Beijing residents seek respite in urban outdoors

STORY: Local resident Teng Fei was picnicking with his family.

“I think day-to-day life in this city, regardless of whether you're young or old, has felt rather depressed and dull with the recent pandemic outbreak," he said. "Camping makes everyone relaxed a bit."

While gatherings are discouraged and many parks in the sprawling city of 22 million are shut, residents of Beijing have turned increasingly to outdoor activities such as camping and picnicking.

Near the banks of the Yongding River, high school student Huang Xiaowen played guitar and sang as she sat on a plaid picnic cloth near friends.

Huang, whose classes have moved online, said she often visits the park on weekends to relax with her classmates to escape the city and enjoy the quiet.

“Schoolwork has been affected (by the pandemic), but it also has a benefit. Or rather I can't say its a benefit but a different perspective - to have reflections on life. In normal times, we wouldn't know the distance between life and death. During the pandemic, a large number of people, many comrades have grievously passed away,” she said contemplatively.

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