Tag Archives: vancouver

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This is what happens when technology-addicted people lose power

So for no other reason than the fact that my life in Vancouver is cursed, I lost power to all the outlets in my living room.

Solution?

We (my mom and I) went out and bought a super-long extension cord, hooked it into the single working outlet in the main room, and from it constructed a fun tangle of extreme fire-hazard proportions.

And we bought a router, so now everything that is able to access the internet is ABLE to access the internet.

 

Fun times.

Sticks and Stones

Good lord, Vancouver, it’s just hockey. Smashing up Seymour St. and Robson St. will not get you the Stanley Cup back from the Bruins.

Because of several issues (not going into these at this time), my mom’s up here with me for a week or so. Tonight (around 10 PM) I took DA SKY TRAIN to the airport to pick her up. They had the rioting on the news at the airport, and we were all standing around watching the chaos unfold, shocked at what was going on just downtown. The majority of the people in the airport were disgusted with it all. One guy even commented, “I’m pretty embarrassed to be from Vancouver right now.”

By the time my mom’s plane got in, they’d shut down bus services to and from downtown, and SkyTrain service was limited to the southernmost stops (those not downtown). My mom and I were going to go to Denny’s, but that didn’t happen for such obvious reasons.

Edit: A gallery of pictures. The fact that I walk down these streets and past these stores quite frequently is scary.

Tonight, I bring you…THE INTERNET!

One of the worst songs to have stuck in your head when you’re trying to figure out the reasons behind the graph I showed you yesterday.

The Sun Run! I was totally there…somewhere, haha.

Did anyone else ever watch this cartoon when they were kids? My dad recorded the episodes onto blank tapes so I could watch them over and
over again.

Feels like drugs.

This is pretty much everything that’s wrong with Facebook. Well, not everything, but a big portion of it.

Woosh!

WOOSH

So it occurred to me as I was wandering around downtown Vancouver this afternoon that I’ve walked to all the major malls in the city, but I never gave you guys a ranking.
Like you care, but you know I dig the rankings.

From least favorite to favorite, I bring you Canadian Malls: Vancouver Style!

14. Brentwood Town Centre
Most pointless mall ever. Seriously. It’s like taking the Palouse Mall and removing all the interesting stores, leaving you with Zales, Hallmark, the information center, and that area that turns into the Hickory Farms store during Christmas.

13. Central City
This one’s in Surrey. Do you value your life? Don’t go to
Surrey. The fact that this has a freaking college attached to it perplexes me enough so that this isn’t in last place.

12. Lynn Valley Centre
I don’t really know how this qualifies as a mall, but it is in North Vancouver, which explains the creepy aura about it. Totally not worth the trip up there, unless you’ve got a car. Even then, though, it’s iffy.

11. Lansdowne Centre
There really wasn’t much to this mall, and it’s all the way in Richmond. But it did have a clean Zeller’s, which is like witnessing a miracle, and the Bed Bath and Beyond clone store I walked through seemed pretty freaking awesome.

10. Granville Island
If you can get past the throngs of people that are there pretty much 24/7, the Island is pretty funky. I dig the massive fresh market, but the throngs get to me pretty quickly.

9. Kingsgate Mall
Ah, good old Kingsgate Mall. My grocery depot. Another really small mall, but it’s in a good location, has a grocery store, and has alcohol. What more is necessary when it’s on the bus route home?

8. Capilano Mall
Another pretty “meh” mall apart from the giant Walmart with the McDonald’s as its heart. It’s also all the way in North Vancouver, so it’s really not worth the walk and/or bus ride unless you are morally against the mall on Grandview Highway.

7. Pacific Centre
Apple store + H&M makes for a good mall in general, but there really isn’t anything else in the Pacific Centre worth noting. It’s location is nice, though, and is surrounded by more entertaining things in downtown Vancouver.

6. Oakridge Centre
Poor little Oakridge Centre, being only a mile away…totaly gets overlooked as a place I’ve walked to, haha. It’s a decent mall. Apple store, Safeway, and cinemas for those who enjoy such frivolity. Its proximity to the SkyTrain is both good (“hey! I can get on the SkyTrain right from the mall!”) and bad (“all the SkyTrain traffic has taken over the seats on the bus! How do I get home?!”).

5. Richmond Centre
Apple Store! Late hours! Quiznos! You’re livin’ wild if you go to the Richmond Centre. I still don’t see the logic of having a mall within
literally 300 steps of another mall. At least it’s close to the Skytrain so you can hightail it out of the party zone when all the other malls have closed and you’re still shopping at 6 PM.

4. Real Canadian Superstore
Ah, the love child of Walmart and Costco. I really dig this place, and am glad London seems to think its smaller city needs double the number of RCSSs that Vancouver has. This place gets super extra bonus points because everything’s so cheap. Example: box of awesome granola bars = $4.99 at Safeway. Same box of awesome granola bars = $2.15 at Real Canadian. Yayzorz.

3. Coquitlam Centre
Despite this being 4 billion miles away, it’s huge and has a lot of awesome stores. Assuming you survive the parking lot, this is a super enjoyable mall.

2. Metropolis at Metrotown
This mall? It has a Real Canadian Superstore INSIDE OF IT. It also has a soft pretzel shop, which made my mom super happy when she came up and we hung out at Metropolis. It’s another massive mall, but it’s a lot closer and easily accessible via SkyTrain.

1. Park Royal Centre
GIANT MALL. I really like Park Royal. It’s got an H&M, and HMV (which is like a Hastings), and a Whole Foods. It’s also about 12 miles away and you have to walk through Stanley Park to get there, so it’s a good destination for walking on Saturdays. Completely unrelated side note: Vancouver
has the biggest slugs I’ve ever seen.

Also this: here is a map of my knowledge of Vancouver before I started walking (aka, back when I was on Dunbar):

And here is now:

Snazzy, eh?

And today I walked 19 miles.

BBQ!

OH YEAH, I totally forgot to mention this yesterday: I found a place up here that’s freakishly similar to Moscow’s Mongolian BBQ. Not too surprising given the eclectic mosh of cultures in Vancouver, but still. I was excited.

It’s called the Great Han Mongolian BBQ, and within it has the same idea as Moscow’s BBQ. Find a seat, get a bowl, accumulate veggies, meat, noodles, and sauce, and let the chef cook it on the round hot grill.

The noodles are totally different and have a weird texture, but they’re actually really good.

Anyway. Just a recommendation of a place to acquire tasty BBQ if you’re ever in Vancouver.

Also, some nostalgia for you all:

I distinctly remember exchanging many an unintelligible “Aaron Burr!” with my friends in elementary school after we’d all seen this commercial. Fun times.

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I still don’t know if I like my header

Hey people. No Canadian Mall installment today, mainly because I’ve run out of interesting malls. There may be more installments later, there may not be. But in the meantime, RECTANGLE WALK!

“A” (and “G”) = my house. This route is exactly 20 miles, but by the time I got to mile 16 it was late (started late because I got distracted by music) so  I just took the bus the rest of the way, haha.

Anyway, the main reason for this was to get a reasonable estimate of how long the 40K walk would take. 16 miles = 25.7 kilometers, so it’s totally doable before it gets dark, assuming I start early enough. Maybe next weekend.

OH YEAH, and it’s April 30th, so…

Graph of genres:
 

Mean song length: 3:48

No five-stars again. This year has a lot of really good songs, but none quite good enough for five stars.

Tune in tomorrow for anniversary excitement!

Nostalgia, go away

I am so ridiculously homesick right now it’s scary.
I’m a solitary person, but I’m not a fan of being completely alone for months on end.
I’m tired of this dumb thesis, I’m tired of this dumb city, and I just want one day free of anxiety attacks.
I’m also freezing cold right now and can’t concentrate.

Is 2011 kicking my ass? It’s certainly trying to.

Sorry my blogs suck.

Sorry I suck.

Canadian Mall – Installment 13: Real Canadian Superstore

Today it was sunny and 54 degrees. Good day for walkin’!
I can see, on days like this, why Vancouver is considered such a beautiful, livable city. Proof:

But then there are things like this:

So yeah.

What was I doing? Oh yeah. I was reviewing a Real Canadian Superstore.

What is a Real Canadian Superstore, you ask? It’s what would result if a Super Walmart and a Costco had hot, sweet, unprotected membership warehouse sex. It’s not a supermarket according to Wikipedia. It’s a hypermarket.

Yes, it’s that glorious. Behold:

I’m a big fan of stores where I can purchase a head of lettuce, a bag of underwear (yes, I said a bag), and a stereo system in the same place. I know I shouldn’t be, but I am. The RCSS has pretty much anything you would ever need, including a ridiculously awesome produce section that has all sorts of exotic stuff (including dragon fruit!) and a giant candy aisle. You know me and candy, man, we go way back.

Anyway.

Pros:
– Do you need a 4 pound bag of frozen calamari, a socket wrench, a BBQ, a DVD player, papayas, and a trashy romance novel, but don’t want to drive around town to acquire them all? NO PROBLEM!
– The private label, President’s Choice, is so ridiculously cheap it’s like I’m back in the US.
– You can get in and out super fast owing to the fact that there are about 20 self-scanners. I’m scared of those things, though, so I never use them.
– They let you bag your own stuff. I’m picky with how I bag my crap, especially if I have to jump on a bus to get home (which is often).

Cons:
– Shopping without spending $50+ requires horse blinders if you’re like me and randomly throw crap into your basket because it looks pretty.
– Speaking of the basket, what’s with the cloth handles on the handheld baskets? Not a real complaint, they just annoy me.

So yeah. RCSS is awesome. Add it to the list of things you must experience when you come to Canada.

In this blog: Claudia runs

This morning I woke up obscenely early in order to get downtown by 8 to engage in the Vancouver Sun Run, the largest 10K in the world (according to Wiki, at least).

There were also troops of dudes dressed as bananas. Free trade bananas. Welcome to the west coast.

Over 50,000 people ran, and luckily (amazingly?) it didn’t rain and was actually sunny.
I finished in 1 hour and 32 seconds, which is pretty good considering I had to utilize the Porta Potties within the first 30 seconds of the race, ‘cause our wave didn’t get started until 45 minutes after the actual start time and I had to pee once we actually got running. Haha.
Anyway. I finished 589th out of 2,325 for my gender and age group (19 – 24), which isn’t too horrible, considering I’m totally not a runner.

I looked up the stats and found out that four people over the age of 95 ran as well. That’s pretty freaking awesome.

 

Canadian Mall – Installment 12: Granville Island

I had to go downtown today to get my Sun Run number/shirt, so before that I decided to remedy my “I suck at life and can’t find how to get on Granville Island” failure of a walk last weekend by actually looking up appropriate directions to the island.
I know, I know, Granville Island isn’t a mall. But with the big open market insanity and the building with the bundle of stores in it, I decided to count it anyway.

So HA.

Pros:
– THE coolest glasses frames shop on the planet. It’s also called Eyeland, which is freaking hilarious and awesome. Check this noise: http://www.granville-eyeland.com/home
– It’s like a farmer’s market on crack once the weather gets better.
– There’s a bead store. I don’t do bead work at all, but the colors make me smile.

Cons:
– One of those “how in the hell do you get there?” areas of Vancouver. You know, the ones you can see but can’t fathom how anyone’s supposed to get there. There are a surprising number of those up here.
– Cars should not be allowed on the island.
– People are generally stupid and don’t know how to handle ogling exotic fruit and forward motion at the same time. Get out of the walking traffic first, fondle dragon fruit later.

I am also obscenely stressed out (as I have been for the past three weeks now), so don’t trust my judgment.

Protected: Just ignore these, I’m having a bad month

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I AM THE PHEROMONE LADY

Hmm.

So as I was trucking my way down to Granville Island this afternoon (it was going to be my Canadian Mall installment today, but that didn’t happen for several reasons, one of which being the water ferries suck), this guy comes running up behind me, stops me, and basically says that he saw me by the Cambie bridge and “thought I looked fascinating.” Then he gave me his number.

Cool, right? Yeah, except there was no way he was younger than 50.
Nothing wrong with older guys, of course. It’s just that I know from my, um…experience, I tend to attract the creepy older guys.
Stalker Dave.
Creepy Andy.
That weird married guy that decided to follow me everywhere for a bit.
The half blind guy who…yeah, he’s, um…yeah.

Interesting times. Should I give him a call?

OH, and so after missing all three buses required to get home (and having to subsequently wait 30 minutes for each of the next buses), I finally got on the 41 and spent the whole ride home with a guy’s crotch in my face. Quite literally. I had a seat but the bus was super crowded and the guy who was standing in the aisle next to me just happened to be the perfect height for crotch-to-face action.

He was kinda pudgy, though, so I didn’t mind too much.

And the fact that I just rationalized the crotch-attack of a perfect stranger as something I “didn’t mind too much” is proof of how ridiculously lonely I am up here.
 I haven’t had physical contact since December, and even that was very brief.

 

FFFFFFFFFFFFFFF I need love.

Canadian Mall – Installment 11: Lynn Valley Centre

North Vancouver’s weird.

Just sayin’.

It’s also a lot freaking colder than Vancouver itself. And has this obscenely steep road:

It’s a lot steeper than it looks in this pic.

ANYWAY, Lynn Valley Centre.

Pros:
– Uh…
– It looks nice?
– Really, not much to say.

Cons:
– The bus I had to take up here came every 45 minutes. Guess who’s phenomenal at just missing the bus?
– No cool stores here. There’s a Save On, but they’re everywhere in main Vancouver.
– COOOOOLD.

This one wasn’t worth the trip, in my opinion. I got to see a bit more of North Van, but it’s got a freaky vibe to it of which I’m not a fan.

Now for some Fallout 3.

Is a theorem about pickles called a dill lemma?

Tell me, CNN, what about this story makes it business-related news (at least the booze one was semi-business-relevant)? Are circus careers making a comeback? Should we invest in human cannons? Is Apple releasing the iCannon this summer? TELL US WHY THIS IS CATEGORIZED THERE FFFFFFFFFFFFFF

Can you tell I’m feeling better? I guess I don’t get physically sick, I just mentally screw myself over every few days.

ANYWAY ONTO BUSINESS.

I’m slowly revamping my whole blog design, seeing as how my 5 year anniversary is coming up in a little over a month. My additional pages (those ones up in the tabs there) could use a bit of work, my layout might need a work-over, and I’m not sure if I like my header again, haha.

Also, once I run out of malls, this west- to-east walking tour of Vancouver (and Burnaby and Coquitlam) is happening. 40 kilometers, baby!

Canadian Mall – Installment 10: Kingsgate Mall

Confession: I actually didn’t go to Kingsgate this afternoon. Spent the morning running and then went to Costco and The Real Canadian Superstore…but I passed by Kingsgate twice!

I go to this mall to buy groceries, really. Therefore it’s not really worth a special weekend visit (plus it’s not that far of a walk anyway). But I’m kinda running out of malls and figure I better get as many of the smaller ones in these installments as possible.

Pros:
– Giant Buy Low Foods. A cheap grocery store that’s right on #8’s route which practically goes right by my house.
– Liquor store. I can’t drink, but this particular liquor store has a giant Guinness poster in its main window, which makes me nostalgic for that one time two summers ago when I actually had alcohol.
– Not crowded ever.

Cons:
– Pretty small. You go there for shoes, alcohol, or groceries. Not much else.
– Closes (surprise!) at 6 on most nights, and due to the layout if you still want to utilize the Buy Low that is open much later, you have to climb up this weird hill to get to it. Not a big deal usually, but a huge pain when it’s raining/ it’s windy/ it’s dark/the hill decided to go into mudslide mode.

 

Yeah. Dinky mall is dinky.

Canadian Mall – Installment 8: Brentwood Town Centre

AAAAAAH WHAT IS THE POINT OF THIS MALL??
14.5 miles in the rain (half of that was me screwing around elsewhere, but THAT’S NOT THE POINT) for a crappy Zeller’s and no bathrooms?

Ahem.

Pros:
– Hell if I know. A London Drugs?

Cons:
– A crappy Zeller’s
– Have the designers of this mall ever heard the phrase “public restroom?” There was supposedly one in the crappy Zeller’s, but I couldn’t find it.
– There were no other stores of interest at this place. None.
– There was some sort of Idol-esque karaoke going on. It involved little kids. Singing. Badly. Shoot me now.

There was also a little girl (5 or so?) who was stuck in the escalator. The paramedics and fire department were getting there as I did and 45 minutes later they had pried one of the escalator steps completely out and had gotten her free. She wasn’t hurt; I think her pants just got freakishly wound into the mechanics of the escalator. At least the drilling covered up the obnoxious wailing of the karaoke kids for a bit.

It didn’t help that it was raining ridiculously hard on my walk there…blah.

Canadian Mall – Installment 7: Park Royal Centre

So I went out walking this morning and I saw the strangest thing. I was about two block from my house when I noticed that things started to get really bright around me, bright enough so I could even see my shadow. I looked around and realized that the source of this brightness was coming from above me, somewhere up in the sky, somewhere between the dispersing clouds.

Then I realized what I was seeing.
THE FREAKING SUN.
It was quite a phenomenal sight.

Anyway.

Park Royal Centre! Probably the biggest mall I’ve been to up here (or, you know, anywhere).

Pros:
– DUDE a Whole Foods. I bought Himalayan pink salt. And…uh…cookies.
– The mall is split into three separate buildings/areas: North, South, and the Village. This makes navigation easy.
– Quite organized for how freaking huge it is (280+ stores).
– A Staples!

Cons:
– Quite far away. 8.5 mile walk, plus a 30 or so minute bus ride through Stanley Park.
– The three buildings are spaced across a busy highway-type road. Not a big deal, but on a rainy day (which is pretty much the standard up here), it would kind of suck.
– The Home Depot is scary as hell. There was a haunted shovel.

Canadian Mall – Installment 7: Capilano Mall

This is North Vancouver’s version of the Pacific Centre. Translation: boring.

Pros:
– A Walmart. It’s got a McDonald’s in it. That blows my mind.
– A Claire’s.
– Open until…wait for it…9 PM ON SOME NIGHTS! This blasphemy is unheard of. North Van has a wild side.

Cons:
– Way up in North Vancouver.
– The bathroom is disgusting. Like, Zellers disgusting.
– There really aren’t any cool stores in this entire mall.

Yeah. Really, the only thing it’s got going for it is the Walmart. It’s also deceptively large. Looking at the store directory online and then looking at the mall, you would never guess all those shops fit in the little bitty space. I guess if you’re hard pressed for a Walmart and for whatever reason can’t get to the one on Grandview Highway, take a trip to North Van and visit the bland land of Capilano Mall.

It also was snowing the whole time I was walking there and back, so it was an exceptionally cold day for me. But I have blanket and heater and techno at my disposal here, so it’s all better now.

Rome was actually built in a day and a half.

When I’m not carrying anything and feel like I could run five miles, I get to the bus stop just as the bus is pulling in.
When I have 50 pounds combined of backpack and groceries and it’s windy and cold, I miss the bus by about 30 seconds.
SUCH IS LIFE.

Anyway.

One gripe I’ve had with my iPod Touch is the fact that, unlike the Nano, it doesn’t have a pedometer. I love Nano’s pedometer ‘cause I’m that type of obsessive person who likes to track progress and estimate changes in my daily patterns and just generally be a number watching weirdo.
But today I found probably the coolest “you’re obsessive so you’ll love this” app: iTreadmill. I will utilize this tomorrow on my walk to whatever the hell mall I decide to go to, but I calibrated it this afternoon and can already tell it’s awesome.

It tracks:

  • Steps
  • Steps per minute
  • Time
  • Average pace
  • Average speed
  • Calories
  • Distance

It keeps track of your history and gives you graphs! You can create a playlist to listen to as you go (I just put my whole “Favorites” playlist to play), you can enter your weight to get an accurate calories estimate, and you can set step, calories, distance, or time goals and set alarms to sound for certain milestones to your goals if you like that kind of stuff (I do). It also pauses automatically after 5 seconds of inactivity so waiting at stoplights and such won’t lessen your average speed.

HOW COOL IS THAT?
Download it, dudes.

Also, they should just make this a static claim on CTV weather for Vancouver:

Earlier today when they still had Saturday’s prediction up they actually had words (“light rain,” “rain,” “more rain” (seriously), “rain and snow”), but I guess they ran out of synonyms.

SUCH IS LIFE.

Quiet Riot…In My Pants

Are you serious?

REALLY?

http://www.economist.com/blogs/gulliver/2011/02/liveability_ranking

As it has done for the past two years (WHY??), Vancouver holds the top spot as being the most livable city in the world.
“The ranking scores 140 cities from 0-100 on 30 factors spread across five areas: stability, health care, culture and environment, education, and infrastructure. These numbers are then weighted and combined to produce an overall figure.”

Um…have any of the people in charge of creating the ranking actually been up here?
Hastings Sunrise is terrifying.
The rain! THE RAAAAAAAAAAAIN!
I pay $1,000 a month for my rent, and that’s like the lowest low end price for a 1 bedroom place.
People up here are cold, man. I’ve both experienced this and heard the same from a lot of others who are not from Vancouver but who live here now.
The Vancouver CTV website mentions an assault/rape/murder about once a day.

Yeah. Excellent place to live.

Here’s my favorite comment from the comments section, by the way:
“Vancouver also scored well in the following categories:
– 100 out of 100 in: “Does it ever stop raining here?”.
– 99 out of 100 in: “If I don’t get out of this rain, I swear to God I’m gonna lose it”.
– 98 out of 100 in: “So, when does summer arrive around here anyway?”
And –
– 97 out of 100 in: ‘Forget this crap, I’m movin’ to Arizona.'”

Canadian Mall – Installment 6: Oakridge Centre

I’m in Vancouver!

Because I’m a slacker and don’t feel much like walking to god knows where today (give me a break, I’ve been up since 3 and in a couple different states/provinces/time zones since then), I’m just going to give you all a rundown of the mall that’s about 8 blocks from my house: The Oakridge Centre.

Pros:
– It’s close to my house!
– It has a Safeway
– It’s not huge, but it’s got enough variety to keep you interested for a few hours
– Right next to the Skytrain station on Cambie

Cons:
– It has an Apple store. I’m counting this as a con because my close proximity to said Apple store causes me to want to purchase every i-machine in there
– You want to catch the bus at this stop? Good freaking luck. So. Crowded.
– For some reason, there are a crap ton of kids at this mall

Yeah. This was the first mall I went to here. It’s kind of like the Palouse Mall, actually.

Canadian Mall – Installment 5: Pacific Centre

I have only one word to describe my experience with the Pacific Centre: meh.

Pros:
– Not a pain to get to. There are like twenty buses that pass it, plus the SkyTrain. Right downtown.
– Small enough to navigate without freaking out.
– They’re open ‘til 7 PM!

Cons:
– Obscenely boring.
– Right downtown, so quite crowded.
– There just isn’t a lot of variety. Sure, there are quite a few stores packed in such a small area, but they’re pretty bland overall.

Like I said, meh. Nothing too outstanding or extraordinary. Next week’s Canadian Mall installment may or may not happen…we’ll have to see.

Canadian Mall – Installment 4: Richmond Centre

Most. Miserable. Walk. Ever.

Rain + wind + cold + having to walk on a highway for five miles + crappy directions + the mall being a lot further away than was anticipated* = SUCKY.

Ahem. Anyway.

Today was the epic battle through the elements walk to Richmond Centre, appropriately located in Richmond and, as I found, very difficult to get to from my house without using the SkyTrain. The whole time I was getting there (~4 freaking hours) I had this feeling of impending doom that somehow involved some sort of mega earthquake. I guess it was the fact that the whole province apparently had an earthquake drill on Wednesday at 10 AM and I had just become aware of this fact (I was on the bus at the time).

SO! Richmond Centre.

Pros:
– Right next to the SkyTrain. You have no idea how nice that was today.
– They’re actually open past the incredibly Amish hour of 6 PM on both weekdays and Saturday.
– Apple store. I don’t care how much of a consumer whore it makes me, I like to fondle the iPads.
– Quite a wide variety of stores here.

Cons:
– Grocery store. It needs one.
– Maybe a block from another somewhat large mall (future destination, perhaps?), which really isn’t a con for me per say, but I would think it’d drain their business a bit.
– The place is built like a tetradecagon or something. I don’t know what it is about British Columbians and their inability to just build a rectangle and throw a mall in it.  

Yeah. Despite the fact that my pants were literally wet from the hems to my butt and I was freezing cold the entire time I was there, the Richmond Centre’s pretty rad. Oh, and they have a Quiznos. Which is rad.

Join me next Saturday for more mall fun!

 

*Dear Google Earth,

Screw you. “12.5 km,” my ass.

Hugs and kisses,
Claudia