• Day19

    Beijing's Front Yard

    October 22, 2019 in China ⋅ ☀️ 57 °F

    Apartments in Beijing are tiny by North Carolina standards, and they have neither a front yard nor a back yard. On the one hand, this seems like a deficiency. On the other hand, the local government here has made sure that every resident is just a short walk from a beautiful park. These parks are the front yards of Beijingers. Every morning neighbors gather in the park for calisthenics. For older folk these may consist of simple exercises to maintain flexibility. However, I saw maybe a dozen men, my age or older, doing a routine on parallel bars that could impress judges at the Olympics. One man was doing pushups with his feet raised on a low wall. Another older Chinese guy was on an inclined bench doing sit-ups. I stopped counting at 200. When you finish your exercises, you can break out your musical instrument and join the volunteer neighborhood band. A group of saxophone players offered decent jazz for their neighbors who were still doing their exercises. A group of women gathered for their daily crocheting club. Two other men played chess.

    The remarkable thing about this morning gathering in the park is that people get to be with people. News is shared. Conversations sharpen the mind. Sorrows are softened as neighbors meet with neighbors. All in all, it’s not a bad way to begin every new day if you live in downtown Beijing.
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