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Making the ordinary interesting

Dongyue Temple, Beijing
Middle section of Dongyue Temple, Beijing

This is the payoff for living in another country. Immersion and immediacy. You get to experience something like this, with ease. This is the Taoist temple so close to my apartment it might as well be in my backyard. A two-minute walk, about a $1.50 entrance fee, and I can enjoy an ancient, ornately-designed spiritual creation. It doesn’t take a big production to make it happen, no exhaustive planning, no daylong bus tour full of obligatory stops and viewings so short and unsatisfying that they make you wonder if never seeing them at all would have left you better off.