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Marathoning: A Rough but Rewarding Road
By Anon-e-mouse

The word marathon comes from the legend of Pheidippides, a Greek messenger. The legend states that he was sent from the battlefield of Marathon to Athens to announce that the Persians had been defeated in the Battle of Marathon (in which he had just fought), which took place in August or September, 490 BC. It is said that he ran the entire distance without stopping and burst into the assembly exclaiming, “νενικήκαμεν” (nenikekamen, "We have wοn!"), before collapsing and dying. Thank you Wikipedia.

Why not begin with a little history on a long run to learn something about the effect of running a full marathon.

Experience cries out in anguish and pain and momentary lapses of conscious…

With that far off little voice that says, “Drink, you’re thirsty,” and believe it or not that conversation quickly turns to calculating the distance you have run and, more importantly, how far to the finish line. Cold beer??? Immersed in the cool pool, I made it! “Ok! So I have run 5 clicks.”

There is no time to stop, as the jostling athletes around the watering table smash and grab at anything liquid from Coke to vitamin concoctions we believe will kick in quickly. Some are on the banana and honey trick, others on cold spuds. Off the road, the search for the correct energy supplement is a talking point as well as an interesting learning curve.

Back on the road, let’s say two hours into the long haul, on average the middle to upper groups are around 20 to 21 clicks (km), half way. A mild celebration ensues when you have broken the two-hour mark for a half marathon. It’s a great feeling, especially when you have someone close, a family member, wife or children, cheering you on. The pain of the effort seems to dissipate with the celebration, and for a brief stride or two you’re flying.

Marathon madness – or the wall as it’s commonly known and used in the expression: “I hit the wall at about 32.”

So, feeling pretty good about yourself at this point having assured, motivated, and so to say picked yourself up a few times, you are now ready for the final cruise home when all of a sudden the Great Wall of China not only stands in your way it certainly feels like you are carrying it on your back.

It’s that time to question why. Let’s call it the War Zone for want of a better place. Bodies lay strewn – some motionless others writhing in pain as the cramps and tendon aches take control. Words of encouragement and a helping hand from fellow competitors at this point begin to bring some sense of belonging and acceptance. For the most part, this is where the value of competing really strikes a chord and bonds are formulated that last a lifetime.

The final stretch is a matter of ‘mind over matter’. You hear and smell the stadium before you see it. A surge of long awaited adrenalin instantaneously removes all pain almost running into oblivion as you climb the final rise onto the tartan track. With 400 meters to go, you’re searching the crowd for the family, your heart is pounding as the pain is forgotten in a flash. Nothing really matters at this time as you know you have made the distance.

Abstract indeed. The reality, of course, is making the habit of dragging your body out of bed at the crack of dawn, slipping into your lightweight training shorts, a vest and a very decent fitting pair of running shoes.

Whatever your motivation for jogging is, the more you do it the less you have to think about it. For me the acronym A.S.I.C.S (origins Japan: Anima Sana In Copora Sana) – a sound mind in a sound body – are the words that have kept me pounding the roads.

There is a toll to be paid on the body, i.e. new blisters, aches and pains and the inevitable stiffening of the muscles and tendons in places you never thought you had places. Yes! The body takes a beating in the beginning; however, the marathon is about the heart and its comfort zone in rhythm and time.   

At a medical check-up prior to embarking on a triathlon which included a full marathon, a young nurse was given the task of recording my pulse rate. All set up, I happened to notice a grave look of concern as she counted off the beats against the clock. Suddenly! She leapt from the chair declaring, “Sir! I think you should lie back, relax and breathe deeply. With that, she sprinted out of the room as if her hair was on fire. Bewildered and nervous, I spent the next five minutes in a head spin only for the doctor to return with the question, “Are you a marathon runner?”  I nodded. Turning to the nurse, the doc said, “Yes it is extraordinary but surely no need for the panic. The heart rate of a healthy competitor is slower, and in some cases, resting pulse rates of 48 to 50 have been recorded.”

Now that’s pushing it a bit. For most, a brisk walk in the park is sure to get the juices flowing and could be the start to a long life of healthy eating, exercise and entertainment not to mention the benefits for the mind.

Not to make this a marathon episode I share a little tongue in cheek humour. Once upon a marathon, a competitor required a second (as the assistants you have on a long run are aptly named). One such individual happened to be my sister-in-law at the time. Her specific task was to take charge of the Vaseline, a much needed relief for the chaffing of the upper inner thigh, especially on a hot day as this day of competition certainly was – a putrid 35°C. Having had a smooth first 20 odd clicks, I was looking good for a P.B. (Personal Best time). The dreaded chaffing had started due to the copious amounts of ice cold water needed to drench my body in the unbearable heat…

Nothing matters more than a dollop of smooth petroleum jelly high up between the legs. “Where is my second?” I’m thinking. “Yes the one with the jelly. Where? Where! Where?” Things happen rather rapidly at this point of the race – seconds dashing in and out of the spectators trying to reach their speeding athletes, arms laden with all the necessities. Through the mayhem and splashing of water, Sue appears jar in hand. I’m in agony. No time to stop and do a proper job – a dab here a rub there. “Gently, gently Mrs. Bentley,” as we used to say. Instead, a hand full of lubrication at full trot had hilarious consequences.

Needless to say, I did run my personal best time ever, and my sister-in-law became a proctologist. We are still on speaking terms. A lasting impression for sure.

There is some beauty and splendour to be experienced when out on a run or a jog. I’ve had the privilege of doing exactly that in one of the most pristine, colourful and natural places on this planet. The Cape of Good Hope on the southernmost tip of the vast continent of Africa is host to the Two Oceans marathon, known as the most beautiful marathon on the globe. Since its inaugural edition in 1970, the event has grown. Selling out every year, the Half Marathon sees some 16,000 participants (making it the biggest half marathon in South Africa), while 11,000 athletes tackle the 56km Ultra Marathon.

The road, a narrow twisting dual carriageway, winds its way through lush forests and up and down some pretty steep hills until the infamous Chapman’s Peak. The western flank of the mountain falls sharply for hundreds of metres into the Atlantic Ocean. Breathtaking! In fact, it’s near impossible not to stop and take it all in. Many an athlete have done just that at a particular watering point with rather surprising consequences.

Baboons have roamed these mountains for decades, prehistorically as well as now. The troop certainly knows the Two Oceans weekend – what with all that sweet drink flying about, never mind the favoured bananas. Pilfering is a common occurrence and is meticulously planned. The troop will descend to a particular point where they proceed to entertain the runners and their assistants with buffoonery, barking and antics. To wit a couple of youngsters sneak up on the fans to grab anything edible, drinkable or wearable.  Have you ever seen a baboon in jogging shorts drinking Red Bull? For my Dutch friends:

Die bobejaan klim die berg

So hastig en so lasting.

Ja die bobejaan klim die berg

Om die boere te vererg.

Cruising down from Chapman’s and the hilarity of a close encounter with nature, an awe-inspiring view of Cape Town takes the mind off the road and into history. It’s in the architecture, it’s in the fauna and flora, it’s in every step you take. Run, jog or walk, you can feel it in your bones. A rich tapestry of cultural diversity dances on the South Westerly as the road enters the suburban streets lined with supporters applauding rhythmically to drum beats and bursts of happiness in true African spontaneity. The enthusiasm of the Capetonian is as highly effective as a dose of a powerful painkiller that removes all of the aches. Fatigue is forgotten, and a 56km marathon becomes an amazing memory of a fun run. Not forgetting the party of course. If you haven’t partied in Cape Town, you haven’t partied yet. So if ever you plan to run a marathon, look no further than The Two Oceans.

Hopefully we have enthused some readers enough to get out there and become intoxicated on what Mother Nature has to offer so much so that they reap the benefits in the health and welfare of their minds, bodies and souls. Just before you jet off to Cape Town try this. Get your hands on a copy of the original Canadian Royal Air force training programme named 5BX. It is comprehensive and highly effective as a basis to any fitness regime – besides that you can do it at home, saving the cost of a gym.

{C}·      Calisthenics (Just try it)

{C}·      Swim because you have to

{C}·      Break the cycle, so go for a ride. It improves overall stamina by increasing lung capacity thereby given you a BIG HEART.

{C}·      Take it one step at a time as long as you are going up.

Many years ago I had the privilege of spending two weeks with the renowned athletic coach and special Australian chap by the name of Sir Arthur Lidyard [sic]. Time has passed. My memory. Forgive me. What I haven’t forgotten Sir! is the lesson learned about traversing staircases, or for that matter anything with a step on it or in it, in particular the golden sand dunes of the Goldfields of South Africa.

Speaking of steps and staircases training and marathons…

Back in good old Hangzhou there happens to be an exciting opportunity to exercise the mind and body, especially as an expat. Try climbing Baoshu Shan at an even pace, counting the steps in Mandarin.

Just before this article becomes a marathon session and you fall asleep, here’s a story of value learned on just that mountain. There is a Temple atop Baoshu Shan that I happened upon some time ago whilst out on a hill climb with a friend. Feeling rather short of breath and thirsty, being as it was around that time of year in Hangzhou when there is no shortage humidity and the going is pretty tough on all, I met a monk who was standing on the ancient tiled roof at a pretty acute angle sweeping away at the fall. I thought to myself, “That’s got to be pretty hard work.” I asked my friend to translate my thought to the man to wit he answered, “No, not at all. I’m just sweeping the old leaves off the roof.” 

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The Expat Show is Coming Back Very Soon!

For the 12th consecutive year, the Expat Show Shanghai is back for the delight of families. 
Expatriates or locals, the Expat Show Shanghai will meet all your daily needs.

Shanghai is a cosmopolitan city, the whole world is represented here. However, creating your network, meeting new people, or simply keeping up to date with new businesses (services and products) can sometimes be complicated by the vastness of this city.

That's why the three days Expat Show brings together in one place everything you need. Thus, foodies will find their happiness within the "Food & Beverage Area" created in partnership with Sherpa's ; various tastings organised will fulfil wine, beer, and cocktail lovers dreams; families will not be left behind with stands dedicated to tourism, education, health but also to investment and finance.

Activities for young and adult visitors will be organized inside a dedicated space, and a relaxation area awaits all visitors for moments of exchange over a drink or a coffee. 

The members of the associations (non-profit, charities, Chambers of Commerce...) will also be there to present their activities and why not, soon, count you among their members.

GET TOGETHER COCKTAIL

This year, a big new feature!

The Expat Show is pleased to invite you to its "Get Together Cocktail".

In the Shanghai Exhibition Center, you are expected on Saturday, September 21st, from 3:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. on the Relaxing Area.

Wine, spirits and cocktails tasting with appetizers provided by our sponsors, will be an opportunity to share a pleasant moment.

Participation is free of charge and our generous sponsors have prepared many gifts for you. Come and try your luck! Games, trips, gifts are to be won!

SEE YOU ON SEPTEMBER 20TH AT 10AM!

On this Harvest Moon: The Mid-Autumn Festival

This year the Mid-Autumn Festival, or Moon Festival, falls on September 13th. This is the 2nd most important festival in China, after the Chinese New Year/Spring Festival blow out extravaganza. The Mid-Autumn Festival is a harvest festival that coincides with the autumnal equinox and marks the end of the summer harvest season, and its date varies from year to year because the Chinese can’t seem to let go of the Lunar Calendar. Of course, they’ve seen silverware too, but Jerry Seinfeld already did that bit.

Like everything else here, the history of the Mid-Autumn Festival dates all the way back, 3,000 years, to the Shang Dynasty, when the powerful sorcerer Lo Pan broke the curse of immortality by marrying a girl with green eyes…no, wait, that was the plot to Big Trouble in Little China. Here’s the real one, according to legend (or, Wikipedia, if you want to be a jerk about it):

“Chang'e and her husband Houyi were immortals living in heaven. One day, the ten sons of the Jade Emperor transformed into ten suns and scorched the Earth. Having failed to order his sons to stop ruining the Earth, the Jade Emperor summoned Houyi for help. Houyi, using his legendary archery skills, shot down nine of the sons, but spared one son (who conveniently became the Sun). The Jade Emperor was obviously not pleased with Houyi's solution to save the Earth as it involved Houyi murdering nine of his sons. As punishment, the Jade Emperor banished Houyi and Chang'e to live as mere mortals on Earth.

Seeing how miserable Chang'e felt over her loss of immortality, Houyi decided to go on a long, perilous quest to find the pill of immortality so that the couple could become immortal again. At the end of his quest he met the Queen Mother of the West who agreed to give him the pill, but warned him that each person needs only half the pill to become immortal.

Houyi brought the pill home and stored it in a case. He warned Chang'e not to open the case and then left home for a while. Like every other woman in the history of the world, she didn’t listen. She opened up the case and found the pill just as Houyi was returning home. Nervous Houyi would catch her fiddling with the pill, she swallows the whole thing like a stooge and starts to float into the sky because of the overdose. Although Houyi could have used his wicked archery skills to shoot her and tether her down, he couldn’t bear to do it and Chang'e kept on floating until she landed on the moon.

Although Chang’e missed her husband dearly, she wasn’t alone. She did have company of a jade rabbit that manufactured elixirs, and that of the lumberjack Wu Gang. The lumberjack offended the gods in his attempt to achieve immortality and was therefore banished to the moon. Wu Gang was allowed to leave the moon if he could cut down a tree that grew there. The problem was that each time he chopped it down; it would instantly grow back, effectively condemning him to live on the moon for eternity. Gods are tricky that way.”

So to commemorate this story, as well as the end of the harvest season, people throughout China gather their families together to catch up while eating moon cakes (discussed in more detail later) and pomelo. They also light lanterns to adorn their homes, temples, and even the sky. This last kind of lantern, called a, “sky lantern,” is really quite cool. They’re basically an ornate box kite that’s lit with a candle, but when they’re launched, after night fall, they make for a beautiful, candlelit sky. Add to this luminescence that of the full round moon and you’ve got yourself the makings of one festive evening. It’s also the perfect occasion to pull out your old Neil Young albums (namely Harvest and Harvest Moon) and rock out.

Alternate Uses for Moon Cakes:

Let’s face it; the moon cake is the fruitcake of China. No one actually wants them (other than for re-gifting purposes). They’re just the gift you give people to let them know how little you care for them. For the person on the receiving end, it’s really a slap in the face. The giver of said crap cakes gets to slide by on the kindness of the gesture, while you’ve got to work up a smile, and pretend to appreciate what is in essence, an empty, backhanded act of passive aggression. Giving someone moon cakes is the same as saying, “I’ve nothing but contempt for you, but I do plan on knocking you up for a favor in the next couple weeks, so try not to choke.” But all’s not lost because moon cakes can serve many other functions besides pissing all over the definition of cake. So as those decorative boxes of banality from all your condescending know-nothing colleagues at work pile up in your home, don’t think about how drunk you’re going to have to get to choke them all down. Get creative. Think like Martha Stewart, or just keep reading and use some of the ideas we’ve come up with. It’s a good thing.

Stabilize that wobbly chair or coffee table

One of the nice things about a cake that’s got the density of a brake pad is that it can endure a sizeable amount of force without breaking apart. That makes it one of the best materials to use to support that bothersome short leg on your table, chair, or bar stool. It also won’t scuff up your hardwood floors.

Serves as a fantastic replacement puck for ice or street hockey

Thanks to the moon cakes stout, cylindrical design, (It’s called, yeast, you a-holes! It’s what makes baked goods fluffy and delicious. Stop living in the past.), it has, not only the same shape as a standard ice hockey puck, but also, almost, the exact same dimensions. So here’s what you do. Take a box of these abominations and throw them in the freezer for a couple hours while you gather the gang for a good old fashion game of street hockey, or take them down to the skating rink at the MixC Mall and have at it.

Give to the needy

This is just to prove our point that these shit snacks are universally reviled. Go up to a homeless person asking for money and give them a box of these bastards instead, and see if you don’t get pegged in the back of the head with one as gratitude for your selfless gesture.

Protect yourself from stray dogs

It’s late and you’re stumbling out of the bar after a few too many with your buddies. Your senses are impaired, as is your sense of direction. You find yourself alone, walking down a dark street when you spot a mongrel dog that has shown an interest in you. You’re too drunk to outrun it, and it’s the only thing between you and your warm bed. What do you do? You pull out the moon cakes that some jackanapes forced on you and you force them right into the dog’s mouth. Like peanut butter on their nose, this should keep it occupied for at least 10 minutes, giving you plenty of time to make a staggering escape.

Whip at motorists who don't obey the traffic laws

How many times have you been on your bike, or in a taxi, and you’ve almost been killed by some motorist who thinks the rules don’t apply to them? If you’ve been here a week it’s happened at least once. Don’t lie to us. Of course, you want to throw something at them, but all you have handy is your cell phone and/or wallet and, obviously, you can’t throw those. Moon cakes combine the heft of a billiard ball with the softness of a dessert you’d still pass on in a hostage situation. You make your point, no damage to the target’s car, but the message was received. Everyone wins.

Earmuffs in the winter

Get creative this winter and be the first one on your block to chase away the chills with some homemade, moon cake earmuffs. All you need is a needle, some decorative, elastic yarn, 2 moon cakes (one for each ear) and a microwave. Cut 5 lengths of yarn at a measure of one and half times the circumference of your head. Work the yarn through the moon cakes laterally (through the sides). Adjust the position of the cakes so that each one rests comfortably over each ear, with your lengths of yarn going around your head like a sweat band. When you’ve got them positioned how you like them, tie the ends of your yarn together to ensure a snug fit around your cabeza. When you’re ready to hit the town, throw your stylish new earmuffs in the microwave for 30 seconds and prepare to laugh derisively at Old Man Winter.

Haze the new guy

Like snake wine and unicycles, moon cakes serve no purpose. They do, however, work well for gags, especially when the new guy in your office starts getting a little too big for his britches. Knock him down a peg, and remind him of his place by challenging his manhood with a moon cake eating contest. Basically, you just tell him that it’s a rite of passage we’ve all gone through and if he can’t eat 10 moon cakes in 10 minutes, no one will respect him. Whether or not he finishes them is beside the point. The point is, no one else is going to eat these things and they’re starting to take up space.

And there you have it. Seven great ways to get rid of your moon cakes, when re-gifting is simply not an option, but by no means, are these the only ways. Get creative and think up some yourself. You like building models? Build yourself a 1/10 scale trebuchet and see how far you can wing them. Or give them to kids. They’ll put anything in their mouths. Happy Mid-Autumn Festival, everybody!

2019 Qiantang River Tidal Bore and Surfing Competition

Qiantang River tidal bore is one the largest tidal bores in the world which reaches the most spectacular on the eighteenth day of the eight month on Chinese lunar calendar. To watch the 9-meter tidal waves, you can choose the best locations in Haining city, about 50 kilometers from Hangzhou.

2019 Qiantang River International Surfing Competition will be held from Sept.11th to 16th, during which the Qiantang River tides are surging frighteningly high in the year.

Opening ceremony (about 40 minutes)

Time: 3:30pm - 4:10pm, September 12th
Location: Qiantang Farm 钱唐农园 (江干区5号港路)

Qiantang River International Surfing Competition (4 days)

Time: September 13th - 16th (13th-15th: preliminaries, 16th: finals and closing ceremony).
Venue: Qianjiang No.9 Bridge to No.1 Bridge (Qiantang River Bridge) 钱江九桥至钱江一桥(钱塘江大桥)

Closing Ceremony Location: Qiantang Farm 钱唐农园 (江干区5号港路)

Teams: 9 teams (China, Australia, Spain, South Africa, Brazil, California, France, Indonesia and Puerto Rico)
Prize: 200,000RMB

Surfing Carnival (5 days)

Time: 10:30am - 4:30pm, September 12th - 16th
Location: Qiantang Farm 钱唐农园 (江干区5号港路)

What to expect: There will be four surf theme carnival activities: water rafting, surfing pool, surfing culture exhibition, surfing board teaching, as well as magical spider wall, frisbee, bowling and many other activities.

Qiantang Music Festival (1 day)

Time: 6:30pm - 8:30pm, Saturday, September 14th
Location: Garden Lawn at Qiantang Farm 钱唐农园大草坪 (江干区5号港路)

The referee of Qiantang River International Surfing Competition, Peter Towndend is the first World Surfing Champion and the former coach of China National Surfing Team.

Nine teams from home and abroad will surf on the so-called “Silver Tides” from Sept. 13th to 16th. World top surfers, Dean Morrison, Eneko Acero, Kyle McGeary and Made Garut Widiarta will participate in the event.

Dean Morrison, who is the champion of Australia and European Division of World Men's Shortboard Surfing Championship Tour. He is one of the most celebrated Australian surfers of the modern era, finishing a career best ninth in 2007. In the water Dean is a pocket dynamo, known for his compact, fluid style and sublime cutback. On land his humility and good nature ensure he is the kind of pro surfer who is approachable for people from all walks of life.

Eneko Acero, one of the most important and influential surfers of Spain and Europe. At that time it was just him on a worldwide tour with surfers from all over the place but his hometown/country. Still today, Eneko is surfing in a daily basis, manages a team of an international brand and of course proudly holds the surname Acero, a surfing family you might heard of from him, his older brother Iker Acero or the charismatic Kepa Acero.

Kyle McGeary, Team (NSSA) champion surfer, he is an underground local surfer from Huntington Beach, California. "Never heard of Kyle? Then you probably don't surf the pier, because if you did, you'd see him hucking big rotators everyday."

Made Garut Widiarta, born and raised in Kuta he started surfing at the age of 9 at his home break Half Ways, Garut is one of the most recognizable Indonesian surfers in the world and he has received more high profile attention in the media than any Indonesian surfer since Rizal Tanjung. Is name is I Made Widiarta a.k.a Garut.

The top local surfers will also participate on behalf of Chinese National Surfing Team. Surfing in the Qiantang River has only been allowed since 2008. During the competition, surfers will follow the tidal bore in motorboats and jet skis, and then take turns riding the waves.

Surfing will be included in the 2020 Summer Olympic Games in Tokyo. The inclusion has given a boost to the sport in China, where it remains relatively new.

Hangzhou government hopes the competition can further promote the sport among citizens, especially the youth.

The competition will be broadcast nationwide by China Central Television.

HIS Welcome Back BBQ Party, A Great Event For The HIS Community!

On Saturday, September 7th, 2019, Hangzhou International School held their Annual Welcome Back Barbecue and once again gathered the HIS community, parents, students and teachers, they had an opportunity to welcome the new families and to catch up with the old friends while enjoying themselves, the tasty food, and the activities provided.

MORE’s editor Loren was fortunately enough to be invited, while it was initially a little foreign to him—not having kids going to the school, not being a Binjiang-er—his years of being in Hangzhou felt like they finally paid off, and he bumped into a good cross-section of international folk he has known for a while now.

The food was predictably excellent, with burgers from returning favorite Slim’s one of the queues we had to try, but also present was the Indian faire from Pita’s and Tika’s and pizza from Angelo’s.

The kids had a great time too, with musical and dance performances, face painting and candy.

We had a great time talking to some new and returning teachers, eager to get the new school year fully underway, and had a great time talking about the crafts of teaching and parenting, as well as the sense of community that HIS brings to its families and faculty who come together from more than 50 nations to make events like this fun and engaging. We are looking forward to continue having a great school year!

Hello, Hangzhou! Epermarket is Now Delivering 7x a Week!

Looking for fresh and imported products from a source you can trust? Why not take advantage of Epermarket’s new and improved delivery service (now upgraded from 3 days to 7 days a week)? When ordering online, you can pick all the high-quality items you love and have them delivered to your door at on a day that suits you!

If you’re not available at a specific time of the day when your order arrives, you can always select, “Leave my Order at the Door” option, so you can feel safe in the knowledge that your fresh and frozen items will be carefully stored for you in cooler and carton boxes upon your arrival.

Ordering online at Epermarket couldn’t be easier—they have a wide range of hard-to-find products to choose from. Did we mention they have over 5000 imported products as well? And all their fresh groceries are packed on the day they are delivered, so you can be assured of the best quality hand-picked items.

What else is new at Epermarket?

Their Wine Fair promotion! This exclusive wine sale is coming up and will include classic beverages from some of the finest wine regions in the world. From Chablis to Prosecco and Rosé, you can find over 100 wines to dive into and enjoy in the comfort of your home. These wines will be on sale from up to 40% off, starting from September 10th, so keep your eyes peeled for more at www.epermarket.com.

New to Epermarket? Simply scan the QR code to register and get 50RMB off your first order! 

Offer is valid until Friday, the 13th September.

Find out more about other promotions when you visit their website Epermarket.com!

The idea behind Epermarket has always been simple: a place for internationals to buy the food they love, from a source they can trust. They place quality and safety first, with all products curated by professionals, all passionate about food and living a healthy life. Whether you are looking for fresh fruit and organic vegetables, pantry favorites or even home care products, Epermarket has everything you need.

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