Shanghai Expo 2010 - Day 1

Trip Start Feb 26, 2010
Trip End Feb 26, 2011

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Where I stayed
City Centre Hostel, Shanghai

Flag of China  , Shanghai,
Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Ok well we have now been in Shanghai for several days waiting for the much hyped Expo. After seeing the opening ceremony I think it deserves some stats.

There have only been 16 Expos and they have happened in 10 countries. China will tell you regardless of how you measure it this Expo it is by far the biggest ever held. They are expecting 80 Million people to visit, the previous record being 62 Million (Osaka). The Expo has cost more money than any other Expo and more money than the Olympic Games in Beijing believe it or not, now that is unbelievable, the figure quoted is 29 Billion Pounds which is just insane. The opening ceremony cost more than the Olympics opening ceremony. The site is far bigger than any other site for a previous Expo (again they 'relocated' 18,000 families (usually of 3 people so say 54,000 people)  to make way for the site and 250 factories closed included one factory that employed 10,000 people. There are far more exhibits and pavilions than any other Expo. The site is 5.5 square kilometers and some of the pavilions are just amazing e.g. Denmark has brought the little mermaid all the way from Copenhagen as a centrepiece,  the chariots from the Terra-Cotta warriors in Xi'an have been brought to represent China. Also of note is the fact there are 1.7 Million volunteers. Anyway thats the blurb but we actually dont know what the Expo is about so we hoped we would find out today.

After I got a little frustrated at the fact we weren't outside the site gate 3/4 of an hour before opening time, we got there about 3/4 of an hour after opening time and the queues were already huge!!!   Although it took only a small amount of time to get into the site the size of the first pavillion we saw (USA! USA! USA! Get in the hole!!) was incredible. Instead we queued for the Peru pavillion for about 20 minutes, after looking around for maybe 5 minutes I think we had all decided to leave and try and sell our tickets for the other two days. It was dreadful!!

Still unsure we then got stuck into the pushing shoving and argy bargy of the Brazillian queue. Its funny coming from India, Erica and I are used to 'getting stuck in' when it comes to queuing poor Rorie and Emer have come from Japan where you stand and argue that the other person should go before yourself for several minutes. Anyway it all got a little heated and after a big push and a man trying to push me out of the way to get past me (as I was blocking him off) I carried a textbook Rugby League shoulder block and sent the poor man into the railing. After Rorie stopped laughing he confirmed indeed the man also loved this manouvre and his look to me was "respect that was a top quality move" he didn't try and get past again. Again the Brazillian entry was fairly disappointing and I'm still unsure what it was about.

We then slowly got better and better throughout the day ticking off, Argentina (poor but had a tango dance), Canadian (interesting but not worth the queue), Australia (interesting but the video (centrepiece didn't work), Cuba (not even worth walking in but they sold Cuban Cigars (obviously unrestricted sales through communist countries so I thought about buying and trying to shop back home), Russia (E and I liked the Russian entry), Angola (I won a flag to carry with me), the African Pavillion, South American Pavillions (I got some flags from Equador and got some e-mail addresses for people to help us plan our trip), Denmark (the little mermaid had been brought from Copenhagen), Austria (some great pressure pads so you could walk on water try and crack the ice on the floor in winter etc), Swiss (the charlift was out of action thank god), Indonesian (brilliant, best of the day, informative covered vital stats, history, culture, modern day issues, nature, komodo dragons), Mexican (quite good but the highlight was the fact that the chinese people (who often have a chinese name and an English name e.g. John) had given themselves Mexican names they couldn't pronounce like Jose or Miguel, great crack). Oh and not forgetting the Irish entry after much mickey taking the UK v Ireland debate went on long and hard for several hours (I lovingly referred to the Irish Entry as 'Similar to my Greenhouse' while the retorts generally centred around the UK 'seed pavillion' which there are lots of jokes for.

We eventually got home at about 9pm so it was an agonisingly long day, however much to everyones annoyance I kept dragging them off to see more while the queues were smaller. The queues the queues, we saw none of the major 'hyped' entries the queue for the UK was about 2 - 2.5 hours similar for the German etc. Although barely able to walk we had to hatch a plan to do some extreme queue avoiding for the next day.

All in all a very interesting but really knackering day, bizarrely though we are still not sure what the Expo is about.
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Steve on

Great! Now I don't have to go. thx

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