Being blessed with my afternoon class being cancelled. I was able to leave work early and have a full afternoon open. While Many people this year went to the state fair, I unfortunately didn’t get to. Instead, I went to the World Expo, the worldwide fair that features almost every country in the world. The Expo features over 196 countries and over 250 countries and world organizations in 170 different pavilions. I decided to take the opportunity and go explore the World Expo (World Fair), which has been happening in Shanghai since May. For students, they have a nice discount, which allows students after 2pm to pay 100 RMB (roughly $15) to go to the expo compared to the 160 RMB that they normally charge adults. With hundreds of thousands of people attending each day, it is estimated that over the 6-month course, there will be over 75 million visitors with only 5% being foreigners and the rest being people from China. Following the slogan “Better City, Better life”, China has poured more money into the expo than they had in the Beijing Olympics, which is hard to believe.
The way the Expo is marked off, it is essentially a city within a city. Gates surround the whole event and security is on every corner patrolling. In each pavilion, it is set up to resemble each country by both the decor and attire people are wearing. Inside it gives a brief history of the country and the building is laid out so that it feels you are actually in that country. With huge murals and props, visitors are embraced with beautiful scenery and for many it is the only chance they will see what it is like outside of China. For the larger pavilions, you could sit for hours upon hours waiting to get in. It is said that in the German Pavilion it isn't uncommon to wait 6.5 hours or more. Trying to see as much as possible I skipped the bigger pavilions that had huge lines like Japan and Korea and went into smaller ones. There are multiple reasons that the lines are so long, one of them is because each pavilion is like a museum so there is so much to see and read. Another reason is that there so many people at the park that it causes congestion, but the real kicker of why it takes so long is because of all the Asians who take pictures of literally everything. It seems like every 10 seconds they stop to take a picture of something random such as the carpet, or the lighting. I can only imagine what it would be like if their cameras were not digital and they had to actually use film rolls. I'm sure they would go through a roll every pavilion.