Shanghai Expo 2010 - Day 2

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

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Flag of China  , Shanghai,
Wednesday, May 5, 2010

I awoke at 7am to start hatching a plan to avoid the queues, Erica woke at 10am and the Irish at 12:30 (It was agreed we would go late and stay late as the evening queues were shorter). At the top of the metro station I hijacked a loudspeaker from some of the staff and started to communicate my "ride the punani" message to the people.

We arrived at the site and started to knock off some big European countries (the biggest draws), Spain was great it started with a 3d tv in a tunnel shape with waves coming over you etc, following by a flamenco dance, some interesting 'stuff' then a giant baby that moved, breathed, blinked etc. We then crossed off the superb Italian entry that has been a unanimous winner that was basically a massive italian show off, Ferrari's (I didn't know they developed a hybrid), Valentino Rossi memoribilia, shoes and Italian fashion brands (queue women get interested), history, wine, pasta, food. Erica also got very excited over the Artimide and Flos lighting display.

I then boldly strode to the front of the UK pavillion showed my passport to security telling them I was VIP, we had a crazy chinese woman pushing us around shouting "No no no" and as the guards could speak very little English I had to retire.  After having tried to explain I had e-mailed and telephoned to arrange this nothing happened. The group accepted my failure and got ready to join the 2 hour queue. Then a group of proper VIP's came wandering past and walked to the VIP gate. With me barking instructions to tag onto the back of the English VIP comittee embarassment took over and Erica basically did a runner with the Irish not too far behind so that plan also failed. After gathering the troops one final time we walked up to the VIP gate passports in hand (note that we only had 2 UK passports between 4) and after speaking to three different levels of guards got escorted through the 'secret gate' to the promised land. Well that is what we thought it would be, the building is great but that is the exhibit a building with thousands of spikes and a seed within each one. I am so glad we hadn't queued for 2 or 3 hours to see that.

Add to the fact the UK was one of the nations that put no UK nationals in the entry it became even more disappointing. When you visit the Aussie, USA, Canadian, German, Swiss, Austrian, Spanish etc they have people from that country trying to speak Chinese and they make a really good impression, the Chinese are excitable at the best of times but give them someone with a different colour of skin (black or white) and they will queue for photographs and everything else. We saw one large African man who couldn't have moved for half an hour with people queuing up to have their pictures taken with him. Anyway another humiliating nil pois for the UK its just like another Eurovision. I think it is probably also the fact it was one that was so heavily hyped that falsely raised expectations.

We also went to the USA where in the queue were chants of 'USA USA Get in the hole' (although I may have done some of these), this was typical American. The first film involved Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, it doesnt come as a suprise I suppose to see that Chinese people struggle to see the propaganda. Whilst Hillary suggested that the USA generated enough wind power to supply 20% of Chinas need for power (surely a ludricrous claim but a blatant jibe at China's coal power plant extravaganza), Barack described USA as a nation of immigrants, where amazingly possibly two out of every three people in the film appeared to be from Chinese descent and could speak fluent Mandarin, the powerful use of music cruschending in to Baracks closing remark that "he hoped soon it would be possible for Chinese people to visit the USA" had the Chinese people clapping and cheering in abandon. Whilst hating every second of it it used children and music fabulously to tug at the heart strings and you could interpret hidden anti-communist party meanings in just about every sentance. A doth of the cloth cap to Barack though he is a superb orator.

We also saw the French entry today which again was rather unspectular but the building was nice.

In response to Gregg's request to feature more facejacker / phone jacker / lookalikey action we have had two very successful days and today in particular was a very special day. Just guess who they are then click on the pictures for the answers. We will try and ensure that lookalikey fans are rewarded as they should be.

We then went and got through the much overhyped German entry which contained a 'powerball' that gathered energy from the noise that people made to move it around the building (well it was either the noise or the motor that was connected to the tube that supported the powerball, 'the Chinese' seemed very impressed though.

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