After many visits to Xiamen, and now as I prepare to make a home here, I am still delighted at the many ways in which Xiamen continues to reveal its magic.
Much of Xiamen's magic is in its colorful history. Its bay rumbled with cannon fire of the liberator Zheng Chenggong and the great cannon of Hulishan repelled the Japanese.
Today, the city's governing fathers are pursuing an ambitious program of beautification, creating lakeside parks and theaters, and planting and nurturing a forest of flowering trees and bushes throughout the city. The length of Huandao Lu around the coast is an outdoor showcase of lyrical sculpture accessible by miles of boardwalk.
Yet other expressions of magic lie in the old neighborhoods close to the docks. Here, between Siming Nan Lu and the sea, echoes of old China reverberate in row after row of shops, and in the dissonant clatter of the sidewalk marketplace.
It is here in the chaos of the ancient streets that Xiamen's magic may be threatened. As urban development continues, many of the city's oldest buildings, homes to a million memories, are at risk. I suggest that such treasures be saved, restored, designated as historic districts and preserved like sepia snapshots of an earlier era. Think of the magic captured, for example, in a faithfully rejuvenated Siming Nan Lu. Such a district would draw residents and visitors alike, generating both revenue and reverie among those who feel the spirit and magic of the venerable Sea Gate we know as Xiamen.