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Revisiting Rome

Thousand sophisticated words can fall right in front of me but Rome is simply…

For this Flashback Friday, I’m revisiting Rome. No, I didn’t fly there again. I just thought that it is only rightful to re-post, for the first time, Rome and the Vatican. It is the city I still deem to be the best in the world. During my 2 years assignment in Italy, I usually take the train and visit Rome again and again. Thousand words can fall right in front of me but Rome is simply…




Rome? Italy?


What about learning how to cook in Italy? That girl whit and the lover of the rad and fab took an Italian exploration in Rome, Sorrento and Florence. Her clear and crispy, stylishly-presented pictures all look like they are ripped off from magazines. She is a jaunty, free-spirited blogger. Just read her journalistic stories and look at her lovely images and you’ll see what I mean. Everyone knows how amazing food exploration in Italy is. She took that journey to another level, she learned her culinary skills while in Florence. My favorite post – How I became an Italian chef in a day: Florence Food & Wine Academy.


Last Call…

MY Favorite Italian Music

Some of you may expect something obscure, an acquired taste, serious or substantial musicians. With emphasis, these are MY favorite Italian music.

An Italian co-worker sang over and over something of a significant to Neapolitan culture. He even explained to me what was the song all about. Back then, I didn’t pay “that” much attention. Months later, the song was remixed and was all over the radio, not just in Europe but all around the world. I was talking about a Renato Carosone original, “Tu Vuo Fa L’Americano”.

The remix from Yolanda Be Cool was not the only one. Christina Aguilera and Lou Bega have different version of the song as well. Sophia Lauren, a Napoli native, danced to the tune of it in a movie. It was also performed by Matt Damon and Jude Law in the movie, The Talented Mr. Ripley. The song tis reflected when American military’s stay in Naples that booms the economy of Italy years ago. The song is roughly translated to “You wanna be an American”. It’s definitely not the same anymore.

When it comes to Italian music, there are, of course, sound names such as Andrea Bocelli and Pavarotti. I’m just not an opera listener.
I happened to like pop music in Italy. This is my most favorite video I’ve seen throughout my 2-year stay there.

Don’t we all do this…???

I really enjoy watching the video. I especially like the last part. The song is from Zero Assoluto.

My favorite females are the most recognizable ones as well, Elisa and Laura Pausini. These two are actually internationally acclaimed. They both sing in English and Spanish. Laura Pausini actually has a single with James Blunt. Elisa’s song “Dancing” had been used three times in the TV contest, “So You Think You Can Dance”. Both of them are part of the artist line-up of the song “Domani” together with other new and old famous Italian musicians.

Yes, this is sort of like their “We Are The World” song. A Mauro Pagani’s original, the song is called “Domani” or “Tomorrow“. In May 21, 2009, an Italian artist ensemble got together to compose a charity single to benefit the victims of L’Aquila Earthquake.

This brings me to my MOST favorite Italian artist, the ever-poetic, Jovanotti. He’s the man behind that project. I actually bought one of his 2007 album, L’Albero, just for this awesome song …

I love this song to death. I can sing this feel-good song over and over and over again. “Bella” is indeed a very “Beautiful” song where Lorenzo Jovanotti compares a woman to all things beautiful. I love the bridge part when it paused to make room for the flute solo.

Last Call…

This song is not in Italian nor Italian-based but from an English rock band, Skunk Anansie. It just so happened to be a constant-airplay single in Italy when I was there. You may have heard about Skunk Anansie from an internationally-acclaimed song, “Because of you”.  They may be a “clit-rock” group, but my most favorite is this vocal-heavy song called “Squander”.

There goes my favorites. I encourage everyone to embrace the culture of the country you are in or travel to, not just tourism-wise, or food, but other areas like music, perhaps clothing, language and traditions as well.

They also have versions of familiar songs like “Can’t Take My Eyes Off You“, which my Italian co-worker is also fond of singing aloud. During my time there, “Weirdero” was also a hit, which is a remake of Radiohead’s “I’m a Creep“. I always sing “Io Canto Sotto La Pioggia” every time it rains. The song is the Italian version of “I’m Singing in the Rain“.

This post is part of Flashback Friday. I made it in time. YEY!
Category: Italy

Near and Far: Europe and California

VENICE – Tops: California, Bottoms: Italy

I badly wish to go back to Europe. But I can’t complain as much. Not only that I’ve been very blessed to have gone there, the place I’m currently in ain’t too shabby for my travel fix. Plus, it really isn’t hard to cross-culture here in California.

Villas – Design of Getty Villa {Bottom) is inspired by The Villa of Papyri in Herculaneum (Top).

I really enjoyed the neat idea I came up with when I Merge: Herculanem and Getty Villa. And so, I tweak it a bit for my entry of Near and Far. The images in this post are places in California where you can imagine or reminisce different locations in Europe. Not what the challenge is looking for, but I’ve been known as a notorious  WPC rule-breaker.

Spanish Footsteps – Top Right: Rodeo Drive, California, Top Left and Bottom: Rome, Italy. Related post: Journey

I like to know. Anything around your area, or places you’ve been to, that resembles, comparable to, or is based from another location or site from a different country?

Alcazar Garden – Left: Sevilla, Spain, Right: Balboa Park

The next one is with the help of sister, Analyn. She’s quite a globetrotter as well.

Danish – Tops: Solvang, Bottom: Copenhagen, Denmark (picture courtesy of my sister)

This post is part of Flashback Friday. *sticks tongue out*



Here is Loni. Check out her Yosemite posts. Check out her Venice post. Check out her Mud Run post. Check out the one where she got on TV. Check out her Anniversary post and the different places her and her husband have gone to. Check out her Academy post. Check out food, places of mainly California, and her wide-eye impressive photographs. My favorite however is  her 100th post where she showed her “Loni Exhibit”, These are some of my favorite things. Go ahead and Check out how Loni Found Herself.

Flashback Friday: Columbus Day Weekend in San Marino, Verona, Venice and Pisa

On my very first Flashback Friday, I annotated that my next one was supposed to be this post. I decided to put it on hold and wait for the Columbus Day Weekend as this trip happened on the same occasion three years ago.

These are my very first Italy destinations so imagine my excitement. Not only that, I went with a family that I’ve known for 8 years. I’ve been with them in Mississippi, Italy, and now, here in California. They welcome me to their lovely abode every time I go to San Diego. Being an independent individual for so long, having a family friend that I cling myself to is a wonderful blessing. Yes, a blessing, because we all know how difficult it is to find genuine relationships. We visited San Marino, Verona, Venice and Pisa during a 3-day Columbus Day Weekend three years ago.


Entering in an incline and through small alleys ways, San Marino greets you with inviting souvenir shops and restaurants of different cuisines. I bought me a miniature wine barrel and a bottle of Limoncello during our gander there. Shopping is not the only thing that greets you here. Being perched on a mountain top, getting to the top will give you a bird’s eye view of the city. I took the sky lift to experience it better. At the heart of it stood the Pianello or Piazza della Liberta (not to be confused with the one in Florence). San Martino is the world’s oldest republic and Europe’s third smallest state. As a matter of fact, it has open borders as long as you don’t stay for more than 20 days.

- Piazza della Liberta (Liberty Square) -


I already have two previous blog posts of Venice so I wouldn’t bore you again. *BIG GRIN*
Riding Gondola in Venice, or Making The Best of your Travel

- I haven’t share a picture from my first Venice trip so here goes it. -

Coming back from San Marino and Venice, we took two quick side trips to see The Leaning Tower of Pisa and to Verona for La Casa di Julietta.


No one can really put a dot on whether the greatest lovers we recognize existed or not. Being it a quick stop, we became one of the curious tourists who still opted to visit The House of Juliet in Verona.

- Juliet’s Balcony -

There is also a market and shopping place further down the street. I don’t know what it is, but I love this fountain, and it’s very memorable. Perhaps, it’s from the mere fact that it’s my first Italian trip. Or maybe, though crooked, I just flattered myself with how I got the shot. *Big Grin*

The Leaning Tower of Pisa:

I don’t mean to argue to those who thinks otherwise, but to be completely honest, I just think The Leaning Tower of Pisa is too much glamorized than what it is. However, above it all, being it my very first Italian tour, The Leaning Tower of Pisa sure sparked that magnificent feeling of being very blessed. To physically be there and see it was quite an accomplishment.

By the way, there is also a market place in Florence that we always go to buy cheap tapestry. *wink* I had purchased a good number myself.


Traveling to Italy


Let Amy take you there. An impressive list of travel destinations and a pleasing personality she has, this blog completely lives up to its title and web address, The World is a Book … shareandconnect.wordpress.com. Athens, Canada (to inlcude the ever-magnificent Niagara Falls), Prague, Colorado, Germany, Greece, and of course, an ample amount of Italian posts are some of the many places under her belt. An all-around and all-over-the-place blogger, Amy participates in many challenges to include Weekly Photo Challenge, Sunday Post, Story Challenge, and of course, Travel Theme Challenge. My favorite post is this sad but lovely post about Change – …but the old is better. You better read this post or I will smack you in the head. Get over there and flip the blog post pages full of awesome images of wonderful locations.


Last Call…

I think I owe them an apology for not mentioning them much on my posts. Narrating is just not my strongest suit. It’s about time that I mention them since I was with them almost all my travel destinations. I introduce, the Katimbang Family…

MERGE: Herculaneum and Getty Villa

My concept for the challenge: I merged two locations in different countries. This is also the first time that I merge my Flashback Friday with the Weekly Photo Challenge.

When Mount Vesuvius erupted in 79 CE, the Roman seaside towns of Pompeii and Herculaneum as well as the surrounding area were engulfed by volcanic material. Since that time up until the 18th century, Herculaneum was buried under a layer of volcanic material more than 15 meters (50 feet) thick at the base of Vesuvius.
The remains of the buried city were first discovered in 1709 and explored mainly by tunnels during the 18th and 19th centuries. The site’s many richly decorated public buildings, houses and theater have yielded fine marble and bronze sculptures, wood elements, and paintings. Of particular significance, an extensive library of charred papyrus rolls was found at the Villa of the Papyri (a lavish residence that served as the inspiration for the design of the Getty Villa in Malibu, California).

Three short periods of open-air excavation at the site were conducted in the 19th century. Systematic open-air excavation began in 1927 and continued until 1961. Since 1961 excavations within the archaeological site have proceeded intermittently. It is estimated that only one third of the ancient town has been uncovered, with the remainder lying under the modern town of Ercolano.

Source: Getty Website

Having an odd admiration to Mt. Vesuvius, I decided to hike the heart of it. Little did I know that the tour I signed up for also consisted of revisiting the past of what it was like before the volcanic eruption. The ruins showed how the Romans were very established and civilized then. They had stores, bakeshop, pizza place, markets, gardens, parks, or pretty much everything you find in a regular community. Given the periods, it proved that it goes way back tthen that Romans were already decorating their quarters with paintings and sculptures of colors and of variety of designs, placing intricate marble tiles, constructing multiple-level buildings, and were very well aware and knowledgeable with different systems that are necessary to build shelters, cook food, and survive like irrigation, equipments, transportations, etc. I was certainly exploded with compounding fascination, interest and wonder.

Turn the hands of time to present is Getty Villa which I visited last month. Getty Villa location design is based from Villa dei Papiri in Herculaneum. The rusted and ancient look of the pillars, walls, ceilings, pathways and materials in Herculaneum can be observed at the Getty Villa in pearly whites, smooth textures and refined designs and more elaborate patterns.



This is such a beautiful feeling. I get to visit these two inter-related locations. I wasn’t aware of such connections. I only discovered it when I sat for two hours on the audio-video station in Getty Center. Imagine my added excitement. These merging images of my waking tours of Ercolano in Italy and Getty Villa in California makes me realized even more how truly blessed I am. Pardon the greediness and over-ambitious desire, but if I could time travel back to 79 CE to Herculaneum before Mt. Vesuvius got mad, that would be exponentially awesome. I’d promise to take pictures to share to all of you. *big grin*

The pillars on both locations are my favorites.

I’ll be posting more of Getty Villa so for now, here’s more of Herculaneum …

Paintings, tiles, and colors



I know this relative newly created blog since it started. Her first post was a simple, yet very illustrative picture of a portion of Getty architechture. Do check that out? Since then, she’s been “focusing” on building designs, flowers, and abstracts with keen eye, obscurity and pleasant randomness. See how she approached the Disney Hall, and see how Rona has such a good eye for often neglected areas and parts.


LAST CALL … I think it doesn’t do justice when I shrink my pictures putting them as part of collage. It’s quite a struggle when you want to share more but didn’t want to crowd the page, esp. With these large images. Well…

The artifacts and sculptures you see in the Getty Villa can also be seen in Naples Archeological Museum.

Related Posts:
Mt. Vesuvius
The Getty Center

Statues in Florence

Ludovico Buonarrati, Michelangelo’s father. He was a wealthy man. He had no understanding of the divinity in his son, so he beat him. No child of his was going to use his hands for a living. So, Michelangelo learned not to use his hands.

Years later a visiting prince came into Michelangelo’s studio and found the master staring at a single 18 foot block of marble. Then he knew that the rumors were true — that Michelangelo had come in everyday for the last four months, stared at the marble, and gone home for his supper.

So the prince asked the obvious — what are you doing? And Michelangelo turned around and looked at him, and whispered, sto lavorando, ….. I’m working …

- Replica in front of Palazzo Vecchio in Florence -

Three years later that block of marble was the statue of David.

18 months of desperate nothing, staring at low numbers or none at all. I still continued, and kept on blogging. It was only the start of the year that I gained activities on this blog after deciding to participate on the Weekly Photo Challenge. Last April, my stats skyrocketed from being Freshly Pressed. Eight months after the rise, two days ago, I met my 1000th follower. She seem to have a witty and charming personality, Joyce. We share the same passion for the TV show Lost. The excerpt above is quoted by John Locke to Boone from the episode “Hearts and Minds”.


THANK YOU very much!!! More especially to those who truly return to like and comment.
In continuing blog milestone, I also had my 3000th comment recently by Jo Bryant of Chronicles of Illusions- here. I wish I can say the same with the Likes, but I need 300 likes before I hit 5000! Again, I appreciate all the support.


Enjoy Florence…






- David watching over Florence -

Last Call…



During my blog nothingness, one of the few people that supported my blog is PJ. Her inspirational and spiritual blog, Poetic Journey, is one of the best, few personal-journal type of blogs I follow. Get a regular dose of poetry, inspirational quotes, word of the wise from this blog. Go ahead and take a walk with her journey and get to know this brave, strong, religious and wonderful woman who is recovering from sick-cell anemia.


This post is part of Flashback Friday. More of Florence.

Flashback Friday: Ferrari Moment, or Adventure vs. Sight-seeing

California destinations occupy most of my blog. And so, I created Flashback Friday. Even with just for one day of the week, my Flashback Friday balances out the content and the great feedbacks from my followers and occasional visitors. Thank you all for the support. I’m so glad I did it.

Today, I cover a somewhat unsung debate or contest over our minds, adventure vs. sightseeing. We were deciding whether or not to continue going to Bologna. Since time was not very favorable to us, we ended cutting our drive North and decided to stop in Maranello instead. What happened then was deemed and enthusiastically exclaimed as the highlight of our 3-day trip. Taking note, this is after witnessing the Carnevale celebration in Venice and riding a gondola. What could’ve been better than that?

Apparently, an expensive 15-minute Ferrari moment can top the wonderful views of Venice. Don’t ask me, I didn’t ride it. My friends were very enthusiastic about it. I don’t say that in a light term. They were woohoo-ing from the moment they sat on the seats all the way to coming back from the ride of their lifetime. They were beyond excited. They were euphoric, smiles were ear-to-ear, and the voices of their approval were blocks and blocks away.



I was being happy with them. I completely understand the big deal about it. I understand how an adrenaline rush can give you that fix. I understand the pleasure of having done the things that you or most people can’t do (or have) in a regular basis. My friends were so readily paying up the piper over a hundred Euro to drive it and (i can’t remember how much exactly) a good chunk of price to be a passenger. From their jubilations, it seemed to be worth it for them. They even bought shirts, jackets and bags to go with their experience.

I cannot thumb up with them completely though. What I cannot believe and still a conundrum for me til this day is that they claimed it to be the highlight of our trip. They exclaimed it even during our ride back home.


Ferrari was such a celebrity to us, we were flashing camera lights of the cars like paparrazzi during a movie premiere. I can’t deny it, those cars truly are such beauties inside and out.


Mind you, I always feel the need for speed. I can’t seem to go pass the posted limit when I drive. I long for some extremes. I think I’d go for some heights and flying. Ferrari just isn’t for me.

Obviously, I am leaning more towards watching the views. It can be a fiery tug-of-war between sightseeing against adventure thrills. During our visit to Balicasag, we had the greatest fun snorkeling and on our zip-line adventure. It was hard choosing the highlight of our trip. I love the ocean views of Virgin Island, but at the same time, my first snorkeling experience in Balicasag is completely unforgettable. I guess, this is how they were feeling during their Ferrari moment.

Last Call…

We were late and that the museum was already closed. That didn’t stop us taking pictures outside.

Riding Gondola in Venice, or Making The Best of your Travel

Would you travel Paris and not see the Eiffel Tower? Would you go to San Francisco and not see the Golden Gate Bridge? Would you visit Italy and choose to eat at McDonald’s rather than dine at a pizzeria?

I’ve been blessed with my travel histories, I get that. I do, however, feel some regrets on the things I didn’t do or see more than I should have. For some instances, I would’ve pushed my friends into riding the ferry to see the grottoes in Capri. Truth to be told, I didn’t get to tour the very inside and the tower of Sistine Chapel in Rome. I didn’t get to see Cinque Terre neither. So many should-be’s that’s been poking me since.

I don’t mean to say gamble your money when you visit Las Vegas. I’m not saying go straight to Disneyland when you have the littlest time in California.Famous Landmarks shouldn’t always be your first or ultimate choice. Of course, it still depends on your personal preferences, time and allowance and whether opportunities stay wide open, only ajar or completely close. I’m just saying that when the chance is there for the glorious moment, be jugular, aim for neck and grab it. When you really want it, get rid of all your attachments and try to stop hesitating. Else it only turns into disappointment, a shadow that will always follow you.

I don’t mean to step on the toes of those who did go to Venice without riding a Gondola. Honestly, I can agree that in all actuality, there really isn’t much to it than sitting on a glamorized boat. Although, it is the experience that I’m talking about. When I rode it, one of my friends was voicing his excitement while I was in silence reeling things in. That sense of being there is enough for me to be so overwhelmed of what was happening. The first time I visited Venice, time was not on our side and that I couldn’t really express my admiration of it. I personally don’t think I would have exclaimed so much of Venice if I didn’t experience riding a Gondola the second time around.

I’m not saying that you should eat more than you can chew. I say when publications and reliable bloggers say that a certain place or an activity is a must, try taking the recommendation and aim for it. Plan accordingly, perhaps don’t just go until you’re fully prepared. Or if it only happens at the spur of the moment, I say why not make the most out of it. Let go your worries, shove your finger a little bit farther and you’ll be rewarded. * big grin*

The Grand Canal

We went to Venice during the Carnevale celebration. I do suggest going there during the event if you can. If not, Venice is a wonderful, magical city with so much history and plenty of things and destinations to explore. While in Venice, make the best out of your travel there by riding a Gondola.

Last Call…


Need more convincing? …


Here is Christine B. to tell you more of how much worth riding a Gondola is. She traveled the heck out of Europe that she and her husband decided to reside there. Part of my world is screaming with a whooping number of European destinations, Philippine vacation and Australian living. It’s another A-lister of the best travel blogs out there.


This post is part of my newly appointed Category and Menu, Flashback Friday.


For a long while, I’ve been posting about California travel destinations and will continue to be that way. Today, however, is the start of Flashback Friday. From here on out, I’ll be recalling some of my non-Californian travels and experiences from previous pasts. I decided to go with Naples, the city I resided for 2 years.

There’s plenty of complains and negative feedback about Naples. They have a never-ending issue on garbage disposal. Scams, pick-pockets and thefts, house and car break-ins is a matter of course. Traffic is horrible. Parking is tight. Italians drive like they always have pizza in the oven to attend to. The whole Neapolitan social behavior and attitude and way of living are just not the most pleasant and are distasteful according to some other cities and Italian folks who despise it.


Filthy? Dangerous? Crowded? Loud? Careless? I love Naples! Not that I contribute to the violations.

It didn’t take a long time for me to adjust to the city’s culture. First of all, I was the sojourner to the foreign country. I always embrace any city I visit whatever kind of culture they operate or live with. Secondly I lived in the main capital city of Philippines that I’m already acquainted to crazy driving, pandemonium and bumper-to-bumper traffic.  Manila/Makati, Philippines is much like Napoli’s urbanity.

Naples is not just “breath-taking” because of it’s trash situation, narrow roads and people crossing the streets without warning. Napoli has things to boast about as well.

There’s so much to list so I won’t bore you with all the places to go to and see. I keep the focus on Downtown Naples. There’s Piazza Plebiscito (pic#5), Galleria Umberto (pic 6 & 7), Castle Nuovo (above), Teatro di San Carlo (#8), Bay of Naples (slideshow) and Castel dell’Ovo (Egg Castle).

You can also sight in a good view of my beloved Mt. Vesuvius from Downtown Naples.

Mount Vesuvius is an active volcano that led to the destruction to the popular Pompeii and the lesser-known Herculaneum. I’ve went around Mt. Vesuvius from a drive to Sorrento and back to Napoli while listening to its fascinating stories narrated  by an Italian co-worker. It’s magnificent, visible view welcomed me every time I drive to work. And, my best encounter is when I hiked the very heart of it.

Last Call …

Pizza Margherita is the original pizza and is home to Naples. There’s that and Marinara. Sfogliatella, baba and pastiera are some of popular pastry dishes. Neapolitan My favorite Italian kind of bread is amply named panino Neapolitano. Check out my entry on Italian Food.

Movie: A-lister Gomorrha depicts the most sound, feared and powerful mafia. Sofia Loren was born here.
Music: You know that song Tu Vuo Fa L’Americano. It is actually a remix of an old popular song by Renato Carosone. The song talks about when Naples was once flourished because of the American military settlement to the city. Tu Vuo Fa L’Americano translates into “You want to be an American”. It even candidly sings about drinking whisky and soda, watching baseball and buying Camel cigarette with money stolen from grandma’s pocketbook.


Dreading Naples because of this post?


This girl have seen it all! Tali Goes Travelling, a travel addict she truly is. Get to her blog and whoa to the number of places she’s been. I love those random spontaneous images she picks to characterize the hearts of his destinations. Check her entry about discovering Naples and how she turned her irk into wow.


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Listen here peeps. Whoever visits another country or enters a certain place of strange culture and complains about how different it is from what they’re used to shouldn’t be there from the first place. The locals shouldn’t be rolling out red carpet for you, it’s the tourists who should be the one adapting to the location. And if you really are a true traveler, you should come prepared to any place you go to

Next Time on Flashback Friday: San Marino, Verona and The Leaning Tower of Pisa

Weekly Photo Challenges: Close Friends

Long overdue entry to two Weekly Photo Challenges. I love the challenge because it urges bloggers to show photos of themselves to their entries. So I just collected all my tagged Facebook group pictures…

Ramstein Germany – We had an itsy bitsy fun sliding down slight slopes of snow.

Naples, Italy – One of us was retiring but he didn’t get a proper farewell dinner from his company. And so we gave him one. We even gave him a plague with collage pictures of his stay in Italy. I think it’s much much better to have it with friends than co-workers.

Venice, Italy - The perfect time to go to Venice is during the Carnivale celebration. To ride a gondola is a MUST for every visitors. You might as well take advantage of it when you are just visiting it.

Amsterdam – Bikes are not the only hype in Amsterdam, baby strollers of visitors as well. *grin*

St. Francis Basilica in Asissi – Traveling with big group can still make small trips memorable.

Ferrari Museum in Maranello, Italy -After Venice, we headed to Maranello for some Ferrrari zeal and adrenaline rush.

This is coming back from our trip to Idelweiss in Germany. (A separate trip from Ramsteinn)

White Elephant at a Christmas Party.

Last Calls…

Rota, Spain – I was chugging a Jungle Juice. *grin*

Italy – My 2010 birthday.

Cheers to a happy life with family, friends and love ones!


Traveling? Meeting and making friends?


Brazil, South Africa, Asia, Europe, England, Japan, Mozambique, Bolivia, Rwanda, and a whole lot more. 3rdCultureChildren is not just a travel blog, it is full of heart, generosity, and kindness. My favorite is this unnoticed post with highly impressive travel images and heartwarming messages, “The World We Live In” has called: places we’ve discovered… Enjoy the sights, follow their experiences and meet their acquaintances.


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