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Archive for the ‘Aircraft’ Category

A Mitzvah For My Mom

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I kept getting calls from Israel from my Mom that my Dad who is 86 got pnemonia fell down, hitting his head. My lady friend Carol told me that he should be wearing a medical helmet just in case he falls down again. He was doing so well when my orthodox brother-in law, whose father recently died was there. But when he returned home to New Jersey, my Dad was back in Hadassah hospital and he died in the middle of the night right after we came home from seeing the movie Medea’s Family Funeral which wasn’t that funny or good.

I didn’t really want to see it but my lady friend did. I felt it might be bad luck and it really was.

My dad was a pioneer. In the air force, he was a ham radio operator who worked with Morris code. When I was young, he had his own mobile TV repair business. When I took classes in cyber security, I invited him and he absorbed the lecture like a sponge and formed his own Cyber Security company that charged a monthly fee. He always had great ideas but they just didn’t make it to market the right way.

I don’t want to be that way, but I guess I’m like that too.

I was going to go to back Israel to spend Purim with my family anyway since I got a Discover credit card, but now I would unfortunately have to attend my father’s funeral, or so I thought. Actually neither my sister or I were allowed to because the rabbi wanted him buried traditionally within 24 hours and my mother agreed to this. So we were told to come and sit shiva, which is a ritualized mourning party where friends and family visit and bring food over to share memories. Not being able to even attend the funeral added to the upset feelings I felt.

I scheduled a flight on British Airways which seemed like a very safe airline at the time. Then I heard the news while I was packing that a package exploded at the Airport in England where I was transferring to Tel Aviv. Great. Now I might die too. I was scared as hell to get on that flight. I had enough room on the flight to fall asleep but a couple stole the extra seats. When we went over Colorado, there must have been a storm brewing because the turbulence was so jarring, it knocked over my free beer. This is not the first time I almost crash landed in Colorado. Maybe that’s why it’s called the Rockies.

Anyway I survived and had to deal with all the ques in Britain. After a free bus that took me to the wrong place and I had to walk in the rain, here’s the hotel I stayed in near the airport.

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I had to line up or as they say “cue” up just to get the room I already reserved.

After only being there 1 night, it seemed to me that I had to cue up for everything. I cued up when I got off the plane to get the bus to the airport. I cued up to go through security. I cued up to get the free bus to the hotel. Cue up to get my room and even cue up for dinner. The only thing I didn’t have to cue for was the bathroom or what they call the lough. Thank G-d.

Dinner was pretty good. A seafood pasta. But I didn’t know anybody there so I knew I had to move on the next day. The weird thing about the rooms was that there were two beds and one was super hard and the other was super soft. I chose the soft one and there were red strings hanging from the ceiling near the bed and in the bathroom. I asked about these and a hotel staff member said they were for disabled people.

I tried to calculate what time I should get up to sleep as much as could, even with my jet lag. But somehow I woke up late and got it wrong. I showered, packed and took the elevator down. I asked for a taxi and then I realized I forgot my suit! I panicked until I saw a room attendant that I asked to help me. He ran up to the room and promptly delivered it to me. I felt blessed, gave him a nice tip and the cab driver was still patiently waiting for me. I felt like I still had time to catch my flight but the cab driver thought it would be a close call. Thank G-d he knew where my airport gate was. As a matter of fact, he was an expert. He charged a little more but he got me to the airport and there seemed to be enough time so it was worth it. Besides, since the price of a British pound was currently $1.40, Britain was too expensive for me no matter how much I wanted to visit the places where British invasion rock stars had lived. I went through security , even though they tried to stop me because I only was a half hour early.

I prayed while they checked if I could still get on the flight. It would be very embarrassing for my family if I couldn’t sit shiva on time. They told me I’d have to run but I could still make it if I go through security and get on the train to the gate to catch my flight. I went through security as fast as possible and ran like hell to catch the train even though I didn’t reall know where it was. I had to ask people while I was running. But I found the train and then I was running to the elevator to the gate.

I met a disabled person in a wheelchair who was going my way and said we had plenty of time. I didn’t take it for granted after I got off the elevator though that calmed me down and then I felt like I could make it on time. I got in my seat on the plane and felt relieved.

I was very hungry but willing to wait till the staff served breakfast. I had to wait a few hours. Then I saw a great movie called Instant Family about a couple that adopted teenagers. It starred Mark Walberg and was pretty touching and funny. The story emphasized the struggle that orphan teenagers have to be adopted. So many people want to give birth to children or adopt babies but not teenage orphans. Before we before we reached Tel Aviv, the stewardess offered me another free beer.

We had a fairly smooth landing where I could see Hebrew letters from the air near the ocean but in the airport when I went to pick up the luggage, it wasn’t there. I spoke to two airline representatives about this and they finally told me they would deliver it to my Mom’s house.

I called my brother in law who was picking me up outside the airport and told him I was here.

He arrived about 20 minutes later and couldn’t figure out how to use the GPS to get us to my Mom’s house. and it was getting dark. I started freaking out.

But my brother in law found a beautiful Yemenite synagogue in the country for the evening prayers since he is a religious Jew.

We finally got to my Mom’s apartment and I was told to stay with a neighbor because my Mom’s apartment was too crowded with my sister, her husband and my Mom there.

So I met the family downstairs that was hosting me. I found out I’d be staying in a bomb shelter room Here’s a picture of it.

End of chapter 1

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Israel Is Surreal

Floating In The Dead Sea

Flying to Israel. On American ice leaked out of the air vent holes above my seat.  Had to shlep a lot to get to the Israeli terminal. Then the security interrogation.  I passed. Then dinner: Oye, somebody ordered the stinky fish. You could smell it throughout the whole plane. It took them a half an hour to remove my tray. And there was very little water so I choked a bit. I called the attendant and no one showed up even after ringing the buzzer 3 times.   Watched an independent Israeli movie about “Noise”.  Great idea as he confronts the noisy neighbors all around him.  Beautiful blonde hairdresser lays down next to me.

This 15 hr flight takes forever!   Said my prayers away from the rabbis.

Finally rough landed in Tel Aviv and said goodbye to her since she lives near Galilee and I was headed on a plane to Eilat.  But I didn’t and didn’t realize what it took to get there.  I picked up my bags and asked information for the way to Eilat.  They said that I had to go to another airport and take a taxi there. I did that and got a bad impression that Tel Aviv was run down. The cab ride ended up at this really funky little airport that resembled a bus station.  There was a reason for that because you had to take a bus to the plane.  The airline was called Israir.  It was a nice little plane, seemed organized.  Had saxophone music constantly playing until take off. I wanted to fly before dark but that didn’t seem likely. It was one of those planes where you have to walk  some rickety steps to get on.  After the smoothest take off, we were in the air over the intricate lights of Eilat at night. The were unique, like some kind of  necklace.  A young brunette girl in her 20’s slept next to me the whole time but didn’t pay much attention to me. We landed, smooth as a baby’s tochass and I was told taxis are the way to get around here. So I caught one easily. I told the driver the name of my hotel and he drove me there, but when I entered the building, it looked like they were still working on it and a man told me it was closed! Don’t tell me that I had flown half way around the world to stay at a closed hotel! He immediately corrected himself and said I was to stay at the hotel across the street called the Astral Palma for the night.        Dreamed I had a massive erection a couple of times after masturbating. Due to my rupture or prostate or something else. Forgot what. Felt better that I have in a while. Nice blue lit hotel. Fancy chocolates. In the morning, they told me that I had to check out because I was part of the tour so I had to stay at the hotel that I originally arrived at called  the Astral Village hotel  and now it was ready. Frustrated, I wheeled my bags over there and put them in my new room, which I have to admit, wasn’t as nice.  It looked old and I found out after a while it didn’t have any WiFi. That’s a huge bummer for me.  You had to go to the lobby to connect. The pool I passed on the way to the room was beautiful, but few people swam in it because it was winter.

After a brief rest, I went to the group welcome, which was in the hotel lobby.  I met the leader of our group, Tamar, who was an Israeli ginger woman who hugged me right away. It felt nice. Then were on our own for a while.   Pretty soon it was dinner time and I found out the group had grown from 5 people to 30 people.  I got my food which was a delicious buffet. The chicken and potato kinish were the best items, along with the halavah.  I struggled to find a way to sit down and was welcomed. However, I realized that not many people liked to speak English as most of them were speaking Hebrew. Oh sure, they asked me where I was from and why I was here, in English but beyond that they were all content to speak Hebrew and leave me mostly out of the conversation. I ate my dinner with a wall of Hebrew words between us. When you travel to a foreign country, you must accept this. People here in America say that people speak English all around the world, but mostly to help you. Not to really socialize with you. So they won’t explain what they are laughing about or upset about.  Anyway the food was good, so I said goodbye to them and retired to my room and TV.  I woke up and talked to a few guys who spoke English from Tel Aviv.  He asked me why I was here and I told him my parents lived here now, which they do.  And he asked me if I had children.  I told him I didn’t. And he asked me if I thought that something was missing from my life because I don’t, I told him that I do in some ways, but in other ways I don’t. Because I have less responsibility, peace and quiet and time to do my writing like this. He asked me why I didn’t have any kids and I told him that I didn’t meet my girlfriend till I was older. He said he didn’t believe me and that he thought I was handsome. I thought at that point that he was gay. And started to decide not to get too close, just in case he was hitting on me.  But he was already traveling with another guy so I figured I was not for him.   When I told everyone that I was from San Diego, they all got excited and one woman said she always wanted to go there.  She was not bad looking, but kinda portly.

She complained that she hated it here, and the only thing good about living in Israel was the healthcare.  It was the opposite of the United States in that respect.  Next morning, I woke up and went down to breakfast and saw about the same faces.  I tried to sit next to her and talk to her, but she was talking to her more attractive sister in Hebrew so I really couldn’t get a word in edgewise. Remember overseas, anyone who speaks English or your language immediately becomes your best friend.

I ended up eating some spicy thing by accident that gave me a terribly, painful  hemorrhoid which felt like razor blades up my ass. If you’ve never had one, it is the worst. I purposely left my hemorrhoid cream at home so it wouldn’t explode on the plane and now I was paying the price for it. Ouch!   So, I went to the local store to find a replacement product.  I asked the store clerk for preparation H.  And they  looked at me like I was crazy.  They didn’t know what it was.  So I tried to explain it to the clerk and they said they didn’t have any.  So I went down the aisles to check for myself.  The only thing I could find was some dead sea butt wipes for babies . I took them to the counter and a woman that worked there, told me that she gets hemorrhoids too sometimes and she can’t even walk then.  She said when she had that, she took a garlic clove and inserted it into her rectum overnight and she never had that  problem again.  While she was telling me this story, she lead me to the garlic in the produce aisle.

I told her I didn’t think this was for me and left with the Dead Sea butt wipes instead.  However, I was very curious to see what people said about this online.

I checked WebMD and other sources and it actually is a thing.  Some people have been healed this way. Don’t think I’ll try it though. Unfortunately,salt in the Dead Sea is bad for it too.

One guy online said he had a hemorrhoid and went in the water and it burned his butt for 4 days. No Thanks! I’m passing that up.

The next day we all walked to the yacht we were scheduled to sail on in Eilat.  Here are some pictures of it. My camera died so I can’t show it to you, but many people were dancing on the boat. Here’s the non-dancing photos.

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Look How Blue the Red Sea Is!

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Some people on the boat decided to float.

The boat offered a waterslide into the deep blue, if you  dare.

Coming back up to slide in again!

Our Yacht Captain

Our Tour Guide Borrowed a Baby From One of the Water Sliders.

When we pulled back into the harbor, here’s a great fish sculpture I saw there.

(To Be Continued)

On the way back to our hotel, I walked around Eilat’s carnival amusements on the water to the Queen of Sheba hotel.

Here’s a great window view of the hotel.

Here’s the hotel’s incredibly beautiful dome ceiling.

After a great TV nap, where I learned that Trump was unamericanly banning Muslims, I woke up and decided to go out to a nightclub but it wasn’t open when I got there.  Nightclubs only open at 11:30 pm and not before. I went to an open restaurant next door and when I told them I was from San Diego, they said the beer I ordered was on the house.

The next day, I decided to go to the undersea park called ” Coral World.”

Here’s an octopus from there.

(To Be Continued)

I chased this fish all over the aquarium to get this shot.

Here’s a happy couple.

The kelp forest.

Clownfish swimming in the sunlight.

The view from the wharf.

I climbed the 90 stairs all the way from the bottom of the Red Sea which contains another aquarium,  ate at the restaurant, which has a perfect ocean view through the windows, all the way to the top of tower with a 360 view. Beautiful!

Sharks & other creatures in the tower aquarium.

From there, I decided to save money and take a bus back to the hotel which was about 1/4 price of a taxi. The bus arrives quickly. Israeli buses, called Egged buses, are somewhat luxurious. Seats are comfortable and you can plug-in your phone into the ceiling to charge it. Free Wi-Fi is also available. I got back to the hotel pretty fast and was encouraged to take the bus again by the leader of our group, instead of an expensive guided tour.

The next day, most of my fellow travelers were scheduled to leave the hotel for other parts of Israel and so was I felt some fear while waiting for a bus with all of my luggage to take me to the Dead Sea, but again it arrived quickly. It even has a baggage compartment underneath.  I got on the bus and was nervous about not finding a hotel room right away.The tour was over and I was on the open road, experiencing the unexpected, just as I planned for this part of the journey. I found a hotel online, which was actually a little cottage. There are fancy Vegas style hotels on the Dead Sea, but they were pretty expensive.  So I booked one of these Zimmer Dora cottages in Neve Zohar, which is down the hill from Ein Bokek, the fancy shmancy resort area.

Here’s the Ein Bokek Dead Sea Beach area where you must pay a few shekels just to lay down on the lounge chairs. & you can’t even enter the Leonardo Club hotel without a reservation.Here’s some of the fancy resorts there.

Here’s the Dead Sea near Neve Zohar, close to where I stayed.It’s a little industrial for a vacation.

This is a mineral separation plant along the way to the Dead Sea.

Here I am before I put Dead Sea mud on me.

Here I am with a few friends after. (Just Kidding!)

Here’s some more pictures on the road to the Dead Sea.

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There are lots of beautiful Farrell cats all around Israel and in other countries in the middle east.  I have seen two movies about how these unwanted cats are only cared for by a few people and most of them go hungry or get sick.  Some even die. They need to be appreciated because  they have gotten rid of the mice, but they also need to be spayed & neutered.

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the Western Wall in the Old City of Jerusalem.

Here’s an Orthodox Temple in the Old City.

Statue of King David

King David’s Tomb

Selfie in Jerusalem.

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Southern Fried Judaism

Yarmulke Anyone?

Here’s the gateway to the women’s section of the Western Wall.

Roman Columns In The Old City

Old City Cobblestone Streets

Jewish People Praying @ The Western Wall

A Bridge Leading To The Western Wall

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A Cave Restaurant @The Western Wall in Jerusalem

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The Old City of Jerusalem

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It’s not always about you honey!

I wanted to show a view of the beautiful forest from the bus I was on.  This woman hid her face because she thought I was taking her picture

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Here’s another view of the forest between Jerusalem, on the way to Beit Shemmesh, my parents town.  Too bad the bus didn’t make a rest stop there.

A funny thing happened when I got to Beit Shemmesh. My parents said they would pick me up from the bus stop, but when I arrived, they weren’t there.  Even though I bought the international phone service, I found out you couldn’t call anywhere in Israel with it.

So we had to resort to emailing each other back and forth. I emailed them but was tired from traveling when a taxi drove by and I decided to take it. The cab driver knew exactly where my parents lived and it felt like a miracle when I arrived  and saw my parents names on the door.  I was finally here! I knocked and rang the doorbell but no one was home.  I felt frustrated from dragging my bags all across the country, when an orthodox Jewish guy appeared and I asked him if he knew my parents. It turned out he was the landlord who lived upstairs. He was neighborly enough to invite me up to his apartment and served me a snack and a glass of water. He spoke perfect English and told me he moved here from Florida.  Suddenly, he realized that he had the key to my parents apartment so we went downstairs and he let me in. Once inside, I called my sister to let her know I was here. My parents don’t have cellphones. So she couldn’t call them. They were kind of shocked to know I was already there, but their place was kinda messy because a shipment of their stuff they expected just arrived a day before I did. And the

apartment didn’t come with closets. I offered to help them clean up, but they refused.

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Oh well, at least we were all together again and had a nice Shabbos with my sister’s grandchildren. My Mom  and Dad in their 80’s just miraculously move here a few months ago after I sold their condo in Oceanside for them.

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Here’s my cute grand-niece and grand-nephew on Shabbos In Beit Shmmesh.

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Here’s a sculpture of an upside down monkey on the beach in Tel Aviv around the corner from my hotel.

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Here’s a school that teaches tolerance between Jews and Palestinians that was featured on my free tour of Tel Aviv.

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Armando’s Restaurant across the street on the beach, in Tel Aviv.

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Armando’s has delicious food! Here’s the rest of my chicken kabob after I ate all the chicken out of it. Reasonable prices too! Look at all the sauces it comes with.

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Beautiful Tel Aviv winter beach scene.

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Winter beach solitude.

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Tel Aviv beach sunset from Armando’s.

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Tel Aviv street scene

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A Tel Aviv cistern.

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Tel Aviv beach and city

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Tel Aviv beach head on my free tour

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Beach Minaret

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Nice!

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My free Tel Aviv English tour guide. You can tip her if you liked the tour.

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Famous Tel Aviv graffiti

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A beautiful Yemeni costume from a poster in the Tel Aviv art section

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Ethereal Tel Aviv abstract art.

After this tour, I went back to the Hotel Le Mer, where I was staying near the coast. It was my last day in Israel at this drafty, overpriced place and construction went on all day, preparing for the summer tourist season. I overpaid by one day and they refused a refund.  I wouldn’t use Booking.com again because they referred me here. But I did get a free breakfast and tour from my stay.  I packed and realized that my airline ticket wouldn’t be valid unless I flew back to Eilat then came back to Tel Aviv to fly to LA and home to San Diego. Otherwise it will cost hundreds more. So I found a great cheap flight on Kiwi.com and took a bus to the airport. The line was so long. It took two hours. I went through security one day  before Trump tried to enact his 1st travel ban. The line took two hours and included a standard Israeli travel interview about what I had for dinner last night. Not to mention taking off my shoes and inspecting my passport. I flew to Eilat  on a small airline call Isra Air. And back again. A waste of time but it saved money. Then back in line for more of the same. When I finally got to the end of the line to board my El Al plane for LA, the ticket taker walked away so I boarded the plane anyway so I wouldn’t hold up the line.  I was relaxing on the plane, ready for take off when a flight attendant approached me and asked me for my passport.  I was exhausted from the long line and the unnecessary flight back to Eilat and all the inspections and just wanted to leave so I showed her the passport and blurted out “I can’t wait to get out of this country.”  I feel guilty for that now and hope the government will still let me come back when I visit my family.  The flight on the way back was okay but there was a baby who cried all the way  back to the US.  When I got back to San Diego my suitcase was missing and  I had to wait a day till it arrived at my apartment.  My sister, who was also there for the family reunion, had her flight delayed 3 days and she is a religious jew. She said it was because of a pilot strike but interestingly it happened the same day as Trump’s 1st travel ban. I am now home San Diego and working as a political fundraiser for Democrats against his regime.

 

Yoga Surfing In Coronado

While eating Hawaiian “pupus”at Peohe’s on the Coronado ferry landing, after writing a real estate offer on the “island,” I got these poetic shots of surfers, doing yoga on their paddle boards. It has been said that photography is all about capturing the moment.  These are some of my moments. 

Dreamed That BlackBerry Became An Aircraft Company

Dreamed that they showed one of their new BlackBerry jets in a  commercial performing a test flight.  It was black with the BlackBerry symbol on it  and it looked pretty sleek as it took off for the sky, guided by the voice of mission control.  Then it performed stunts, rolling sideways, upside down and even simulating a crash and burn scenario.  Then the neighbor’s dog barked and woke me up.

In reality, as many people know, BlackBerry now, according to the Wall Street Journal and other news sources, unfortunately has income performance so poor, that the once mighty, global tech company, and original smartphone maker, is laying off alot of people, and may be sold off, or broken apart, since it really did crash and burn,  not in a simulation.

BlackBerry Jet BlackBerry 2It’s also odd, since I have a BlackBerry Playbook, which I got free by working on a progressive dream alarm clock app in a local BlackBerry hackathon,  and it died, when I called customer service recently, they acted in denial of this bad news.  They even said new devices are coming out all the time and they knew nothing about the companies troubles.  It’s true, they did release a new phone just the other day, but with the negative headlines the company is making, what is the future of a device like this no matter how great it could be?  I like my BlackBerry Playbook alot, but one fault the company has is it continually expects users to download supposedly updated software,
treating users like programmers. Recently, another request for downloading a software update appeared on my Playbook.  I downloaded every other software upgrade for it before, even though the downloads do nothing or very little for it’s performance.  Before blindly obeying this time, I read some CrackBerry reviews of the update.  Most people thought their Playbook was faster after the update, but one person said it erased all of their data, so I thought to myself, why not back up my data first on my laptop and then download the update? That way, I’ll have the increase in speed and retain my data.  Here was the problem: the battery was dying and I had to charge it up before I could backup my data.  But all of a sudden, the plug I was using no longer fit, so I couldn’t charge it up anymore and it just died.  I told customer service about this, and they told me to hook up my Playbook to my computer or send it in to them for repairs, which would be the second time I did that in two years. So since I’ve recently closed a million dollar  real estate deal, and can buy a new tablet, I think I won’t send it back.  Why spend more time on an operating system that doesn’t have much of a future?  But who knows? Maybe in the future, possibly partly because of this article, BlackBerry will become an aircraft or even an aerospace company.  Maybe that will become their final software update.

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