We passed through Shanghai last Friday (May 21) on our way to a conference in Nanjing and will return on Thursday, when we planned to visit the Shanghai World Expo 2010.
The city is very proud to host this premier gathering of world cultures, which runs from May 1-October 31, 2010. We’ve even heard stories about rivalry between Shanghai and Beijing—Shanghai would like the World Expo to outshine the 2008 Beijing Olympics—so there have been no holds barred in the preparations and build-up. This is China’s first time hosting and with nearly 200 countries represented and an estimated 70 million visitors from the world expected, it promises to be the biggest World Expo in the event’s 150-year history. The Expo is seen as a way of showcasing cultures and a way to help foster friendship and understanding between different peoples.
However, some colleagues from a Shanghai University went on May 22 and this is the report: “About 300,000 or more people are attending daily. The China Pavilion is the most popular and for that you need a reservation with a dated and timed ticket. All the other Pavilions, except for Nepal, have a 4-5 hour wait in line to get in: Nepal has about a 2-hour wait”. So, we’ve decided to pass—why bother to even enter when the chances of seeing anything (except throngs of people) are very slim? Pity.
(Below is a picture of a statue of Haibao, the Expo mascot, outside Shanghai Railway Station. Its cute face and figure are displayed everywhere in the city).