September 1, 2010

Better City, Better Life

I flew to Shanghai last Friday to see the 2010 World Expo, despite some initial misgivings after that unfortunate incident in Manila last week that caused some consternation in China and HK.

The Expo, also know as the World's Fair, is being held at two sites straddling Huang Po river, the site itself bisected by the mighty Lupu Bridge. It features national pavilions, which presents an opportunity to advertise the beauty culture and technology of each individual participating country.

After being advised that day sessions are mostly packed with visitors (500 thousand visitors throng the site every day), I decided to visit in the evening. Entering the Expo site from the Puxi site, which holds the corporate exhibitors, I took the ferry across the river to the Pudong site. I then visited various pavilions along the way: Australia, Belarus, Switzerland, New Zealand and the Philippines. Some pavilions, especially the large ones, have long lines snaking from them, and it would take 2-3 hours to get through, so I skipped those.

The China pavilion is quite impressive, but I did not get inside too, as it needs a special ticket, and only 50,000 are given every day, at 9 am in some location in the city. I contented myself gawking over it from a distance.

Other national pavilions that I find impressive include Great Britain (called the Seed Cathedral for resembling a dandelion), Spain, Latvia and Thailand. Some have great facade but are disappointing inside, like Switzerland (nothing to see but TV screens with people talking on them). Of course my favorite is the Philippines, for its joie de vivre. I will cover this in a separate blog post.

Useful Info:
website: The expo runs from May 1-Nov 1. Single day admission costs 100 RMB, and night sessions cost 90 RMB.

It would take more than a day to visit all the pavilions, as the site is very large (5.2 square kilometers), and very crowded in some areas, so it would help to plan the pavilions you want to visit.

pics, from above: pavilions of China, Spain, Great Britain, Serbia, and the Philippines

No comments: