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2012-09-13 a message from James

Ni Hao Everyone! Nin men hao.

Well I just thought I'd drop by to say hi, and to say a big thank you for the birthday greetings I received. So THANK YOU ALL!
I had two birthdays in China, one in Nanchang after I mentioned my birthday was 10 minutes away at 11.50pm on the 8th, and then of course on the day itself. And then after that Colm at every possible moment began singing Happy Birthday on the bus, in the dining room, in rehearsal etc etc...... very funny actually to have an entire Chinese orchestra singing Happy Birthday to me in many places! The meal in Nanchang was wonderful...and the alcohol flowed freely EVERY night..... but of course you will read all about our AMAZING FABULOUS trip in my double October column for the "Weekender" maybe you need to wait a few weeks for that.
The food was amazing, and at times challenging......I didn't eat the live baby rats dipped in honey (you'll be pleased to hear) - Jamie and Niall would have loved them. But 90% of the food was wonderful, though the fresh bread and cheese in the KLM Business Lounge in Amsterdam was a lovely relief! Happy to be home. But will be VERY HAPPY to return to China next year, which is already being planned.
So much to tell. Too much to tell. We saw a lot of the 'real' China. And we were in the same province as the earthquake the day the earthquake happened, but we felt nothing, knew nothing til we saw CNN. Facebook and You Tube are banned in China.
David Brophy (Conductor of the RTE Concert Orchestra) was brilliant, as was Bart our TM, and we couldn't have done the tour without them.
The audiences were WONDERFUL. And in the foyer after the show - mayhem, pandemonium...... endless photos..... I felt like a Beatle! The venues were some of the best we have ever performed in, but usually lacking some vital essentials.
But basically I LOVED this tour, and I think we all did. Andy Gia our Chinese agent was wonderful, as was Felicia our translator. But ALL the people were great..... warm and friendly and lovely...without exception.
I will leave the rest for my column...ok? Including the business cards for prostitutes slipped under my door on our 2 nights in Nanchang....
And Barb by now ought to have shared a few photos with you (not of the prostitutes)?
Thank you ALL again for making me feel loved on my birthday!
Life is good......
Love to each and every one of you,