Escape rooms on the rise
The newest trend on the rise for my foreign friends and Chinese students I teach is visiting different escape rooms around the city. These escape venues range from apartments that have been converted into lifelike scenes to entire buildings made to look like a different world.
I have been hearing my friends and students talk about the different themed escapes they have been trying around the city. There are World War II themed escapes, Alcatraz prison escapes and hidden dungeon escapes. Each of these escapes offer a different lesson and feel, which keeps people visiting escape rooms for new challenges. You can choose one-hour escapes, or longer. But they think that the two-hour or longer escape is the best. My students joked about the one-hour escape not being enough.
I can certainly appreciate a good history lesson while having fun, but I am surprised at how popular escape room parties have become in Beijing. I had heard about the concept of an escape room for team building before I left America, but the variety among escape rooms in Beijing is something special.
The pace of life in Beijing is fast. Everyone always seems to be moving, working, learning and on the move. The idea of putting ourselves in a stressful situation and challenging ourselves to escape on purpose is funny. Our escape on the weekends from the pressure of the week has become trying to escape another reality. I wonder what people living in Nazi Germany during World War II or the prisoners of Alcatraz would think about people pretending to be trapped in their world.
I cannot help but wonder if someday there will be a room where young people can go and try to escape the pressures of city life in Beijing. What would that escape room look like? Would there be simulations of subways during rush hour or gaokao exams to pass? Would you get stuck in a taxi on a busy Beijing highway? Or, maybe you would need to navigate your way through old, winding hutong streets. It is funny to imagine future generations escaping their realities on the weekend by experiencing life in our generation. It is also funny to use your weekend escaping the week by trying a literal escape. I guess we can all be thankful for an escape every now and again.