Beijing: love is blind / by Thomas O'Malley

Here's a blurb I wrote for Lonely Planet recently, where writers were asked to compose a love letter to their adopted city: 

Whoever said love is blind must surely have meant you, Běijīng. Dressed in your gown of prim modernity, girdled with skyscrapers and garlanded with scarlet flags and socialist flowerbeds. Harmonious, civilised, and just a little bit bland. But I see the fire in your eyes that tells of a life richly lived. Triumphs and tragedies, love and laughter, secrets that reveal themselves to those who get close to you. Your winding lanes and willow-lined lakes, temple relics and wall remains, culinary and artistic treasures that survive and thrive. What I’m really saying is drop the act, you’re not fooling me. I love you for who you really are.

The moment I fell: Wandering through silent, sleeping hutong alleyways by the light of a silvery moon.

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