"A group of dust-covered workmen were busying themselves rebuilding a tree. They were plugging the God-given gaps with polyfiller and then painting the bark brown before coating it with a nice thick varnish. I'm sure you've seen its like, but it filled me with rage. What have we come to where the Shanghai Municipal Government deems it acceptable (and necesary) to paint its trees brown. It's like the whole city is a billboard canvas that needs a bit of photoshopping here and there. Of course, the only people batting an eyelid at the spectacle were those who were staring at me, working out why I should be interested in a tree that was only half-built. Of all the things I've seen in this city (bearing in mind that I recently saw a tethered monkeys being led (alive) into the kitchen of my local la mian resturant) this was one of the very sickest. I'm looking forward to coming home."
(Words and picture Copyright (C) G. Bond 2006)
I have to say that I was nauseated by the painted trees, but only slightly: I have been hardened against this sort of minor affront to good taste by the altogether more repellent news that the streets of Lhasa are now lined with plastic palm trees. If the Powers that Be find a way to stoop any lower they should give up pretending to be Cawmuniss1 and become limbo dancers instead.
1. Cawmuniss: Communists