Shanghai Travel Blog› entry 22 of 25 › view all entries
People who made my travels more enjoyable: Michelle (USA)
Let me start by saying this was one of the most memorable travel experiences of my entire life. Words cannot describe how cool, awesome, exciting, invigorating, intriguing and downright special the Shanghai Expo was.
Note: I almost didn't go. How lame is that? The answer: Pretty damn lame!
Michelle and I had planned to see the Expo for weeks, but when it came time to go, I almost couldn't drag myself out of the hotel. I'd been so miserable in the heat that I threw a bit of a tantrum and sat pouting in the hotel room. Michelle prepared to go without me, but like any child, I didn't want to be left behind. So, poor attitude and all, I bedrudgingly got dressed and prepared for another day in the brutal heat.
Shanghai had done a tremendous amount of work to prepare for the Expo. This included expanding the Subway system and building special stops for the Expo. This is no small feat, and after living in Canada I can truly attest to that. Shanghai had an entire subway line built in less time than it's taken Toronto to add two stops to one of its lines. Comparatively, the Shanghai Metro has 12 lines, the TTC has 3 (4 if you count the Scarborough RT)... Pathetic!
Once out of the metro, Michelle and I found the entrance to the Expo park. We got in line to buy our tickets and out of nowhere a Chinese woman cut in front of me so she could join her friends up ahead. Maybe I was in a bad mood from earlier, or a week in China had just impacted my patience.
It was going to be a good day!
Once Michelle and I entered the park we were kindly greeted with a view of the US pavilion. It did not have the most beautiful architecture, but I was proud of the show they put on. They had a nice dance routine, but what impressed me most was they chose to highlight the diversity of the country.
Instead of entering the US pavilion, we decided to check out some of the smaller venues. Pavilions like Japan, the UK and Saudi Arabia were impossible to enter (unless you wanted to wait for hours in line). I'm talking worse than Disney Land lines... So we happened across the Peru pavilion. This was our first stop.
Each pavilion had a particular theme. Peru focused on the history of its people, the natural beauty of its geography and how it was modernizing its economy. I thought Peru was a particularly interesting pavilion, but only because I studied a bit of Latin American history while in University.
After Peru, we visited Angola and then a larger Africa-centric pavilion. It was very fun to walk around inside and see all the different crafts. I even found one painter who had prepared a beautiful portrait of Obama and the first lady. So proud :)
Each pavilion had a different theme. Some focussed on history, others on tourism, while some even focussed on sustainability (a key theme of the Expo overall). So which was my favorite? Iceland. The Icelandic pavilion was incredible. The building was a simple cube, and once inside everyone took a seat on the cool concrete floor.
A short clip of the movie film can be found here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CClvnaRYsdY
We spent the rest of the day traveling from one pavilion to the next. Here is a list of all the ones we visited: Peru, Angola, Austria, Ireland, Iceland, Ukraine, Norway, New Zealand, Vietnam, North Korea, Sweden, Finland (in that order).
One other pavilion worth mentioning was the North Korean pavilion.
Michelle and I stayed until the park closed and then we made our way through the throngs of people back to the subway. Naturally, things were completed crowded and overrun with people, but I did not care. It had been an amazing day and an amazing adventure!