Day 4: 人山人海 - people E

Trip Start Jun 14, 2010
Trip End Jun 26, 2010

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Flag of China  , Shanghai,
Thursday, June 17, 2010

EXPO fever has finally culminated.  Today was our first foray into the masses of humanity.  To prepare for this onslaught, a few of us decided to acclimate our bodies to the local environment and seek out local breakfast nourishment.  Fortunately, just a few blocks from our apartment was delicious street food: egg crepes, fried crullers, potstickers!  We were sated for less than $1 USD... (assuming we don't need expensive antibiotics in the future!)

Then it was a rush to the World Expo to get into the heavily trafficked and difficult-to-enter China Pavillion.  There were people and buses as far as the eye can see.  On many days there are as many as 500,000 (half a million) people packed into this plot of land bordering on both sides of the huang pu jiang.

The red, jigsaw looking building is the Chinese Pavillion and was quite an engineering feat, especially considering it is rumored to be just a temporary building.  After taking an escalator up, followed by an elevator to the top floor, we watched a movie about the rapid ascent of China from 1978 to present day.  The movie was a bit saccharine but was fine. However the highlight was the Riverside Scene at QingMind Festival.  This was a probably 200 foot long, 20 foot high mural.  The Chinese Pavillion took this famous mural painting and animated the scene to have moving characters AND reflecting the progression of day to night and back to day.  It's actually quite moving (we caught some on video which we have also posted)

Fortunately, I was able to borrow cousin Betty's stroller which was basically our World Expo Fast Pass!  Many countries have a Fast Pass for both adults over 70 and for children in a stroller.  With Lleyton stuffed into a smaller stroller, we were able to march into several pavillions with no wait at all.  We tried this in almost every pavillion and about 50% have some sort of expedited line for older and younger folks.

Aside from the China pavillion, the others were only slightly more creative than a high school social studies project.  It was rather odd going into these corrupt countries (Angola, Iraq, Tunisia) and learning more about their blood diamonds, oil reserves.  The more highly sought after Pavilions (e.g., Saudi Arabia, Japan, USA, Canada, Russia,Korea etc.) did not have expedited lines for strollers and had often more than a 2 hour wait.

9 hours later, we all met for dinner at Din Tai Feng in Pudong, hosted very generously by Harris and Mary Liu.  xiao long bao, fried rice, noodles, soup...  Din Tai Feng is comfort, safety food for us Americans - authentic but clean with polite service.  There are three Din Tai Fengs in Shanghai - this one is very close to the water and so after dinner we took a walk along the riverside, taking in the beautiful Puxi view.

Tomorrow - Shao Lin Kung Fu performances.

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