Robbins House Update

CONCORD, MA — Today I’m taking a break from telling you about my research trip to China to wish you all a Happy New Year from Concord, Massachussets, which is horrible to spell without spellcheck.

It was a very nearly almost-white Christmas here this year.

But it’s snowing now! Hooray!!!

And though I’m in Concord to spend the holidays with friends, and to eat all their yummy food and to receive all their fantastic gifts, I couldn’t help but ask about the Caesar Robbins House, which I first told you about here.

Here’s what the Robbins House looked like in the post-almost-white Christmas snow:Robbins House & LucyAnd here it is after Saturday (12/29) night’s snowstorm: Continue reading


Shaolin Temple — 4 November 2012 — Ma buh is nothing.

On my first day of Kung Fu lessons, ma buh, horse stance, was a killer. You can read about it here.

But the real torture started today when I began to learn a series of high kicks that, if I can do them right, would make the Rockettes look like wimpy girls. I kid you not.

Here are the kicks: Continue reading

If You Dress Like a Monk and Eat Like a Monk, You Must Be . . .

Shaolin Temple — 3 November 2012 — Yesterday when I got back to my hostel, a young monk came over and gave me a pair of Kung Fu pants. News travels fast in a small village and he had heard that the American staying there (actually, I was the only guest for all but one night of my entire stay) had been taken on by a Kung Fu master, and needed monk clothes.

Then he took me to a village store where I bought a pair of Kung Fu shoes. At another store, I got a pair of Kung Fu socks, just like the ones in the movies!

How to wear Kung Fu pants: Continue reading

Shaolin Kung Fu, Lesson #1

Shaolin Temple — 2 November 2012 — Today’s post is going to be short. No fancy photos. No long descriptions. Nothing.

All I wanted to say is that I had my first Kung Fu lesson at Shaolin Monastery.

And it’s a miracle I survived.

In the morning, I showed up here:calligraphy shopIt’s the calligraphy shop at the temple. The courtyard beyond the glass door was where I trained. Continue reading

A Hike and a Surprise Invitation

MT SONG — 1 November 2012 — I had originally planned to stay only one night at Shaolin Temple, but now I have plans to stay a second night. After touring the monastery and Pagoda Forest in the morning, I hurried up the hill for a four-hour hike that would take the rest of the afternoon, which meant that I would miss any bus leaving the temple for my next destination. The lady running the hostel where I was staying promised that it was a not-to-be-missed expedition with eye-popping views.

First, you take the longest cable car ride in China:longest cable car ride in China Continue reading