Wednesday, March 11, 2020

The Situation in Beijing

Normally a busy neighborhood in Beijing

Dan Wang:
A lot of what makes life fun in Beijing has been shut down. My gym is closed, and my personal trainer is still stuck in Heilongjiang, unable to return to the capital after six weeks away. The badminton courts are shut, and the performances at the Egg are canceled. Most of my favorite restaurants are still closed, and those that are open can only serve a fraction of their usual dishes. Whenever my mind drifts to these minor inconveniences, however, I immediately remind myself that I’m living in a state of privilege. An enormous share of the country is going through worse: those living in Wuhan, the migrant workers who are unable get back to work, to say nothing of the victims of the virus.

The silver lining is that Beijing has become pleasantly livable. The shutdown of a great deal of industry has brought many blue skies. The warming weather is a reminder that Beijing is a splendidly beautiful city in the spring and fall. The parks are excellent for birdwatching, and one can have very nice hikes along the Great Wall. I spent the last few weekends bicycling around the city. I’ve always been mortified to admit that I’ve never properly learned how to ride a bike. With the encouragement and in the company of kind and patient friends, I’ve cycled to the Olympic village and the Temple of Heaven. Beijing’s flat roads and wide lanes are great for cyclists.

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