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  • Wednesday, February 28

    Barcelona Restaurants: Delicate Desserts at Escriba's

    Barcelona Restaurants: Delicate Desserts at Escriba's
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    I didn't know whether to photograph this delicate dessert at Escribá's, the famous restaurant by the beach in Barcelona, or devour it mercilessly. I think I will keep it somewhere safe in my digital photo album just in case someone needs this tartlet picture for the dessert menu. Being in front of the sea in the afternoon, having a good paella and picking up the most tempting dessert from an assorted selection on a tray is like mana from the gods.
    Recommended: I have added some Pandora radio stations to my sidebar to make your stay here more pleasant. I am aware of the fact that you can't select what you want to hear but I have an excellent remedy for that, a very hot link. It is just a player on a web called Musicovery. It works in a curious way though. You select your mood and it gives you the right music with the right tempo. You can select genre and year. Songs and artists are displayed in front of you using Flash. Weird but fast, innovative and addictive.

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    Tuesday, February 27

    Catalan Modernisme: Ceiling at Sant Pau Hospital, Barcelona

    Catalan Modernisme: Ceiling at Sant Pau Hospital, Barcelona
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    Also by Domenech i Montaner, the renown representative of Catalan modernist architects, Hospital de Sant Pau is a small jewel frequently overlooked by tourists. This is the ceiling at the main entrance on the corner of Cartagena and Maria Claret streets. If you browse the labels you will find information about the architect and the Hospital.

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    Monday, February 26

    Sitting by the Sea: Take your Turn

    Sitting by the Sea: Take your Turn
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    Come rain come shine you always see someone laying on those concrete chairs facing the sea at Barcelona beach. Although they might look hard and uncomfortable they are pretty demanded so they'd better implement some kind of parking meter system nearby to make room for all. If you take a closer look notice that some of them really mean to stay for long. Maybe because it is winter I managed to find some empty chairs so I was about to run and stretch there till next summer.

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    Sunday, February 25

    Social Distortion

    Social Distortion
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    History repeating itself, deja vu, retro? Fashion comes and goes and the clothes of the fathers are now the "innest" stuff for the sons. Did that make us social distorted too then? Who is behind this design? A drinking skeleton, is that what they should become or are they referring to the state parents are in now after going on too many boozing sprees? Too many questions I know but I have been always intrigued by fashion and youngsters' striving for being completely distorted...hmmm, what a wonderful times we had!

    Update: People portrayed in this picture has nothing to do with what is expressed as my own personal opinion in this article. This post has provoked different reactions, possibly because I am no expert as you can see in this matter. I was only referring to youth and fashion. In order to avoid misinterpretation and some wild opinions clearly out of place, comments will remain closed and those already accepted hidden. Sorry for any inconvenience this may cause to visitors or any people implied.

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    Saturday, February 24

    Spanish Souvenirs in Barcelona: A Canned Stereotype

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    Of course a souvenir shop always tries to sell stereotyped products of the country or the city as this is precisely what tourists are prone to buy, unaware of other traits that you normally discover after a second or third visit. Spain is a multicolor, multilanguage, multiethnic and multi-everything nation and what is good for some parts of it is not applicable to the rest. It is a common cliché to think that we are all matadors, go around saying "ole" (we do but watching soccer matches) and dance flamenco in our spare time. Of course there are people for each and every ingredient in this melting pot, but remember not to mingle them no matter how idyllic it may look.

    Friday, February 23

    Absinthe Tête - à - Tête

    Absinthe
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    How odd can a post about Barcelona be? How can you relate every single image you capture on those streets with the city? Well, sometimes it really gets tough. Of course you can always mention the place- carrer Princesa to be exact - and the neighborhood - Barri de La Ribera (next to Barri Gotic) -. But how do you make a liquor store pop up in the middle of the story? I don't know. I just wanted to take a picture of that little devil on the label of that Absinthe bottle, I just wanted the emerald colors of that spirit in my picture. Fortunately, it turned out that Absenta has a lot of history behind, that it originated in Switzerland, that it was some kind of elixir depicted as as an addictive, psychoactive drug in the XIX century and extracted from Absinth Wormwood, a medicinal plant. It became very popular in the Parisian district of Montmartre so it is commonly associated with artists. It was banned in the USA and Europe in the 20s and manufactured again by the end of last century. So you see, it is trendy, you can buy it right now in Barcelona, it was related to art and I could show it. I can't believe my luck. I just wanted that little green devil after all!

    Thursday, February 22

    Francesc Cambó Monument in Via Layetana, Barcelona

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    Today I show you the statue of Francesc Cambó by Victor Ochoa (1997). Cambó was the founder of La Caixa, one of the most powerful banks in Spain. The monument is just in front of the savings bank headquarters in Via Layetana, a 1917 building by Enric Sagnier. I have found this page called Barcelona Virtual with a pano of the little square and some other interesting 3D tours. It is just another sculpture but I liked the way the omnipresent pigeon added proportions to the statue in absence of other references in the image.

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    Wednesday, February 21

    Modernist Letterbox at Casa de L'Ardiaca, Barri Gotic

    Modernist Letterbox at Casa de L'Ardiaca, Barri Gotic
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    Off we go in an imaginary trip along the streets of Barri Gotic (Gothic Quarter). You are facing Barcelona Cathedral, climb the stairs and turn right on a narrow street called Santa Llúcia. Suddenly you are right in front of Casa de l’Ardiaca, the Archdeacon's house (see a full view here via QDQ street map). The building where the Municipal History Archives are since 1921, is made of two houses, being the other the Deacon's house or Casa Degá. The first buildings date back from the XII century and were remodeled into a palace by Lluis Desplà, the Archdeacon, in 1520. As a curiosity we should say that it was built against the Roman wall which you can see from the ground floor and that the interior patio lodges the famous fountain (used for Eucharist) with the floating egg known as l'Ou com balla in Catalan. On the façade of the Flamboyant Gothic palace we can admire this marble letterbox created by the Modernista architect Lluis Domenech i Montaner commissioned to decorate the building in 1902.

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    Tuesday, February 20

    Barcelona Cathedral: Stained Glass Window

    Barcelona Cathedral: Stained Glass Window
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    This is one of the stained glass windows that can be admired inside the Barcelona Cathedral or Cathedral of Santa Eulàlia which I will resume soon with a more representative image and some historical background. In the meantime take a look at this appetizer, a little noisy perhaps, but with some intense colors.

    Monday, February 19

    A Mouse-Like Zebra Costume

    A Mouse-Like Zebra Costume
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    There are some pictures from last Friday, when I took some photographs in my daughter's school at random just to show you the funny costumes some kids designed for the occasion, like this zebra which in fact looks like a mouse to me!.

    Sunday, February 18

    Carnival Masks in Barcelona

    Carnival Masks in Barcelona
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    Saturday was raining cats and dogs so I decided not to go to the Carnival parade. Today we went for a walk downtown and still could see costumes here and there or take shots of beautiful masks like these displayed in a shop in the Gothic Quarter or Barri Gotic. I took some more pictures in the area, not related to today's topic, which I will show you soon.

    Saturday, February 17

    Barcelona Carnival 2007: Feather Mask

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    Carnival 2007 is on, today there will be a parade or Rua de Carnaval departing at 20:30 from carrer Gran de Gràcia/Plaça de Lesseps up to Als Jardinetes de Gràcia. There will be other parades but this will be the biggest. Schools like every year in Barcelona, organized their own carnestoltes where the strangest costumes could be seen. I took two scores of photographs of kids in assorted outfits but I was not expecting the cherry on top at the very end of yesterday's party, in my daughter's schoolyard. Mysteriouly and seductively, out of the blue, showed up this woman wearing an attractive smile behind an exuberant feather mask, like an illustrious lady travelling incognito on a secret affair during a Venetian Masquerade.

    Friday, February 16

    Stairway to Catalan Art Nouveau

    Stairway to Catalan Art Nouveau
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    If you look up under "palau" or "modernisme" blogger labels at the bottom of this post you will find information about famous Barcelona's Concert Hall i.e Palau de la Musica Catalana. You can find stunning samples of Catalan Art Nouveau or Modernisme in this building although you are not allowed to take pictures and show your friends. Maybe that's why my picture got a little blurry and I had to reinvent it a little bit to make worth (is it?).

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    Thursday, February 15

    Barcelona Beach: RACC Helicopter

    Barcelona Beach: RACC Helicopter
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    During past Pirena 2007 dog show on the beaches of Barcelona I spotted this RACC helicopter. It called my attention that some fishermen were there already and didn't seem to be scared, in fact I thought it was risky for them. Given that you don't see copters landing on piers that often I took the snap and voilà. RACC stands for Real Automóvil Club de Catalunya, an association with more than a million affiliates, in fact it is the first insurance company in the car business in Spain. It is also related with the travel sector and widely known for organizing sports events such as rallies. I would like to talk about photography now, about the rule of thirds. Although obvious for many, we tend to forget it sometimes. It consists of tracing two sets of intersecting lines so we get a square in the middle of our image (some cameras have a grid). The subject should be in one of the corners of such box for emphasis. Another thing to bear in mind is the horizon line which can be aligned more or less with the top or the bottom of the square whether you want to highlight the upper part or the bottom of the image. Maybe I should have lower the camera a little bit!

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    Wednesday, February 14

    Reflected on the Apple of my Eye

    Reflected on the Apple of my Eye
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    First of all Happy St. Valentine! to all lovers in the world. It would be interesting to know which cities in our Daily photo group do not celebrate this day, if any!. Today I resume the reflections topic but this time on people eyes. Who better than the apple of my eye, my other love, my daughter Sara. Here is a closeup of hers by the beach in La Barceloneta.

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    Tuesday, February 13

    Barcelona Mountains: An Electrifying City Landscape

    Barcelona Mountains: An Electrifying City Landscape
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    Three, a magical odd number. The three primary colors, The Holy Trinity, The Three Graces, Heaven, Hell and Limbo, The Three Stooges...can you think of any other?. Here is another rather ackward example, three power towers invading, polluting, contaminating the view over beautiful Barcelona. Why make it three and not two? Why not make it null, void, zero instead?.

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    Monday, February 12

    Reflections in Heron City Barcelona

    Reflections in Heron City Barcelona
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    As I am sure there are some reflection fans among you I leave you with this glass panels in Heron City Barcelona. The leisure resort has been dealt with before in Barcelona Photoblog so please check Google labels for more information. I encourage everyone once again to participate in the AbsoluteLomo contest (rules in previous post this month) as I am extending deadlines two more weeks. Send any lomo pictures you have, old or new, to the Absolutelomo gallery and send me the link.

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    Sunday, February 11

    Ferrer i Guardia Monument in Montjuic

    Ferrer i Guardia Monument in Montjuic
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    This is a monument in honor of Francisco Ferrer i Guardia in Montjuic. It is one of the many sculptures scattered around the mountain paths. One of those controverted characters in our history, an anarchist and teacher arrested and executed without any proof by firing squad at Montjuic Fortress in Barcelona on October 13, 1909.

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    Saturday, February 10

    Barcelona Skyline: Magic Fountains of Montjuic

    Barcelona Skyline: Magic Fountains of Montjuic
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    This is what you can see from the top of the stairs, just next to the entrance to MNAC (National Art Museum of Catalonia). You don't see it but I am surrounded by tourists at the moment as this is a must see spot in Barcelona. The nearest underground station is Plaza Espanya named after the square right behind those two brick color towers. They act as the entrance to Barcelona Fair made up of a series of venues on both sides of the central walk. It was on this vast area where famous Barcelona International Exhibition took place in 1929. On the right hand side where the big red poster is, you see old Las Arenas bull ring undergoing a profound transformation into a top design leisure center. Notice the big cranes? A big cupola must go on top after they raised the whole coliseum above the ground with enormous jacks and metalic props!. In the foreground, the Magic Fountains of Montjuic, usually as dry as the Sahara desert but totally illuminated in September during the celebrations in honor of the patroness of the city, La Mercé. Check this Youtube video of Montjuic Magic Fountains too! Click on my Montjuic blogger label below to find out more about interesting places nearby. Nice weekend! Bon Weekend! Schönest wochenende!

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    Friday, February 9

    Barcelona Cultural Heritage Vandalized

    Barcelona Cultural Heritage Vandalized
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    In yesterday's post I advanced the news published in El Periódico de Catalunya about the criminal acts against Barcelona's cultural heritage. I am talking about the important damage inflicted on one of the main symbols of Gaudi's legacy: The Lizard or Dragon fountain in Park Güell. There are larger pictures in this article via 20Minutos newspaper to compare with this snapshot from my archives. What are we going to show our kids? What goes wrong with society to breed such monsters? Do you think hitting with an iron bar on a beautiful thing is human?. This is not a mere incident, this is a consequence of our own mistakes. Shall we burn that hooligan in hell or shall we teach this kid before it is too late?

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    Thursday, February 8

    Barcelona Psychedelic Garden

    Jazzy Yellow Flower in Barcelona Psychedelic Garden
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    This jazzy yellow flower deserved some tweaking in Photoshop so why not give it a psychedelic mood to make it more artistic. As usual I need help to know the name of this specimen but the most important thing is its intrinsic beauty. I must confess that my fascination for photography is growing rapidly and every picture is taking me more and more time but I enjoy the process of creation like a child with a new box of color pencils and a white wall. Of course some people would have preferred the flower as such but then it would be just a static report of reality.
    Recommended: An essay called Just say 'Yes' by Alain Briot, the famous landscape photographer whose tutorials I recommended here before. The author analyzes typical questions photographers have to hear often, such as “Do you manipulate your photographs?” or “Do you change the colors?” "Is this real?". For French readers I recommend his excellent site about high res photography Gallerie-Photo.

    Latest News: Last Tuesday night, famous lizard fountain by Antoni Gaudi at the entrance of Parc Güell was destroyed by three vandals according to reports published today in El Periódico de Catalunya.

    Wednesday, February 7

    Carnival 2007 is Around the Corner

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    Carnestoltes is almost here! Carnival 2007 (February 17th thru 21st) will start in a few days in Barcelona. Carnival comes from Latin carnem+levare (raise meat)in allusion to Lent, a period of sorrowful reflection to identify with Jesus' redemptive death. As you know these celebrations are deeply rooted in paganic rituals dating back to Roman times. Of course these two kids are unaware of that but traditions endure the past of time and there is a sort of wild call inside telling us that spring is coming soon so we have to celebrate, with flesh or without!. Now that Ash Wednesday is coming and we are talking about flesh, let's watch and listen to a wonderful song called Ashes to Ashes.

    PS: Don't forget there are two Holga 120 CFN Color Flash Cameras for free in the ABSOLUTLOMO CONTEST! and anyone can participate.

    Tuesday, February 6

    Estrella Damm, Damm Good Catalan Beer

    Estrella Damm, Damm Good Catalan Beer
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    One hundred and thirty years time is enough for a beer to be prestigious and renown. Founded in 1876, the Damm Beer Group has consolidated as one of the most solid beer brewers in Spain. The Catalan beer reinvents itself every year with aggressive campaigns like the Monoblock 2006 with Custo Barcelona or their sponsorship in many sports events especially soccer games and recently the 32nd America's Cup (Emirates Team New Zealand). It is by far the beer people buy the most in Catalan bars and according to this list of world beers for example, the most popular in Spain. Such is the popularity that instead of saying 'a beer please', you say 'give me a Estrella'. Although recently, Moritz, an old competitor is regaining position in the market. Here is a full view of the Damm brewery at present and a link to the Damm Group Site and the Estrella web site where you can learn about its history or watch their gallery.

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    Monday, February 5

    Catalan Romanesque: Wood Carving

    Catalan Romanesque: Wood Carving
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    The Virgin with Child, a wood carving quite common in old churches around Catalonia like the one I visited this weekend in Gualba de Dalt about 30 or 40 minutes away from Barcelona city by car. To learn more about Catalan Romanesque, visit the National Art Museum of Catalonia (MNAC). The quality of the image is not good but I like it. The hieratic figures, the roses that look like brush strokes and the light give the image a special mood (in my opinion of course).

    Sunday, February 4

    Pieta in Gualba de Dalt, Barcelona Province

    Pieta in Gualba de Dalt, Barcelona Province
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    Better to publish late than not to publish at all. This is what is known as a Pietà, that is, the Virgin holding the dead body of Christ. It is located in the romanesque church of a town called Gualba de Dalt in the province of Barcelona. Gualba is part of the Natural Park of Montseny.

    Saturday, February 3

    Catalan Modernisme: Lamp at Palau de la Música

    Catalan Modernisme: Lamp at Palau de la Música
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    I am going to be brief today, it is Saturday and we have to enjoy the real world! Just in case you can't quit the habit I leave you this lamp, an elaborate example of Catalan Art Nouveau or Modernisme hanging inside our famous concert hall Palau de la Musica. Although beautiful as such, I thought it was better to use some tone mapping with an HDR program and thus enhance the design in the ceiling, the glass, the wood and of course the lamp. Have a nice weekend!

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    Friday, February 2

    Catalan Architecture: Balcony at Plaza Catalunya

    Catalan Architecture: Balcony at Plaza Catalunya
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    Here is a detail of a balcony at the intersection of Rambla de Catalunya and Ronda Universitat, just next to H10 Catalunya Plaza Hotel. To get a better idea see this picture via QDQ, a wonderful visual street map: Side View. Besides admiring the wonderful ironwork of the balcony, you can take a look at a virtual tour of Plaza Catalunya or visit their site for more Barcelona 360º panos.

    PS: Don't forget there are two Holgas for free in the ABSOLUTLOMO CONTEST! and anyone can participate.

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    Thursday, February 1

    Barcelona Waterfront: Hotel Arts and Mapfre Tower

    Barcelona Waterfront: Hotel Arts and Mapfre Tower
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    Here is a dusk image of the walk in front of Barcelona's Olympic Village. On the right you can see the Mapfre Tower, which is an office building and Hotel Arts. In the background the famous El peix d'or (Gold Fish), by Frank O.Ghery and on the left from this point on, a leisure area full of restaurants, always plenty of tourists, with good, bad and very bad restaurants.
    I apologize for any incovenience Blogger might cause you whenever you try to access my archives. I had in mind to change topic and call it "Shame on Blogger" but they don't deserve that much attention. Now there is a major bug in the beta bloggers' pages, something called error code bX-vjhbsj, which either won't let you see archives or crash the whole site. Unbelievable in this day and age and so far after many thousands of claims yet unsolved, and worse, not even faced in public by staff.
    Now, changing subject...today was the theme day in the City Daily Photo group. It is about " What really annoys you in your city". Obviously my image is not related (it must be that I like everything :), but I highly recommend you browse this list to find real curious things and of course to support all the effort behind our daily work.

    1 (Porto (Portugal) ) -2 (Stayton, OR (USA) ) -3 (Albuquerque, NM (USA) ) -4 (Tenerife (Spain) ) -5 (Greenville, SC (USA) ) -6 (Dubai (U.A.E.) ) -7 (Evry (France) ) -8 (Jakarta (Indonesia) ) -9 (London (UK) ) -10 (Sequim, WA (USA) ) -11 (Buenos Aires, (Argentina) ) -12 (Seattle, WA (USA) ) -13 (Minneapolis, MN (USA) ) -14 (Stavanger (Norway) ) -15 (Joplin , MO (USA) ) -16 (Nelson, New Zealand ) -17 (Milano, Italy ) -18 (Singapore (KeropokMan) ) -19 (La Antigua Guatemala (Guatemala) ) -20 (Nottingham UK ) -21 (Singapore by Zannnie (Singapore) ) -22 (Budapest (Hungary) ) -23 (Not Strictly Seattle, ) -24 (Bandung (Indonesia) ) -25 (Vantaa (Finland) ) -26 (Hyde (UK) ) -27 (Madrid by Dsole (Spain) ) -28 (Oulu (Finland) ) -29 (Saarbr?cken (Germany) ) -30 (St. Paul [Carol] ) -31 (Sydney (Australia) ) -32 (Tokyo (Japan) ) -33 (Kyoto (Japan) ) -34 (Trujillo (Peru) ) -35 (Shanghai (China) ) -36 (Rotterdam (NL) ) -37 (Chicago, IL (USA) ) -38 (Nice, (France) ) -39 (Naples, Florida (USA) ) -40 (Hong Kong ) -41 (Santa Clara, CA (USA) ) -42 (Quito, Ecuador (South America) ) -43 (Cottage Grove, MN (USA) ) -44 (Paris, (France) ) -45 (Manila (Philippines) ) -46 (Brussels (Belgium) ) -47 (Auckland (New Zealand) ) -48 (Newcastle upon Tyne(England) ) -49 (Houston, TX (USA) ) -50 (Sydney by Nathalie (Australia) ) -51 (Mumbai (India) ) -52 (Anderson, SC (USA))

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