Shanghai 2010 World Expo

The 2010 World Expo is taking place in Shanghai from May through October. Shanghai was consumed with the World Expo, with the marketing slogan "Better City, Better Life" displayed on signs across the city and the local news talking about virtually nothing else. Shanghai has worked hard to prepare for the Expo, including installing metal detectors in every subway station, adding special Expo taxis, cleaning up the streets and replacing many poorly translated English street signs. The Expo's blue gumby-like mascot Haibao was also present everywhere.

We visited the Expo in Pudong during the first week of events. It wasn't as crowded as we had expected, but we also visited on a weekday. 17 Million people are expected to attend though, 95% of whom are expected to be local Chinese. The country pavilions were spectacular, especially the China Pavilion.

(China Pavilion)

(Spain Pavilion - wicker basket material on the outside)

(Serbia Pavilion - lego like color blocks)

(UK Pavilion - 60,000 fiber optic rods that sway in the wind)

(USA Pavilion - or was this an office building? underwhelmed by this one)

We expected the interior of the pavilions to live up to the outside, providing us with each country's unique culture. We were sorely disappointed. The pavilions were mostly empty halls with lame videos and a few photos.

The Spain pavilion had a giant robotic baby that moved and blew bubbles. It was cool but how was it related to Spain?

James found it interesting to see exhibits for the Republics of Sudan and Rwanda although there wasn't much of anything in either. It figures they were there since China is one of the few countries that gives substantial aid to them. James was glad to find very few people visiting their exhibits.

The concept of the World Expo may be obsolete in today's times where global travel and the internet are present. (Maybe it has greater value to Chinese locals whose Internet access is firewalled). Still, it was worth the visit to see some magnificent buildings.

1 Response
  1. Anonymous Says:

    I was also at the expo ~3 weeks ago. I have to agree, other than the architecture there wasn't much. There wasn't really anything culturally from each country. I expected some local food, and local products/gifts at least from each pavilion, but was also disappointed.

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