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Published: July 26th 2010
There are six of these structures, called "Sun Valleys," along the Axis
For those of you regularly reading my travel blog, you may be getting tired of reading about the World Expo. If that's the case, you'll be glad to know that this was our last visit until the fall, when we hope to make one or two more trips. I'm a few weeks late posting this, as our actual trip was on July 8th.
Before going to the Expo, we looked really close at the map to see what the largest areas we hadn't been to so far were and we mapped out our route. The only problem was - for some unknown reason (since I don't speak much Chinese), the taxi driver wouldn't take us to the entrance we wanted to go to. So, we decided to do our route backwards, which worked out OK. We started out walking the whole length of the Expo Axis, which is 1 km. The Expo Axis is 3 levels and has restaurants, shops, etc. There are 6 structures called "Sun Valleys" which seemed to have different sculptures inside of each one. After walking part way, we went to the middle level and eventually the lowest level. Well, the lowest level, which is where
the subway entrances are, was cool and empty! So we finished the length that way. At the end of the Axis, near the Huangpu River, is Celebration Square and next to it is the Cultural Center. We hadn't planned to go into it, but decided it might have some great views, and we were right! This is one of the buildings which will remain after the Expo and inside it has an arena that seats 18,000 people, an ice skating rink, movie theaters, and lots of restaurants and shopping. We enjoyed the observation area as you can see in the pictures.
After leaving the Cultural center, we had to cross Celebration Square to get to the gardens. They had mist coming up in a large area in the square which felt wonderful! The garden was very quiet and peaceful. We rested in the shade, listened to the birds singing, photographed flowers, watched boats on the river, and had some ice cream. It was easy to forget that we were at an event with over 400,000 people attending! This is definitely the most peaceful place I've found at the Expo!
Our next stop was the Baosteel Stage. This seems
to be the Arts Center of the Expo. There was a music performance going on when we arrived, but there were no seats left so we explored the rest of the building. There were many artisans there demonstrating their skills. Painting, calligraphy, and my favorite, the embroidery. They offered to let me try, but my hands were so sweaty that I didn't think I could even hold onto the tiny needle she was using, so I just watched. The girl working when we were there was 19 and had been training for 2 years and had 2 years of schooling to go still. The Chinese are famous for their double sided embroidery.
There was a seating area with big fans all around, so it was a great spot for another rest and to cool off again. Then we checked out the area where there were musical instruments displayed. You were able to pick up and try all of the different instruments. Leah loved the guzheng or lap harp. There was a large wooden butterfly that had a guzheng in each of it's wings that I absolutely loved, it was beautiful! We stayed and played for quite awhile.
This is one of the five permanent buildings constructed at Expo 2010
now time to join the crowds! Leah really wanted to ride the cable car in the Switzerland Pavillion, so we went there first- well, it didn't take her long to decide she didn't want to ride it bad enough to wait a few hours! We decided to wait in the line for the Australia Pavillion. It ended up being not even an hour and was very enjoyable. You started out walking through a display of Australia's history. It was done in rather comical looking statues, so even though you couldn't easily stop to read everything because of the crowd, it was still fun to look at. We did have to wait awhile inside in a big crowd before entering the show, but they had movie screens hanging that were playing clips all about Australia. Then we entered the performance area. The show was great, you have to remember that the Expo theme is "Better City, better Life." There was a group of kids at the beach who decided to build a sand city, so they started talking about all of the things you need for a successful city. There were screens that would go up and circle around the outside
This was the first observation area we arrived at
of the circular stage periodically, and they would show films to add to what the kids were talking about. I guess it's hard to explain, but we really enjoyed it.
We checked out a few other smaller pavillions, and had some yummy Mango smoothies at the Cambodia Pavillion. (ahh, cooled off again!) Have you gotten the idea yet that it was a HOT day?
The new Zealand Pavillion was mostly an outdoor Pavillion. I had heard it was nice, but I wasn't really impressed. I started taking pictures of an interesting tree, only to realize after a few minutes that it was fake!
Malaysia was nice inside. They had an assortment of displays to nicely represent their country. A rain forest looking area, a display of monkeys (no, not real!), some artwork, things grown in their country, products made there and some arts and crafts. I like it so much better when I can go away from a pavillion knowing something about the country! Isn't that the whole idea????
We decided that since it was our last trip, we would get dinner and stay late. I had heard that the lines got a little shorter in the evenings. So,
View from Cultural Center
Looking across the river at the GM Pavillion in the corporate area, zone E
we went to the France Pavillion, which we knew had some artwork displayed. The line theory worked, we only had about an hour wait, compared to 2-3 hrs during the day. You enter in a large courtyard area with greenery and fountains and they had misters you could stand in, so we cooled off again! I have read online that people are even getting married in this area during the Expo. I wonder what that costs???? There were some different displays, even a French chef busy cooking - there is a restaurant in the pavillion. There were some movies about France and there was a robot display. Then there was the Art hall. The Age of Bronze, modeled by Rodin in 1876 was displayed. We had seen Rodin's The Thinker at the Expo Museum and I was surprised at how small it was. This, in comparison, was much larger. There were 6 works of art displayed from Paris. My favorite was 'The Angelus' by Millet, which depicts a farming couple praying in a field as dusk falls. It had also been exhibited at the World Expo in Paris in 1867.
We look forward to another visit in the fall -
View from Cultural Center
Looking across the Huangpu River, you can see an Expo ferry and in the distance, the Oriental Pearl Tower, Jin Mao Tower and the Shanghai World Financial Center
hopefully with less crowds and cooler weather!
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