Every day in Beijing I see something that makes me pause. Usually it’s something someone is doing, like a macho Chinese man carrying his girlfriend’s frilly pink purse, or a seven-year-old squatting in front of a school to pee in public. But the other day it was a tree.
On my block, and most residential blocks that I’ve encountered, there are a lot of trees planted in square holes in the sidewalk. They serve multiple purposes including shade and discouraging people from driving and parking on the sidewalks. One of the planters didn’t have a tree in it, and this spring I saw several workers clearing rocks and detritus out of the hole to plant a new tree. The tree they planted is already close to eight feet tall thought it doesn’t have much in the way of branches or leaves.
I thought nothing of this, except that it was nice that Beijing seems to have a beautification department, until I was walking home one sunny afternoon and something caught my eye. Hanging from the tree was a bag of fluid with a tube running out of it that ended in a nail driven into the trunk. Yes, the tree has an I.V.
Who knew that such a thing was possible, and that it would ever be put to use in Beijing, China of all places?