To inform entertain and excite my kids, Jamie, Patrick, Aaron & Sarah Middleburgh, our family and friends.

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Culture 1

You cannot visit or live in London without going to the British Museum;

I remember once queuing through the night for the King TUT exhibition and this time I was on similar mission : to show off the Sutton Hoo collection – quintessentially English - shame the best pieces were on tour in South Korea. Some disparaging remarks were made comparing the Middle Kingdom to Sutton Hoo.

The fall back plan was invoked and so we cherry picked: investigated the white thing in the quadrangle built in 2000; looked at the Rosettanet stone: the Elgin Marbles;the Assyrian horses; the Roman temple. etc

About this point, I was asked why the museum was called the British Museum since 95%+ contents appear came from elsewhere. It was graciously conceded that it was truly impressive - the degree to which British armies; explorers and the like had managed to loot and commit grand larceny on such a global scale (before globalization was established) .

In defense of the Museum I did point out that it had stopped charging so that overseas visitors could now come and look at their national treasures for free (after all to charge would add insult to injury).

We visited the Asian gallery to examined the Chinese artifacts: There are two particularly fine tea cups which apparently should be returned to the motherland . We also noted that many of the soft “toys’ in the souvenir shop were Chinese made. (These apparently we can keep)

We also had a look at the Thai/Burmese artifacts: It was just like visiting the wholesale home furnishing stores in Horizon Plaza in Ap Lei Chau (of course we assume that their stocks are copies although they may be looted real pieces how would we know??)

We then legged it up to the British Library near Kings Cross (and discovered a China Travel Services Office nearby). I have never been into the new building and I wanted a look.

The online turning pages exhibit is more interesting but it is nevertheless awesome to look at the calligraphy in the "flesh". Becca didn't believe that monks had hand written some of the pieces that predate the introduction of European printing; Printing in China was established much earlier.

It is fascinating to think that these pieces may survive longer than contemporary materials held on electronic media.

To my surprise there is an extensive audio collection including Churchill and the Beatles. The quality of the recordings, as you may expect, are exceptional and its worth a visit just to listen to the Beatles recording . AJ used to be into the Beatles and I still have his copy of "Abbey Road" from Australia in a drawer in HK (along with a set of X Rays of his head – don’t ask)

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