A day visit to Shanghai Expo on 27 August. Together with the 2008 Beijing Summer Olympic Games, I’d imagine the memory of Shanghai Expo is going to be something that the city is going to keep for some more years, if not decades. It has been publicized for many months now that many pictures of national pavilions set up on the site would probably be available with a simple google search. I had to make this visit to have a look at it myself, and as is always the case with this kind of event, I have to admit the visit was not that exciting.

Fortunately, the four days in Shanghai this time were cloudy with some breeze, so it was relieving that the kind of heat and humidity that I experienced back in 2003 did not exist. A friend of mine in Shanghai told me that one week ago, the weather was deadly hot, so I suppose I was quite lucky. But, this meant that all the worries about visitors suffering from heat wave were real (see a news article, ‘Shanghai Expo braces for heat wave‘). Even the cooler weather that I experienced still made me sweat while walking around the site. I have to say there were not much to see, unless you are ‘really’ interested in those fancy-looking pavilions, which are going to be demolished fairly soon, once the Expo nears its conclusion. Visitors would have to enter each pavilion if they are to have any unique experience, but then, the huge number of local Chinese people visiting the site meant that non-VIP visitors were to normally wait in a very long queue for quite some time.
To prevent people from being hit adversely by the unbearable heat while waiting in queues, the Expo organisers seemed to have come up with a rather unusual measure – a cool, moisturised air blow that switches on every few minutes (see the picture below). At first, I was caught unexpected when this first struck me while walking past another queue. It looked like some sort of hot-air disinfectant that I used to see during my childhood, but then, I quickly realised what it really was. Yet, it somehow does not make me feel comfortable, and I’d prefer not to be exposed to this…

All in all, vising Expo appears to be something of a must for tourists who can afford to travel to Shanghai. Daily counts show that more than 300,000 people visit Expo everyday. But then, given the long queue one has to stand in order to get into each pavilion, I wonder how many pavilions each visitor could actually manage. I would probably not recommend Expo to be your main purpose of visiting Shanghai.

Some small facts. One piece of Belgian waffle is sold at 40 yuan outside the Belgian pavilion. Not a realistic price for normal Chinese tourists. Also, the metro service between Madang Street station and the Expo site is free of charge. I am not sure if any other countries would be as generous… Well, I have not visited many pavilions, hence not many pictures of them. Just a couple of them below…


Inside Belgian Pavilion (I was lucky to get a VIP pass…)