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8/24-8/28 (The IP, Long & Cheap)

Discussion in 'Vegas Trip Reports' started by Michguy, Aug 30, 2006.

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  1. Michguy

    Michguy Tourist

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2002
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    Location:
    Texas

    My Trip Report

    NOTICE:
    This Report is being posted on the following Message Boards:
    (So don’t be surprised if you see it somewhere else)
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    Vegas Trip Report (2006)
    08/24/-08/28

    All I can say is that 4 days in Vegas goes by awfully fast, but by the end of the 4th day we were ready to come home and see our little boys. When you are a 40 year old who is used to 6-7 hours of sleep a night, trying to cut back to 4 hours in order to “see and do everything” starts to wear on your body and your mind after a while.
    This was our (Myself and my lovely wife) first trip in 3 years and we brought two “Vegas Virgins” with us; I will refer to them as “D/K” (Duane & Karen) during the rest of this report. It was great to have another couple with and see some of the excitement and awe thru their eyes again. We are from a very small town, so you forget how overwhelming that Vegas can be, the general pace of the environment is much different than we are used to and nothing can prepare you for that.
    When we go next time, I will force myself to slow down and get more sleep to avoid the “burned out” feeling I got around the end of day three. Once again, I think you learn from every trip you go on, and have to re-evaluate after it’s done and see what you should adjust in the future.
    Instead of doing a Day-by-Day sequence I will just break this report into categories:

    FLIGHT:
    We flew Allegiant Air out of Green Bay, Wisconsin.
    You can’t beat their prices ($99 each way) and the convenience of “Straight-Shot” Flights. It was Karen’s first time ever flying and of course she was assigned a lovely seat with a view of nothing but the engine, LOL. Thankfully, some guys in front of her heard us laughing about it and offered to change seats with D/K, so she could actually see something on the flight.
    The only bummer was that we sat in the very back row on the flight out and those seats are very noisy and don’t recline, we will learn to request seats in the front half of the plane from now on.
    All in all, the flights were fine…….. As long as we get there relatively on time and in one piece, I am very happyJ

    ARRIVAL
    Duane and I decided to surprise the gals and reserved a Limo from Presidential Limousine for the Airport Meet and Greet. This was a great start to the trip and we really surprised the Ladies, the champagne and roses were a big hit I am glad we did this.
    When we first entered the baggage area, you see all of the drivers standing there with the signs and the girl’s joked “Where is ours?” of course I could not see our driver anywhere and started to get nervous. I finally spotted him about 20 yards away and told the gals to go up to that guy and tell him that we are here now. They were convinced that I was joking, and that it was not really for us, it took me about 3 minutes to assure them that it was oursJ
    The only thing I would change would be to possibly tell them to show up ½ hour after arrival time if I ever do it again. I told them to be there when our flight was scheduled to arrive, and of course we were 10-15 minutes later getting off the plane. By the time we got our luggage we only had about 20 minutes left of our hour and the driver (Lewis) pretty much just took us straight to the hotel and no time to cruise strip.

    HOTEL
    We are all a little, shall we say… “Budget Conscious”, so after much debate we stayed at the Imperial Palace on the Summer Gold Special that averaged $70/night. It was $30-$40 per night cheaper than anywhere else we could find and it include 2 breakfast buffets each and some other coupons.
    It was a great price for center strip location especially for a weekend rate. My buddy Duane has some friends that made discouraging remarks about the IP before we left, so I was really hoping things would go smooth for all.

    The Good News- “The $20 trick” worked for me and we got upgraded to one of the Luv Tub Suites. Unfortunately that clued me into the fact that a 40-year-old male who has been to too many buffets over his lifetime does not really want a mirror above his bed.
    The Bad News- Where do I start……….both couples requested a room change within the first day.

    Our Room Problems: The Shower/Tub did not drain well at all, when 20 minutes after my wife took her shower, I ended up standing in 4-6 inches of water in order to take my shower. The next day they did move us up two floors and everything was fine after that.

    D/K Room Problems: After checking in and giving a quick inspection of the room, D/K were not happy to find a dirty bath towel laying on the floor of the bathroom, and a dirty washcloth hanging from the shower rod, the tub also appeared to not have been cleaned very well.
    Duane called housekeeping, they said they would send someone immediately, 5 hours later when we returned from dinner and a show, and it was still not resolved. After a trip down to the front desk at 1:00 in the morning, they finally got moved to a different room.
    It gets worse….. On our last evening when we are all extremely fatigued, around Midnight there is a knock on D/K’s door that wakes him up out of a dead sleep. They tell him he “needs to down and talk to the manager” about his credit card. He was forced to wait in a long line about 45 minutes and then told that his card was rejected and he needs to get out of his room if he can’t pay for it.
    The person who he was talking to was very rude about it, and Duane told him to try the card again, Josh made some snide remarks about if it is the same card why bother, but lo and behold, after swiping it again, he says “Oh, I guess it is working now, sorry”
    That was all he said!!! I would have been irate and telling them they are going to do something for me for how rudely I was treated and the sleep I just got woken up from. I am personally going to write a letter to the IP and tell them why I will never recommend anyone to stay there again.
    It was very unfortunate, because otherwise I felt everything was fine and I do like the layout of the casino, the drink service was great, the poker room was fun, and the cocktail waitress uniforms are some of the best in town.

    ENTERTAINMENT
    We planned 4 shows in the first 3 days, and I think we were actually relieved that we did not have anything planned for the last full day. All the shows we saw were very good with no complaints; I think D/K were amazed with the entertainment options available in LV, along with the pricing from show to show.

    In no specific order:
    Legends in Concert
    We purchased the tickets at the Tickets4tonight booth at the Hawaiian Marketplace for $69 for 2 tickets, which included one drink each.
    This show defiantly exceeded our expectations, and I would strongly recommend it to anyone. The performers included Jay Leno as the MC, Tina Turner, The Temptations, Prince, Brittney Spears and of course Elvis.
    A few observations on the show……The back-up singers/dancers really earn their money during this show, as many of them perform for every single act, and most of them look like they do 500 sit-ups a day. The Britney Spears impersonator had a body that the “real one” only dreams of having, and The Temptations may have been the best ones at sounding “dead-on”. The Prince impersonator definitely had the same look, but his voice got a little too deep and husky at times, but he definitely had the dance moves and energy to impress.

    Mac King
    My wife and I saw his show on our last trip, and feel it may be the best $8 you can spend in Vegas. It is nice way to break up the afternoon and get away from the walking and gambling. If you have never seen Mac King, he is a magician/comedian that uses a simple country-boy demeanor that will amaze you and make you laugh until it hurts.
    It is ironic that while the expensive “Big Name” magic acts need to have million dollar props and sets to utilize, Mac King will entertain you by using a piece of rope, a goldfish, a worm, a carrot, a deck of cards and a cardboard box to name a few of his “low-budget” props.
    Both my wife and my friend Duane got called up on stage to “help-out”, and that made this show even more memorable. Even though the show was probably 80 percent the same as 3 years ago, we enjoyed it just as much and I cannot understand how Harrah’s can get away with only charging $8/person (with the coupon) for the show.

    Steve Connolley as Elvis
    Our ACG Booklet had a “2 free show tickets at Fitzgerald’s” coupon, so we decided to see this show.
    It was probably the least impressive show we saw, but that is not meant to be a poor reflection on Steve Connleys’ voice or energy. He says he prefers not to impersonate, but instead to “Pay Tribute” to The King, by trying to emulate his energy and charisma.
    All and all, it was a good show and would probably impress more if he had a larger room and stage to work from. It was performed in a fairly small room and that just made you feel like “This is it?” as soon as you enter. I can say that all in attendance enjoyed the show and if you are downtown with the ACG Coupon, it is a good way to spend an hour or so.

    Jubilee at Bally’s
    My wife and I saw Follies Berge on our last trip and enjoyed it, so this time we wanted to see “The Other Showgirl Show” that was topless. I had the POV coupon for “Buy one get one free” and we decided to get the top shelf tickets at $82 for the pair.
    The show was definitely well done, and the way they can change a set so quickly is amazing. We were sitting about 4 seats from the stage and that was actually too close. Several times there was action above us or in the sides of the stage that we could not really see well.
    The dancers were all very good, and they obviously put in a ton of practice time together since everything is choreographed to the split seconds. You would think that the “Topless Factor” would be a big deal but it really wasn’t. After the first 10-15 minutes you are kind of numb to it and it loses the effect.
    The dancers have so much makeup on that it is tough to really gauge their ages, and the majority of them were pretty flat chested, which may be a good thing when you need to dance and bounce around that much.
    As good as the main show was, the two lasting impressions were:
    a) The sets they had were amazing, when there were pyrotechnics on stage, you could feel the hot blast of air sitting in the crowd.
    b) The “intermission acts” were incredible.
    These included Jugglers, contortionists, and 2 very muscular fellows that swung around on some drapes that hung from the stage. Each one of these “Side-show Acts” made you say “WOW!!! How the heck can they do that?”
    Overall it was a great show, but I wish we would have went to the 7:30 show instead of the 10:30 one, that is just too late when you are tired and used to being on Central Time which is 2 hours ahead (So it was already 12:30 our time when it started).

    FOOD:
    Ellis Island – After reading so many good things about this place, and the fact that we are all “Frugal”, I thought that we would start our vacation and use our ACG BOGO coupons here. The only negative I can say was that it was a longer walk then I would have liked in the 100-degree heat (Dry Heat my butt, Hot is Hot!)
    We did have to wait almost 45 minutes, which was tough because we were all starving, but once we got the food it was well worth it. The salads were large and very good, and for dinner we had Prime Rib, The Steak Special, and Shrimp Scampi.
    We all thought the food was excellent and you surely cannot complain with the prices, and their home brewed “Ale beer” really tasted well with my Prime Rib. I would definitely dine there often if I were a frequent visitor or local resident.

    Imperial Palace Breakfast Buffet - For all the bad things that are often read about the IP and their food, you cannot fault their breakfast buffet for that reputation. It had everything you would want on one and more, including the made-to-order omelets, yummmmm.
    We each had 2 “free coupons” from the Summer Gold Package, and we all enjoyed the buffet very much. There were plenty of options, including lots of fruit and pastries, and I thought the quality was very good on everything we had. I have started to use the logic that for breakfast, the buffets are a no-brainer, otherwise by the time you pay for Coffee and Juice you have probably spent more than what the buffet would cost.

    Kahunaville – This was the 3rd time in my life I have walked out of a restaurant without ordering once we had been seated. I had purchased a $25 gift certificate for there and figured it would be a cheap dinner using the GC; we were all pretty shocked at the pricing of the sandwiches and dinners. I don’t mean to sound this cheap, but my wife is not a very big eater, and I thought there would be some options under $20, and there sure weren’t many.
    While we were all commenting on how “Pricey” it was (you have to remember we are from a small town), the waiter approached and helped us make up our mind to leave. My wife asked if she could have a small salad, and his reply was “I don’t know can you?” which came across very cocky.
    My wife stated that she did not see one on the menu, and he said that all the dinners included one; she then explained that she wanted “Just” the small salad, and he came back with “You can have one for $6.95, or is that too expensive for you?” I was starting to think we had accidentally walked into a Dick’s Last Resort, LOL.
    We could not believe how rude he was, so while he was off getting our drinks, we all agreed to go somewhere without the attitude. It is too bad because I was looking forward to seeing the flair bartenders, but I thought it was odd that from the dining area that you could not see them anyhow.

    Batista’s Hole in the Wall – After leaving Kahunaville still hungry, my buddy said that someone told him about Batista’s, and the fact that all the red wine was included with your meal. We had seen their sign on the way to Ellis Island and said, “Let’s go”, this was a very good idea and we will consider eating here again in the future.
    They are a nice “Mom and Pop” Italian place right behind the Barbary Coast, which has their menu broken up by Price Category, such as “These 5 pasta selections are $20.95”, “These 4 Selections are $23.95”, etc, etc.
    I saw at the bottom of the menu that there is a minimum $8 charge per person, so I asked my wife if she wanted to split one of the dinners (since we cannot take leftovers home if she doesn’t finish hers). We ended up splitting the Manicotti, and I am sure we glad we split it; there is no way I would have finished the plate on my own. We each got a great Italian Salad with meat and cheese in it, some awesome garlic bread, and a “never-ending” carafe of both Red and White wine.
    We all enjoyed our dinners very much, and it was just a bonus when they brought us a cup of their homemade cappuccino for dessert.

    Paris Breakfast Buffet- There is not much I can say about this selection, that hasn’t been said already…. except “WOW”. If I could only eat breakfast one place for the rest of my life it would probably be here. It was my first time having Crepe’s and I can now see (and taste) what all the talk is about, the only problem is that they are probably twice the size a person should have.
    The sausages were wonderful, especially the applewood smoked chicken sausage, and of course the pastries were darn tasty too. We even commented the next day that their coffee was incredibly good. If you can’t get filled up at this buffet, and enjoy every minute of it, you just don’t like food for some reason. The other great thing was the “atmosphere” where it felt like you were in a village instead of the normal cafeteria setting.
    One Funny Note- As I am doing my “walk thru” to scope out all of the choices, I noticed a container of Oatmeal, and I laughed at it thinking “with all of these wonderful choices, who the heck would pick oatmeal?” well…….. Can you guess what my wife came back to the table with on her tray? LOL.

    Fremont Seafood Buffet – We had this buffet 3 years ago and I enjoyed it then, and I think it may be even better now. I love Crab Legs, so that was the main course, but I also had good sized servings of large Peel and Eat Shrimp, Shrimp Scampi, Mahi Mahi, Calamari, and several other items. If you are not a “huge fan” of Seafood, don’t worry they had several non-seafood selections that were tasty also, including carved beef and chicken. They have recently added a sushi area to it, and the dessert selection (Key Lime Pie, yummm) was very good too.
    Using the POV “2 for 1” coupon made this an incredible bargain at under $20 for the 2 of us, and I would go to it anytime I had the opportunity.

    Harrah’s “Flavors” Dinner Buffet – I had actually went over to Harrah’s to find out about the Shuttle to the Rio Casino and explained to one of the employees that I was looking for a “good” dinner buffet for our last night. She told me that Harrah’s had recently redone their buffet and in her opinion it was every bit as good and $5 cheaper, and then she gave a coupon for another $5 off each.
    If the one at the Rio is any better than this one, I don’t know how it could be unless they have Supermodels dishing up the food for you, this buffet had wonderful selections and the quality was top-notch for a buffet. In fact the Prime Rib had as good of flavor as any that I have ever had at a menu-ordered meal. The Crab legs were very good once again, and there were several Chinese, Mexican and Italian options to make everyone happy. In fact, my group laughed at me when I came back with Prime Rib and Pizza on my plate, but I have to admit the pizza was very, very, good.
    The dessert selection had two different things I hadn’t encountered before, 12 flavors of gelato they would scoop into a bowl or a cone for you, and a chocolate fountain to dip strawberries, brownies or rice crispy bars into.

    GAMBLING:
    My wife and I are mostly Poker Players ($2/4 & $3/6), with a little bit of BJ, Craps or Video Poker/Slots mixed in. On the other end of the spectrum, D/K had never gambled in a casino in their lives!!!
    We showed D/K the ropes on Video Poker and Slots (put money in and then say good-bye to it), but gambling was not a real priority for them, which probably makes them a lot smarter than I am, LOL.

    POKER - My wife and I played between 3-6 hours a day, and we got to play in the Caesar’s Palace, MGM Grand, Imperial Palace, Harrah’s and Flamingo Poker Rooms. I did better in the $2/4 Games than I did in the $3/6 for some reason, and I was able to grind out a couple of +$100 winsJ, I actually ended up winning a couple hundred on poker over the 4 days, which almost made up for my wife’s misfortunes at the tables.
    We loved the room at the MGM, the marble ring around the table really adds a nice touch and their electronic waiting list and pagers are great, however we both had our worst losses there, so I don’t know if the competition is better there or if it was just a bad run of cards. We only played CP in the early hours and unfortunately our $3/6 games broke up quickly on two of the mornings.
    The IP and Flamingo Poker Rooms aren’t all that impressive, but I was very pleased with the Drink Service and the friendliness of the staff at both. We only played 10-15 minutes at Harrah’s, because almost as soon as we sat down a couple left and we were down to 5 handed, we don’t like short-handed games. I will give Harrah’s room another look; it is very quiet and has Bad Beat and High Hand jackpots.
    I saw the worst bad beat I have witnessed at the IP on the last evening, on a board of 2-4-4-A-10 (no flush possible), a couple of guys capped the bet on the turn and the River, the dealer then informed them that they are allowed to go unlimited raises when it is Head’s Up. Well, “player A” says “I have $29 left, do you want to go that far with it?” “Player B” quickly pushes in and shows his pocket 4-4; versus “A’s” pocket A-A!!
    The Drink Service at IP and MGM were great, Flamingo was good, and Caesar’s Palace was not so great. Of course we only played CP in the early morning hours, but you shouldn’t have to wait ½ hour for your coffee with Bailey’s when you are trying to wake up.
    I cannot get over the amount of people that sit down at a poker table and don’t even understand how much they are allowed to bet/raise at a time, or continually call with A-6 (or Ace-anything) Offsuit and then complain about their bad luck when their kicker gets beat. I played with a girl at CP that told me about all the poker books she has read and studied, but could not figure out when she had to bet $3 versus $6 on her turn, I guess she should have read the first chapter.

    BLACKJACK- The least amount we have ever played in Vegas, All due to the ridiculous table minimums on the strip. My first trip 15 years ago I can remember playing at $1 tables at IP and Downtown, now I cannot even find a $5 table on the weekend. I did play about 15 minutes at Ellis Island before we ate the first night and that was it (+$12), I got tired of looking for the “cheap” tables when I wanted to play.
    My wife only played the last morning at the IP ($10 table) and quickly donated $80 to the Harrah’s Corporation Retirement Fund.

    CRAPS- Several times I walked over to Casino Royale for the famous $3 tables and I had a lot of fun and came out a little bit ahead overall. I have to agree with other posters about the crabby dealers there, I think the average age in the craps area employee was somewhere around 65 it seemed. One dealer chewed out a player for picking up his odds bet once the dice were in action, the player argued and a Pit Boss was called. I was impressed when they pulled up the camera replay on a laptop computer and showed that the player was actually correct.

    VIDEO POKER/SLOTS - We do not play much of these, but I will usually play $5-10 of .25 VP while waiting for a Poker Seat or to unwind before bed. I have decided I have a better chance of getting hit by lightning than ever getting a Royal Flush or 4 Deuces (on D-Wild). They have never been a moneymaker for me, but for some reason I keep thinking that “I am due” a big hit.
    Overall, I probably we probably only donated between $50-80 to the machines during the 4 days, so I figure that puts us far ahead of the average player. One thing I realized while sitting at the machines is how spoiled I get with the quick drink service at the Poker Tables.
    In talking to D/K after a few days, it is sure easy to see how the casino’s profit from peoples basic laziness, not only are most of us not going to cash out when we are “only” $3-5 dollars ahead, but if we are in a hurry to go somewhere and only betting 2-3 credits at a time, how often do you see someone go up to “max credits” in an effort to lose their money even faster?
    I think it just proves that the casino’s know the hardest thing to do is walk away a “small winner” or a “partial loser” otherwise we don’t think it is worth the walk to the cashiers cage.

    MISCELANEOUS THOUGHTS & STUFF:
    Eiffel Tower – What a terrific view of the city at night, and having the Bellagio Fountains go off is just a bonus. I get a little nervous with heights (No Stratosphere Rides for me) but it is truly breathtaking to be up there.

    The Monorail – While I still maintain that $5 is too much for a 1-way ride, the $15 all day pass is a bargain if you are going to be traveling up and down the strip. It goes from MGM to Sahara in about 1/20th the time the bus would take and much cleaner and even better air conditioning.
    At first I thought it was too much walking out the back of the casino’s to get to the terminals, but my wife pointed out that it is also a lot of walking out of the front of the casino’s to find a bus stop also. If you factor in the heat on the strip, and bumping into all the people and people trying to hand you “date cards”, I much prefer the Monorail from now on.
    I sure hope someday that it is extended to the downtown area, taking the bus is terrible.

    GM The Drive – My wife and I each drove a Hummer and a Corvette for $10. It was great fun and both vehicles were impressive. The instructor in the Corvette had me pull up to the start line and then kind of talked thru the whole track (you get to go around twice) and he encouraged me “Floor it” whenever the opportunity was there.
    The off-road track for the Hummer was pretty wild with a 45* side hill to maneuver at the start and a 60* hill to climb in the middle of the track. I was surprised how smooth feeling the Hummer was compared to the huge bumps they had built into the track.
    For $10 it was a bargain to drive some expensive vehicles that I would never get the chance to otherwise, but we won’t be purchasing either one anytime soon.

    Plastic Surgery - I know that L.A. and other parts of California are famous for their quantity of plastic surgery, but Vegas can’t be far behind in the business. I honestly believe that when a cocktail waitress is hired at most of the casino’s (the IP for sure) they are given a gift certificate for “enhancements”.

    Table Limits - I realize the price of everything goes up, but c’mon whatever happened to the $2-3 BJ and Craps tables? It’s not like the majority of the players even play at the lowest amount possible, I have been at $3 tables where guys are playing $25 a hand, so why not let more people enjoy the game, especially when “The House” has the advantage to begin with?
    I really wonder if one of the “decent” casinos would make a push at the lower limit table game players if they would see a noticeable increase in business. I personally walked 3 casinos away to CR several times to have the option of playing lower limits, and I can’t believe I am the only one who feels that way.

    Kids – I did not really expect the “kids in Vegas” issue to be as bad as what I have been reading on the message boards, I was wrong. What kinds of parents are dragging their 1-3 year olds around in a stroller at 11 o’clock at night on the Vegas Strip?
    If you don’t want to pay a babysitter when you go to Vegas, DON’T GO!!!!
    Do people really think that town is a good environment for anyone under 21 years old?? And I saw plenty of examples that it isn’t good for 21 yr olds either.

    Hooker in the Morning – I now feel like a man!!!! I was walking from CR to IP around 5 a.m. and a lovely girl came up to me and asked if “I wanted to spend some time together”, I thought it over and politely declined. This was my 4th trip to Vegas and my first hooker proposition, I realize that I am no Pierce Brosnan but I was starting to think I must be closer to the Elephant Man J.
    I couldn’t wait to tell my wife about my experience, and she was glad that I used the self-control to not further my morning adventure, LOL.
    (It’s a good thing the coin flip came up “heads”)

    ACG/POV Coupons- I probably only used 10% of the ones I thought I would, just not enough time to get everywhere and too darn full to worry about a free hotdog or beer somewhere.

    My Wife – I am lucky (and so is she, lol) to have a spouse that is comfortable with us heading different directions at times. One day we were both playing poker at MGM, I was getting frustrated and just told her that “I was going to take the Monorail back to the hotel and go to CR to play Craps.”
    She stayed at MGM for a couple hours and then called me and we met at our “home base” with no problems. This was our first trip with both of us carrying cell phones and what a difference that makes. Hopefully we are done with the days I have to walk 500 yards in circles trying to find her.

    OVERALL – We had a great time and were thankful we had D/K along to share the experiences with; it was great to have another couple to have meals with, and enjoy the shows with. My wife and I are thinking about returning in January or February to once again try to conquer the Poker Tables, LOL.
    We found out that 4 days is plenty of time in Vegas, I am getting too old to burn the candle at both ends like that, on future trips I will slow it down and sleep more. This was our first trip away from our 2-1/2 year old twin sons and by day 4 we were ready to go home and give them a hug.
    I put a lot of time researching and reading these message boards for info, and I think it pays off in a big way. Almost every meal we had and show we saw were based on information I had read from others.
    Thanks to all, I hope you enjoyed the report.
    Guy
     
  2. sageblue

    sageblue High-Roller

    Joined:
    Jul 25, 2005
    Messages:
    662
    Location:
    Washington, DC
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    27
    Good report: I'm glad you had a couple of firsts--I'm still waiting to get propositioned! And I too was amazed at the number and age of kids on my last trip: there should be a roving crew from Child Protective Services on the Strip...
     
  3. edwood32

    edwood32 VIP Whale

    Joined:
    Feb 4, 2004
    Messages:
    1,071
    Location:
    Southern Cal
    I love the IP, but I feel your anger. If someone knocked on my door at midnight (and she wasnt blonde with high heels) telling me my credit card didnt work, I would be pissed off! Im glad your coin flip turned out to be "heads"! :)
     
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