Yesterday’s post brought up the subject of stains and maps which reminded me of this rust spot on an unidentified utility box in downtown Beijing. We were on our way to the Beijing Ancient Observatory which, by the way, is an excellent place to have a little peace and quiet away from the hustle and bustle of the megalopolis: the inner court is cool and quiet and the ancient astronomical instruments are, well, simply beautiful. Most of the pictures online don’t do justice to the intricacy of the metalwork. You really need to get up close to appreciate the waves and dragons and clouds. And in addition to that it was only 10 yuans in 2010. Anyway, this spot of rust caught my eye as we walked eastwards towards the observatory. You know how it is: suddenly something in the stream of information bombarding constantly your brain just pops up and a usually trifling detail lights up like a beacon. There was a lot to experience in Beijing, trillions of details that are so different from my everyday environment, but somehow this shadow of Africa caught my eye. Could there be a more accurate random rendering of a continental form?

There seems to be some symbolism in play here. China is currently investing heavily in Africa taking advantage of its rising markets, but regardless of the rising star of many African countries and communities, equally many places are still in a kind of lockdown, stuck at circumstances that are beyond words while there are untold riches just around the corner.

Universe has a fanny way of pointing out things.