicer kiddie pool area.) Water elevator was also a bit of a disappointment (a ?that was it?? moment). My 5 year old slipped and cut his ear in one of the pools. Staff was very helpful and a trip to the urgent care center (in Kihei, near Lipoa) fixed things right up. Had pupus and a drinks with older boy at the lobby bar waiting for Mom and younger boy to return...a great place to soak things in. Had dinner at the Molokini Bistro...food was excellent and the kids enjoyed the children?s buffet. Prices here are comparable to their "fancy" restaurant (Humuhumu?) so don?t come here looking for a bargain.
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Old Jun 25th, 2004, 07:23 PM
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Here's the last one 4 of 4.

June 20: Sunday. Pool day at the Grand Wailea. Kids ran out of gas by 3 so we headed back to the condo. All in all, a great escape to luxury for a couple of days. Dinner at Marco?s in Kihei. Despite MR?s comments on price, we actually found things very reasonable. $2 garlic bread and most entrées seemed under $20. Food was a little above average and service was great. Not a bad choice that won?t break the bank.

June 21: Monday. Beach in the morning at Po?olenalena Beach, south of Wailea. Great uncrowded beach. No showers but did have a Port-a-potty. Snack stand on the street entering parking lot?didn?t partake but looked fun. Great shade on beach near parking lot, not much shade farther down the beach. There were campers there despite the no camping sign. (It appeared they?d been there for a long time). Presence didn?t make us feel uncomfortable, though. Waves were bigger and tended to crash on shore here. Boogie boarding was very fun with the big waves. Kept a sharp eye on the kids and my oldest had fun boogie boarding close to shore. Due to lots of posts in these forums we were very careful with the kids in the ocean. Each one had an adult "partner" at all times. After cleaning up drove to Lahaina for dinner and last minute shopping (SIL wanted to buy more jewelry). Yes, I'm a glutton for punishment. Not expecting greatness, we had dinner at Bubba Gumps in part to MR saying they tended to rush and turn over tables...not a bad thing for a family with young kids. Despite the great views it was very frenetic (food was OK) and made for a bit of a stressful dinner. Streets were verrry crowded by 7 PM and we escaped the crowds with kids in tow...sunset was shrouded in clouds for the first time on the trip.

June 22 Tuesday: Packing and Pool in the morning before checkout. Lunch at Charley?s in Paia before heading to airport (it?s a short drive from Paia to the airport). Walk from the public parking lot entering town not too bad with the kids. Great atmosphere at Charley?s...Food was OK. The ono sandwitch and cheese burgers were a little overcooked. Stopped at Baldwin Beach Park for last minute pictures. Appeared to be a local beach, felt a little uncomfortable with the youth (boy does that make me sound old) sitting on the back of their trucks drinking beer and playing rap music. Dropped off rental car at Aloha Rentals, shuttle and check-in at airport, although very hot, went smoothly

So, not exactly a bike down Haleakala in the morning, sip mai tai?s at the pool in the afternoon and dine at Mama?s type of vacation but we had the best time. We?ll definitely be back to the islands (with the kids and (maybe) the in-laws!)...maybe Kauai and/or the Big Island next time. Need to save up those miles!!
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Old Jun 25th, 2004, 07:37 PM
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bdfm,

You are the bomb! Great report... and you've hit on a target that is SO often neglected or treated like the plague here on fodors... "traveling w/ kids".

Thank you for your details and insights for people like yourself who love to travel w/ their families... a great tribute to "a family that plays together stays together".

Wonderful traveling with you in your report!

aaaaaalllohhhhhhaaaaa!
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Old Jun 25th, 2004, 08:59 PM
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bonniebroad
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I thought, when I read your report, what a patient and attentive Daddy you must be! Sounds as though you made the most of your time, and made lots of wonderful memories with your family. Thanks for sharing!
 
Old Jun 25th, 2004, 10:04 PM
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Thanks for the awesome trip report; lots of info! I just have a couple of questions if you have a chance to answer them...
1. What time did you leave for the road to Hana trip? We're wondering how early we should get up if we want to be back at the condo by sunset, and I know we'll want to make lots of stops (yes, we have the holy MR).
2. How much in advance should we make reservations for Sarento's? Do they book up fast?
My husband and I are leaving for Maui on July 6 (first time there) and staying at the Wailea Ekahi. We spent the LONGEST time trying to decide between Ekahi and the Maui Kamaole, so I hope we didn't make a mistake - we just keep hearing great things about Maui Kamaole! How long was your walk to the beach?
Thanks again for all the info!
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Old Jun 26th, 2004, 07:23 AM
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Fantastic report, bdfamilyman! Made me feel like I was there with you. What wonderful insights you have about traveling. It's all in how you handle it, isn't it? Can harldy wait for our October trip.
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Old Jun 26th, 2004, 09:07 AM
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What a nice report! You write so well. Life is about building memories withn those that you love. My guess is that your children will be talking about this trip for a long time! . I can sooooooooo relate to the Lahaina Death March!8-X
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Old Jun 26th, 2004, 09:12 AM
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bonniebroad
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During the first week of October a few years ago, we were in Lahaina, and it was low 90's, not a tradewind in sight! We thought we would die, really!8-X
 
Old Jun 26th, 2004, 01:36 PM
  #15  
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thanks all for the kudos. Bonnie, wish i was a little more attentive right before my boy spilled his Icee all over the backseat.

tstrohn, we actually got started what i considered a little late on the road to hana. we left the condo by around 8:00. It was kind of crowded on the road by the time we got up there. I made Sorrento's reservations for a Thurs on Monday and got a good time. Like I've seen in other posts, I'd recommend Sorrento's but maybe others i haven't tried are better (Nick's, Mama's etc.). Our walk to the beach was a pleasant (even with all our gear)5-10 minutes. It would be longer if your unit was farther back in the complex (we were the cluster closest to the beach).
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Old Jun 26th, 2004, 04:34 PM
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Thanks for the tips - I guess we'll try to leave a little earlier for Hana. It's just sooooo HARD to get up early when you're on vacation!!!
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Old Jun 28th, 2004, 09:15 AM
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Great, great, great report!!!
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