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Aussie dinner tables would not be set completely if you’ve forgotten the barbecue sauce. I’ve been here for three years now and have come to find that this sauce, tomato (toe-mah-toe) sauce and sweet chilli sauce, mustards (like honey mustard), golden syrup, mint sauce (for peas), and/or tartare for fish (or tartar, like it’s called in America) are the norm… Speaking of which, why are we going this to ourselves with these pronunciation differences, my fellow English speakers?! I worked for a short while in an Aussie butcher shop and butchered your Australian English almost every single day. Scotch fillet to an Aussie is “Scotch fill-et,” but an American would say “Scotch fill-ay.” Now I read accounts and codes over a phone and butcher up your H “haitch” for me is “aitch” and Z “zed” for me is “zee.” Go figure.

Anyway. What a tangent.

Barbecue sauce. BBQ sauce. Whatever you call it. I have friends who are from the south in the U.S.A., and to them BBQ is religion. The sauce is often homemade, following Great-Great-Great-Great Uncle Cletus’s secret recipe, passed down in the family from the Civil War days. It probably could give some outsiders the runs, but it is unbeatably delicious. They marinade and slather the sauce on the, let’s say, ribs and cook them for a prolonged period of time on the grill or over the fire. This, my friends, is what they call a barbecue. Not sausages slung onto a barby for however-long. No. It’s a painstaking process filled with love and tradition. The sauce itself makes it so worth it. (Source here). But in Australia, just squeeeeeeze it on your food from a plastic squeeze bottle and…voilà. LOL.

I came to write this today because I’m making pizzas at home tonight. My husband asks, “Can you put barbecue sauce on one of them (instead of toe-mah-toe sauce)?” LOL. OK. You can even order pizzas here from Domino’s with barbecue sauce as the sauce base…

I have nothing against barbecue sauce and Aussies loving it. I don’t even mind when I order a bacon and egg roll and ask for toe-mah-toe sauce, but receive instead barbecue sauce. It’s tasty. Tastes like barbecue sauce. It’s not spicy or too zesty. It’s tangy, yet sweet. I rarely use it, but I think some Aussies love it so much that they would possibly bathe themselves in it, if they could (if they don’t already).

Australians have several brands of barbecue sauce to choose from: store brands, Masterfoods, Rosella, to name a few. But here’s a group of Aussies chattering about where to find American barbecue sauces in Australia.

I use Australian barbecue sauce to make Sloppy Joes! It’s really not healthy, this recipe, but I want to share it with you all because so many Aussies have eaten it and asked me for it. Seriously. And I never write the recipe down because each time the taste I want to achieve varies.

To feed 4-6 adults, you’ll need:

– 1 kilo beef mince (or turkey mince – it’s healthier and nobody will know!)
– Any Australian brand barbecue sauce
– Any Australian brand tomato (toe-mah-toe) sauce
(or substitute with 140g Leggo’s tomato paste)
– Brown sugar
– Worcestershire sauce
– Finely diced green capsicum and/or yellow onion, to taste
– Cooking oil
– Hamburger buns (or bread rolls) – Enough for everyone.

The trick to this is that you must taste as you cook -and- once the sauce ingredients are added, the consistency of the meat needs to always become like a thick sauce with cooking – not runny or too dry. If it begins to dry out, add a little more of something, but always taste-test to find your liking. It should be tangy, yet sweet. Never sour, bitter or tart. Follow the first step below before taste-testing your cooking too.

1.) Thaw the mince thoroughly. Crumble the mince with your hands into a large, lightly oiled skillet/frying pan over medium heat, stirring often, while the meat browns. While the meat is browning, add finely diced green capsicum and/or yellow onion, to taste. If you like a little, add only a little. A lot, add a lot. It’s up to you.

2.) As the meat finishes browning, add enough barbecue sauce to be soaked up into the meat. Don’t overly drown the meat.And keep on stirring.

3.) You’ll need to now add an even amount of tomato sauce or paste to the mix to be soaked up, like you did with the barbecue sauce. Not enough to overly drown the meat, though…

4.) Let the meat absorb the fluids, stirring often. If the meat has absorbed enough to be like a thick sauce and not runny, and if the meat is no longer pink in the center, taste it. Is it too tart from the tomato sauce/paste? Now is when you should add a little brown sugar. Add maybe one or two heaping tablespoons full, then stir it in. Is it still too tart? Add another tablespoon full of brown sugar -or- squirt more barbecue sauce into pan. Taste it. Is it too sweet? Add a few drizzles of Worcestershire sauce. Try to even out the tangy and tart: too tangy, add a little more tomato sauce/paste or Worcestershire sauce! And too tart, add a little more barbecue sauce or brown sugar. Stir that up until the meat soaks it all up, keeping in mind that the finished product needs to be like a thick sauce.

5.) If the taste is what you like, but it’s too thick, just add a little warm water to the pan, stir it in and let it simmer.

6.) Split some hamburger buns (or bread rolls) in halves, hamburger-style) and scoop the mix onto the bottom half. Plop the hamburger bun “lid” on top and serve.

Dutch people (typically not keen on eating “American” foods) LOVED these, and every single Australian that I’ve fed these to have loved them as well. Please let me know what you think, if you try it!

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Dance Party

Bucks & Hens

No, not a bunch of Bambi-like bucks and funky little lady chickens boogying away at a party, but men and women celebrating their upcoming nuptials. These bucks and hens parties Down Under are very similar to bachelor and bachelorette parties in America. Bucks and hens parties in Australia usually last for a whole weekend. The Best Man and the Maid/Matron of Honor Honour usually help with planning a bucks or hens party for the groom and the bride, but the bride or groom can feel free to plan their own.

A typical bucks party for the groom

The guys get together and, depending on styles and tastes, the festivities may last all weekend. There is something for everyone to do together: Fishing, surfing or even skydiving. They might travel to get to the location{s} where the festivities will be held. Here are some of the ideas:

· Road trip — A weekend away in the mountains for snowboarding/skiing or at the beach for surfing and partying. What they’ll be up to depends on the group of guys, really…

· Casino — Vegas-style. Can go all night. Or all weekend.

· Golf — 18 holes thrown in somewhere during the weekend. Dads and grandpas might join in on this part.

· Steak — Meat. A man and his steak dinner… From the barbie or at a steakhouse.

· On a boat — This could involve staying on a houseboat for the weekend for fishing and water sports, or taking an evening cruise on a party boat in Sydney Harbour.

· Limo — Have someone else drive them around. In style. So nobody is drinking and driving either.

· Alcohol — And loads of it, if that’s what they prefer. Sometimes drugs are involved as well, depending on the group of guys.

· Clubbing — Either going out clubbing or renting out the VIP room of one of the hottest clubs in town, if this is their style.

· House party — They might hire a house for the weekend, somewhere away from the bride and her group. This is where most of the festivities will take place, while the evenings are often spent in the city at clubs.

· Stripper{s}/Topless Waitress{es} — Oh, but of course… Much to the chagrin of the ladies normally, this seems to be an element of nearly all bucks parties. And hopefully this is as far as it will go.

A typical hens party for the bride

Similar to what the bucks are up to, the ladies get together and the festivities may last all weekend. There’s something to do together: Pampering, shopping and/or… even skydiving. They also may travel to get to where the festivities will be held. Here are some of the ideas:

· Pampering — The ladies will take a whole day to indulge in getting manicures, pedicures, facials, hair styling, massages and more. If they can afford it, they might do so at a day spa.

· High Tea — High tea is like steak for the ladies. Moms Mums and grandmas are usually along for this part of the celebration.

· Road trip — A weekend away of relaxing on a beach, being pampered during the day and partying all night.

· Clubbing — As with the bucks party, the ladies will go out but often in some form of a dress-up/costume theme. Most of the hens I’ve seen are just wearing a tiara and sash, but I’ve also seen some pretty extreme ones where they’re dressed-up {down} into sexy costumes, boogying away on the dance floor.

· House party — Same as with the guys, the girls might indulge in a lot of their partying at the hired home and then set out at night for the clubs.

· Limo — Have someone else drive them around. In style. So nobody is drinking and driving either.

· Alcohol — Lots of bubbly going around, but it all depends on the group of women. Drugs might also be involved, depending what type of group we’re talking about.

· Harbour Cruise — There are many types of party boats out there on the Sydney Harbour, just as an example.

· Wineries — I’ve seen a hens party tour bus stopping off at every winery in the Hunter Valley

· Stripper{s}/Topless Waiter{s} — I might be partial to this because I’m a woman, but I think that most of the women who throw a hens party will involve a male stripper only because their significant other is having the same activity going on at his party and she is aware of it while planning her own.

Typical places where the bucks and hens parties are held in Australia:

· Surfers Paradise/Gold Coast
· Night life: In Sydney this might be in Kings Cross or Darlinghurst
· Beach/Bush — Camping, skiing/snowboarding, fishing, or surfing getaways
· Byron Bay
· Wineries
· Cruises

Have you held a bucks or hens party of your own? Been involved in any parties lately? If yes to either of the above, what was the most outrageous/fun/hilarious thing that happened?

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© thingsaussieslike.wordpress.comI‘ve had to take a break from posting lately because I’ve been busier than ever. Australian immigration required that I leave the country again in order for my partner visa to be issued to me… It’s hard to explain it all in one breath — Here is what all I’ve gone through since the first day I arrived Down Under: I was here first on a 12-month tourist visa. When that expired, I had to go offshore and apply for my partner visa and another tourist visa. While the partner visa processed, I could return to Australia on my new tourist visa {only 6 months were granted to me} and await the partner visa. When my partner visa was ready, it could only be granted if I again left Oz… Are you still with me? Any questions?

Since there are no countries immediately bordering Australia that we could just drive to, my husband and I had become almost hopelessly broke from airfares/traveling fees & all of the visa fees. Thankfully Australian immigration also has finally allowed me to start searching for work now {I was not allowed to work on a tourist visa — Without an already existing & valid work sponsor down here, you can’t get a work visa if you’re over the age of 30}. But, with my sanity and humor humour still intact, I have also came across a slew of new & hilarious Aussie-isms — Some might make your head spin!

One evening recently, we had friends from “Vico” {aka Victoria} up for a visit. We decided to keep dinner simple: throw it all on the “barbie” {aka barbecue}. However, I kept calling the barbecue “the grill”. They started to take the piss out of me for this, to which I facetiously would say grill instead whenever possible. Where I’m from, they call it a barbecue, grill or even a Weber {Weber’s U.S. website even calls them “grills”}. Whatever, right? Down here you call it the barbie or the barbecue. A “grill” is what some homes down here have, if they have a stove “cooktop” and oven unit combination, or a “cooker”. You can also have a cooker {eg, a slow cooker} on your kitchen “benchtop”, or what I’ve always known to be a counter or countertop… Anyway, the grill is a separate cooking compartment above the oven. And the stove is not a “stove”, folks. It’s known as a “cooktop” by the Aussies. Thankfully a spoon is also called a spoon in the merry old land of Oz.

And now I’ve got my own car — I’m learning new words for parts of this car left and right! The hood over the engine of the car is the “bonnet”, the trunk is the “boot”, the windshield is the “windscreen”… And don’t forget that lights and bulbs are “lamps” or “globes”. Oh, and the flashlight in the emergency kit is a “torch”. Driving while sitting on the other side of the car {right-side drive in Australia} is one thing, but driving a manual transmission, shifting gears with your left hand for the first time, is another! Mostly all of the laws of the road are the same, but you’ll find much more roundabouts than in America. And pedestrians walk on a “footpath”, not on a sidewalk. They also cross at a “zebra crossing”, not at a crosswalk. You’ll also notice some streets are called “parade” {abbreviated pde} or “crescent” {abbreviated cres} — These are new to me. As for the fuel, if it’s not diesel, you can say you’re going to the gas station service station or the “servo” to get fuel or unleaded, but always make sure you specifically call it “petrol” and not gas or gasoline. “Gas” is LPG down here…

We’re also smack in the middle of renovations a “reno” in the home, so we’ve had to employ some tradesmen, or “tradies”, like a “sparky” {aka electrician}, a “chippy” {aka carpenter}, and a “bricky” {aka bricklayer}. Last, but not least, there’s the “poo man”… Can you guess which one that is?

A plumber. Seriously.
I would have reckoned a “plumby” or “plumbo”, but no…

Unless the plumber was also just taking the piss out of me, that’s what I’m told some plumbers are calling themselves here Down Under.  {I’ve double-checked with my husband and, yes, this is what some plumbers call themselves — As a matter of fact, he has a good mate who is a plumber, who also refers to himself as a “poo man”…}

If you have red hair {I don’t}, you could be called:

Ranga {short for orangutan} — Said rang-uh
Bluey {also what blue bottle jellyfish are called by the Aussies}

Don’t be offended — It’s normal here.

If you’re tired, you can say you’re “knackered”, “buggered”, or that you’re simply “stuffed”.

For those who are thirsty —

Wanna have some coffee?

“Flat white” = Similar to a latte or café au lait; a cappuccino also comes close, but the foam is dry instead.
“Short black” = This is an espresso, usually served in a little cup.
“Long black” = This is an Americano. It’s a coffee which is half-water with a shot or two of espresso.

Keen for a beer?

“Schooner” = Usual size of a beer served in a pub, it’s just slightly smaller than a pint.
“Pot” = Almost a half-pint of beer.
“Middy” = Same as a “pot”.
“Draught” = Draft. I’m always chatting away about this one…

Or do you fancy some fruity-type of drink?

“Cordial” = {note: some Aussies pronounce this “cordigal”} This is a concentrated non-alcoholic syrup. Most choices are fruit flavors flavours or are made from fruit juice. Before you drink it, it’s to be mixed with water, but it can optionally be mixed with club soda or alcohol. Kind of like Kool-Aid
“Squash”
= Similar to cordial.
“Lemonade” = It’s not American lemonade, which is made from lemons, water and sugar. According to Wikipedia:

In Australia and New Zealand, lemonade can also refer to any clear, carbonated soft drink with a primarily lemon flavor; e.g. a lemon-lime soft drink, such as Sprite. Culturally however, with a drink such as Sprite, the flavor is not recognised as “lemon-lime”, but just plain “lemonade”, although it is still the same flavor as its international counterpart. Other colored (and flavored) soft drinks are sometimes referred to by their color such as “red lemonade” or “green lemonade”, implying that “lemonade” is the clear version of its “flavored” counterparts.

I have put together a list of Aussie slang and Aussie-isms {I constantly add more to it too} on this page, if you want to see more.

Now if you thought that this was bad, you should make your next stop to the very lovely New Zealand, like we did. We went to New Zealand while my partner visa was to be issued and visited the south island. Upon arrival, we were told to get some crayfish in Kaikoura at “Nun’s Bun” — That would be “Nin’s Bin”, actually. Someone spelled a word out for me and said something like “hitch” for the letter H {for H, Aussies say haytch, instead of aytch}. That was awfully confusing for me, but I loved hearing the Kiwis {it’s OK to call someone from New Zealand a “Kiwi”} say “fish and chips” — It sounded like fwush-en-chups.

Here’s a sample of the dialect in New Zealand:

Another sort of Aussie-ism, Aussies like to take the piss out of the way that the Kiwis speak, so this video was quite popular with a lot of people Down Under.

Update 24 May 2012:

I’ve just begun reading this book called Boned by Anonymous — It’s an Australian book, based in Sydney. I have only just begun reading the prologue of the book and within 2 pages find that there are several words which you’d need an Aussie English to American English dictionary to help guide you. The words that you might need to look up there: short black, trackie daks, message bank, bugger, verandah, CBD, sculled…

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Beetroot

Never in my life had I ever seen anyone eat beetroot so often — Not until I came to Australia. Also known as the table beet, red beet, garden beet or just plain beet, this delicious and nutritious veggie has been a staple in Australian kitchens for nearly 50 years.

There are many benefits one can get from eating beetroots. It’s not only a natural detoxifier and blood purifier, but it is also an excellent source of iron. Beetroots are also an antioxidant and are rich in fiber, vitamin A, vitamin C, and B vitamins such as vitamin B1, B2, B3 and B6 {source}.

Beetroot is often pickled and packaged in tin cans, sold more typically in this fashion in Australia, but the variety of ways that it is served in Australia is quite noticeable:

Dip: Beetroot dip is often found among the other dips at the supermarket. You’ll be safe to bring it with you if asked to bring any dips to a party because nearly everyone here loves it.
◌ Salad topping: Often I’ve seen it included in the ingredients of a variety of homemade garden salads here in Oz. Click here to see a few ways it’s used in recipes.
Roasted: Aussies seem to love roasted vegetables, especially potatoes. A few times I’ve had roasted beetroots served to me with horseradish and sour cream {similar recipe here}.
Risotto: Served with a chicory salad to balance sweetness, this is a very healthy and delicious comfort food.
Sandwiches: Good on a sandwich and great on an Aussie hamburger, which the Aussies call “the lot” — All about that here.


Do Aussies really love beetroots?
Yes. Check out this link, this linkthis link and this link to see the proof!

Does McDonald’s in Australia serve a burger with beetroot?
Every so often “Maccas” sells the “McOz” — As I write this, they are selling them again… I’ve never tried one because I’m not a fan of fast food places like McDonald’s, but here is a commercial with the burger:

I am in Australia and really would just like to try pickled beetroots. Where should I look?
The supermarket. One popular brand of pickled beetroots Down Under is Golden Circle, and with a selection of whole, diced, sliced and wedged beetroots you’ll be able to easily open a can and plop some into a dish.

Do you like beetroots?
I do, yes — Especially beetroot dip. But I’ve always like beets, so it took no adjusting for me… What about you? What do you think of beetroots?

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Beetroot dip!

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"The Lot"

Aussies also have their own version of a hamburger. This was introduced to me here immediately, as I am an American and everybody in the world seems to associate hamburgers and cheeseburgers automatically with Americans. This hamburger with “the lot” was shared with me as if it were meant to impress me… And it did. It was delicious, filling and almost impossible to eat without drooling at the first sight of it.

The burger with “the lot” in Australia is typically available at pubs, restaurants and take-away shops [or fish and chip shops] throughout Oz. The toppings between the buns are usually:

· Beef patty
· Cheese
· Grilled onion
· Beetroot
· Pineapple slice
· Fried egg [with soft yolk]
· Bacon
· Tomato slice
· Lettuce
· Pickle
· Tomato sauce [or barbecue sauce]
· Optional mayo and/or mustard

Who’s got the best “lot burger” Down Under?

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Burger with "The Lot"

You can be the judge yourself, or you can rely on word-of-mouth… Or a Google search, such as the results of Queenslander Sean Muir’s search for the “ultimate lot burger”, as seen here.

What’s served with Australia’s take on its American counterpart?

Chips [fries], which are often seasoned with chicken salt. It all depends on your taste. You might also find burgers served with one of a variety of salads, such as potato salad, macaroni salad, or a vegetable salad [“dinner salad”].

Do Australians call hamburger meat at the supermarket “ground beef”, like what it’s called in American supermarkets?

No, they refer to it more commonly as “mince”.

Do Australians like to cook hamburgers on the grill [“barby”]?

Yes. Click here to read more.

Why do Aussies add things such as fried egg, beetroot and pineapple to their burger?

I’m not sure why. I’ve asked around and a few responses from Aussies were that pineapple possibly adds the flavor flavour of summer, and the toppings seem to speak for the individual taste of Australians [who really seem to love beetroots, by the way]. You can read more about the Australian hamburger here.

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Bacon & Egg Roll

Within my first week in Australia, I was introduced to the bacon and egg roll for breakfast brekkie. Had I ever tried a bacon and egg roll in my life before coming Australia? Yes, possibly, but most likely not the way that it’s done Down Under.

More than just a cure for a hangover, the bacon and egg roll seems to me to be one of Australia’s favorite favourite choices in the a.m.

Aussies like to eat their bacon & egg roll topped with:
· Tomato sauce
· Barbecue sauce
· Cheese
· Fresh tomato slices or roasted tomato
· Or whatever you wish!

It’s simply just a few rashers of bacon and an egg cooked over easy, served in a bread roll. The best bacon and egg roll I’ve eaten here {so far} came from the Salty Rooster in Manly. The bread was just the right size and lightly toasted, and the bacon was perfect-o.

What seems to make a good bacon & egg roll?
It depends on taste.  I judge each by the bread/roll — I’ve had overly toasted bread, rolls that were too hard and/or too big, and I want for the egg to be at least slightly runny. I also judge each by the quality of the bacon — Is the bacon mostly fat, too greasy or comes out of the roll in one bite? I consider this to be not worth the effort of my shrugging off my diet for one morning…

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A bacon & egg roll at the Scarborough Hotel

Curious to try one too?
There are many cafés and takeaway places in Oz where you will find the bacon and egg roll on the menu.  In the vicinity of Sydney alone, I’ve probably eaten already more than a dozen at random places.

Here are some of the places {with my 5-star rating of each} where I’ve tried the bacon & egg roll:

· Ocean View Sandwich Bar, Dee Why ★★★
· Salty Rooster, Manly ★★★★
· Scarborough Hotel, Scarborough ★★★
· Zimzala, Cronulla ★★★★
· And, of course, McDonald’sMaccas” ★★

Each ★ is for quality of the bacon, the roll, the service and the overall taste.

Note: Some takeaway locations will charge you around 50¢ for each tomato sauce packet. Also several locations of McDonald’s has put barbecue sauce on my bacon and egg roll without asking me first. Not a nice surprise at 6 a.m. for the untrained bacon and egg roll eater…

Feel free to share here all about your thoughts on the perfect bacon and egg roll, as well as your favorite favourite bacon and egg roll experience Down Under!

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Things Aussies Like

Mmmmm

Arnott’s Tim Tams are definitely a favorite favourite in Australia, with one in every two households containing a packet of these cookies biscuits. In other words, if you visit an Aussie in their home and they serve you tea, mention the Tim Tam and there’s a 50% chance you’ll get one on the spot… That is, unless they’re greedy about their Tim Tams, in which case you will just have to buy some for yourself at the local Coles or Woolworths {“Woolies”}.

Coated in chocolate, Tim Tams are two layers of malted chocolate biscuit, filled with a creamy chocolate filling.

A few varieties available in Australia:

· Tim Tam Original
· 
Tim Tam Classic Dark
· 
Tim Tam Chewy Caramel
· 
Tim Tam White
· 
Tim Tam Double Coat

They are found outside of Australia nowadays in countries like Canada, the United States and a few other nations, but Tim Tams originally began in Australia in 1964. According to Wikipedia:

“They were named by Ross Arnott, who attended the 1958 Kentucky Derby and decided that the name of the winning horse Tim Tam was perfect for a planned new line of biscuits. The new biscuit was based on the existing New Zealand Penguin biscuit.”

Aussies seem to love pushing the addictive treats on others as well! Hugh Jackman once visited Oprah with Nicole Kidman to promote the Baz Luhrmann movie “Australia,” and Hugh made sure to sneak some of the irresistible treats over to Oprah {read more here}.

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Prepping the Tim Tam...

Tim Tam Slam:

Whether you call it the Tim Tam Straw, the Tim Tam Bomb or the Tim Tam Explosion, you’ve got to try this!

Within 3 months of being in Australia, my friend Evan showed me how to do the Tim Tam Slam because it is, after all, some rite of passage here Down Under.

With a hot beverage, such as a cup of coffee or, as many Aussies have suggested to me, Milo, what you do is take your Tim Tam cookie biscuit and bite off at both ends diagonally, like seen in the photos here on the right.

Now, using the Tim Tam like a straw in your hot beverage, sip through the top half of the Tim Tam and then, once the biscuit is saturated, quickly turn it upside down and eat it. It will melt in your mouth!

Here’s a great video showing how it’s done:

And watch Natalie Imbruglia show Graham Norton how it’s done:

And, just in case you need more, here is a great article for beginners on how to do the Tim Tam Slam.

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