Travel to Learn: Vietnam

During the last half of my school's spring break, Emilia and I visited Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. In a nutshell, Ho Chi Minh has been one of my favorite cities I've ever visited. Maybe that had something to do with staying at Ms. Yang's Homestay. Emilia and I made the decision not to stay in a hostel, but rather stay with at a highly rated homestay. By highly rated, I mean it has 5 out of 5 stars on TripAdvisor, which I have never seen before. As Emilia and I walked through the doors of Ms. Yang's place, we quickly realized why her homestay had received so many exuberant ratings. She jumped out of her chair from behind her desk and ran over to us like we were long lost friends she hadn't seen in years. On her chalkboard in the main room it read, "We do love here, We do hugs here...etc," and we immediately relished in our decision to stay there for the next 4 days. Ms. Yang was beyond helpful: she gave us a map of the city, circled all of the main attractions, gave us tips on where to get the best Pho, and much more. Every morning when we would come down the stairs, Ms. Yang would get up from her desk, give us a hug and ask us where we were going to go that day. When we would arrive home, she again would greet us with a huge smile and ask us all about our experiences. Ms. Yang was a GEM, but she largely represents the demure of the Vietnamese people. They are, for the most part, extremely kind, especially to foreigners. Being an American, I was hesitant to visit Vietnam. I expected at least some discrimination, maybe even hostility, towards my nationality, and I can honestly say I experienced nothing even close to that. The closest form of discrimination I experienced was while buying goods--whether they be souvenirs or food from a street cart. The vendors in the city recognize that you don't belong and will charge you triple the cost of the item. Coming from Bangkok, I was well-versed in the art of haggling, but I was not expecting to have to fight for a fair price for my food. In Thailand, a fruit cart is going to be between 15 and 20 baht no matter where you go. In Saigon, Banh Bao (a steamed dumpling usually filled with pork and quail eggs, aka MY FAV) would be locally priced at 8,000 to 12,000 dong, but they would charge you 18,000 to 20,000 dong. At one point, I asked for Banh Mi (Vietnamese sandwich) and when the vendor tried to charge me extra, I told him he could either take the price I was willing to pay (it was posted on the outside of the cart that the sandwich should be 15,000, he was asking for 25,000), or I would walk away and he will have just made a sandwich for no one. I happily walked away with my sandwich. If there is one thing I am tired of doing, it's bargaining. Though I love getting a good deal at a market, like my four panel art piece that the vendor asked 2.5 million dong for but I got for 300,000 dong, I can't wait to come back to a country where I can just walk up to a food truck, and their not going to apply the foreigner fee to my food.

For our first full day, Emilia and I visited the War Remnants Museum. We happened to be visiting Vietnam right before its 40 year celebration of the end of the Vietnam War, and consequently, much of our trip was dedicated to learning the Vietnamese side of the story. Before I begin to describe the contents of the War Remnants Museum, I would like to preface the following graphic content. The War Remnants Museum was not a particularly cheery place, but I believe it is a place that every American, and moreover, every person should visit at some point in their life. Was it slanted with Vietnamese propaganda? Absolutely. But the US government purports their own propaganda on the subject. I was raised in a school system that didn't even get to the Vietnam War. My AP US History teacher held an after-school session to teach us as much as he could in 2 hours because he wasn't allotted enough time during the year to get to it. But I digress. I have uploaded photos of my trip to my April photo album, and I encourage you to look through them after reading. The first thing we saw was some of the US weaponry and wartime machinery used during the war. Among the bomber planes, helicopters, and tanks, there were also flame throwers (range: 133m) and long-range ground missile launchers. Then, we walked over to a restoration of an old prison of war camp. Inside, there were shocking tales of prison mutilation, torture, and brutal killings committed by South Vietnamese "puppet" soldiers, who were trained by French and U.S. military officials. One horrible method of punishment was known as the tiger cages. These cages were about 1.5m in length and 40cm in height and completely inclosed in barbed wire. A prisoner, and in some cases more than one prisoner, would be forced to stay in them for days with little to no food or water. The prison camp was lined not only with placards dedicated to these gruesome recollections, but also with quotes from the international community. All of the walls were covered with important international voices pointing to war crimes being committed in Vietnam, they all called for the US Government to end the war, and some even bluntly referred to it as a genocide of the Vietnamese people.

This was all before we had even gotten into the main building.

Finally entering the building, we followed the suggested route through the museum, taking our time to read every inch of information offered. Some rooms were filled with details on the weapons, others on the stories of the Viet Cong. One of my favorites was the collection of photos from the wartime reporters. There were photographers from every inch of the world: the US, Australia, Japan, and many Europeans. Almost every reporter died in action. The trickiness and danger of reporting on the war was that every inch of the country was a battlefield. The Viet Cong were fighting using guerrilla warfare tactics, so soldiers and reporters could be walking through a rice paddy or the jungle or even near their own bases, and the Viet Cong might have either attacked them or set up traps or land mines for them. All of the photos told a very personal story of the Vietnamese people, the US soldiers, and even the reporters out in the field. Fear and anguish did not discriminate. You could look at one photo of a US field medic desperately attempting to save a soldiers life while suffering from a head wound of his own, and then to a photo of a young Vietnamese mother pulling her children across a river to escape the fighting. Both photos would fill me with complex grief I had never experienced before. My own knowledge of the Vietnam War, of course coming from a US perspective, would compete with these juxtaposing photos. I would look at one soldier and wonder, "Was he a draftee? Was he able to make it home alive, to ever hug his parents again?" and then I would look at that family, thinking, "Was she able to escape to safety? Were the Viet Cong able to save and hide her and her family?" The entire photo collection was tragic and uplifting and brutal and beautiful all at once. I learned more from the candid emotion portrayed in each photograph than I ever could have from any book.

There were many jaw-dropping, tear-provoking exhibits, but all hailed in comparison to the room dedicated to the disastrous effects of Agent Orange on the country and people of Vietnam. Between the photos debilitated and deformed men, women and children, stories of hopeful Agent Orange victims seeking compensation or at least recognition from the US Government, and the monstrous-looking preserved aborted fetuses, it is safe to say that the Agent Orange exhibit was the most eye-opening of all the rooms in the museum. Agent Orange, known as dioxin, still affects Vietnam to this day. The problem with the chemical pesticide, used to wither millions of acres of jungle in an attempt to smoke out Viet Cong hiding places, is that once a person has been exposed, dioxin chemically mutates the DNA of its victim. Therefore, as the exposed person goes on to have children, they pass down the mutant gene to their children, and if their children are lucky enough to survive and have kids of their own, they will pass it down to their children. Estimates of three to four generations must pass before the gene is not prominent enough to be selected for, with conservative estimates at five to six generations. And it is not just Vietnamese who suffered from dioxin poisoning. The room also displayed stories of US soldiers fighting to gain recognition and compensation by the US Government for having poisoned them and their family for generations to come. While the US Government eventually conceded to some reparations for the soldiers, no money or support will pass on to their children. No money at all is being given to the Vietnamese. I read a letter from a young Vietnamese girl to Pres. Obama, pleading for some aid. She explained how hopeful she was when she read about the love he has for his daughters, and how he wants ever child in the world to have the same opportunities to grow and thrive. She, too, wanted to have opportunities to make a life for herself, but her affliction left her with stumps for legs making it difficult for her to work. Guess what though? She does work. This young girl has figured out a way to make use of what she does have, and generates an income for herself. She received no letter in response.

After the War Remnants Museum, Emilia and I wanted to learn even more about the Vietnamese side of the war. So on the next day, we visited the Cu Chi Tunnels. On our way to the tunnels, our tour guide explained that he was not there to give us the Vietnamese side nor the American side of the story, he was there to present us with the facts of what we were about to see. Throughout the whole trip, he really was unbiased and straightforward. Our guide told us that 60,000 Vietnamese helped to dig the 121 km (75m) system of tunnels. The first thing we saw when we visited was the traps the Viet Cong set. In the town of Cu Chi, the Americans were fighting mostly villagers, not trained soldiers. The villagers used their knowledge of setting animal traps to catch soldiers instead of wildlife. As disturbing as it was for me to see their tools and methods of trapping victims (see photos for some examples), I couldn't help but be impressed with their ingenuity. The Viet Cong didn't have well-trained soldiers, so they used traps and tunnels and other guerrilla warfare techniques to allow every fighter to have a remarkably better chance at survival. Young girls and boys fought in the Cu Chi tunnels, firing from sniper holes in the ground only to dive back under, run over to another sniper hole 50m away, and confuse the US soldiers where they were being attacked from. They didn't have bombs either, so they pilfered dud US bombs to create their own. We also got to walk through the tunnels, which were 120cm tall (I'm about 160cm tall to give you some perspective) and about 60cm across. They set up entire rooms underground: kitchens, bedrooms, nurseries, medic rooms. They would only surface at night, to attend to their rice paddies and what was left of their other crops under the cover of darkness. Some children born in the Cu Chi Tunnels during the war, never saw light until the war was over. At the end of the trip, we were taken to watch a 15 min. video on the fighting in Cu Chi. This was my first experience with heavy handed propaganda. Some of the phraseology was so harsh towards the Americans that I had to stop myself from tearing up as they explained how proud they were of having killed and trapped the young American men, most of whom didn't want to be there in the first place. Then we were back on the bus to go home.

You may be wondering at this point, "But Emma, you said that Vietnam was one of your most favorite places that you visited? Seems like it was pretty depressing." Well, that's true, but being depressed for a few days was part of why I loved it there so much. The knowledge and perspective I ascertained in just 5 short days was overwhelming; I truly walked away a changed person. In fact, Emilia and I were lucky to walk away alive because trying to cross the street in Ho Chi Minh could be an X-Games event. I live in Bangkok, where crossing the street is a bit testy at times, but Ho Chi Minh is a whole other ballgame. Fortunately, the vast majority of drivers are on motorbikes, making maneuverability a key component to how traffic and pedestrians can coexist successfully. While they do have traffic lights and such, that doesn't mean people stop when the light turns red. This creates what I can only describe as "weaving traffic," where motorbikes are weaving in and out of cars and other motorbikes through the middle of an intersection. The only way you are going to get to the other side of the street is if you pray to your God of choice, and take a step forward on to the road with your hand held in a Heisman position--except instead of stiff-arming an 250+ football player, your head on with a 50km motorbike. The motorbike will zoom around you as long as you confidently keep striding across the road, but confidence is key. You basically need to display with body language in a split second whether you are going to let the motorbike go to the front or back of you and STICK TO YOUR CHOICE. After surviving unscathed, Emilia and I definitely earned out Girl Scout badge in crossing the street, and have determined that Ho Chi Minh is the world unfriendliest place for drunk people walking home at night (needing to be alert is a must if you want to live).

Emilia and I had a wonderful time in Ho Chi Minh, and every day was truly an adventure. Before I scare you off from every visiting, I will leave you with some unbeatable pros of Vietnam. 1. Pho - aka Vietnamese beef noodle soup available EVERYWHERE, small sizes ranging from $1, large sizes ranging to about $3 (large is large, like fill up a college boy large). 2. Banh Mi and Banh Bao - also available everywhere, the Vietnamese sandwich and dumpling carts were unbeatably my favorite: filled with pork, pickled veggies and lots of sauce in the case of the sandwiches or stuffed full of pork and quail eggs in the dumplings. If your lucky, you may even stumble upon a cart that also provides Baby Bell spreadable cheese for your sandwich. 3. Bakeries, Bakeries, oh my Bakeries - due to the, *ahem*, French influence on Vietnamese culture, there are plenty of bakeries to fill you yearning appetite for hearty breads and delicious baked delicacies. 4. COFFEE - if you are already a coffee buff, you know that Vietnam has some excellent coffee. Tried and true, their coffee was delicious, but because your in SE Asia if you don't want it loaded with sugar, you must request NOTHING ADDED so they don't inundate the flavor with condensed milk and spoons full of sugar. 5. Night Market - though small in comparison to the grand Chatuchak of Bangkok, the night market in Ho Chi Minh does offer incredible deals if you know how to bargain. I was able to walk away with great stuff and only spent about $20 total. I cannot wait to go back to visit the rest of Vietnam. I will definitely return to Ho Chi Minh and stay with Ms. Yang again, but after all that I've learned, I feel I am ready to see and explore the North next time.

Happy Songkran!

On April 10th, Emilia and I headed to the northern province of Chiang Mai, Thailand. The trip did not get off to a great start. Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday of the coming week (the 13th through the 15th) was the Thai New Year, also called Songkran. Songkran is a countrywide water festival, where the entire population of Thailand shuts down to run through the streets with water guns, super soakers, buckets, hoses and the like to soak others and bring them good luck in the new year. The 13th through the 17th was our school's spring break. Chiang Mai happens to be one of the most popular destinations to spend Songkran in Thailand. I went to the train station on Thursday (the day before we were supposed to leave) and before I entered the station a lady, sporting an official-looking Thai Tourism badge, approached me and asked me where I was headed. I explained that I was headed to Chiang Mai and that I needed two tickets. She told me that I could go try to get tickets, but that likely everything would be booked, and in that case, she suggested I come back and find her so that she could help me get a bus. I thanked her, but told her I would try my luck with the train tickets, and walked into the train station. When I finally got up to the counter the lady behind the window bluntly said that every train was booked, every day, at every time. She told me that the only chance I would have at getting transportation to Chiang Mai would be to try to find a bus that wasn't full yet. I was so nervous that Emilia and I would have no luck finding transportation! On my way out of the train station, the Thai Tourism woman flagged me down and asked if I was able to find tickets. I told her that I wasn't, and she said to follow her to a tour station where I could get tickets. I entered the tour building and was sat in front of a very nice young woman who spoke perfect English. She explained that finding a bus would be difficult at such late notice, but that she would make a few calls and see what she could do. After about 15 minutes, she came back over to where I was sitting and said that she found two roundtrip tickets to Chiang Mai, but the best price she could get was ฿5,580. I didn't know what to do; I had to leave the next day. That was slightly more than what I was going to pay for roundtrip 1st class train tickets, but the 1st class train is LOADS better than any bus. In retrospect, I should have consulted Emilia first. However, I was feeling extremely desperate at the time, and so of course, after a short self-deliberation, I decided I would just buy the tickets for the peace of mind. That was ฿2,790/person a total of around $86 roundtrip to Chiang Mai. We got on the very crowded bus the next night and headed up north. Once we arrived in Chiang Mai, we found out that roundtrip bus tickets were going for ฿1200, even if you booked day of. DANG IT! I was completely scammed by those women, who very clearly preyed on me as a young white girl obviously not aware of how easy it could of been to find tickets anywhere else for a much better price. If there is one thing that I have still not gotten very used to in Thailand, it is the fact that no one is actually trying to help you find a good deal. You have to know what a good deal is and you have to fight and barter until you get it. Water under the bridge now, and lesson well learned. We got there, and from then on, we had a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

Starting on Saturday, Emilia and I took it slow. We went to lunch at Feung Fah (our soon-to-be favorite breakfast spot in Chiang Mai) and eventually headed to the Thai Silk village. On our way back, we realized the water wars were warming up. People had already started lining the streets with hoses, buckets, and water guns. We got sprayed a few times while in the back of our tuk-tuk traveling to and from the Thai Silk village, and began to get really excited about the festival to come. On Sunday, we decided we wanted to rent motorbikes and head up to Doi Suthep, a beautiful temple up in the "mountains" near Chiang Mai (I put mountains in quotations to emphasize that their more like very ambitious hills). I had been there the previous weekend with my parents; however, Emilia really wanted to visit for sentimental reasons since her mother had been there about 25 years prior. We went to the motorbike rental, and I was pumped. Round two with motorbikes! Unfortunately, Emilia was not as stoked. She is not as comfortable on bikes and was a little scared, but definitely willing to try. The lady renting the bikes out explained that we needed to be extra careful: the traffic would be really hectic this weekend, and people will throw water at you while you are driving. No matter. Honestly, the prospect of having people shoot me occasionally with those little water guns, like what had happened yesterday in the tuk-tuk, excited me. We handed over the money for the bikes, and pulled over to the side to do a little practice. Emilia felt ready to leave, and we headed off down the street. About 10m down the street as we approached a stoplight, I hear Emilia crash behind me. The woman came running down, and was very worried. Emilia was shaken by it, but got right back up and steadied her bike. Emilia was fine, expect her knee was scraped pretty badly. We gave that motorbike back, and Emilia agreed just to be on the back of mine. We headed up to Doi Suthep. On our way back, we had just reached the edge of the Old City when I began to fully understand the immensity of what the rental lady was trying to explain to us about the traffic and the water. Unlike the prior day, now the streets were completely lined with people throwing water, the traffic was bumper to bumper, and there were even people in the back of the truck beds dumping water on passerby's as they were stuck in traffic. After what had happened to Emilia in the morning, I didn't want to admit that I was a little nervous about trying to negotiate the traffic. It was only the second time I had ever driven a motorbike, and this time, not only did I have another person on the back of my bike, which makes balancing a little trickier, I also was facing people who were actively trying to distract and disorient me. We passed in between cars and mostly just followed other Thais (Rule #1: When in doubt, follow the Thais). We made it safely back through the traffic, but were absolutely DRENCHED by the time we reached our street. As we turned onto small street close to our hostel, two gentlemen walked directly in front of our path, and told us, "Stop, stop, stop." They proceeded to dump three ice cold buckets over our heads and sent us on our way with a cheery, "Happy Songkran!" Despite the slight terror I had experienced just prior, we did make it back to our hostel alive and well.

The next few days, we just walked around the city with water guns, getting soaked, soaking others and shouting, "Sawadee Phi Mai!" (Happy New Year). AirAsia, CocaCola, and few other big businesses sponsored huge stages that were decked out with hoses and freebees that they threw out into the crowd. By our last day, my birthday, we were kind of over we soaked every time we tried to walk down the street. But we still had a great time overall. Shout out to Feung Fah for being the best breakfast spot in all of Chiang Mai, and serving us avocado, which I had been missing dearly.

My Parents Came to Thailand!

It was so nice having my parents in Thailand visiting. They arrived late in March and were able to stay for 2 weeks. The beginning of our time together featured adventuring around Bangkok, which was fun for my mom, but noticably less exciting for my dad. Granted, Bangkok definitely is an acquired taste for most. We were in Bangkok for the first three days that they were here, visiting Chatuchuk on the third day. Chatuchuk is a massive market, similar to the likes of Saturday Market in Portland but 3 times as big and 10 times as crowded. Luckily, we arrived right as it was opening around 8am, so we largely beat the crowd. My mom and I shopped until our arms were completely full of bags and fully exercised our bargaining skills. We found everything we were looking for, including granite mortars and pestles and other odds and ends only a place like Chatuchuk could offer. 
Then later that night, we were off to Chiang Mai. We took the train, and arrived around 9am the next day. As we were pulling into the station, my father's attention was turned to the window, gasping. He looked over at my mom and I, and said, "don't look." Of course, I couldn't help myself, but to come over and do just that. Strewn across the road was a person, a woman I think, who had recently just been hit by car. A man was stooped over the body praying and sobbing. I felt so ashamed for looking, but couldn't look away from the tragic scene. People were gathered around; everyone in the train starred quietly. My heart goes out to whosever family this person belonged to. It was a pretty tramatic start to an overwhelming positive experience in Chiang Mai.
We checked into our hotel, and were very pleased with our suite. The hotel was lovely, our suite was quite spacious and our beds even had comfy pillows (a rarity in Thailand trust me)! They would bring breakfast to our room every morning, and my dad was hard pressed to believe we had to eventually go back to Bangkok. Our first few days in Chiang Mai were spent exploring the Old City. First, all three of us walked around the town breifly, then my mom and I walked to all of the temples, then we walked to dinner, and after dinner, my dad and I walked all through the Sunday Night Market. On that first day, I walked a total of 15 miles, which I was able to calculate thanks to my iPhone Health app. The next day, we decided we had had enough of walking and rented 2 motorbikes. I had never driven a motorbike before, but hey, when in Thailand, do as the Thais do, am I right? Well, turns out motorbikes are pretty fast and it's a little intimidating getting on them for the first time ever. I drove around the parking lot of our hotel and became a little nervous of whether I was ready to go out on the main roads. I ended up chickening out, and asked my mom if she would drive it instead. Turns out my mom was a little more nervous then I was. After positioning herself on the bike, she quickly gased-panicked-kept gassing-and skidded out. Don't worry she was fine, no major injuries, but she did acquire some pretty heavily scraped up limbs. I ran over and helped pull the bike off of her. My dad at this point is minorly freaking out, asking, "Are we gonna be able to do this?" I jumped back on the bike, drove around the parking lot a little more, and decided then and there that there was no way I would be falling off of this bike. Plus, I was in a tank top and shorts, so my self-preservation instincts were on high alert. I convinced my parents that I could do it, and off we went. After an initial jolt of nerves as we pulled on to the main road, I rather enjoyed motorbiking! We drove over to the Thai Silk Village, where my mom and I stocked up on Thai Silk goods. Then we headed back to our hotel, met up with my dad, who had decided he wanted to drive around instead of shop for Thai silk, and motorbiked to lunch. At this point, I was feeling pretty confident on my new ride, and felt really Thai as I cruised in between cars at stop lights to get to the front of the line. We went from lunch up to Doi Suthep, a temple located about 25km away from the center of the Old City. The ride was simply amazing--full of winding turns and stunning aerial views of the city. We parked our bikes and began our ascent, climbing a copious amount of stairs. The temple was very charming, with monks of all ages chanting and walking around the temple. They even let us write good luck messages and our family name on a Chedi wrap, which will be on display for the rest of the year. Our return to Chiang Mai was just as fun going down the winding road as it was going up, only slightly more chilly. It was night time after all, and I was still cruising around in my tank top and shorts. 
The next morning, we were picked up by our tour guide to go on a mountain biking tour around the national park. Mountain biking was so much fun! Strenuous for sure, but nevertheless, tons of fun. At one point, we were told that there was going to be a steep hill coming up, and that anyone who made it to the top without walking would earn themselves a Coke as a trophy. We were in a tour group of about 10, ranging around the age of my parents to just older than me. My dad was the only one who made it up the hill without stopping to walk. WHAT A BEAST. We stopped several times along the way to look at local coffee, strawberry and other types of farms. When we finally got to the final flat paved road, my mom and I were biking beside each other in the front of the pack, trailing only our guide and one young woman from Spain. My mom whispers to me that as Team USA we needed to take gold and silver, so for the last stretch, we sprint-pedaled and beat the Spaniard. USA! USA! My mom got gold, and I got silver. By the end of the trip, I realized that this mountain biking excurtion had really proven that my parents were in better shape than me... We ate lunch around a beautiful lake and my dad recieved his trophy Coke can. Then, we were taken back to the bike shop to start the second half of our adventure. 
The next part of our tour included driving out to a rural village in the mountains, where we stayed at a homestay with Ms. Poog and her family. She had a cat that was really friendly; I greatly enjoyed snuggling it even though it kneaded its claws into my bare legs. She cooked us dinner and then three women came to give us Thai massages, which were greatly appreciated after our morning workout. The next morning, Poog made us a delicious breakfast and then we were off to start our zip lining tour through the jungle! I strongly recommend the Flight of the Gibbon to anyone who finds themselves in Chiang Mai. We had a blast zooming through the canopy of the jungle on the 17 different zip lines, crossing rope bridges and climbing up nets. There was one zip line where they attached the line to your back and you were expected to superman jump off the platform. My dad was the last to go, and my mom and I joked with the guide on the our side that he looked a little nervous. He took him a moment to courageously dive (partially) head-first off the platform and be carried to the other side. 
Chiang Mai was a stupendous adventure. We filled our time so thoroughly that it went by way too fast! All of the sudden we were back on the train, and headed back to Bangkok. 
We spent the night in Bangkok and then headed to Koh Phra Thong island in southern Thailand the next morning. Unlike many of the other islands in and around Thailand, Koh Phra Thong is one of the last non-touristy destinations. It's remote. Remote may not even cover how deserted this island is. I'm hesitant to even mention it because it was such a lovely, quiet, charming, peaceful, eco-friendly place. We had whole beaches almost entirely to ourselves. Little to no boat traffic. And no trash, except for trash that was brought ashore from the ocean after high tide. The woman running the place we were staying was incredibly kind, and the cook at one of the two restaurants available to us made the best Thai seafood I have ever eaten (and ever expect to eat) in my life. Her cooking was simply unbeatable, full of complex flavors and delicate preparation. After four days of lounging about, it was very sad leaving Koh Phra Thong on Monday morning.
My parents left on Wednesday, April 8th back for Portland. It was heart wrenching to watch them leave. I loved having them here and adored being able to share such unique experiences with them. As of today, I (only) have 6 more weeks left in Thailand, but the highlight of my whole trip will surely be the two weeks my parents were here.

I really have been slacking at putting photos up. However, I will eventually update my photo album, I PROMISE:)


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