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COVID castaways

By Xu Lin | China Daily | Updated: 2020-08-24 07:26
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Yang poses with a fish caught by the locals. Away from the hustle and bustle of the city, the Chinese family lived simple lives and cooked fresh seafood and visited beautiful beaches. [Photo by Yang Zhouhu/China Daily]

He used to work for an internet company in Beijing but quit in 2018 to travel the world.

"My pace of life was suddenly slow, and I had to integrate into local life. It offered a new perspective. I suddenly realized that life can be so simple."

He also took the time to learn French, and film and edit short videos of his experiences during the journey.

His mother, Zhou Subi, who celebrated her 70th birthday on the island, says she's grateful for the help they received from the Chinese embassy, the Seychelles Tourism Board and locals.

"I've learned that it's essential to keep your mind vibrant and love life deeply just like the people of Seychelles," she says.

The family's monthly expenses on the island exceeded 20,000 yuan ($2,880), including villa rental.

However, they enjoyed simple and satisfying lives away from the hustle and bustle of the city.

They cooked fresh seafood and visited beautiful beaches, where they could see giant tortoises. The rare reptiles are some of the longest-living animals on Earth. Some are believed to be over 200 years old.

Yang enjoyed water sports like diving and surfing, played with his nephew, hung out with locals and enjoyed sunsets.

At night, he gazed at starry skies, cycled or read books.

Yang's family were the only Chinese among the over 20 inbound tourists held up on La Digue Island. Most others were from Africa and Europe.

Yang often went rock climbing and barbecued with them. He brushed up on his French by talking with people from France.

"We were in the same boat and became good friends. Now, we're all back in our homelands," he says.

"La Digue Island didn't have any COVID-19 cases. But locals knew very well that people shouldn't lower their guard. They followed all the rules like social distancing."

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