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Old 20th July 2012, 10:39   #196
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Default Re: Reflecting on Driving Addictions - Bangalore to Spiti and Changthang

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Originally Posted by laluks View Post
We too found these fellows here in our trip which would be 1/2 weeks behind Coooolcat21. So I guess this is the place they hang out
Great, yes just after Rezang-La memorial, there is a wide marsh land used by black necked crane during summer

Here is a pic I captured this January
Reflecting on Driving Addictions - Bangalore to Spiti and Changthang-crane.jpg
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Old 20th July 2012, 13:54   #197
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Default Re: Reflecting on Driving Addictions - Bangalore to Spiti and Changthang

Yes we were lucky to have an opportunity to see the cranes, there were two pairs feeding, however they were really far away as you can make out in the pictures.
Thank you Laluks and rkbharat.
Its amazing the memory lanes that a single photograph can take us to. The feeling of deja vu is strong specially here at the travelogue section of the Forum, it also pushes you out of our home and out into the great outdoors.
Regards.
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Old 20th July 2012, 14:33   #198
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Shortly after sighting the Cranes we came to this small water body full of various type of birds, Brahminy Ducks, Geese and I think a few cormorants. The Water was obviously brackish, the surrounding area where it had evaporated was covered in layers of salt. However there was also quiet a lot of dried up greenery around the place.

Reflecting on Driving Addictions - Bangalore to Spiti and Changthang-81.jpg

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Reflecting on Driving Addictions - Bangalore to Spiti and Changthang-83.jpg

We moved on. Art this point I think we were quiet close to the Border. We had been advised at the last check post to keep the line of telephone poles to our left at all times. Upon inquiry, by my brother, regarding the repercussions of crossing to the other side by mistake, the Police officer had answered ' To Saab bada lafda hoga!!' .
Since we did not want any kind of Lafdas we kept the telephone poles to our left. Not that they were visible at all times.

Reflecting on Driving Addictions - Bangalore to Spiti and Changthang-84.jpg

We were told that the 'Kala Pahad' (black mountains) were in China. If you look closely the green speck at the bottom of the Mountain is the Border Post where the Indian and Chinese Officials meet to discuss various issues. The Border markers are questioned by both sides.
Reflecting on Driving Addictions - Bangalore to Spiti and Changthang-85.jpg

A close up of the Border Post. The Red Coloured building belongs to the Chinese, one can easily tell who are the friendly guys and who are bloody minded.
Reflecting on Driving Addictions - Bangalore to Spiti and Changthang-86.jpg

The Mountains on the Indian side were full of Bunkers, I could not see how they were on the hidden or embedded side of the mountain but from the road they looked from the last century and makeshift. We did not take any Photographs out of respect to these guardians of our Nation.
Reflecting on Driving Addictions - Bangalore to Spiti and Changthang-87.jpg

The Land was really barren.
Reflecting on Driving Addictions - Bangalore to Spiti and Changthang-88.jpg

We reached the final resting place of Major Shaitan Singh and his brave 'Charlie Company'. 114 of them stood up in bitter cold and fought off hordes of better equipped Chinese to the last man and I can bet not a single Indian who lives outside the J& K and HP and who has not had the opportunity to travel to these lands has heard of these Martyrs.
I myself have seen the photograph of The Major in Khardungla. His story must be told to every child of this nation.
However at the moment we have more important matters such as 'Cartoons' in our NCERT text books to be decided about.
This story however is carved in stone and the Representatives of the Kumaon Regiment (presently based in Kashmir) even today travel to this remote place of the Martyrs and take care of their own.
Reflecting on Driving Addictions - Bangalore to Spiti and Changthang-89.jpg

Reflecting on Driving Addictions - Bangalore to Spiti and Changthang-90.jpg

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Officers of the Kumaon Regiment, They were carrying out small repairs and painting the Memorial.
Reflecting on Driving Addictions - Bangalore to Spiti and Changthang-95.jpg

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We moved on, Prayer flags nearby.
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The black colored cable seen in this picture next to the road, runs all along till Loma where we lost sight of it.
Reflecting on Driving Addictions - Bangalore to Spiti and Changthang-100.jpg
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Old 20th July 2012, 15:49   #199
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As I said earlier the land was barren, you could literally sense the remoteness.
We moved on towards Tsaga
Reflecting on Driving Addictions - Bangalore to Spiti and Changthang-99.jpg

A water body in the distance. At times we felt we should explore the surroundings specially drive over to the distant water body, however lack of knowledge about how long it would take us to reach Nyoma made us hurry on. The lands around the road seemed firm enough though and should not have been a problem driving over.
Reflecting on Driving Addictions - Bangalore to Spiti and Changthang-101.jpg

The entire stretch seemed like a high altitude plain, we hardly crossed over any mountainous roads as we had earlier in the trip.
Reflecting on Driving Addictions - Bangalore to Spiti and Changthang-102.jpg

We came really close to the telephone poles here. Finally signs of Human endeavor, a herd of Sheep.
Reflecting on Driving Addictions - Bangalore to Spiti and Changthang-103.jpg

Tara was a Indian Border Post and not open to Civilians.
Reflecting on Driving Addictions - Bangalore to Spiti and Changthang-104.jpg

Though you thought you were not climbing the pass was pretty high as the sign board says.
Reflecting on Driving Addictions - Bangalore to Spiti and Changthang-105.jpg

Tsaga La or Chagga La, a case of rose by another name I guess.
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As we approached Tsaga Village we saw a few more signs of Human habitation.
Reflecting on Driving Addictions - Bangalore to Spiti and Changthang-107.jpg

Water crossing just before Tsaga Village.
Reflecting on Driving Addictions - Bangalore to Spiti and Changthang-108.jpg

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Old 20th July 2012, 16:32   #200
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Default Re: Reflecting on Driving Addictions - Bangalore to Spiti and Changthang

Quote:
Originally Posted by Coooolcat21 View Post
Give it a few years and I can assure you there will be resorts all along this shoreline. .
That of course would be highly unlikely in my lifetime. As of this year (2012), permits to travel this road (Spangmik > Man > Merak > Chushul) are not being issued from the DC's office any more, and the only vehicle belonging to a BHPian (or any member of the other Indian travel fora) that went through (with a little economy with the truth regarding the route they planned to follow), was that of souravdebiswas, whose travelogue appears here (A journey through Leh & Ladakh – Barren beauty at its best). I've been on that route, so have just a few of the multitude of other members here, who've driven to Ladakh - to list them:
  1. vardhan.harsh (2010)
  2. tsk1979 (2010?)
  3. IPHE team - hvkumar, laluks and the others (2011)
  4. Coooolcat21 (2011)
  5. SS-Traveller (2011)
  6. souravdebiswas (2012)
It would be worth going down that road in winter, with the lake frozen solid... but then the only t'log on this forum of visiting Ladakh in winter is by rkbharat - and I don't think he travelled that route beyond Lukung/Spangmik.
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Old 20th July 2012, 21:05   #201
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Default Re: Reflecting on Driving Addictions - Bangalore to Spiti and Changthang

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Originally Posted by SS-Traveller View Post
That of course would be highly unlikely in my lifetime. As of this year (2012), permits to travel this road (Spangmik > Man > Merak > Chushul) are not being issued from the DC's office any more, and the only vehicle belonging to a BHPian (or any member of the other Indian travel fora) that went through (with a little economy with the truth regarding the route they planned to follow), was that of souravdebiswas, whose travelogue appears here (A journey through Leh & Ladakh – Barren beauty at its best). I've been on that route, so have just a few of the multitude of other members here, who've driven to Ladakh - to list them:
  1. vardhan.harsh (2010)
  2. tsk1979 (2010?)
  3. IPHE team - hvkumar, laluks and the others (2011)
  4. Coooolcat21 (2011)
  5. SS-Traveller (2011)
  6. souravdebiswas (2012)
It would be worth going down that road in winter, with the lake frozen solid... but then the only t'log on this forum of visiting Ladakh in winter is by rkbharat - and I don't think he travelled that route beyond Lukung/Spangmik.
Hey SS Traveller,
I feverently hope you are right in your assessment. I was in Lukung in 2007 and there was just one 'Parachute Tent' there selling a simple fare for day tourists from Leh and two structures with four spartan rooms. This time there were more than 3-4 tented resorts. The resort we stayed in had about 25 tents and also a dormitory type place all were full!! Spangmik too had a few tented resorts and home stays.
I fear that what Coooolcat has predicted may still happen and in your lifetime at that.
As a famous man once said 'Time, tide and hordes of tourists wait for no man !!'
Finally, rkbharat I think, has opened up new frontiers in travelling to Ladakh, I for one am definitely going to follow in his footsteps as we did (in the footsteps) of the afore mentioned pioneers of this Forum.
Cheers.
PS: I drove with Coooolcat on this trip.
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Old 20th July 2012, 23:16   #202
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Default Re: Reflecting on Driving Addictions - Bangalore to Spiti and Changthang

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I was in Lukung in 2007 and there was just one 'Parachute Tent' there selling a simple fare for day tourists from Leh and two structures with four spartan rooms. This time there were more than 3-4 tented resorts. The resort we stayed in had about 25 tents and also a dormitory type place all were full!! Spangmik too had a few tented resorts and home stays.
I fear that what Coooolcat has predicted may still happen and in your lifetime at that.
As a famous man once said 'Time, tide and hordes of tourists wait for no man !!'
Well said, Manmohan. The horde of tourists happened only after the "3 Idiots" visualization of Ladakh as such, after which thousands of idiots started to ruin a very pristine vista. It took me many years of dreaming about going there, before I actually made it (Hawk-On-Fours® (H-4®) Roadtrip: Leh(t)'s go to Ladakh & Srinagar with QuickSilver.) - and road connectivity and access to information is so easy now, that people head off to the region faster than they reach the nearest grocery store (umm... well... almost ).

I can foresee Lukung (and, to a much lesser extent, Spangmik) being overrun with tents and resorts, but I have faith in the Army and other administrative bodies of the region, which would / should make honest efforts to prevent uncontrolled growth of tents etc. in that region. And with a bit of stringent restrictions for a few years, I hope people's desire to venture past Lukung / Spangmik would be suppressed, and Man / Merak / Tsaga would be considered as off-limits for civilians as the Siachen glacier.

That said, I hope to visit Siachen once in my lifetime - I have no idea how (or when)!

Last edited by SS-Traveller : 20th July 2012 at 23:20.
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Old 21st July 2012, 10:03   #203
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Default Re: Reflecting on Driving Addictions - Bangalore to Spiti and Changthang

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Originally Posted by SS-Traveller View Post
I've been on that route, so have just a few of the multitude of other members here, who've driven to Ladakh - to list them:
  1. vardhan.harsh (2010)
  2. tsk1979 (2010?)
  3. IPHE team - hvkumar, laluks and the others (2011)
  4. Coooolcat21 (2011)
  5. SS-Traveller (2011)
  6. souravdebiswas (2012)
It would be worth going down that road in winter, with the lake frozen solid... but then the only t'log on this forum of visiting Ladakh in winter is by rkbharat - and I don't think he travelled that route beyond Lukung/Spangmik.
You can also add my name in that list. Did it in July 2011.

Yes it would be VERY exciting to travel on this road in winter. Too bad they have stopped permits for Chushul. All because of a group of bikers who crossed in the Chinese side. Though i fail to understand how they managed to do that. The track is pretty well marked and telephone poles do give you your bearings. Perhaps outright foolishness or false bravado !
What a pity .. that future travellers might not be able drive on such a stunning route..
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Old 21st July 2012, 12:36   #204
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Default Re: Reflecting on Driving Addictions - Bangalore to Spiti and Changthang

Awesome travelogue, Coolcat.

Mesmerizing photographs, spellbinding writeup to complement the photographs.
Wonderful work.

Wonder how good and adventurous the trip would have been..
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Old 21st July 2012, 12:43   #205
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Default Re: Reflecting on Driving Addictions - Bangalore to Spiti and Changthang

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Originally Posted by SS-Traveller View Post
Well said, Manmohan. The horde of tourists happened only after the "3 Idiots" visualization of Ladakh as such, after which thousands of idiots started to ruin a very pristine vista. It took me many years of dreaming about going there, before I actually made it (Hawk-On-Fours® (H-4®) Roadtrip: Leh(t)'s go to Ladakh & Srinagar with QuickSilver.) - and road connectivity and access to information is so easy now, that people head off to the region faster than they reach the nearest grocery store (umm... well... almost ).

I can foresee Lukung (and, to a much lesser extent, Spangmik) being overrun with tents and resorts, but I have faith in the Army and other administrative bodies of the region, which would / should make honest efforts to prevent uncontrolled growth of tents etc. in that region. And with a bit of stringent restrictions for a few years, I hope people's desire to venture past Lukung / Spangmik would be suppressed, and Man / Merak / Tsaga would be considered as off-limits for civilians as the Siachen glacier.

That said, I hope to visit Siachen once in my lifetime - I have no idea how (or when)!
SSTraveller,
there you go adding Siachen to our list of longings..
There is hope there as the Army in 2010 and 2011 allowed groups of trekkers into the forward base at Siachen, it was a change in strategy by the powers that be. If we allowed tourists into these areas and lets say build a minimum of infrastructure for them then these areas could not be called 'Disputed' could they? They would also sit more firmly in our psyche as our lands.
With the Government now looking to upgrade infrastructure in these areas, rather late in the day, I think allowing Tourists and construction there would also help solidify our claims. Though there seems to be no doubt in anyone's mind that this land and beyond belong to India.
So over a period of time these areas will open up.
I personally feel 'Vardha Harsh' needs to shoulder part of the blame for the beautiful and detailed Maps he has posted on the forum (they make it all seem so accessible) as does the Forum and the other travellers who have in the past posted their wonderful pictures and Travelogues here, after all one can only covet what one can see..
Here's to unending travels and ever expanding access to wilderness.
Cheers!!



Quote:
Originally Posted by columbus View Post
You can also add my name in that list. Did it in July 2011.

Yes it would be VERY exciting to travel on this road in winter. Too bad they have stopped permits for Chushul. All because of a group of bikers who crossed in the Chinese side. Though i fail to understand how they managed to do that. The track is pretty well marked and telephone poles do give you your bearings. Perhaps outright foolishness or false bravado !
What a pity .. that future travellers might not be able drive on such a stunning route..
Columbus,

I was not aware of this being the reason for the stop in issuing permits. I can understand why these guys went off the tracks into the prohibited area but they have done a disservice to the rest of the travellers.

Regards.
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Old 21st July 2012, 12:52   #206
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Default Re: Reflecting on Driving Addictions - Bangalore to Spiti and Changthang

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Awesome travelogue, Coolcat.

Mesmerizing photographs, spellbinding writeup to complement the photographs.
Wonderful work.

Wonder how good and adventurous the trip would have been..
Thank you Deepfusion,
The trip was fantastic, being in places so remote, just driving for miles and not seeing any other human being itself was an adventure.
Regards.
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Old 21st July 2012, 13:17   #207
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We came to this 'Y' junction and wondered where the other road led to?
The two Prayer Flags on either side of the Road, the Totems on the top looked just like decapitated Human heads with long hair !!

Reflecting on Driving Addictions - Bangalore to Spiti and Changthang-110.jpg

The Road out off Tsaga was a four-lane double track !! As one of them appeared to go to the wrong side of the Telephone Line we took the right one ....
Reflecting on Driving Addictions - Bangalore to Spiti and Changthang-111.jpg

This was our first sighting of the Kiang.
Reflecting on Driving Addictions - Bangalore to Spiti and Changthang-112.jpg

Reflecting on Driving Addictions - Bangalore to Spiti and Changthang-113.jpg

At first we thought that this particular group looked well fed only to realise later that the physiology of the Kiang is such that every animal we saw looked very 'Healthy' !!
Reflecting on Driving Addictions - Bangalore to Spiti and Changthang-114.jpg

The wilderness around.
Reflecting on Driving Addictions - Bangalore to Spiti and Changthang-115.jpg

Though there were signs of Human activity we could see some kind of a fence far away.
Reflecting on Driving Addictions - Bangalore to Spiti and Changthang-116.jpg

More Kiang. This group which we disturbed, appeared to be enjoying a nice communal dip.
Reflecting on Driving Addictions - Bangalore to Spiti and Changthang-117.jpg

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Then this Gull flew off from the banks across the water.
Reflecting on Driving Addictions - Bangalore to Spiti and Changthang-122.jpg

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The road suddenly had a black top.
Reflecting on Driving Addictions - Bangalore to Spiti and Changthang-126.jpg

That was the village of Loma. We passed on without stopping just capturing memories with our Camera.
Reflecting on Driving Addictions - Bangalore to Spiti and Changthang-127.jpg

Then we were in the Wilderness again.
Reflecting on Driving Addictions - Bangalore to Spiti and Changthang-128.jpg

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Old 21st July 2012, 13:33   #208
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You can also add my name in that list. Did it in July 2011.
Was that in your Fortuner? And where's the travelogue?!
Quote:
Originally Posted by manmohanmaan View Post
...there you go adding Siachen to our list of longings..
...over a period of time these areas will open up.
Here's to unending travels and ever expanding access to wilderness.
I have a small wishlist of travelling to certain parts of the country and the world, with some vague ideas of the 'when' and 'how', but a lot of hope about visiting there before I die! My handle obviously says it all...
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Old 21st July 2012, 14:09   #209
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The Wilderness on the way to Nyoma.
Reflecting on Driving Addictions - Bangalore to Spiti and Changthang-130.jpg

Just outside Nyome we came to this fantastic sight. A bright Blue Lorry on a Red Mountain. The photograph does not do justice.
Reflecting on Driving Addictions - Bangalore to Spiti and Changthang-131.jpg

We had made it to Nyoma and it was just Noon !!!. The town is just a little off the road and we sat there and discussed what to do.
This was the place we had bee adviced to find a home stay and experience the life in the region. There were numerous things on our mind the one on top of the list was our innate fear of a Ladakhi style dry toilet, then the issues of privacy in a home not really modelled to take in guests, not far behind was what would my overactive child do to those poor people and their home.
What ever may be the reasons the outcome was we decided to drive on to Karzok and risk finding a place there. You see we had our bookings there only for the next day, we would be arriving one day early.
So we took some photographs, bought some fried snacks at a store by the road and drove on.
One can only be so adventurous at a time.
The Nyoma Gompa is seen on the hill top.
Reflecting on Driving Addictions - Bangalore to Spiti and Changthang-132.jpg

Reflecting on Driving Addictions - Bangalore to Spiti and Changthang-133.jpg

Reflecting on Driving Addictions - Bangalore to Spiti and Changthang-134.jpg

The Black Top ran for some more distance. There were even Road Signs.
Reflecting on Driving Addictions - Bangalore to Spiti and Changthang-135.jpg

There also appeared to be a River that ran along the road for some distance. You can see the same on Google Maps, however I have not been able to get a name to it.
Reflecting on Driving Addictions - Bangalore to Spiti and Changthang-136.jpg

Reflecting on Driving Addictions - Bangalore to Spiti and Changthang-137.jpg

Reflecting on Driving Addictions - Bangalore to Spiti and Changthang-138.jpg

It was getting a little late and we decided to open our packed lunch and have it standing by the side of the road.
Then this guy came out of nowhere, we were so pleased that we snapped him drive by..
Reflecting on Driving Addictions - Bangalore to Spiti and Changthang-139.jpg

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Reflecting on Driving Addictions - Bangalore to Spiti and Changthang-141a.jpg

The turn off at Mahe Bridge. The Policeman there appeared to be bemused when we said that we had come from Lukung and were on our way to Karzok.
Reflecting on Driving Addictions - Bangalore to Spiti and Changthang-144.jpg

We turned into a narrow Valley, with a Stream flowing through and farm animals everywhere.
Reflecting on Driving Addictions - Bangalore to Spiti and Changthang-145.jpg

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The Streams here are so fantastic that you feel like stopping at each one and sitting down by its bank with a book in one hand and a nice hot Cuppa in the other.
Reflecting on Driving Addictions - Bangalore to Spiti and Changthang-148.jpg

After crossing the Mahe Village you travel once again on open grounds with multiple tracks running all over the place.
We came to this Pass though it was not named.
Reflecting on Driving Addictions - Bangalore to Spiti and Changthang-149.jpg

Reflecting on Driving Addictions - Bangalore to Spiti and Changthang-150.jpg

I think this is Kyagar Tso, from far we first mistook it at first as probably Tso Moriri.
Reflecting on Driving Addictions - Bangalore to Spiti and Changthang-150a.jpg
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Old 21st July 2012, 15:07   #210
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Whoa Cooolcat! beautifully put together travelogue. Pictures and the narration is fantastic.
Just can’t believe a lady across the world coming over there and teaching kids is amazing.
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