Thursday, August 19, 2010

EXPO'sing Shanghai 2010

A right place at the right time.  A recent spate of business trips brings  me to this amazing city and of course, if only to halt the barrage of “have you been to EXPO?” “have you seen the EXPO?” “are you going to EXPO”, I’m off to EXPO!  The last time I ‘did’ EXPO, it was 1974, in Spokane, Washington (where I was raised) and I was a part of the excitement.  A girl scout with a troop and a flag and a role to play in welcoming the world to our little piece of America. 


Now, a few years on (!!), I’m in the right city to check on the progress of the world in a way that only a demonstration of our very best behaviours can deliver.


See full size imageHere’s the thing.  I don’t get EXPO.  There is no point to it (unless you’re a flag bearer, see above).  It’s not about forging economic ties.  It’s not about demonstrating sports superiority.  Every pavilion I did visit (follow any rapidly moving queue) attempted to highlight their environmental sensitivity.  Usually in neon and with lots of plastic bling.  Other than that, nothing.   Here, in particular, the lack of point is particularly pointy.  You see, even on a Wednesday, with full on lightning, thunder, torrential rain and 35° C muggy heat, the queue time for all but the most unknown pavilions (those I visited) is 3 hours – AT IT’S FASTEST!!! At 10:00am!!!


I’ve VISITED countries I wouldn’t spend 3 hours to fly to let alone queue to get into – the UAE (4.5 hours) being one.  A couple further observations:


-          If you are a dictator in exile looking for a country to invade and call your own – pick China.  Hurry, before EXPO ends.  Until then, I’m pretty certain no one is guarding the borders, because as near as I can tell, every single Chinese person is in one of the EXPO queues.

-          There are NO QUEUES to get into the toilets.  THIS IS THE GOOD THING!

-          Queue etiquette is unique to every country.  Different is different, not bad.  Just fu*king annoying.  I usually demand dinner before allowing a man to breathe down my neck and/or rub up against me.  Or a woman for that matter.

-          Some countries have done EXPO on the cheap – with pavilions they bought from IKEA (on EBAY) – good on ‘em.

-          This is the closest I’ll get to North Korea (no queue – I walked right in … this concerns me … I’m having a strange desire to take over the world)

-          No one seemed to be concerned about carrying a PLCD (personal lightning conducting device) (aka Umbrella) – if there’s a queue moving, the risk is worth taking!


An interesting day, worth every CNY.  Sometimes, it’s best to just love the journey and not get too caught up in the destination.


Love, Me xx