Hi, Kids — 

Mary, I know you’re back home, and Cronin kids, I think you didn’t have school on Wednesday (Finn, you called it: -40 with the wind chill). BRRR I wonder what you did  all day?

Maybe tonight or tomorrow you will have time to look at pictures From a few weeks ago, from  Beijing. As you know,  I was with Uncle Roy and Auntie Elizabeth. There are even videos  for you, Gus, Kieran, and Mary…

Elizabeth toted  my very heavy bags from the airport…

Elizabeth  met me at the airport.

One day I visited a huge palace, with many buildings, and many rooms in those buildings. It is right in the center of Beijing.  Can you guess why this huge palace, many palaces, actually, which is about 600 years old, is known as THE FORBIDDEN CITY?

Inside The Forbidden City

Inside The Forbidden City. This looks like a very old picture doesn’t it? I took it in December 2014!

I also made a very quick visit to TIANANMEN SQUARE (ask mom & dad) —



One evening we went to see many things, starting with the Chinese National Stadium, called The BIRDSNEST.  Nearby, is this tower. If I’d taken a video, you could see that the changing colors make the lights look as if they are moving.


That night we also visited a huge place called The Water Cube. It was built for swimming competition at the 2008 Olympics. Elizabeth took this video for you:

Inside the Water Cube is a long water path, covered with glass — can you see what WE saw as we walked along the path?imageWe went to see a performance of Beijing Opera in the Water Cube. This introduction by the director gives you an idea of why the singers sound strange to our ears:

…and here are a few seconds of the opera. Ceci and Finn, can you read the words on the red sign? That might help understand what is going on here. Beijing Opera is what is called “stylized,” and what I call “complicated.” I’ve known some who just call it HARD on the EARS. What do YOU think?

One morning,  Roy took me out to a great bakery on”Lucky Street,” near their apartment. Best bakery and cafe in Beijing?

He and Auntie Elizabeth think so - best GERMANY bakery,

He and Auntie Elizabeth think so! Mary, tell your mommy and daddy that it is a German bakery, and I think they’d like it, too.




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