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Cultural Activities in Indonesia

Warm Welcomes in a Land of Cultural Diversity

For centuries, Indonesia sat at a crossroads of maritime commerce, where influences from the Far East, Asia and the Middle East blended with the already rich diversity of cultures and languages that spread across this island of nations. Today, the country is an intriguing mixture of the modern and the traditional. While the skyscrapers of Jakarta and the resorts of Bali showcase the cosmopolitan dimensions of Indonesia, outlying islands provide an authentic glimpse into simpler ways of life. On islands such as Sulawesi, nature takes center stage, with towering peaks and lush tropical forests that are home to some of the planet's most intriguing wildlife.

Highlights

  • Best for: All travellers, from beach lovers to adventure enthusiasts
  • Best season to visit: Year round
  • Weather: Indonesia has a tropical climate with two seasons, wet and dry. Most regions, the dry season spans from May - Sep, with rain from Oct - Apr. Indonesia straddles the Equator. Areas near the coast remain in the 80s during the day

Things to Do

Indonesia Information

Cultural Activities in Indonesia Overview

Some of the most authentic cultural interactions take place on the island of Sulawesi, where traditional ways of life still prevail. In addition to providing a window into rich traditions, this region is also home to some of Indonesia's premier natural attractions, from visits to nature preserves and historic sites to hikes in nature preserves and the mountains of the Minahasan Highlands.

Cultural Activities in Indonesia Tips

The best way to experience the true cultural diversity of Indonesia is to go beyond the cities and tourism centers and immerse in village life. Indonesian people are known for their warm and welcoming attitudes towards guests, who are greeted with a smile and the traditional greeting of “Selemat,” which is a wish for peace and happiness.

Best Places for Cultural Activities in Indonesia

Watch the artisanal craftsmen of Woloan create traditional Minahasan 'knock down' houses.
Immerse in the sights and sounds of the Tomohon market and explore caves that were a Japanese stronghold during World War II.  Hike to a steaming volcanic lake in the crater of Mount Mahawu, witness the amazing color changes of Lake Linow and discover the world's smallest primate in the Tangkoko Nature Reserve.

What to Pack for Cultural Activities in Indonesia

When touring lowland nature preserves and parks, you'll want to include lighter-weight and looser fitting clothing that provides natural ventilation. Treks into the highlands may require a light jacket, as temperatures can drop at these higher altitudes. For any walking tour, a pair of sturdy shoes will provide traction on dirt trails. Bring a daypack when visiting the village markets so you can carry your acquired treasures home.

Specials

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Indonesia

Dewi Nusantara

LIVEABOARD - INDONESIA – RAJA AMPAT THE REALM OF THE FOUR KINGS includes 11 nights’ cabin accommodations, up to 4 or more dives per day including free Nitrox, breakfast, lunch, and dinner daily, snacks and non-alcoholic beverages, and same day airport transfers.

This group of majestic islands, located in the northwestern tip of Indonesia’s Papuan “Bird’s Head Seascape” lies in the heart of the Coral Triangle, the most bio-diverse marine region on earth. This area is also known for its spectacular above water scenery. Rain Forests, white sandy beaches, an intricate coastline with caves, bays, gorges, hidden rivers-all buzzing with exotic tropical wildlife. Only a limited number of liveaboards obtained the license to dive the Raja Ampat Indonesia area, making this adventure even more unique and special.

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Dewi Nusantara

LIVEABOARD - INDONESIA – CENDERAWASIH BAY – EXCELLENT WWII WRECKS includes 10 nights’ cabin accommodations, up to 4 or more dives per day including free Nitrox, breakfast, lunch, and dinner daily, snacks and non-alcoholic beverages, and same day airport transfers.

Cenderawasih Bay is a part of the Bird’s Head Seascape. Its reefs are pristine and vast and comprise some of healthiest hard coral gardens you can dive. Dramatic vertical walls with prolific sponge life abound on the outlying atolls, schooling fish along the reef points and ridges.

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Lembeh Resort

LEMBEH STRAIT NORTH SULAWESI DIVE PACKAGE includes 7 nights Garden View accommodations, 17 boat dives, one self-guided house reef dive per day, during shop hours, welcome drink, breakfast, lunch, and dinner daily including coffee, tea and drinking water, fruit basket and cookies, morning & afternoon snacks, WiFi throughout property, roundtrip airport transfers, hotel tax and service charges. Additional room categories available in the shopping cart.

Valid for travel through 3/31/23.

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From $1975 per person/double diver

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Indonesia

Wakatobi Dive Resort

SOUTHEAST SULAWESI CUSTOMIZE YOUR OWN INDONESIA DIVE PACKAGE with choice of Accommodations, Dive options, Snorkeling, Watersports and Topside Activities!
Available in the shopping cart after dates, and room category is selected.

Packages include resort accommodations, VIP greeting & assistance upon arrival in Bali, 3 gourmet meals daily, coffee, tea, hot chocolate, snacks, free in room WiFi access, aromatherapy bath products, daily turndown service, optional village tour on last day.

Wakatobi Flight (optional) includes round trip from Bali to Wakatobi’s airstrip, international luggage allowance, with resort credits available when traveling light, pre-flight VIP lounge access, in-flight snack and hot/cold non-alcoholic beverages, transfer from airport to resort by boat, assistance with all check-in luggage.

Valid rates through 2025. (holiday season pricing is higher)
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From $3,370 per person double diver

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Indonesia

Alam Batu Dive Resort

BALI 7-NIGHT INDONESIA DIVE PACKAGE SPECIAL includes Villa accommodation, 6 days 2 tank boat dives, Nitrox, breakfast, lunch, and dinner daily.
This incredible ALL IN Bali Package allows up to 2 hours spa treatment/massages and/or land excursions daily (after diving), roundtrip airport transfers, hotel tax and service charges.

Valid for travel until 12/31/23.
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From $1,636 per person double diver

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Resorts

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Indonesia

Wakatobi Dive Resort

BANDA SEA, SOUTH SULAWESI - Reached via private air charter from Bali, this award-winning resort provides access to incredible dive sites including unlimited shore diving on a spectacular house reef. Indulge in massages, relax on the beach, and savor fantastic, fresh meals. Air-conditioned bungalows are either set in tropical gardens or beachside with fans, minibar, and internet access. Suites with private chef/butler are also available.
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Dive into Lembeh Resort

LEMBEH STRAIT, NORTH SULAWESI - Hairball Dive Resort gets its name from one of Lembeh Strait's most renowned muck dive sites, "Hairball" which serves as the resort's house reef. Lembeh Strait is a true photographer's paradise, and the owners and staff of Dive Into Lembeh @ Hairball Dive Resort have created this small intimate resort with the photographer in mind.
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Animal Interactions
Cultural Activities
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Indonesia

Murex Resort Bangka

BANGKA ISLAND, NORTH SULAWESI - Murex Bangka is a 60 minute car journey and 20 minute boat ride from Manado International Airport. Murex Bangka offers airport pickups in private air-conditioned vehicles. With Bangka Island’s world famous dive sites just minutes from the resort, Murex Bangka is ideally positioned for exploring this phenomenal area.
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Murex Resort Manado

MANADO, NORTH SULAWESI - Murex Manado is located one hour from Manado International Airport. Murex Manado offers airport pickups in private air-conditioned vehicles. With the world famous dive sites of the Bunaken Marine Park just a short boat ride away and Manado Bay muck diving sites even closer Murex is perfectly located for exploring these two diverse areas.
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Meridian Adventure Dive Hotel

RAJA AMPAT - Modern, simple, clean, and air conditioned, so much more than you could imagine. . From the modern uncluttered comfort of extremely well designed boutique hotel rooms to the beautiful, custom made Lintea Mare linens, you will experience your dive vacation in a way you will remember forever. The entire operation is set up to focus on the three important components of dive holidays. High-tech, ultra-reliable equipment and transport to and from scuba dive sites. The perfect dive site every time in consideration to tidal streams and environmental conditions. Modern, simple, clean accommodation with an exceptional on-site food and beverage program.
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Lembeh Resort

LEMBEH STRAIT, NORTH SULAWESI - Lembeh Strait is the mecca of critter diving, with more than 40 dive sites showcasing the biodiversity that Indonesia is famous for. The resort offers 14 spacious ocean view cottages with perfect views and spectacular sunsets over North Sulawesi’s highest volcano or 6 garden view rooms nestled in beautifully manicured indigenous gardens. In addition to modern room amenities, spa treatments and WiFi are available.
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Solitude Lembeh Resort

LEMBEH STRAIT, NORTH SULAWESI - Set in vibrant tropical gardens perched right above the water’s edge, directly overlooking the water and facing the island Pulau Lembeh, which lies across the Straits. The resort is designed for guests to enjoy the exclusivity and privacy of the natural landscape. The resort welcomes guests with 24 spacious and well-appointed villas and rooms, all designed with a traditional Minahasan accent/decor. Four main categories of accommodation to choose from, Garden-View (8 with partial sea view), two sea-front villas and 14 deluxe rooms (6 with full sea views). Ranging from 376 to 753 sqm the villas cater to the needs of different travelers.
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Indonesia

Siladen Resort & Spa

BUNAKEN NATIONAL MARINE PARK, NORTH SULAWESI - Located in the heart of the world-renowned Bunaken National Marine Park, on a lush tropical island, this boutique resort offers 16 elegantly furnished villas, a full service PADI diving center, special camera area for photographers, gourmet restaurant, traditional spa, gift shop, lounge bar, large salt water swimming pool and a long stretch of white coral beach.
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Alam Batu Dive Resort

BALI - Alam Batu Beach Bungalow Resort, located in north-eastern Bali, has everything to get divers' hearts beating a little faster – a dream destination for novice divers and professional photographers alike. Countless thrilling coral and muck dive sites in the vicinity offer unique diversity. Reach all the dive sites in no more than 20 minutes on one of the fast boats. The house reef, a full 800 meters long, also features exceptional beauty and variety with impressive biodiversity. "Small is beautiful": that's the motto at this resort, which accommodates no more than 30 guests. You can choose from various villas and bungalows where tasteful luxury is the keynote. A modern dive base with a camera room caters to all requirements, and PADI courses from Open Water to Divemaster are available.

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Liveaboards

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Dewi Nusantara

LIVEABOARD - The Dewi Nusantara was purposely designed to be totally independent for long periods at sea while offering unparalleled comfort. The Dewi offers eight spacious air-conditioned ensuite staterooms that can be adapted to either twin or double use plus an expansive master suite.

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Emperor Harmoni

LIVEABOARD - The beautiful Emperor Harmoni liveaboard takes liveaboard diving to a new level. This elegant ironwood phinisi vessel offers itineraries to Indonesia’s finest diving regions, including Raja Ampat, Komodo and the Banda Sea. Built specifically for cruising Indonesia’s waters, this vessel comfortably accommodates 20 guests, and is one of only a select few liveaboards operating in this region to benefit from two engines. Up to 3 dives are offered each day from 2 large RIBs, with 4 dive guides on board, and free Nitrox available for qualified divers. Groups incentives offered.

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Blue Manta Explorer

LIVEABOARD - Your Liveaboard diving adventure aboard the Blue Manta Explorer in Indonesia will take you through the Coral Triangle, which boasts the world's highest marine biodiversity and offers extraordinary diving. This region is a mecca, from the rich plankton waters of the Komodo Islands to the stunning and remote mushroom shaped islands of Raja Ampat, the diving opportunities are limitless. With over 3,000 fish species and 600 species of coral, steep walls, deep water trenches, underwater volcanic mountains, World War II wrecks and an infinite variety of macro life, scuba diving Indonesia is outstanding. The Banda Sea, Sulawesi (Celebes) Sea, Bali Sea and Flores Sea has some of the best diving opportunities in this extensive underwater paradise.

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MV Mermaid II Liveaboard

LIVEABOARD - M/V Mermaid II is a 33 meter, twin engine steel motor yacht. One of the most comfortable dive boats in Asia, she easily accommodates 18 guests in 8 deluxe cabins and 2 guests in a lower deck budget cabin. Deluxe cabins located on main deck and choice of double or twin bed configuration. Deluxe cabin offers panoramic sea view windows, individually controlled ac, and ensuite bathrooms. Below deck budget cabins have twin bunks, vanity sink, air conditioning and share a bathroom with one other cabin via adjoining doors. Buffet style meals (Asian & Western). Saloon is spacious with comfortable lounges, big windows, bar fridge, and fresh roast coffee, tea, soft drinks and juices. Multimedia entertainment center. 2-outside decks–NITROX is available on every cruise.

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Indo Aggressor

LIVEABOARD - The beautiful Indo Aggressor crafted 124-foot sailing schooner offering unique 7-night itineraries including the epic diving in Komodo National Park, named one of the Seven New Wonders of the World and home to more than 1,000 species of fish, 20 species of reef-building coral and 70 species of sponges. Also included is a trek to view the world’s largest land reptile, the Komodo dragon. Contact us for additional information on 10-night itineraries which venture west to the pristine waters of the Alor archipelago, or east to Sumbawa and the magical island of Bali.

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White Manta Explorer

LIVEABOARD - 14 spacious ensuite cabins situated over three decks. There is an enormous dive deck with designated rinse tanks for cameras, tables and charging stations, a full length & very spacious sundeck and an outdoor dining area. There is a dedicated camera room and 24 hour satellite WiFi connection. The large indoor salon has a digital media center, sound system and widescreen Plasma TV for your entertainment. Diving itineraries in Indonesia include Raja Ampat in Irian Jaya (West Papua), the Banda Islands and Sulawesi, all excellent destinations for a scuba adventure holiday. Our liveaboard cruises take you further afield to such magical places as Komodo and the Banda Sea.

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Pelagian Dive Yacht

LIVEABOARD - This renowned 115’ luxury yacht offers unsurpassed service, comforts, and amenities while cruising the world’s most pristine reefs and exotic muck diving sites. Enjoy your dive in secluded peace and relaxation.

Amenities include camera facilities, comfortable lounge areas, and spacious cabins. Exceptional service is provided by an experienced and highly skilled crew. (excluding airfare from Denpasar).

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MV Mermaid I Liveaboard

LIVEABOARD - Diving Komodo, Raja Ampat, Alor, Ambon with Mermaid Liveaboards offers the opportunity to dive Indonesia’s best dive sites. Whatever trip you choose, be prepared for some of the best scuba diving Indonesia has to offer. The luxurious MV Mermaid I offers all amenities you can dream of. All 8 cabins are fully air-conditioned and equipped with TV & DVD player, single, twin or double bed, a large wardrobe, plenty of storage room and an en-suite bath room with hot water shower, toilet and sink.

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Indo Siren

LIVEABOARD - This handcrafted ironwood and teak liveaboard can accommodate 16 passengers in eight spacious air-conditioned, ensuite cabins with personal audio-visual entertainment systems. A variety of itineraries are available including Raja Ampat (November-May) and Komodo (June-October).

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Raja Ampat Aggressor II

LIVEABOARD - Raja Ampat, the Raja Ampat Aggressor. Raja Ampat or ‘Four Kings’, is the name given to these islands and comes from a local myth. Located in the heart of The Coral Triangle, Raja Ampat is known to have the richest coral reef ecosystem in the world. The four main areas offering itineraries are: Raja Ampat, Cenderawasih Bay, Banda Sea and Triton Bay.

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Raja Ampat Aggressor II

LIVEABOARD - The Derawan Islands (Kepulauan Derawan) are located off the eastern coast of Borneo (East Kalimantan Province) in Indonesia, in the famous Celebes Sea. Derawan is an archipelago with the main islands being Derawan, Maratua, Kakaban and Sangalaki, forming small and remote atolls with sandy banks. Part of the Coral Triangle featuring reef fish, coral, and invertebrates, including giant clam species, sea turtles, coconut crab, etc. Abundant marine life with a variety of coral reef dives, caves, walls and lagoons, including a jellyfish lake visit. See sharks, schooling barracudas, mantas, whale sharks and macro life. Derawan also contains the largest green turtle nesting site in Indonesia, making dives with turtles quite common.

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Solitude Adventurer

LIVEABOARD - Solitude Adventurer is a 36-metre aluminum catamaran vessel that focuses on dive trips around the Indonesian region. Solitude Adventurer can accommodate up to 18 guests, and has plenty of features to make sure everyone onboard feels safe and comfortable, whether they’re getting ready for a dive or lounging around during surface intervals.

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Samambaia Liveaboard

LIVEABOARD - Fitted with all the features of a modern diving boat, as its powerful marine engine that can reach 10 knot cruise speed, making sure a swift travel. During the design process the focus was put on details. Functionality was paired with aesthetics and quality materials. The layout of the ship was built around the needs of the guests. Comfort and service are of highest priority on board. The atmosphere is relaxed and cozy. Social and yet private.

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Arenui

LIVEABOARD - The Arenui dive liveaboard is a magnificent Phinisi, a classic Indonesian wooden sailing vessel, set to explore the majestic underwater world of the Indonesian archipelago. This popular liveaboard offers a wide variety of itineraries including Raja Ampat and Komodo, but has very limited availability, so cannot be booked online. Please contact us for available dates and rates.

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Dive Damai I

LIVEABOARD - Dive Damai’s two liveaboards, the Damai I and Damai II, have set a new standard in liveaboard diving. The vessels were purpose-designed for divers with elegant lines, luxurious interiors and spectacular outdoor lounging areas. Itineraries throughout Raja Ampat, Komodo, and the Banda Sea. These trips sell out quickly contact us to confirm current availability on select departures or any additional itineraries, dates and rates.

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Passport and/or Visa Requirements

U.S. citizens require a valid passport to enter Indonesia. The passport must be valid for 6 months beyond the date of entry into the country. Two blank pages are required for the endorsement page stamp upon entry, which is a full-page stamp. This stamp acts as your visa which is valid for a 30-day stay for tourists. There is no charge for the stamp. There is a departure tax of 200,000 IDR approximately $16 U.S. which is paid at the airport upon departure.

Immunizations

There are no immunizations required by the Indonesian government. Please, check with your doctor or visit the website of the Center for Disease Control at www.cdc.gov for a listing of immunizations recommended for travel to Indonesia.

Culture and Customs

Indonesia is a nation of islands, and of blended cultures. Centuries of maritime trade have spread influences of Indian and the Far East, but individual island groups have also developed their own traditions and languages. The region is home to more that 300 distinct native ethnic groups, and 742 different languages and dialects. One trait that is common to all of these disparate communities is a tradition of hospitality and acceptance for travelers. The attentive service lavished on guests of resorts and liveaboards is not an affectation, but an integral element of a national psyche that take pride in playing the welcoming host. Equally apparent is a sense of tolerance, which allows the traditions of Hinduism, Buddhism, Confucianism, Islam and Christianity to co-exist. Indonesia is also a land of contrasts. Jakarta's steel and glass towers soar to heights of more than 1,000 feet in one of the most modern commercial centers in the region. A thousand miles away, islanders living in traditional villages still observe local traditions of ancestor worship and animism such as Kebatinan. And then there is the food. Indonesian cuisines are among the most vibrant and flavorful in the world, mixing intense spices and subtle overtones that draw from the culinary traditions of India, Holland, the Middle East, China, southeast Asia, Polynesia and Melanesia. Equally savory is the lively street food scene, where the rich aromas of bakso or gila fill the air.

Electricity, Phone and Internet Access

Electrical current is 230 volts, 50 Hz. The standard outlet is a two pin round socket. If your appliance is not labeled 100-240 Volt, 50-60 Hz input, you may need a step down transformer as well.

Check with your cell phone provider for international plans which may include text, data and voice. WiFi is available at most hotels, restaurants and cafes. The internet speed is slower, so in some cases, streaming and large file transfers might not be an option.

Water Quality

Tap water in Indonesia is largely not safe for drinking. Sealed bottled water is advisable and available for purchase.

Language & Currency

The official language is Indonesian Bahasa. English is widely understood and tourist resorts. There are over 300 languages spoken in Indonesia, with most Indonesians being bilingual in their local dialect as well as Bahasa Indonesia. Many Indonesians are multi lingual, also speaking English, Chinese and Japanese.

The currency is the Indonesian Rupiah (IDR) or recognized locally as Rp. Money may be exchanged at money changer offices which usually offer the best rate, with banks offering the next best rate and exchanging at hotels is often not the best rate. Money changers prefer newer undamaged bills and may refuse damaged currency. ATMs are available and credit cards are accepted at most resorts. Traveler's checks are not recommended.

Time

Indonesia spans three time zones. Western Indonesia Time called Waktu Indonesia Time (WIB) including Java, Jakarta and Sumatra are 7 hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time (+7 GMT). Central Indonesian Time or Waktu Indonesia Tengah (WITA) including Bali, Sulawesi and Lombok are 8 hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time (+8 GMT). Eastern Indonesian Time or Waktu Indonesia Timur (WIT) including Irian Jaya is 9 hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time (+ GMT). Indonesia does not observe daylight savings time.

Location, Size and Population

The Republic of Indonesia is a nation of islands in southeast Asia that lies between the Indian and Pacific Ocean. The name Indonesia is derived from the Greek words “indus” (India) and “nesos” (islands) and is the world's largest archipelagic nation with over 18,000 islands. It is bordered by the nations of Papua New Guinea, East Timor, and Malaysia and encompasses over 735,000 sq miles.

Approx. 260 Million people (2016).

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