We arrived in Shanghai on the 22nd. During our 4 and a half day stay, we endured the World Expo for 4 of those days.
The Expo brought out the most cut-throat Chinese people I have ever seen in my life. These people had endurance and all sorts of tactics that you just wouldn't ever expect to see in your life.
These are some of the highlights and common sights of the expo:
- LONG LONG LONG line-ups: It seems that everyone but us had raided the mini-stool and chair store before heading to the expo. Most people would squat down on these micro chairs during the horrific lines on the way into the pavilions. They also packed an entire kitchen of everything you can imagine, loafs of bread, buns, miscellaneous meat bags, cucumbers, apples, etc. Lines always stunk of random food mixes and garbage from all of the litter. In the really hardcore lines (eg. Japan pavilion - 5 hours), parents/grandparents would squat around their children as they held a bag for them to pee in. Expo lines are not for the nice-at-heart kind of people. Not in China, that's for sure. Kill or be killed, similar
to the rules of the road. Almost every person will be elbows-out pushing their way through a completely packed line to try to squeeze themselves one more step ahead. People will squeeze through fences, jump over railings, get yelled at, and risk being taken out of line entirely, just to try to get inside one millisecond before someone else. After being pushed, shoved, and budged about 1000 times at our third or fourth pavilion on the first day - we began to catch on to these tactics... little kids being sent up through adults legs only to have their parents come through "needing to get their kids" shortly after, people in wheelchairs using the VIP/Barrier-free access so that they could get through lines quicker only to be seen later in the pavilion walking with ease as their companion who was pushing their chair struggles to get it up a ramp. Things we learned included: pushing back - this includes children and the elderly, hug the corners, try to form a human wall, cuss at the people cutting in front of you and others will likely join in and make them move back a few rows of people, watch your step
- it is either spit, pee, or garbage.
- On a lighter note, there were lots of nice pavilions that were actually worth waiting in line for vs. some that completely sucked and had next to nothing inside.... we would go to some just because they had short lines or quick moving long lines, usually to leave not really impressed by anything. The longer the line, the better the pavilion it seemed. We didn't end up going to the China pavilion as there is this ridiculous ticket system. Despite having a ticket into the park, you are also required to get a reservation ticket for the pavilion. The park opens at 9am, as does this special reservation booth. However, we were advised that if you wanted to actually get a ticket you needed to be there by 3 am. Soooo = 6 hours just to get the reservation ticket - which doesn't get you in right away, it just gets you into the line-up, another 4 hour wait. Not worth it to us!
- The passport: They were selling these souvenir passports that you would get stamped at every pavilion you went into, of course I got one.
The line ups to get these stamps easily rivalled the line-ups to get into the pavilion, PEOPLE ARE RIDICULOUSLY PUSHY. I'm pretty sure some people were only there to get stamps, they didn't even enjoy the pavilions at all - just ran through to get their stamps and ran out - some people would carry like 10 passports with them!
Some of the pavilion highlights included:
- Japan: turning sewage into safe drinking water, robots that play violin and can do other tasks, this sweet virtual wall that allows you to interact with it as if it is a touch screen computer: opening up screens were the TV will be, having a calendar, changing the backgrounds, pulling windows open bigger and shrinking them down for multiple screens- it was really cool. They also introduced the Canon 3D camera, flooring that generates power by people walking on it, and little electric one-person standing vehicles.
- Italy: one of my favourites, it was just really cool inside. There were walls of pastas, wines, mannequins in tailored beautiful clothes, roses hanging from the roof, sculptures hanging off of walls, and entire band hanging vertically on a wall. It was great. There were
ferraris and race cars, and miniatures of famous buildings, loved it!
- Korea: saving the world through dancing and magic
- Hungary - the introduction of a new shape?
- Canada: VIP access.
- Latvia: we thought it would suck - and the line did suck - but inside there was a big tube where people flew up and down in a wind tunnel... so that was interesting... hahaha
There were lots of other really good pavilions - lots of shows, tons of screens, creativity was definitely on high for the creators of these pavilions.
We normally got to the park around 9-9:30am and would leave around 10:30-11pm. LONG days of standing. Our feet, gastroc's, and low backs were in rough shape every single night. But somehow, we endured 4 days of it. We saw a lot but didn't come anywhere close to seeing the whole thing.
The Expo left me with some mixed feelings. I was constantly being stared at. People had zero problem blatantly looking me up and down for a good couple minutes, taking pictures of me without asking - two girls even shot a video of me on their cell phones while I
was in line beside them - just phones right in my face as I buried my head on Binnson's shoulder trying to get away. It didn't seem to matter which line or section - only local Chinese people were there and I was one of the attractions. In the Japan line, there was about 12 tents of switch back lines and the same people that would stare at you in one direction would stare again every single time you went by - FOR 5 HOURS!!!! It definitely got really uncomfortable. People would put up their cameras in my direction and I would automatically face the other direction only to turn back around to them waiting for me to turn around to take the picture and then leave. People who were just walking past the line-ups would stop and take my picture and keep going. People who had the decency to ask first I would stop for a quick smile and keep going. But husbands who waved their wives over in my direction while I was taking pictures or reading things during the pavilions just to get pictures beside me, I wouldn't turn around for. I felt like an animal, and
both Binnson and I were pretty annoyed by the end of it. Being back in Shenzhen today has been sooo nice. I feel like I blend in more here. There might be a couple head turns but nothing even close to the comparison of the Expo.
Tomorrow we get our visas for Vietnam, and Friday we start our adventure there! This week will be spent doing some touristy things in Shenzhen and hopefully catching up on some much needed sleep.
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