Week 8, Round 3: Dry Yet Tropical

First Impressions: The road (which I can’t see yet and which, because of the late hour, I’m hoping is paved and not dirt) is abutting a mixture of dry and green plants. There are some spiny palm tree looking things and possibly scrubby cactus. I can’t quite tell. Somewhere south of most of North America, I’ll guess. Possibly even…dun dun dun…South America.

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Looking around: Whew! That road is paved. I have had some pretty trying times out where the road was a dirt road. I know I’m just surfing this thing from my desk, but my brain still manages to insert all the bumps and the hot glare feelings I have from dusty back roads. The foliage is rather too thick to let me see any structures, so I’m heading east, up a gentle hill.

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Okay, I’m gonna say…Africa somewhere? Or maybe they have actually gotten the Google car out to some tropical islands? I dunno. The grass hut makes me think Africa, although there’s always Hawaii. I’m sure Africa doesn’t have a monopoly on huts. Or maybe there are huts in South America? I haven’t seen a lot there, but I’m not ruling it out.

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My first sign. Sadly, it is blurry from one angle and obscured by foliage from another. Boo.

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Okay we are probably in South America. By the Casa Del Molino! Helpful! I don’t recognise any of those symbols. Still…is the Spanish enough to go on? After all, there’s been an awful lot of colonialism all over the world.

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Passed an odd little grove of what seem to be replanted palms?

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This road is getting LESS paved. And dusty. Much more of this and I may head back to the start. Gotta head closer to signs.

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Another little town?

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Nope, same town, I got turned around. Dang it. I hate it when that happens. BOO.

I admit it, I have no idea where I am.

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I feel like I jinxed myself with that remark about the road. That’ll larn ya.

The houses are further and further apart, and no signs or infrastructure seem evident to me, although maybe I don’t know what I should be looking for. If this goes on too much longer, I may head back to the south. I’m trying to console myself with the idea that the Google car probably had an idea about WHERE they wanted to go so surely there must be something out there. But here’s a sample of my last twenty screens or so.

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And I think I got turned around again. Might be a sign. Let’s head back to the start.

Heading west from start: My first human! On a bike. Clearly there is something within biking distance!

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Human two! And his goats!

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Human 3! On a wheeled conveyance. Again, one gets the idea that where ever we are, the nearest destination is bicycle-range away and far enough that you don’t wanna walk.

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Somebody’s homestead.

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The first car:

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Another cute little town. Laundry drying outside in the trees beyond.

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This isn’t the first house I’ve seen with the black metal structure resting on tall cinderblocks or stones. Been wondering if it’s rainwater collection or a smoker device for meats.

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An intersection! No street signs yet.

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Trying to pick the road most likely to join up to another road. The widest road with markings…

Those heraldic markings made a reappearance. I think this is a school (escolar) in the Central Sector?

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The children seem to be studying Literario, Humoristico, and Historico.

It seems like we are in Mexico.

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Trying to map any of this to info from the map although I don’t know if it’ll help much yet. I think the name is El Naranjal e Insurgentes (The Orange Insurgents??) and that Jose Morelos must be the mayor and the population is about 484…I think??? Are they showing the taxes or the income on this sign? What are those bottom numbers for?

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Okay, I think I hit a much larger highway! Finally! And I see a green road sign in the distance! Whee!

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The towns of Kankabchen and Cafetal lie yonder. Maybe I should head the other way for a little and see if there’s any signs indicate was lies the other way.

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Apparently Jose Maria Morelos which I had assumed was the mayor of the last town…is actually another town. Whoops.

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I wonder if that means it’s a larger town? If it was on the name of another town’s sign?

And there seems to be a Morelos State in Mexico.

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After tracing the edges of Morelos I zoomed in once more and fortunately found the Unidad habitacional Jose Maria Morelos y Pavon. Sadly, I don’t see any of my other towns on the map yet. 😦

I venture into to Jose Maria Morelos hoping to find some street names so I can figure which side of town to scooch back out of to figure out my origin.

Apparently the outskirts have the intersection of Calle Margarita and Calle Benito Juarez. Benito appears to be a popular guy though, since zooming in and out, I already found three or four Benito Juarez’s.

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I’m super pooped and can’t find any of my streets, so I’ve sorta decided that this section outside of Jose Morelos is Naranjal and I’m looking for the bit that’s sorta squiggly and next to it. It’s as good as guess as any.

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And holy cow! I SO DID NOT have the right spot. Although I did have the right country but that’s no comfort. Apparently a country can have TWO cities or towns names Jose Maria Morelos. Let that be a lesson to triangulate as best you can.

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It’s an honest defeat, mind you, but this is the worst I’ve done since starting the blog, I think.

Let’s find out a bit more about the confusing nomenclature of Mexico’s Jose Maria Morelos: He is one of Mexico’s national heroes so like Martin Luther King in the States, he has a lot of stuff named after him. He pretty much seems to have led their War of Independence. Eventually he was captured though and executed. I wonder what he would think of all his many namesakes. BTW, this Jose Maria Morelos was in the state of Quintana Roo, which is a pretty cool name for a state honestly.

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Week 8, Round 5: A Sigh of Relief

First Impressions: After a week that included a confusingly named town in Mexico and a Russian town that had few signs that I could make out, I admit to being all excited by the prospect of North America! This looks like it could be anywhere in the US heartland or the breadbasket provinces of Canada.  Wide green lawns, scattering of trees over what seems to be flat terrain. I’ll randomly go for Ohio.

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Looking around: My goodness, are we on a reservation? The sign has a reference to Tyen Mohawk Terr. I’m not sure if this means we are on a reservation or just in a place that recalls the local tribes. Finally, the word “territory” combined with the shape of the sign, the lack of chamfering or white borders, the general proportions, make me think this isn’t a US sign. Are we in Canada?

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Well, the 80 seems to indicate we are in Canada. That’s gotta be 80 km, which while speedyish, isn’t the zippity fast speeds of 80mph.

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We seem to be by a historic site. Christ Church, HM Mohawk Chapel.

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Definitely Canada. On the 49. Between Picton and Belleville. Belleville seems to say Quebec to me.

And near the 2, leaving Desoronto.

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Nailed the province down to Ontario:

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And Belleville as it turns out is on the eastern end of Lake Ontario. I’ve actually probably driven by it, although I may not recall doing so.

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And there’s Desoronto, the 2, the 49, all of it. Now just to figure out how close we were. Oh, right, there’s the South Church Lane. 🙂

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I daresay that’s close enough. Let’s give it a shot.

5.4 meter. Thank you, Geoguessr gods for making my final round this week an easy one.

I retire from the field for the week…or actually until Friday night. 🙂

Week 8, Round 4: Globus Interruptus

Sometimes, like this week, I don’t get my Geoguessr rounds done in time to release the challenges before they need to start going live. It’s one thing to say you’re going to make a regular blog, but sometimes, even when scheduling in advance, things happen. In this case, I needed sleep, and my schedule hasn’t aligned for nearly four days. But here, we are, finishing the last two rounds (we hope) for this week.

First Impressions. I’ve decided I’m in South Africa. Land has the rolling hills I associate with my forays there, but perhaps a bit to the north and inland? No markings on the road–it seems to be gravel. There seems to be a forest or a town or a forest AND a town in the distance. Things are green, but not too green. The dryness suggested could be late summer, rather than the exigencies of clime. Who knows.

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Looking around: Honestly, this reminds me of Mulgore, pre-Cataclysm. I half expect to see some centaur herds go running around. This could also be eastern Wyoming or western Nebraska. Or somewhere in Kansas. No real clues. There is a line of telephone poles or some kind of power line off to the southeast. I’m not close enough to see if there’s any local design that seems distinct.

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Heading east: My first guess seems more probable than all the states I just named. I just don’t think this looks like a North American car. I envy all you car nerds who can sniff out which country we are in simply by car shape.

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400 meters to a railway crossing! You know, it would be handy if I could measure how far the Google camera sees down a road. Then I could click-count my way to approximate distances. Hrm.

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I think two clicks (where the reticle is about three little hand cursors across) is about 400m. Hrm.

Here, have a flock of seagulls. No, not the 80s band.

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Huh. It looks like we’re somewhere that uses Cyrillic, but the sign is too blurry to make out.

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There seems to be a mixture of barns and shops and houses. We are in the Nebraska of Russia, I think.

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ИСКЕ СИБАЙ ???

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Might be on the map later?

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Some kind of power plant?

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I know we’re in Russia but the buildings in the distance look like your average roadside motel as seen on my trips across the US. (I’ve done the 80 twice, and the 40 one and a half times.)

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Yay! I see a blue sign in the distance! (The Russians seem to prefer blue signs.) I hope. Cross your fingers.

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Huh. Not sure what this means either. I was hoping for road signs and numbers. Maybe this is like a caution sign of some kind. There’s an exclamation mark which seems odd.

Woot, now this is more like it. There’s an aeroport and quite a few place names.

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And Baimak Baimak? Well, we have Walla Walla.

And a much distant town called IRA? Except…it’s probably an abbreviation? Like NYC?

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I think this is the point where having carefully drawn out these letters I don’t know very well, I try to check the map against their transliterations.

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BOOM!

Another town name. МАГНИТОГОРСК

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And this one is on the map!

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It lies to the north apparently. So we’re looking for a town 90km south with an aeroport. Very well.

Oh, and there’s a town south that has the same letters as the first sign I saw. Sibay or СИБАЙ. Sweet.

Well, we started on the outside of the town and heading northeast to get there. Let’s head back and see if we can figure it out more precisely.

I think I’m approximately in the right area, after digging around at all the little hamlets and villages. We’ll see.

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Ah, just a little off. My second choice for the area was more correct.

Ah well. Still decent, considering I don’t speak the language.

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About Sibay: Sibay has the deepest open dip copper-zinc mine in Russia. That makes me feel slightly akin to it because I grew up a few miles from the Bingham Copper Mine, a large open pit mine in Utah. Our mine is nearly twice as wide across though. Sorry, Sibay.

Week 8, Round 2: Ninety Percent Certain This Is In Europe

First Impressions: Cute little cottages snuggled up next to the road. Must be Europe. Also, there’s a bike. Have we been to the Netherlands yet? I’ve never been to the Netherlands but I hear they are great bike riders. I suppose that’s true for a lot of Europe though. And I can’t see any posts, so can’t tell if this is Poland.

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Looking around: Oooooo, I think we’re in Germany. The free something-something-city/town of Bremen even. Is that likely? I thought Bremen was a huge city. But we could be on the outskirts.

There’s a Grimm fairy tale about the talking animals of Bremen, I think. Oh, wait, the Brementown Musicians. My brain is ticking at me. I know a donkey was involved.

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Further looking around: There seems to be a handy sign or three. I should examine them, as they will no doubt prove useful for figuring out the exact location.

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We are at the corner of Am Holze (on the wood?) and the Timmersloher Landstrasse. Yonder lies the Rathaus, the Klosterkirche and the Spielplatz. (Playground.)

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So it looks like we are looking for the Hansestadt part of Bremen. And it’s near a wood? And something Lilienthal. Well I see a Lilienthal on the map.

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Well, it sure seems like we’re on the border of Lilienthal and Bremen.

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Zooming in on the section between the two towns, I see an Am Holze!!!!

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And I think I have it.

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2.2m! Whee!

So….about those Brementown Musicians: Basically the fairy tale goes that there was a donkey, a dog, a cat, and a rooster who all outlived their usefulness and decided to make their way to the free town of Bremen to become MUSICIANS. That’s right, apparently Brementown was like the New York City of Fairy Tale Land. If you can make it there, you can make it anywhere.  Ironically, they never actually get there but instead end up breaking up a band of robbers and then living off the wealth of the robbers in some kind of proto-typical but much more egalitarian version of Animal Farm.

Despite the fact that they never get to Bremen, there’s still a statue to them. Yup. A statue for fictional animals that never lived in the city. You do you, Bremen!

Week 8, Round 1: The Earth is a Wide and Vast Place

First impressions: The land is largely flat here with some rolling hills capping the horizon. The foliage is something shy of short scrubby trees, but larger than sagebrush and grass. I see one distant house or barn on the horizon.

It occurs to me that I recently read somewhere that nearly 70% of the Earth’s forest were within one mile (or a kilometer, I forget which) of a human boundary. That essentially 70% of the Earth’s was within a whisper of being being encroached on, as mankind’s boundaries expanded and the wilderness shrank.

And I guess I feel like that here. I love seeing the world, and landscapes like this, which are both alien and familiar at the same time, and YET, the very existence of this road and this shot mean that mankind has been here. It’s not undiscovered country, as tempting as that illusion feels to me.

Where are we? Who knows. We could be in the backroads of Nebraska (not super likely) or in Australia, at the edge of the dry grasslands, or we could be in South America, somewhere far away from the mega cities of the coastline. (I’m inclined towards the latter. Guess we’ll see.)

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Looking around: Looking southish, I see a few more buildings (more to the south east) and a car and a road sign of some kind. The size of the sign kinda surprises me. The car is at a distance so I can’t tell which way its going. There’s a single hash line in one of the road markings which makes me think NOT North America, but I could be wrong.

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North: There’s a clumb of trees and maybe a town. But no sign. And I’ll probably head for the sign first.

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Heading southish: The sign. It’s large and it’s in English and I’m thinking we’re in Australia. (Also, the car is on the left side.) The highway designation certainly gives me that impression. I did open up the map to see if there were any Port Alfreds on the bottomside (since we’re headed south and not any other direction) but nothing came up yet. There was a Port Lincoln and a Port Augusta but no dice yet.

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I’m somewhere between East London and Port Alfred. I’m assuming NOT THAT London, but what if this is Britain in the middle of a drought? No, that’s silly. Anyways, why would there be a sign to East London but not London. Silly me. They always show the largest towns first.

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It occurs to me we could also be in South Africa. Maybe. This suspicion is heightened by the fact that when I did a quick swoop at THEIR map, the highway numbers had Rs in front of them.

And then there is this truck. I can’t quite read it but it looks like it says Moolfontein. (And there’s a major city in South Africa called Blomfontein, so you know…phonemes.)

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Oh, and there certainly is a town in South Africa called East London. This bears further investigation.

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And there certainly is a Port Alfred not far from East London. Let that be a lesson to me.

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Thanks to a sign I passed earlier, I know I’m 20km to Port Alfred. Now I just need to head back to the start and see if I can find any signs telling me how far to East London, and see too if I can find Shaw Park on the map.

Hrm. I haven’t yet found Shaw Park, but I have found a town or community on the map called Lover’s Twist. What an odd name. I wonder why. (My brain has conjured up several possibilities, some grimmer than others.)

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Actually before I head back to the start, I figure I might as well get some more clues so I can tell what is Too Far South on the map.

Okay, Seafield is too far south.

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Now to find out what is too far north.

The turnoff for a community called South Seas is too far north.

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As is L’Aquila Lodge and the Nature View.

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But we aren’t VERY far south of L’Aquila and now that I’ve located IT on the map, I’m scooting back to find out where we started.

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And I think I’ve pretty much figured out between which roadway offshoots we are. The trees and building to the north seem to be the tiny driveway just north of the Shaw crossroads. So we’re somewhat between that, I think. About halfway between the drive and the sign, which is where the road bends ever so slightlyly. I put my pin down.

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And booyeah, I got 7m off.

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About the Great Fish River: The mouth of the Great Fish River is the beginning of South Africa’s Sunshine Coast. The Fish River, which is a largely permanent river, was also used as a boundary during apartheid years.

Week 7, Round 5: Definitely Poland. Definitely.

First Impressions: I don’t think I’ve ever had a strong impression of I’m in Poland or somewhere nearby. And we’ve already been to Poland this week. A heavy proliferation of Ws in conjunction with Zs and Cs will convey such an impression.

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Looking around: Yup, probably still Poland. Honestly, if I’d seen this first, I’d assume somewhere in Europe, and I might even recall the weird power lines that we saw last time. They are the same sort of perforated cinderblock structure that is all of a piece.

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The village of Cynkow lies approximately 1km to the northeast. However, it’s tiny and I’ll probably keep moving along.

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I’ve seen more billboards than I’m used to seeing in the European countryside, so I feel like I must be near a large city hub to warrant them.

Also I wonder if Apteka–a word I’ve seen a handful of times now– means “apartment” or if it’s a town name. It seems like it shows up with a proper noun, so I’m inclined towards the first.

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The last time we were in Poland, up by the Slowinski National Park, we passed another building that was a Chemiczna. I theorised then that it was an apothecary or chemist. I should check that out afterwards.

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Scrutinising these signs. Street names? Neighbourhoods? Small town districts?

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I see Ulica on all of these. I wonder if that’s a province or a town.

And here is a road sign to help us triangulate. The 830 to Lublin and the 827 to Betzyce and the 830 North to Kazimierz Dln.2015-04-25_18h39_49

polandsomewhere

Anyway, found Lublin on the map.

And then Cynkow.

And I think the place I started.

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Ended 5.5 M off from the end. Which ends this week with a near perfect score of 24999.