Published: June 5th 2010May 21st 2010
Today, we were each feeling confident about where to go and what to do on this 3rd day at the Shanghai Expo 2010. Shama Apartment offered free breakfast but the first 2 days, we were all too lazy to go down and besides, it felt soooo good to sleep in the whole morning! On our 3rd morning, we decided to check out what they offer. Coffee, good. Bread, good variety. Jams and Marmalades, not bad. Cereals, good selection. Yet somehow, I miss our self-prepared breakfasts of dimsum and noodles! Plus the previous night's leftover fried rice (with scallops!) from Bi Feng Tang which Martin adores!
Metro To the Expo 2010
By this time, we have mastered the turns we had to take walking to the nearest metro station, and the metro lines and interchange to get to the Expo. Remember , there were 10 of us including the 3 kids. As soon as the trains opened their doors, we were all ready to get in. But it was so cramped, we made the instant decision to get off and wait for the next train. Too late we realized all 9 of us got off and left
one (call him Papi) on the train. Looking through the train windows, we saw Papi look in front of him, to the back, then search on his left and right sides for anyone of us. It was both funny and scary losing one member in our group. I tried to get his attention, with my fingers displaying 6 to mean "Get off on the 6th station" ---- but Papi never looked my way. Lol.
Thank God for cellphones, we were able to advise Papi to wait for us in the next interchange 6 stops ahead. Martin was so overjoyed to see his Papi again and hugged him as soon as we found Papi in the Yaohua station. Papi lost. Papi found.
So, all's well but for that brief mishap. Lesson learned: count off members of your party!
Expo Shuttle to the Americas & Africa
We walked past the pavilions of Middle East and Central Asian countries to take the Expo Shuttle to the pavilions of American and South African nations. We stood first in line to get on the next bus, with many more behind us, waiting for the same ride. The
next bus was nearly full, and having just come off our metro mishap where we "lost" one in our group, we decided to stand by and wait for the next Expo Shuttle. By the time the shuttle reached our bus stop and opened its doors, we didn't move to get on. Those behind us tried to push us forward , while we tried to explain we want to wait for the next ride. But just how do you explain that to those behind us, most of whom are Chinese? You bet we heard a lot of expletives then and there . Thank God we did not understand a word. Ohhh, the problem and burden of being understood!
We got off between the UK and Italy Pavilion, past the Switzerland and France Pavilions. The Americas Square was difficult to miss. For a moment, we considered checking out the Carribean Islands Pavilion, but instead went directly to the Canada Pavilion. The pavilion staff were most helpful and friendly especially to the younger members of our group. Eagerly, the kids rode the stationery bicycles running the cartoon clips. Having exhausted themselves, the ice cream bar right outside the pavilion received
Tip: You get your "passport" stamped right at the entrance!
more than just a token notice.
Then off to the America Pavilion. There were a number of American student volunteers in the pavilion who speak very very fluent Mandarin! Many local Chinese tourists spoke with them in rapid fire Mandarin , and I was amazed these student volunteers from different states of America (one was from Kansas, another from Ohio) were able to cope up with them. They sure know their Mandarin alright. By the time President Obama's face came off the screen saying "Ni hao", we all felt we would never hear a word of English inside the Pavilion. Hillary Clinton was featured too, and so with famous basketball star Kobe Bryant. Ni hao! Personally, I can miss the America Pavilion. Not much to see there. We enjoyed Canada a lot more.
Brazil Pavilion is like a shrine for soccer sport. I still remember Pele and can understand this soccer player has championed the sport in his country. There were interactive games inside which the kids enjoyed. One section of the pavilion showed a lot of soccer balls caught in a net hanging by the ceiling. Right beside the Brazil Pavilion is the Colombia Pavilion.
If you can, do not sit at the back. You will have anxieties trying to get off at your stop, esp if the bus is overstuffed!
Patricia found a statue where one can sign or leave messages , much like graffiti. In this case, it is not against the law so Patricia didn't waste the chance to write something.
We lingered for a while at the Americas Square, mulled over whether we should give the Carribean Pavilions a peek, then decided against it. This time around , all energy's sapped! We only managed to view the African pavilions from outside. And the many other South American and Caribbean pavilions. Feet sore, leg muscles with intermittent cramps, stomachs forever grunting, eyes too sleepy to stay open. We snatched every chance to sit it out on the benches outside the pavilions. Clue enough to make us decide to call it a day. At least, the kids had their fun at the Canada Pavilion. Oh, not to forget, we also had a good lunch at the HAIKU restaurant near the Italian and Netherlands Pavilion. Haiku serves Japanese food and is right above a pizzeria. Don't miss it, if you have grown tired of American and Chinese food at the Expo.
On our way back, we took the same shuttle and the same metro. We didn't
lose any member of the party. Papi lost. Papi found. Papi cautious. We nudged each other as we noticed Papi looking left, and right, back and front. From that time on, we would all observe, look at each other and chorus "PAPI _____" . It was like a game the kids quickly got hooked on.
For dinner, we did a "China out" and switched back to Philippine food. As I earlier blogged, Filipinos only take a moment to crave for foods they grew up on. Luneta
is the first Filipino restaurant in Shanghai and we loved their food!!!! (Those of you who want to try some of our Filipino dishes I listed in an earlier blog --- Eating Around the Philippines: Lechon, Max's Fried Chicken, Kare Kare, Adobo, Pinakbet, Tinola and Balut!
---may visit Luneta restaurant bar) On full and sated stomachs, we even found time to try karaoke singing as we enjoyed the evening here. The kids must have been a little embarassed watching us "have fun".
Well.......just to show you that there is simply no excuse not to enjoy Shanghai. The Expo, the food, the company, the night-outs! C'est la vie........ Go check out my Day 1( Shanghai Expo 2010: Asia, Middle East and the Pacific) and Day 2 ( Shanghai Expo 2010: European Pavilions) at the Expo. We had "more energy" then. UPDATE: I had a 2nd shot at the World Expo in Shanghai last July. This time, visited more South American, African and Carribean pavilions. Uploaded some of these "inside shots" on this blog. You may also check out my blog : The Inside Story: Some Unfinished Business @World Expo in Shanghai
I highly recommend visiting the African pavilion. You can't beat having all of 62 countries united under a single pavilion. Same with the Carribean Community or Caricom Pavilion, which I enjoyed so much with its reggae music which seemed to transport us to some tropical island. Both combined pavilions had a good layout and far easier to visit than shuttling under the sweltering heat from one country pavilion to the next. Among the latin american pavilions, we visited Colombia, Chile, Argentina and Mexico. The lines are not as long, and because the crowds are relatively "thinner", the temp inside the pavilions is comfortably cool. We tried lunch in both Chile and Mexico and wish we ate elsewhere. Quite pricey too, and service is bad. My second group visited USA Pavilion and liked it. I did not. So I guess it is all a question of
Inside Canada Pavilion. The stationary bike runs the cartoon film clip.
preference, or perhaps expectations. What I would single out as a pleasant adventure is my visit to the small pavilion of Tunisia. The layout design and video clip spoke volumes on Tunisian heritage. Angola was also a good find, but the South Africa Pavilion drew more crowds if only for the famous Jabulany soccer ball where almost everyone felt he had to have a picture taken. That stalled the lines even more. Can't blame them. It's the FIFA season, albeit just ended!
There are more photos below