DUI Checkpoint In Imperial Beach

May 28, 2011 by ·  

DUI Sobriety Checkpoint In Imperial Beach

San Diego Sheriff At DUI Checkpoint In Imperial Beach

        In the continuing effort to keep the streets of Imperial Beach safe and free of drunk drivers, the San Diego Sheriff had a sobriety checkpoint set up at 7th St & Palm Ave last night. I suppose you can say that Memorial Day weekend officially kicks of Friday night, so this checkpoint was well timed and positioned to remind motorists not to get behind the wheel of a car if you’ve been drinking. Try to remember that these peace officers operate these checkpoints not only to nail intoxicated drivers, but to nail people driving without or under a suspended license. Think of it as a way of keeping honest people honest. If you don’t drink & drive and your license is valid then you have nothing to worry about.

Imperial Beach Sobriety DUI Checkpoint

Vehicle Passes Through IB Sobriety Checkpoint

        According to the news release posted on the San Diego Sheriff’s website, 692 vehicles went through the checkpoint, 35 vehicles were sent through secondary screening, 11 field sobriety tests were given, 7 vehicles were impounded and 4 people were arrested for DUI. The checkpoint began actual operation at 8:15pm, not at 7:30pm as stated in the press release.

Memorial Weekend Sobriety Checkpoint In Imperial Beach

Sobriety (DUI) Checkpoint On Palm Ave In Imperial Beach

        The checkpoint seemed to be a well oiled machine and all the law enforcement personnel were in a good mood. The methodology for the checkpoint was very similar to the way rides at amusement parks are loaded up. Cars were waved forward, twelve at a time to a waiting line of twelve officers, so all cars in the line get checked for compliance simultaneously. Once all the officers were done, the cars get waved through and another twelve cars took their place. Since the checkpoint was stationed on Palm Ave. between the stoplights at 9th St. and 13th St. the flow of traffic was very well regulated and caused delays no worse than having to endure an extra stoplight. Kudos to the San Diego Sheriff!

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San Diego International Airport Terminals To Tarmac Tour II

May 27, 2011 by ·  

San Diego Airport Terminals To Tarmac Tour

On The Tarmac At San Diego International Airport

        For the second time in four months I was fortunate enough to go on the San Diego International Airport Terminals to Tarmac Tour. This tour is a great way for you to involve yourself with and educate yourself about the larger than life role Lindbergh Field plays for San Diego. Back in February, when I went on the Terminals to Tarmac Tour for the first time I tried to be as meticulous as possible, recording video, snapping photos and taking copious notes. This time was a little different because I just wanted to have fun. And take pictures, so that’s what I did.

San Diego Airport Terminal Two Green Build

San Diego Airport Terminals To Tarmac Tour People

        When you take a tour you are, in effect, gambling because you know what the best and worst case scenarios are, agreed to them and then rolled the dice. The quality of the tour, the tour guide, the weather and your tour mates are all beyond your control and that’s what makes tours into the unknown so exciting. If you don’t know exactly where you are going then you don’t know exactly what will happen and that should add some bloody EXCITEMENT to your life! The Wright Brothers made their first flight in 1903, nine years before my grandfather was born and yet here I am, for the second time this year, learning about an industry that didn’t even exist when my dad’s dad was in elementary school! Just imagine what American citizens in 2111 will be learning about. No one knows for sure, but what I can tell you is that on this tour you will learn why San Diego Airport is a leading economic engine region for the region, get to walk onto the tarmac and stand right under the west end of the runway as planes from all over the world make their landing approach and roar past you, right over your head. There is an interactive, multimedia employee blog featuring Lindbergh Field from the perspective of front-line Airport Authority employees called, The Ambassablog that is full of “in the trenches” info about the airport. It’s a great read and is a great supplement to what you will learn on the tour. The above right photo shows my tour mates looking skyward at a plane while the above left photo shows the progress of the new addition to terminal 2.

Thinking About San Diego International Airport

Flower, Shadow, Sunlight, Bee, Blue Sky

        It’s worth noting that my tour mates on the San Diego Airport Terminals to Tarmac Tour (besides my cousin) where a group of about a dozen home schooled kids, along with four or five of their moms. My cousin & I were the only other adults on the tour so we had a discussion or two about home schooled kids. My opinion is that home schooling is stupid because the day a kid steps out of home school is the day they realize the real world has nothing to do with their home, or their schooling. Just like saplings need wind to develop bark so they can grow into a tree, children need to know that the funny part of a joke is called a punch line, which means that in order for a joke to be funny, somebody has to take one on the chin and that person might be them. I don’t believe that’s something that can be taught, I believe that’s something you’ll only appreciate after personally giving or receiving a crack on the jaw. You can’t accurately describe a rock concert or being in love to some one that hasn’t personally and physically experienced them because these are life experiences that are personal and different for everyone, as opposed to what your mom tells you it should be. Seriously, can you imagine being turned loose on the world at the tender age of 18 with only your mother’s knowledge as a basis for how to function in society? Maybe it’s not that bad but I’ll tell you what, I needed school and I had to take some licks that were real world lessons no home-school can provide.

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Chula Vista Nature Center Art Aquatic: Sea Life + Glassworks

May 24, 2011 by ·  

Chula Vista Nature Center Art Aquatic Exhibit

Art Aquatic: Sea Life + Glass Exhibit

        Chula Vista Nature Center, has an exhibit going until September 5, 2011 titled, “Art Aquatic: Sea Life + Glassworks” that I checked out recently, and it was well worth the trip. Recently renamed The Living Coast Discovery Center, I’d never been there before so it was a fun time of going, doing and seeing something new.

Chula Vista Nature Center Art Aquatic Exhibit

Tropical Fish At Chula Vista Nature Center

        Chula Vista Nature Center is located at 1000 Gunpowder Point Dr. Chula Vista, CA 91910, at E St. and I-5. This location allows for three very good options to get to the center. You can drive there, take public transportation or ride your bike, via Bayshore Bikeway. However you decide to get there, park in the lot and wait for the free nature center shuttle to pick you up. The shuttle runs every 15 minutes so you’ll never have to wait very long, just be patient and enjoy the view.

Chula Vista Nature Center Art Aquatic Exhibit

Scorpionfish With Modern Glass Art

        The Art Aquatic: Sea Life + Glassworks exhibit that lead me to Chula Vista Nature Center to begin with was a remarkably simple yet beautiful study in combining brightly colored, organically shaped glass with brightly colored tropical fish. There are a dozen or so aquariums that each contains the work of one artist, along with living tropical fish that compliment the colors and design of the art.

Chula Vista Nature Center Art Aquatic Exhibit Glass Volcano

Glass Volcano As Aquatic Art

        This exhibit is remarkably simple: Glass is non-reactive, so it makes perfect sense to incorporate some brightly colored glass inside the aquarium, not just as the boring, clear walls we usually see. All of the cool shapes, designs and themes you see in these photos (except for the fish, of course) were hand-made or hand-blown by local, San Diego hot glass artists.

Chula Vista Nature Center Aquatic Glass Art Exhibit

Chula Vista Nature Center Aquatic Glass Art Exhibit

        Be sure to take your time as you walk through Chula Vista Nature Center because each display and exhibit holds more than meets the eye. Remember this is a visual place about biology so there is a lot to take in every step of the way. The Art Aquatic exhibit is a very small part of the nature center, which sits on the 316 acre Sweetwater Marsh Wildlife Refuge so don’t think looking at fish is the only thing to do. You can also look at sea turtles, touch sharks and manta rays, see raptors and predatory birds and walk a scenic trail to the San Diego Bay.

Chula Vista Nature Center Aquatic Glass Art Exhibit

Art Aquatic: Sea Life + Glassworks At Chula Vista Nature Center

        One can only imagine what the fish think of their fancy aquariums or what they will do when they have to give up their fancy décor but for right now, they seem content and happy with their colorful new homes.

Scorpionfish Chula Vista Nature Center Aquatic Glass Art Exhibit

Scorpionfish In A Living Art Exhibit

        So, my trip to Chula Vista Nature Center was good, and I found out there is a lot to see there and it is very much worth the $11 price of admission. You can find more information on the Chula Vista Nature Center website or by following them on Twitter. Cheers!

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Mickie’s Bar & Grill Honors Maxine Cummings

May 22, 2011 by ·  

Mickie's Bar & Grill Maxine Cummings Memorial Balloons

Balloons In Honor Of Maxine Cumming At Mickie’s Bar & Grill

        Maxine “Mickie” Cummings passed away on April 16, 2011 so, to honor her, an all day musical celebration was held at her joint, Mickie’s Bar & Grill. I spent some time there, watching Teagan Taylor Trio play and talking with people. The bar is at 2nd & Palm Ave. in Imperial Beach, an easy bike ride for me, I cruise past it every time I go to the beach but I had never been inside until today. It turned out to be a great bar with lots of room, a pool table a patio and 2 full bars. Mickie liked jazz so that’s what was played in the background as new and old friends came together to remember Mickie, and there was no better placed than the very bar she had owned since 1982.

Judith Jeannotte At Mickie's Bar & Grill

Judith Jeannotte Talks About The Finer Things

        The bar actually reached capacity by around 3 o’clock, which I found out when I tried to get back in after stepping outside to use my phone. The dude let me back in but I was very surprised that a bar in Imperial Beach was at capacity on a Saturday afternoon. Mickie was a much loved woman and the steady flow of people that streamed in all day is testament to that. She has some great friends and Mickie’s had some great people. Everyone I talked with was friendly and out to have a good time which is something we all need right now.

mickies-bar-maxine-cummings-memorial

Eileen And Virginia At Mickie’s Bar & Grill

        This turned out to be a great Saturday afternoon in Imperial Beach, but I really didn’t plan it that way. I had other things on my agenda but they all fell by the wayside once I started meeting and talking with people. Eileen and Virginia, seen above are two of the people I met that made the event a success and helped everyone to have a good time. Mickie’s Bar & Grill in Imperial Beach, give it try, it’s only two blocks from the beach so it would be a great place to start and/or finish a trip to IB. Cheers!

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Coronado Street Sweeper & Broken Dredger On Bayshore Bikeway

May 20, 2011 by ·  

The Lenny Coronado Street Sweeper

Coronado Street Sweeper About To Merge Onto Bayshore Bikeway

        I live very close to the international border between the United States and Mexico but I live even closer to the border between Imperial Beach and Coronado, CA. Bayshore Bikeway is the actual, physical border between the two cities for a short stretch near the north end of 7th St. Coronado is such an awesome place that the street sweepers even sweep their portion of the bikeway. Bike paths can sometimes get forgotten by the city after they are built, but Coronado and Imperial Beach both remain committed to maintaining themselves among the most bicycle friendly cities in San Diego. “The Lenny,” Coronado’s street sweeper is seen above merging onto Bayshore Bikeway at 7th St. as a cyclist cruises by. In the background is the Dinosaur Cage while in the midground is a piece of machinery, in the middle of a parts failure. This thing has been dredging South Bay Biological Study Area for the last two months so I have started to ignore it but, while taking this photo I realized the thing had broken down and was being disassembled by a crew.

Dredge Crew Working To Fix Their Machine

Yesterday, The Crew Had Been Working On The Dredger

        Yesterday I had seen some guys poking at the front of the dredge and they eventually seemed satisfied because the machine went back to dredging.

Dinosaur Cage Broken Dredge Bayshore Bikeway

Coronado, Bayshore Bikeway, A Broken Dredger & The Dinosaur Cage

        As the Coronado street sweeper lumbered on by, it became obvious that whatever they tried yesterday had failed because the dredger was undergoing some major repair. The thing has been going for over two months straight so I’m sure a mechanical failure was bound to happen. I can only wonder what sort of things they’ve pulled out of the bay so far, but I’m sure they are things that destroy machinery. I sure didn’t think I’d be taking a photo of a Coronado street sweeper rattling down Bayshore Bikeway past a broken dredge with the Dinosaur Cage and a San Diego City bus in the background when I woke up this morning.

Broken Dredge In South Bay Biological Study Area

Broken Dredge In South Bay Biological Study Area

        With the nose removed, the gear assembly is accessed and ultimately removed. The pieces were removed with the forklift for replacement or repair, the dredge was sealed up and the crew packed up for the day. Tornado Motion Technologies Inc. people have been out here for the last couple months, methodically winding their way through the preserve 6 days a week, doing their part to help keep San Diego’s wildlife areas in great shape. Good job guys! Below is a video shot the previous day that shows the crew working on the front of the dredger, before the mechanical failure.

Trying To Repair The Dredger

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Border Field State Park In Summer

May 18, 2011 by ·  

Bikini Girl Border Field State Park Beach Fence

Border Field State Park Fence

        The last time I went to Border Field State Park was in January, in the dead of San Diego’s winter and there were hardly any people, on either side of the border. This ultimately set the tone for that post as somewhat morose and unpatriotic. This trip, three months later was right on the cusp of summer, so there were more people around, mostly on the Mexican side enjoying southern California’s most southern beach. Enjoying the beach and the sights across the border is really only half the fun. Finding and navigating through Border Field State Park are adventures in and of themselves, so that’s what this post is all about. By the time you finish up with this post you’ll be an expert ready to have some fun in the sun and make the most of your trip to Imperial Beach and Border Field State Park.

Border Field State Park No Trespassing Signs

No Trespassing Signs On Monument Road

        The road and signage on the way to the park is not exactly user friendly, and the website for Border Field State Park is not any better. In a nutshell, you’ll be heading west on Monument Road, passing signs like what you see above all along the way. Don’t let the signs or their somewhat garbled message fool you because as you see these signs and trailheads on the south edge of Monument Road you can rest assured that as long as you park your car when you head out, you will be OK. I’m not saying to ignore the signs, I’m clarifying to you that you can walk or ride a horse all over the park.

Border Field State Park Entrance Gate

Border Field State Park Entrance Gate

        If you chose to continue west on Monument Road, you will eventually arrive at the proper entrance to Border Field State Park at 1500 Monument Road, which is what we see above. The vantage point for this photo is facing west, with the Pacific Ocean exactly 1 mile to the west, straight ahead. The closed gates you see are almost always closed because the paved road that leads to the beach area of the park is almost always flooded. Even if the road wasn’t flooded, the gates would only be open on weekends anyway, so this is where experience takes over because most people see this, assume the entire park is closed, turn around and go home. This is where you’ll drop off your car to roam the park whether or not the gates are closed, as long as it’s during the operating hours of the park.

Border Field State Park Access Road

Flooded Monument Road

        Here is the secret to enjoying a random or planned trip to Border Field State Park: Bring a bicycle or a horse for everyone in your group. The flooded road you see above is the reason for the entrance gate being closed most of the time, as well as the mosquito problem Imperial Beach suffers from every summer. This photo was taken by me in late April and will probably replace the whale in my nightmares because every inch of this standing water held MILLIONS of mosquito larvae that will no doubt be swarming over Imperial Beach in a couple months.

        Anyway, park your car at the entrance gate and then jump on your bike, your horse or put on your walking shoes and head west. From the parking lot you have to go west for 1 mile, turn left at the ocean and head south for another half mile to get to the border fence. Bring a bike; you might me fine with walking to the beach, but by the end of the day you’ll be begging for some form of personal transportation.

Border Field State Park Fence

Border Field State Park Secondary Fence

        After you park at the entrance to Border Field State Park, head west and then turn left (south) at the Pacific Ocean, you will have about a half mile trek to the actual border between Mexico and America. The photo above is presented to help you out on your trip to the park. When I took the photo above I was facing east and the Pacific Ocean was lapping at my heels. The fence you see on the left, heading towards me represents the border for American citizens while the other fence in the center leads to Friendship Circle. The famous border fence that is shown in the first photo of this post is out of sight, just to the right. The area between the actual border and the fence above as well as Friendship Circle are government property that American people have “no right” to be on, even though we are a government of, by and for the people. Don’t walk past this fence or Border Patrol agents will have a talk with you. I’ve received a talking to twice, even though I crossed this plane only once.

Border Patrol Vehicle On Monument Mesa Border Field State Park

Border Patrol Vehicle At Border Field State Park

        Monument Mesa is the area on the border, above the beach and that is where the photo above was taken. Just to the right of the photo is Friendship Circle. Border Patrol agents are everywhere around here, which makes Border Field State Park very unique because there are no park rangers in this park. Border Patrol agents monitor our borders by questioning, arresting and detaining people. Park rangers help ensure visitors to said park have a good time. Border Patrol agents run this park, see what I mean? Don’t be afraid of them, just be aware that you’ll see them and they may let you know not to approach the primary fence.

Border Field State Park Beach Horses Border Patrol Agent

Horses And Border Patrol At Border Field State Park

        That being said, just make sure you don’t approach the actual border fence. As long as you don’t do that, you’ll be all right. Border Field State Park is the only place in San Diego you can ride horses along the beach, so if you are an equestrian, I would take advantage of that. Above we are looking north from the border, with horseback riders and at least one Border Patrol Agent looking on. You can see the beach is deserted, so don’t be afraid to walk around, even with Border Patrol agents staring at you.

Mexicans At Border Field State Park Fence

People Waving Through Border Field State Park Fence

        This brings me around to my conclusion, more or less. Border Field State Park is fun if you know when, what and where to assimilate what all the signs are telling you. Don’t come within 40 feet of the actual border and make sure to bring a bicycle. Border Patrol will do their job, Mexicans will try to talk to you through the border fence and people like me will try to take photos without being accused of terrorism. Saying it like that sounds bad but it’s the truth and I hope it will help you enjoy your time at Border Field State Park. Please be sure to look at my photos from my last trip to Border Field State Park earlier this year. Cheers!

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Leopard Sharks & Guitar Fish Around Imperial Beach Pier

May 4, 2011 by ·  

Leopard Shark Caught On Imperial Beach Pier

        Recently I came across an article, or maybe it was a photo-essay in IB Patch about fishermen on the Imperial Beach pier. After reading the article, my first thought was; what a boring, poorly photographed article. There was no action, no substance and no grit, just people standing on the IB pier with fishing rods & reels. I felt I could do better, so I headed down to IB pier to check out the action.

imperial-beach-pier-fishing-sharks

Guitar Fish On Imperial Beach

        As I walked onto Imperial Beach pier, there was a fisherman that had a guitar fish on his line. The shark was much too heavy to reel 30 feet onto the pier so the angler had his friend hold the rod so he could go down to the beach to unhook and then release the shark, with everyone looking on.

Guitar Fish On Imperial Beach

Guitar Fish Held Over Imperial Beach

        There is something very ugly about pulling life from the ocean for nothing more than sport. We are the only species that allows something as weird as “catch and release.” Just imagine there was a restaurant where, if you take a bite of food you’ll get dragged away from the table, pulled under the nearest body of water, photographed and then thrown back onto land. Do you think any human would tolerate that?

Guitar Fish Held Over Imperial Beach

Guitar Fish Have Eyes & Feelings Too

        The guitar fish you see above was a victim of some guy just having fun. I see eyes, a mouth, gills and a body so that tells me this shark can see, eat, breathe and feel. It’s very hard for me to watch people hurt animals in situations like what you see above and not do anything about it. If you want to be cruel and unusual, you get a free pass if you do it to any form of aquatic life, unless you do it in front of me. I’m just letting you know.

Guitar Fish On Imperial Beach

Guitar Fish About To Be Thrown Back Into The Pacific Ocean

        I know there was never a point in history when it all of a sudden became OK to use this planet and other life forms on it like a commodity or as a form of recreation. What I do not know is if there will ever be a point in time when it’s not OK to do that anymore. Think about this… It’s illegal to physically harm another human (unless you’re a cop) and sometimes it’s even illegal to say hurtful words to another human. Why is it then we can do unto others what we don’t allow to be done to ourselves?

Leopard Shark On IB Imperial Beach Pier

Leopard Shark On Imperial Beach Pier

        Above is a small leopard shark, caught while fishing off Imperial Beach pier. Sharks are one of those survivors that outlived the dinosaurs and hopefully will outlive us as well. Our amazing intellect allows us to buy everything we need at Wal-Mart to end a shark’s life while that same intellect turns a blind eye towards what we are actually doing. Anyway, a crappy article with crappy photographs, along with a sunny San Diego day is what led me to the beach, the fishermen of Imperial Beach pier and this introspective article. I suppose it’s just one more example of the weird way things just work out.

Sharks Swarming Around Imperial Beach Pier

        In the video above you’ll see the photos from this post as well as footage of dozens of sharks swimming around Imperial Beach pier. As you’ll see in the video, the sharks were everywhere, looking for food so the fisherman took advantage by merely dipping their lines in the sea below the pier. Standing on a pier holding a length of mono-filament line with food in front of hungry sea animals is a sport? OK, sure.

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Eden In Hillcrest With Constantine Bautista

May 2, 2011 by ·  

Constantine-Bautista-eden-art-show

The Art Of Constantine Bautista

        I recently attended an art show and charity auction held at Eden, one of the newest clubs on the Hillcrest nightlife scene. Local artist, Michele Jones produced this charity event, which raised over $10,000 for The Lois Merrill Foundation, which helps cancer patients with their medical bills. I was impressed with the layout and the amount of space the place has. Even with all the people, tables of charity auction items set up in the middle of the dance floor, 100 or so pieces of art of from world renowned artists adorning the walls and clustered mingling the art world is known for, there was a nice flow and it never felt too crowded. It never occurred to me that a nightclub would be a good venue for an art show but after being there I can say that it makes perfect sense. Actual art galleries are boxy, usually small and always have areas where congregating people will completely block the walking path of everyone, bringing all foot traffic in the building to a halt. Nightclubs, especially new ones are designed to allow people to walk around, which is what you want people to be able to do at an art show. Brilliant!

eden-art-show-Hillcrest

Chris, Donna & Constantine Bautista

        It was while having this revelation that I met modern artist and painter, Constantine Bautista. It was my cousin that invited me to this event, Constantine being her boss from back in the days when Mr. Bautista had a day job and was not the full on artist he is today. The photo above was taken towards the end of the evening and in it we see my cousin on the left, her colleague and new friend of mine, Donna in the center and Constantine himself on the right. I didn’t hear anyone bring it up during the show so I’ll say it now; Constantine is a damn cool name to have.

eden-art-show-Hillcrest

Who Brings A Baby To A Club On Saturday Night?

        Bear in mind this show took place on a Saturday evening which meant the art crowd folks were in a place they probably had never been before and the nightclub regulars were wondering why there was a woman, crouched over an infant, sweeping the floor with her hand. I would like to point out that if you bring a kid into an adult environment and your kid does something that necessitates cleaning a hardwood floor, everyone will flee the area, turn their backs on you and start a conversation that wonders why the Hell someone brought an infant into a nightclub on a Saturday night. It just got worse for this lady; she walked past me later on carrying the kid, who was now screaming while she herself was screaming even louder, “I need to get him some pants!” What? Sure enough, for some reason, the kid wasn’t wearing his pants.

eden-art-show-Hillcrest

The Art Of Sean Dietrich At Eden

        The art presented were mostly paintings and drawings and a few photographs as well. The venue, Eden has three distinctly separate areas; inside, outside and a restaurant. The show was inside, and as the evening wore on, the outside patio area began to fill up with Saturday night Hillcrest party people, patiently waiting for the charity event to end so their party could begin.

eden-art-show-Hillcrest

Painting Inside Eden

        Art was not just presented; it was created at the show as well. The artist above was working in front of a bank of mirrors, mostly oblivious to the scores of people watching, including me. The mirrors made for an interesting photo and I was even able to include myself in the reflection.

eden-art-show-Hillcrest

More Art From Charity Auction At Eden

        I’d taken a lot of art, drawing, writing, sketching and sculpting classes in school and they always turned out to be the hardest classes for me. Creating art was something that did not come naturally for me so when I was starting out, every time I held a pencil, paintbrush, chisel or piece of charcoal in my hand I never felt like I knew what I was doing. Then I took my first photography class and guess what? I understood it, right away. Everything from the mechanics of a camera, to the science of the darkroom, photography made perfect sense to me. Game on!

eden-art-show-Hillcrest

Chris Callaway Reflects On Modern Art

        So, what is my take on the evening, the venue and the art? All three were awesome. Hillcrest is a great place, Eden turned out to be a great venue for a charity art auction and all the art presented was first rate. Afterwards, my party & I walked along University Ave. until we found a suitable place to eat… But that’s another story. Cheers!

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