East vs West

Mad Chaos: February 2, 2020 – How Kids Play During The Coronavirus Outbreak

Today, on our eleventh consecutive day of self-quarantine in Guangzhou (广州市) due to the coronavirus (冠状病毒), I had come outside the apartment block for a coffee run in Rock Square.  The walk reaffirmed by belief that we all in China should not live in fear.

I already had an idea in my mind that I wanted to take our son to the lakeside so he could play in the sunshine.  I want to take him outside more and more each day.  It is not good to keep him inside the house all the time.

Discussing Taking Our Son To The Lake

When I returned home, my wife mentioned, “I made this for you.  Do you want to eat it?”

There were three cut pieces of juicy watermelon in a plate.

As I took a bight, I exclaimed, “Did you get my message?  Get ready to go.  Let’s take our son to the lakeside.”

She exclaimed, “Now?”

My wife had some qualms about the small marketplace behind our apartment block that we need to walk through to the lake.

She mentioned, “I don’t want to take him through there because there will be people.”

I said, “Okay.  We can go around the other way, but we should get him out of the house.  He has been inside all week.”

Bringing Levity To The Coronavirus Outbreak

Soon, we placed our son in his pram, adding a plastic, see-through raincoat that covered the top, sides and backs of the pram.  The thick see-through plastic was the best defense against any airborne coronavirus.  Nothing can get inside of that.  He was having fun with it too.  He would extend his fingers out and poke it, then chuckle out to himself.

I also tied a balloon up on the outside strap of the crossover bar where he rests his hands.  He could play with the balloon and touch the plastic raincoat.  It was fun for him.

As we came down in the elevator, I was in an excitable mood.  When a tenant walked from the apartment complex entrance towards our direction, I got in front of the pram and started doing mock karate chops and spins.

The adolescent Chinese male looked shocked.  I paused my karate chops to give him a wink, and then continued to act up in a silly way to steer people away from the pram.  He kept staring at me, unsure of what to do.  The message behind my antics is, “Come on guys, do not be so worried about the coronavirus.  It may have been blown out of proportion.”

Passing Through The Markets In Guangzhou

When we came into the apartment block inner courtyard, my wife mentioned, “Maybe we should stay here and let him play.  There is nobody here.  If we go to the lake it will take too long.”

I said, “We can do that, or we can go through the alleyway.  We don’t have to go through the marketplace.”   I pointed to the lane squished to the side of the marketplace building.



She said, “Oh, that marketplace!  Then we can go to the lake, because it is really close.”

Through the markets I took us left of stalls to avoid people, and then took us to the right to avoid more people.

The back of the markets came through to a section of two-storey apartment blocks that are no bigger than 3-meters squared inside.

My wife commented, “They are too small.  They do not cost too much money to rent but inside is very claustrophobic.  You sleep upstairs but when you cook downstairs all the smoke goes upstairs.  I don’t know how people can live like that.”

We got to see how some people lived.  Their doors were opened to let trapped air escape as they cooked food.

I guessed, “It is probably the street sweepers that live in this kind of rental accommodation.  But if the city has forced a lockdown it would be very claustrophobic to live there.”

Walking Through A Shanty Village In Guangzhou

Playing With The Scooter At The Water Canal

The stroll through this promenade laden with shanties to the waterside took five minutes.  It had already become dark.

In an enthusiastic voice I said, “Let’s get him out and walk him around.”

He was very curious at the red lanterns above his head.  I was very happy at that point because he gets to see something completely different compared to his normal day.

We got his scooter out, helped him on, and pushed him around on the scooter.  He smiled as he rode the scooter.

He was also eager to step off and walk.  I held his hand.  We start walking together down this path towards the water.

When our son saw the water he got really curious.  I picked him up into my hands.  He spent five minutes calmly gazing at the water, as if he had met an old friend.

A Surreal Feeling Playing Outdoors

As people on their evening stroll passed us on the track, it was a surreal feeling.  I knew it was a risk to have our child exposed to people who may be infected with the coronavirus.

We made him wear the baby face mask that my wife created, but I still had to assess every individual person who passed us for a threat level.  Some old people did not wear a mask, so I pulled my son towards the waterside as those people passed.

Riding The Scooter In The Dark

Some people would have looked at us and thought it quite odd to take a child outdoors in the dark to play on his scooter where no other kids were around.  That however was the point.  I picked a spot as far away from members of society that I could find, so that we could have the freedom to let our son play around without him bumping into other people.

Adults Riding The Scooter

Soon my wife got onto the scooter herself and rode the scooter around.  The lights on his scooter were flashing as the wheels spun.



I held my son between my knees as he stood up he watched his mom ride the scooter up and down the lakeside.

She said, “You are right.  Doing exercise does make you happy!”

Meanwhile, I took our son to a lamp and got him to point up.  I then lowered him onto the floor and had him walk around.

We put him onto the scooter and pushed him up and down the lakeside for 10 minutes. When my wife became tired she gave me the scooter to push around.

We spent an hour in the darkness playing with our son.  Then we walked back to our apartment block, and came upstairs.  Our son completely fell asleep within 5 minutes of coming back home.  We knew while he sleeps, we had two hours to ourselves to do whatever we wanted.

A Coronavirus Notice On A Gated Community Door

Adult Time As Kid Sleeps

I came to the study room to read news reports, while my wife prepared course material for the 6 Mandarin classes she has scheduled to do online in the next few days.  She will make good money.

Now it is a waiting game for everything.  I am trying to figure out which will come first; whether my Facebook will be reactivated or I will get a refund from Scoot Airlines in my bank account.  Scoot airlines informed me that they would ring me back on my mobile phone number within 24 hours.  I am still waiting for that as well.

Diary Of A Mad Chaos: Coronavirus In China
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