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Church in Anguilla and a “Tasty” Dinner

June 27 – Sunday

I cannot believe we are rounding out the final few days of our trip!  It doesn’t seem possible that we have been here for almost a month.  Now our parents, on the other hand, CAN believe that we have been gone for nearly 30 days and cannot wait to “put their hands on us” as my mom said!

We went to church for the first time since we have been in Anguilla.  We planned to visit once or twice, but we weren’t really sure which one to try and most that we passed had doors open (no AC) and the thought of putting on dress clothes in this heat was unbearable, but we finally made it.  We found one with AC -  No Walls Church of Hope. It was the top portion of a building, so not your typical looking church (and yes it had walls).  When we got there 5 minutes before 11, Sunday School was still going on in the sanctuary, so we got to hear a little of Sunday School.  Then the Children’s Sunday School group came out and told about what they had learned in their class, took their seats, and church began.

There were three women who started the worship time. The first couple songs were just voices and just drums…the keyboard wasn’t working.  They finally got it fixed and everything was full speed ahead! We knew nearly all the songs except the style of music and beat had more of a Caribbean feel to them.  We got some of the worship time on video so have a look.  During worship the Sunday School teacher came up and said a prayer for a sick woman from the church. After the worship service, there was prayer and then the preacher started.  Unfortunately, the normal pastor was out of town and they had a guest speaker – a very long winded woman that Josh said reminded him (looks, voice, and mannerisms) of Whoopi Goldberg.  She started in Ephesians 4 for about 30 minutes or so  before transitioning to 1 Corinthians 13 for another 30 minutes or so. About 1:15pm she was starting in Revelations and without any childrens’ classes the boys were getting very restless so we made our exit. Anyway, we are glad we went to church and got to see how their service compared to ours.

Another thing about Anguilla is that when we are asked what the boys’ names are and we tell them, 9 out of 10 say, “Oh, good Bible names!”  We have only had to tell a couple of people they were from the Bible, but everyone else knew.  It was refreshing to hear that.  Back home when we are asked what their names are, we are lucky to get the comment about Bible names 3 of of 10. The other times are either no comment or “Ezekiel – how did you get that name?” We explain it is from the Bible and the eyes sort of glaze over. Kind of disheartening. America is supposed to be a Christian nation yet we have to go the tiny island of Anguilla before people recognize “Ezekiel”, a significant Old Testament person and book of the Bible.

After church, we ate, then watched it rain some, then headed out west to Rendezvous Bay to escape the rain and enjoy the beach.  We swam for a couple of hours before the rain reappeared in the western part of the island. On the way back to the room we stopped at an Italian restaurant called Un Amore and ordered garlic knots and New York Style Pizza.  Yum was it good!  The garlic knots are just normal bread dough, but tied up in knots before baking. Then were tossed in olive oil and fresh garlic.  They were wonderful.  After pizza we hopped in the pool and Josh taught Shemar (a worker here) how to make dressed eggs.  She thought they were wonderful and really easy to make.  It was fun to show a little bit of something from back home.  Then we got cleaned up and went to bed.

Here are some sample clips from the church we visited:

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June 28 – Monday

We started the morning at the pool (since we had specific lunch plans).  Maria gave the boys a “special,” which is frozen kool-aid in a cup that is for $1 EC (which is about 37 cents) and of course they loved it.  The school kids were there, coming in shifts whenever they wanted since their school is basically right next door, and they were all having the “special” and watching the boys.  Gabriel really took to Maria and the “special.”  She helped him eat it and he got it all over his face.  He was her buddy after that, loving on her by giving kisses and hugs, and he even laid his head on her shoulder.  It was so sweet, she was melting!  She loved it!!!

After we swam in the pool for about an hour and told the school kids bye, we headed off to have some lunch at the English Rose.  They have an assortment of entries to choose from, but we were only interested in the cheese burgers and fries they have for $7.  It was a pretty good deal – our second burger this month.  After lunch, we stopped in a couple of shops and then headed to the beach.

We went back to the Viceroy Beach Club at Meads Bay and were not charged $10 again for the chairs and umbrella, however we still received the “royal treatment” of fresh towels spread on our chairs, an ice bucket with 3 bottles of water, and usage of sand toys for the boys.  I met one of the workers the last time we were there on Saturday, who really took a liking to the boys.  His name is Edwin and we talked quite a bit.  He asked what the boys names were and I told him and he said, “Oh good Bible names.  Gabriel – the Angel Gabriel.”  Then he asked if I was a Christian and I said I was and then I asked if he was.  He said that he used to be, but he isn’t walking the full Christian life right now, but would like to.  We began to talk some more about it and it was a really good talk.  So we saw him again Monday and he remembered us and took us on the Sports Boat so we could go snorkeling.  He took us to another part of Meads Bay where there are a lot of rocks, but also a lot of fish and sorts.  Josh stayed with the boys (he has really bad swimmers ear) while Edwin and I went snorkeling.  It was neat to go with him, because he knew his way around and saw a lot of fish that I had missed.  I took some video of the fish, but then it locked up on me and I couldn’t get it reset under water (have to take the battery out if that happens). Just at that time I saw a couple of really neat squid! I was so mad the camera wasn’t working at that moment.

Anyway, after snorkeling, we played on the beach and in the water.  We met a couple from Italy.  The husband is from Italy and only speaks Italian and a little bit of French and a little bit of English.  The wife is from Switzerland and speaks French, Italian, and English.  They have a 6 (almost 7) year old son who speaks French to his mom, Italian to his dad, and has just learned English this past year.  The mom was excited to have Ezekiel and her son playing together, forcing him to practice his English, which he doesn’t get to do much back home.  A little more about them is that they have 1 1/2 months vacation, so they spent a month in Las Vegas (they have been going every year for 11 years, so it’s like a second home), then 5 days in Angullia, then 5 days to Orlando, FL.  They were really interesting people and we really enjoyed talking with them.

After the beach, we hurried home, since it was already 7:20, and showered and got ready.  Maria took the boys for some ice cream  and then back to her house to play while Josh and I had a nice date out.  We don’t get many dates, so when she volunteered to take them out one night, then we were super excited to have the time to spend together.  They have some baby-sitting services on the island that we had considered using, but decided against it because they are total strangers. So when Maria offered we couldn’t pass it up. This may seem scary to you, but you have to be here to fully appreciate it. Maria has been running the place for 11 years and over the last month has treated us just like family.

So, Josh and I went to a place called Tasty’s!  And man was it tasty!!!  First of all, it was packed!  We have never been to a restaurant here where there were a lot of people dining in, so it was refreshing to see it full.  So, we asked for recommendations and we took one of them and it was so yummy.  Josh ordered the “Tasty’s 6″ which is a 6 course sample meal for $45. Sampler platters back home list what all you get. Not here. It is up the chef to decide what to make so you have no idea what you’ll be getting.  They did ask if there was anything we did not like or were allergic to. Since we were a little nervous, I ordered something safe, Grilled Teriyaki Chicken Breast with a mango chutney sauce served with rice & peas and then we split everything.  Our first thing was mahi mahi with eggplant that was compliments of the chef for the both of us. We watched the other tables and no one else was sent out anything compliments of the chef so I guess because we ordered the “Tasty’s 6″ we got the special treatment.

His first course was Lobster & Corn Bisque, which we are undecided if we really liked it or not.  Bisque is very rich and full of flavor – almost heavy. It was really different, but it was good.  I think I liked it more than Josh, but he said he has never been really wild about bisque.  The next course was a Warm Goat Cheese Salad with roasted marinated peppers and red onions.  It was really good.  Next was Tasty’s Sea Food Salad “the Chef’s Favourite”, including Sauteed crayfish, snapper, lobster, shrimp, Conch, & salmon with Tasty’s basil vinaigrette dressing (pictured at the right).  It was really good too.  The next two courses were entree type foods. First came Tasty’s Shrimp – sauteed in “yummy” coconut curry sauce & served with “Southern Mashed Potatoes.”  It was really yummy and I’m not fond of coconut either.  My chicken was brought out with this course. Next was Coconut Crusted Filet of Fish with lemon sauce and served with rice & peas.  Whew, it was so good too!  By this point, we were getting so full and we still had dessert.  We got to pick our dessert, either a Chocolate Mousse or Banana Creme Brulee, so we chose the Banana Creme Brulee and it was so yummy.  There was a delayed reaction of the banana with that first bite and then it was spectacular from the first yummy explosion until the last.  What an excellent meal!!  We are so glad we went there. As far as food goes, this and the Scilly Cay Caribbean Spiny Lobster were the highlights for sure!

So, we picked up the boys from Maria’s house after a quick tour of her home, and got them to bed.  Our dinner took over  2 hours, so we were trying to hurry as quickly as possible to get them to bed.  Anyway, it was a great day and a great night.

NOTE: There are new pictures in Around the Arawak, Beaches Cont, and Food Stuff

Who is Crazy – Us or Them?

June 18 – Friday

Well it was our first rainy day since we have been on Anguilla, so not much to tell about our day.  We just stayed in the room, watched some movies, Gabriel slept, ate our lunch, then went out shopping and out to eat.  We went to Roy’s Bayside Grill, which has an early-bird special on Fridays for $14. We both got Fish & Chips and they also had chicken curry and steak kabobs.  After dinner we went to an ice cream shop and all four of us got a different flavor – Ezekiel got chocolate, Gabriel got banana, I got Black Raspberry Cheesecake, and Josh got Pastashio and Butter Pecan.  We stopped at a local grocery we heard sold locally-made hot sauce and found a basketball court beside it. So we decided to sit and watch and the boys really enjoyed watching them. However, Josh said they weren’t going to get any college scholarships – we saw maybe 3 or 4 shots made the whole time we watched.

Now here are some funny things since we have been here that people have commented on or we’ve seen.

  1. School kids come to the Arawak regularly to get pizza by the slice and every Wednesday have a special menu. Several girls have asked me if I cut my hair.  They were asking why I liked short hair and not long hair.  I asked them if they cut their hair and one little girl said no.  Then another day one of the adults asked me if I cut my hair. I asked the adult if no one cuts their hair in Anguilla and she said that some do, but most don’t. The fact that I only have shoulder-length hair seems to fascinate the locals.
  2. Another funny thing is that when Ezekiel chews gum, people comment about it.  They ask him what he’s chewing on and he says gum and they are like really.  He is chewing gum?  He likes gum?  Wow!  Apparently gum isn’t for little kids here.
  3. People also ask where we are from and we tell them Kentucky.  They are like “I don’t think we’ve ever had anyone from Kentucky here before.”  And “I didn’t think anyone from Kentucky would ever come here.” Or one said, “Where is Kentucky – close to Floriday?” Josh explained it is about a 10-12 hour drive from Kentucky to various parts of Florida so when it only takes 30 minutes to drive across the entire country here then no, Kentucky is not close to Florida. And the best for last, “Oh, Kentucky Fried Chicken, yes, I know.”
  4. There are also crazy, crazy drivers here.  Of course they drive on the left, so that is different, but once you get used to it, it’s no big deal.  But they drive so fast and if you’re not driving fast enough, they will pass you. The strange thing is the passing technique – they honk their horn and go around you.  Guess that is good so you know they are coming. In general the driving seems very aggressive and without many rules. People will pull over to talk to someone or stop at a shop and they are still half-way in the lane. Everyone just waits for a gap in the oncoming traffic and buzzes around them so that’s what we do too. Many times these cars seemingly parked half-way off the road will decide to keep driving and they pull out right in front of you.  So if you’re not paying attention, then you can get yourself in trouble.  You have to be quick on the brakes. On our way home last night, a guy was driving across the center line in our lane (maybe a foreigner because the locals all stay in the proper lane) and almost side-swipped us. Josh got over as far as he could without hitting the fence on his side and we probably missed by inches. Not 30 seconds later these 3 kids on bicycles darted out from a side street right in front of us and Josh slammed on the breaks to keep from hitting them.  I thought I was going to pee my pants and Josh thought he had a heart attack.  If that one car got in our lane as the 3 boys were there, it would have been a choice between hitting the car head on or running over the kids on bikes. Thank God nothing happened. As a general rule though, driving has been very safe, just odd.
  5. Another weird thing is that the speed limit signs are all in miles per hour, however the spedometer is in kilometers per hour.

We have met some more people since we have been here.  A couple on their honeymoon from Texas.  A couple from Brazil.  A couple from Rome, Italy.  A girl who lives here from the Phillipines.  And a family that is from Texas whose grandparents have a house in Anguilla and have had the house since the 1970′s.  I’m sure we will meet more people in our remaining days.  It is really neat to meet so many people from so many different places and to hear their experiences and different languages.

The Sand Man & Sailing!

June 14 – Monday

Monday was an Angullian holiday – Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth’s birthday, so most of the stores were closed or those that were opened, closed early.  We decided to go to our familiar beach, Shoal Bay and it was as beautiful as ever.  We played in the sand and in the water.  And we created the “Sand Man!”  Dum, dum, dum!!!  Josh and the boys were playing in the sand together and he buried each of their legs.  They all loved it and he asked Ezekiel if he wanted to be buried all the way but his head and he got excited.  We buried our boy and it was so cute.  He kept telling us that he was still breathing and he was “o-tay!”  Then when we were all finished, he escaped like the “Sand Man” and it was scary.  OOOOOooooo!  It was so cute.  He loved it.  We did it at least 3 more times (see video below) and even made him look like a monster by putting spikes on him.  We tried Gabriel and he did OK, even helping some, until we got up to his chest and then he didn’t like it. So then they decided to bury me and that was when some waves started packing in the sand along my feet and up to my waist.  Gladly it didn’t drown me while I was buried and waiting for Josh to get a picture.  HA!

After Shoal Bay beach, we decided we should check out the boat races at Crocus Bay.  We were told that the time to be at the boat race was either when they started the race or when they were finishing the race.  They had activities during the race, but there wasn’t anything to see.  By the time we got there, the race was finishing and we got to see some of the boats.  It was really neat.  There were tons of people, music, food, and fun.  Kids were in the water playing and having a ball.  The only bad thing was the air on the beach reeked of alcohol. We stayed for a bit, collecting some stones, and then headed back to our place for a dip in the pool.  We swam until our pizza we ordered was ready, then we ate, showered, and headed to bed.  It was a nice day.

June 15 – Tuesday

Tuesday we decided to explore the west end of the island, which probably only took 20-25 minutes to get there.  Think of being able to drive across the entire country in less than 30 minutes.  We had lunch at a sandwich & pastry shop called Geraud’s.  We split two different lunch specials -  Parmesan Focaccia stuffed with chicken, bacon, & cheddar cheese with Caesar salad and the other special was ham & turkey Panini with pasta salad.  They were both very good and big enough that we should have just ordered one to split.

Since we had not been to any of the beaches on the very West End of the Island, we decided to try Meads Bay which we heard was beautiful.  We were driving around, trying to find a place to park that had chairs and umbrellas and wouldn’t charge us $200 like Cusinart tried to do.  We came across this place called Viceroy which that guy we met at Hungry’s told us about.   It is a beach club on Meads Bay that you pay $5 for use of a chair and umbrella.  The guys are dressed in Kahki shorts and white polo shirts – beach dressy. After we selected our chairs a guy carefully lined both chairs with towels. Next he brought out  2 complementary bottles of water in a plastic ice bucket and set on the table under our umbrella. They also had beach toys for the boys to check out for the day – also complementary.  It was awesome.  They even had a bathroom inside their building we could use and it was . . . AIR CONDITIONED!!!  Amazing!

A guy that had been out snorkeling brought in a star fish that Ezekiel held.  Josh & Ezekiel went for a swim first.  So while they were in the water, I was sitting on the chairs with Gabriel while he was playing in the sand.  A guy came around asking if we wanted a “chill towel” which was ice cold and smelled of mint and eucalyptus type oils.  I felt like we were at a resort.  Then I saw this couple get on a speed boat and go tubing and then a sail boat came in with another couple.  We inquired about both and get this, they were all complimentary as well.  WOW!  So we went sailing!!!  It was amazing!  All four of us went together and it was great (see video below)!  We couldn’t believe that we only paid $10 ($5 for each chair) and got to do so much stuff.  We found out that the “sports boat” will take you tubing and snorkeling, possibly skiing.

After sailing Josh took Ezekiel inside the building to show him around and this guy asked his name, but of course Ezekiel was being shy.  So the guy offered him some ice cream and then he livened up.  He brought out two miniature tubs of Haagen Dazs ice cream and said, “Here’s one for you and one for your brother”!  That hit the spot for both of them.  We will definitely be back.  It was such a beautiful beach and such a neat beach club that I want to go there every single day!

After Gabriel woke up from his nap, we left the beach and went back to our place.  Ezekiel was knocked out pretty soon, holding a can of Pringles while we were driving back.  Gabriel was hungry too, so he was eating chips on the way back.  When we got back, Josh and Gabriel showered while I sat in the car with Ezekiel and read while he slept.  Then I woke him up, we showered while Josh cooked dinner. After dinner we had popsicles by the pool, then went to bed.  What a nice day.

NOTE: Make sure you check out all our new pictures. If you missed it Josh added some new categories like Anguilla Beaches cont., Cuisinart Resort, Gwen’s Reggae Grill, Queen’s Birthday, and there are new ones in Anguilla Beaches and Food Stuff.

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Beach, Shopping, and Interesting Food

June 9 – Wednesday

We had a nice morning, relaxing in our room and enjoyed a leftover meal of pasta marinara for lunch.  Then we headed to Shoal Bay Beach for a fun in the sand and water.  Gabriel was a hoot to watch at the beach.  He went right into the water, getting his feet wet, and then running away from the waves.  Then the waves would retreat and he would run towards them again and then run away when they were coming towards him.  He would squeal and laugh and he had a great time, finally (see it in our video coming soon).  He enjoyed playing in the sand and of course got it all over him.  He took a nap in his stroller as well.  Ezekiel and I played a new game in the water.  We both laid on our bellies in the shallow part of the water, mainly in the sand, feet toward the ocean and let the waves crash over us.  It was the most fun when the waves would be so strong that they moved us.  Sometimes we got so excited and tickled at ourselves that we swallowed some salt water, but it was so much fun!  Ezekiel said, “this is more fun than everything!”  Ezekiel and Josh did another fun game in the water by sitting Indian style on the sand in the shallow part facing the ocean, letting the waves crash over them .

While on the beach, I met a really nice couple from England, Mark and Celia.  They are leaving on Saturday and will have been here for 5 weeks then.  They were telling us of all the places to go, eating and shopping and entertainment, but were shocked at how much we already knew and how much we had already done.  We have already done some things that they wished that they had done, but didn’t find out about them in time.  We talked for at least 30 minutes.  So far we have met:  family of 4 from Germany, family of 6 from Pennsylvania, a couple from Rhode Island who lives here now, Tom from Canada (whom we’ve mentioned before), a couple from Connecticut, a lady from Florida (whose sister lives here), of course some Angullian’s,  and I’m sure we have left out someone.

So, after the beach, we cleaned up and went to Ripples for dinner.  They have an Early Bird Special on Wednesdays and Saturdays, for $12.  Their special Wednesday was “Fish and Chips” with peas and Indian Chicken Curry dish with chutney and a cream sauce to lessen the spiciness of it.  We got one of each and the boys split pasta alfredo.  However, the boys enjoyed my fish and fries more than their pasta, so they split a piece of fish, while I ate their pasta.  All-in-all we all got full on what we wanted.

After dinner, we went back to the Arawak Beach Inn and enjoyed the live music performance and then back to the room for bed.  It rained for about 5 minutes and one point, then another 5 minutes a little later.  Other that, it was a quiet night.

June 10 – Thursday

We didn’t get out of our room until around 10, but then headed to Le Bon Pain for breakfast at the French Pastry place we went to on Saturday.  We ordered the exact same thing, but then added a raisin cinnamon roll and instead of pineapple pastry, they had blueberry. This time we remembered to take photos.

After breakfast, we went to the Drug Store, which doesn’t even sell any kind of medicines.  No one is sure why they call it the “Drug Store” but they have for years, so I guess it stuck.  They had a lot of toys, t-shirts of all sizes that have Anguilla on them, lots of other souvenirs, etc.  It was a neat shop and I wished that we had gotten to enjoy it more, but the lady running the shop was watching us like a hawk after Ezekiel accidentally knocked a little wire thing over that was just in the way.  Then Gabriel was playing with a bunch of empty hangers and those were rattling around so one of the workers came running over for inspection and gave us a harsh look.  They weren’t doing any harm or breaking anything, just being boys.  So, instead of taking them out in the hot sun or wasting gas in the car, I decided to take them through the store to find them something to quietly do.  We found some books and puzzles and it kept them busy and quiet.  But, of course, the lady had to inspect that they weren’t getting into anything again.  So we high-tailed it out of there after she came over there and took away the one book Gabriel was looking at the puzzle Ezekiel was playing with. This was our only bad experience so far. Everyone else, by far, has been so nice and talkative.

So then we went to a couple of other stores and made sure the boys weren’t getting into anything so no one thought we were trouble makers.  Before we could stop to get any lunch, both boys had conked out in the car.  Josh went into the Roti Hut and ordered a beef roti and a chicken roti that came with mashed potatoes with some veggies stirred in and grilled plantains (see pictures).  It was really good, but we could only eat half, so there’s another lunch for us both.  We ate in the parking lot at Shoal Bay Beach so that the boys could finish their naps, but Gabriel woke up as soon as we got there.

After we ate, we drove back to the room and gave the boys their lunch, hoping they would finish their naps afterward.  However, after trying for an hour, we gave up and went to the pool.  Then for dinner we stayed in and made a simple chicken and rice dish and spent a quiet evening enjoying the cool breeze and the crashing waves of the ocean.  It’s beautiful here.  We love it!

Rendezvous Bay Beach And Videos

June 8 – Tuesday

The boys and I slept in until about 8:30 or 9 this morning, then Josh fixed pancakes for breakfast.  Then we headed off for Cuisinart Resort & Spa for the tour of the hydroponic farm (greenhouse).  Josh has put more details of the tour in the photos.  During the tour, I had to keep the noisy, playful, active boys away from the rest of the group so that everyone could hear what the tour guide was saying, so I missed a lot of what was said.  Anyhow, they gave us samples of cherry tomatoes and they were delicious.  Delicious enough that Gabriel ate 5.  He ate three right away and then was getting restless, so I went back and plucked 2 more off the vine to give him.  He loved them.

After the tour we had a nice picnic lunch under the trees on the grass.  The boys loved the picnic.  Ezekiel liked following the lizards around too and trying to catch them.  He is bound and determined to catch one.  Speaking of lizards we have found 2 lizards in our room so far (leave the door open except while sleeping).  I moved a suitcase close to Ezekiel’s bed and it jumped off and started running around.  Luckily Josh got 2 glasses and caught it (see photos “Around the Arawak).  Then another one was in my book after we got back to our room yesterday.  It was a tiny one and I closed the cover a little so I could show the boys on the porch and set it free, but I squished it and killed it.  Whoops.

Back on task . . . after our picnic we went to the beach down by the resort and were told you need a day pass in order to use the chairs and umbrellas.  We expected so since most chairs & umbrellas are for rent, but we have lucked out so far and not been charged anywhere. Not so here. We decided to just try somewhere else on the same beach, Rendezvous Bay, instead of having to pay.  Out of curiosity I asked how much the chairs and umbrellas were at the resort.  For a half day pass it was $200!  $200!  Are they out of their mind???  Who on earth would do that?  So we went just a little further down the beach and got the chairs for free – no umbrella needed because they were shaded by the coconut trees.  They had signs that they were for $5, but no one came to collect, so we got them for free.  How nice.  So, after a day of fun in the sun on the beach and in the water, we went to a couple of grocery stores, dipped in the pool, showered, and made marinara pasta and garlic bed.  We were worn out, so we all got to bed early.  What a good day.  It rained for about 5 minutes during the night, just like another night, but so far, no rain during the day.  HA for those of you wishing for us to have rain 20/30 days!

A little housekeeping – if you have seen our photos recently please check out all the categories, we’ve added a handful of new ones to each category and added one new category – Cuisinart Resort & Spa. If you have looked at photos recently then you can check out the new category and new ones this morning in beaches and exploring.

Here are some videos from our adventures over the past several days including Crocus Bay Beach, Rendezvous Bay Beach and a special performance of “She’ll Be Comin’ ‘Round the Mountain”. Josh tried making the videos a little higher quality, but the trade off means a larger file size and larger load times (don’t ask me). He said there is a 10 second buffer before each video will start to play. I’ve found it works best to click on the title, wait for it to start and click on the next title, wait for it to start, and keep going to the end. Then start over at the beginning and watch them all.

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