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Mitsugirlys FASCINATION with San Juan-review & pictorial

Day 2: El Conquistador & their private island Palomino 

DAY 2: PUERTO RICO-Still at El Conquistador in Fajardo, PR

 

Since we went to bed SUPER early for us (10:30am), I was bright eyed and bushy haired at 7:30am. I headed out to the balcony to just take it all in. It was super weird knowing that I just spent the night in a hotel, we had already done an excursion, and we were NOT boarding a ship today. I felt like this was a regular land vacation...and actually it was.

 

As I sat on the balcony, my phone started ringing...IT WAS MY WORK!!! Seriously? Come on. You know I'm on vacation. Why are you bothering me? What do you think I could possibly do from here? *ignore* Then I started hearing this "UGH, UMPF, UGH, UMPF" over and over. It reminded me of someone getting punched in the stomach and it taking their breath away. I got up and looked down...there were two guys playing tennis. One of the guys made this sound with each strike of the tennis ball....FOR.HOURS.ON.END. Seriously. These guys were out there playing before I got up at 7:30am and was still there after the family got up, we went to breakfast and came back to grab our things for the day at the beach around 10:30. Wow, I wish I had his energy, just not his grunts.

 

The family woke up around 8:40am and "my" time was up. Everyone got dressed and we decided we would just stay at the hotel and find breakfast. There are so many choices at this place. There were a lot of people eating outside, just above the pool area, but it was already hot out and we were just wanting to sit in a restaurant with air.

 

We headed to Cafe Carib.

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The hubby immediately ordered his coffee and then I was allowed to speak to him. His shirt (angry bird) depicts him well until he's had his coffee.

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Once again, the size of "drinks" in Puerto Rico continued to amaze me. This coffee cup is not your "normal" coffee cup you find in the states. Sakari ordered a kids cup and even it's bigger than this. But would you look at the size of my pop above? SCORE!!

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Taking a look at the menu:

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I went with the egg omelette, but I'm in Puerto Rico, so I thought I just needed to try something that said Puerto Rico in it to make myself feel better. I ordered the Puerto-Rican Home Fries.

 

The omelette was yummy and hit the spot.

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The home fries...oh em gee...yep, they were GOOD! I even made the hubby try them and he liked them.

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Sakari had her pancakes and cleaned the plate.

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With our bellies full and the hubby loaded with coffee, we headed back to the room to get our bathing suits on. The hubby and Sakari had no idea what we are doing and as always, they just roll with the flow with momma duck being in charge.

 

We changed, packed our beach bags, and headed out.

 

It was a bit of a walk around the hotel, down by the outside shops, and then up the glass elevator with a view.

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It was a gorgeous day outside and I was so happy about that.

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We got to the end and found the rail car (I guess that's what you call it). This rail car (2 of them) would take us down the "mountain" of the resort and to the marina area.

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There's a nice view from the rail car too as we descended down the hill.

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I caught the other rail car coming back up and snapped a picture...then down we go...

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Now knowing how many pictures I take, people must think I'm just crazy and wondering why I take all these pictures. There wasn't but one other person that took a (singular) picture as we were going down. I must have taken a good 20 or more. I just felt like saying "You have no idea who I am and my responsibilities and if you do anything "different" I will take a picture of you too and it will be in my review". (Just kidding of course...or am I?) But I do get some weird looks (especially when I take pictures of menus or food or drinks).

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This was our goal...to make it to the marina...then we finally made it.

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We kinda wandered around wondering where to go.

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This was an entirely different world down here as well (also part of the resort, with a hotel mid-way on the rail car and also below). There was more shopping and bars as well. Now there is a water park here at this resort (but you must pay extra) and you had to take the rail car down here to get to it. I had wanted to go there for maybe a half a day, but the hours did not coincide with what I had planned and we had to skip the water park. Maybe another time.

 

WE ARE GOING TO PALOMINO ISLAND!!!!!! It's a private island for the hotel and I couldn't wait to experience it. I had seen a few pictures prior to going and searched around on the web, but I really didn't realize what was in store for us other than a nice looking beach.

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They do have a nice area with seats and it's covered, so it helps with the wait for the ferry to get over to the island and you are not standing in direct sunlight. I thought that was a nice added touch.  The ferry arrived a few minutes before 11am.

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This is a very nice and huge ferry. Not exactly what I had expected. This is not your small normal little boat, this was a full blown ferry, able to carry a lot of passengers. How nice.

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I tried to talk the hubby into sitting up on the top so that I could take pictures, but he really didn't want to be exposed to the sun not knowing how far away the island was or how long it would take to get there. I gave in and we sat down below...with the statement mumbling out of my mouth that we WOULD be sitting on the top on the way back then. hehe

We were on the ferry by 11:00 and we pulled away at 11:07am. Right away, this occurs....

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We arrived at the dock of Palomino Island at 11:24am. So, about a 17 minute ride. Not too bad at all, but the excitement made it feel longer.

As we pulled up, I started to get excited. The engines slowing down automatically woke Sakari up and she grabbed her "morphing bag" and headed toward the door.

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GORGEOUS

There were a lot of chairs and most were empty. People were really spread out that were there. I was kinda shocked that there wasn't more people here considering the size of the hotel(s) at El Conquistador. But I wasn't complaining.

 

You could get prime real estate in the full sun or in the shade.

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We picked a spot in the shade and put our things down and believe it or not...the hubby headed straight for the water! (That's a first). He was HOT!

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I think this entire vacation has to be one of the HOTTEST vacations I have ever been on. Both on the cruise and land. But, I'm not complaining...well, at least not yet. I'm surrounded by water!

 

I was right on the hubbys tail and in the water in a matter of moments.

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One thing I wanted to mention...this water was SUPER CLEAR. You didn't even have to stick your head under the water to see the fish or anything. Remember the review I did on Goffs Caye in Belize and I just couldn't get over how clear the water was? This water came pretty close to that. It was amazing.

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I see a morph coming on at the beach...Yep, she's back to her mermaid self

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The area was all sandy bottom with just a few areas with a small amount of sea grass. I explored, but nothing to see there. The sand was super soft and I loved it.

After swimming for awhile, I decided I would go exploring. This seemed like such a beautiful island and I didn't want to miss anything (which I did, because it's just so big). I told the hubby to watch the mermaid and told the mermaid to stay directly in the area that daddy could see her and off I went.

 

This is the covered area with tables that you can eat at:

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I noticed there was a big field with "goal nets" so I imagine you could play soccer there.

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Look right above my name stamp in the following picture. There's some type of hut up there. I can only imagine the views from up there.

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A chicken and her nuggets. I hope they are not for lunch.

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There was a basketball court and people were putting it to good use. I don't know how though...it was too hot for that stuff!

I think this might have been a bocce game?

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Would you look at the Connect Four game!! How cute!

Another type of sand game, but with a ball.

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Wait, what is this? Another side of the beach area that I didn't even know existed. I guess that's what happens when you are so hot that you just put your things down at the first available chair.  They even have putt putt

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They have ping-pong and pools tables and a "water" rental shack.

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You can rent snorkeling equipment there along with other things.  We did see a lot of people renting the jet skis.

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Locker rental for $10 and also a gift shop.

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Volley ball area and this place just had everything to keep anyone entertained.

 

Nice trails leading different places too.

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You can rent these as well...

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So I went down to the beach area that I had recently discovered and seen people had some snorkeling gear on in the area. I wondered if there was anything to see.

 

I decided to head back to our "spot" and let the hubby know I was going "water exploring" over in my new found area.

I made my way back to our spot via beach of course. Gotta get those pictures along the way.

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The crystal clear water

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I grabbed a new batter for my camera and told the hubbys to keep an eye on the munchkin. He told me to go tell her what I was doing and see if she wanted to go. In other words, I'd like to take a nap...at least that's what I translated his words to. I told him I would go down there and let her know where I was going and it would be up to her if she wanted to tag along....which she did and was excited about going snorkeling.

 

We gave the hubby and #pointatthemermaid hand signal then a #pointattheotherbeach hand signal and a few arm swimming motions and we were off. (I'm getting super good at hand signals in PR, even to those who speak English).

 

We made it to the beach where I had seen others in the water and in we went.

 

Yep, it was a snorkeling area and I was a little shocked at just how good. (and to think if I hadn't went exploring, I would have never even knew it had this).

 

Time to share a magnitude of snorkeling pictures now...

 

Bluestriped Lizard fish

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The mushroom fields...  My mermaid swimming right along side of me. (Well, or in the lead most of the time).

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She is so good at swimming now. She simply amazes me.  Some chubs and a bunch of surgeon fish

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Then it starts to get better. There were some really bright red urchins in these rocks

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Lots of coral everywhere all over the rocks. Not huge coral, but a lot of it.

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More red sea urchins and some "feather dusters" (which is actually a worm).

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More feather dusters and a Juvenile Beaugregory

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A bluehead wrasse. I love these fish. They are so unique and pretty

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Some fire coral...Sakari's worse enemy for Cozumel

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Four eyed butterfly fish

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Four eyed butterfly fish with friends: surgeon fish and sergeant major

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This sergeant major got in my way. I was trying to take a picture of this squirrel fish because I think they look so odd with their huge eyes. They are very shy fish too and usually hide in the rocks (under them) and you have to be really patient for them to come out. I always feel accomplished if I'm able to capture a picture of one. This one isn't a red as they usually are, but I think it's still the same species.

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White (or gray) sea urchin who obviously thinks he's hidden and I can't see him. Eek, I spot more fire coral

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Some red sea sponge I thought was pretty and a black sea urchin

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But wait, what's that in the corner of the picture? A YELLOW worm!! Score. I love the colored feather duster worms. You always see the brown ones everywhere. I use to have a aquarium full of them. But the colored ones are special to me. I love when I find them.

This was a neat piece of soft coral that was pretty big in size:

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Now I am use to seeing the bluehead wrasse everywhere I go when snorkeling, which is the fish with half of the body yellow with the black and white vertical stripes and the blue head. But this one I ran across was different. I had almost a marbled color to it. It was quite pretty. I have never seen one like this before. I'm wondering if maybe it's in a different "stage" in life or just another species of the wrasse. I'll have to look that one up.

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Another surgeon

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HA! I caught this squirrel fish!! He was slacking and off guard.

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Then I think he noticed me and decided to give me a warning by spreading his fins to make him look bigger, which I have to admit that it was pretty neat because I don't think I have ever seen one do this before. They usually just run and hide.

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We were getting back close to shore and I poked my head up and seen the hubby standing there. I guess he was getting worried about us because we had been gone so long. Sakari and I had a wonderful time and I enjoy snorkeling with her.

 

We headed back to our real estate to put our things up and the hubby had told us that he did a little exploring on his own before he went to look for us and found some interesting things.

 

We entered the world of Jurassic Park

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They were pretty huge

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There also seem to be more males than females so there was a lot of territorial fighting and chasing going on.

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When they chase each other off...the winner bobs his head up and down like "yea, that's right, run!"

 

(video below...click)

After that excitement, we headed back to the water. It was just too hot to stay out in the sun for very long.

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Still not many people here. People would come and go all day long so it was never crowded.

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I attempted to take my usual pictures of a picture with part of it above the water and part below. I must have been just shy of getting the part below the water, but it turned out kinda clear and you could see under there.

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Nailed it...well kinda

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I was able to get it again, thanks to a wave that came in as I snapped the picture (which you can see in the pic).

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It's too bad there was nothing interesting to look at under the water in these though. I should have tried it when I was snorkeling but was too excited looking at everything.

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Time to go potty...and explore just a little more.

 

Termite nest

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We walked over to this area that they let you ride the pony (for a charge of course). There wasn't anyone around so Sakari wanted to play.

 

As soon as she went to the fence, the pony came running. He was very friendly.

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She took off running around the corner and he followed.

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They would continue to go back and forth and he would follow each time. Sakari the horse whisperer.

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The bathrooms.  I believe there was a sign that said no photography...but I can't read...no comprende...any language at this moment.

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Don't worry, I made sure there wasn't anyone in there first.

 

So remember the little hut/palapa that I should a picture of earlier...it was sitting on top of the huge hill? I guess this is how you get to it.

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I really wish I had some shoes on to take this trail up and I bet it would be an awesome lookout with some awesome pictures. I also hate going UP hill. I also didn't think I could make it in this heat. I would forego going up to the top. Darnit.

We were getting hangry and decided it was time to get some food. Between the heat and the hunger, we headed to the Iguana Cafe

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The first thing I ordered was a drink. Yum!

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We put in our orders, grabbed a seat, and Sakari was back messing with the iguanas. (They were right beside the eating area).

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Sakari got up enough courage to try to feed them. She was excited when they started taking food out of her hand.

Then she progressed to "petting" them.

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Then she moved on to trying to tame a bird.

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She succeeded in coercing the bird to eat from her and of course I managed to not be fast enough with the camera.

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Our food came. I ordered the jerk chicken sandwich. It was huge but I would hardly call it jerk chicken. To me, it was more like grilled chicken. There was no "jerk" to it. It was "ok". Nothing to brag about, but the fries were good. Sakari had the chicken strips and enjoyed them.

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The hubby had the pizza, which was small, but he said it was good.

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Those 3 items, me and the hubbys "drink" and Sakari's pop and it was $42. Geesh. What a rip off. I know it's a resort, and I'm on vacation, but seriously hate the prices.

 

Such beautiful colors...

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We were told (I think) that the island is open until 5pm with the last ferry coming back at 4:30pm. (Not really sure how you have to be on the last ferry at 4:30 but yet it doesn't close until 5....???)

 

It was 3:30pm and decided that we would pack up and get ready to go. Ferry's run all day long, back and forth. We didn't really want to wait until the last ferry when a lot of the people would be getting on and it be crowded. Well, that was my reasoning but now that I think about it, there wasn't very many people there to begin with.

 

Oh, I almost forgot, they did have a wedding there that day too!

 

Remember my terms of riding on the upper floor on the ferry on the way back? Yep, that's where we were. I was going to make sure I got some pictures.

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There's our resort in the distance.

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I managed to catch the railcar thingy coming down the hill

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We immediately decided to head back up the mountain when we returned instead of exploring. I now wish I would have explored a little and maybe went over to check out the water park. But, I knew that if Sakari seen that, she'd want to stay. Plus, it was hot. Did I mention that already?

So that was our day at Palomino Island. It was wonderful. I could and would go there again in a heartbeat. It was really beautiful there with so much to do.

 

But...the day wasn't over yet.

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Once we got back up toward the hotel grounds where we were staying, it was time for a little bit of pool fun. (Like if we haven't had enough water for the day). We went to the closest pool to us.

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Once again, daddy in the water (I think this is a new record for him since he usually sets things out and leaves the swimming to me and Sakari).

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The mermaid sprung into action

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I let daddy borrow my goggles so that he could play in the water with Sakari. Well, actually they are his goggles that I put claim on after my goggles broke a few cruises ago.

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While they were off "playing" I wanted to take a walk and see what the other pool had to offer and off I went.

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They had these little areas around this pool.

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This caught my eye and I had to go explore.

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I would follow these steps up to snoop around up there as well.

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It was a wide open area up there with columns that reminded me of the perfect place to have a wedding.

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There was a beautiful view of the wonderful island we had visited today.

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I stopped at the point where I was at the Village. I thought I had wandered off a bit far and didn't want to keep walking.

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I made my way back to the pool area and knew that my hubby would wonder what happened to me. I would let him know that there's some really neat things to see, but he would have to wait until we got home and I uploaded the pictures. LOL

Back to the pool to join the family playing in the pool. The sky continued to get a little more gloomy and I knew we were about to get a downpour.

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Then it hit us...the rain started and the hubby ran for cover under the umbrella.

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