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Expo2010 - September Visit

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Thought I'd share a bit about the trip to Shanghai and Expo2010 with y'all. Rita and I and Gary Holmes made the trip over on the 4th/5th of September via American Airlines out of Chicago ... a merciless 14 hour flight which Gary slept through and I did not. Did you know that all three of the Economy Class meals for the flight are stored and prepared from the galley in the rear of the Boeing 777? It's true. But you wanted to hear about the Fair...

After 4 months of Expo operation and years of planning and construction, I'm sure most everyone has seen pictures of the pavilions -- both day and night. Gary and I thought you might like to see some pictures of another sort. So here's some photos and observations of the Fair that you might not have gotten before.

Expo 2010 is EVERYWHERE in Shanghai.

It's on the city buildings: DSCF1989.JPG

It's on the city lightpoles: DSCF1990.JPG

It's in the Metro stations: DSCF2006.JPG

It's even on the Metro's car hang straps! DSCF2001.JPG

I couldn't help but wonder if Expo would go to as much effort to take down all of the advertising for the Fair as they did to put it up once Expo ends in October, or if one will be able to see signs of Expo many years from now in advertising that was never removed.

New York World's Fair 1964/1965 President Robert Moses would be turning over in his grave if he saw this:


I assume that electrical cables lie under these contraptions and they are virtually all over the Expo site. I'm surprised I didn't see more people tripping over them than I did (well I tripped over them anyway). The Expo site seems very much like it was designed to be turned back over to commercial city property as quickly as possible after the Fair ends. Major city streets criss-cross the site and these streets are all set to open back up to traffic as soon as the site's perimeter fencing is cleared away come November. Traffic signals are in place and working and all of the pavement markings are set for lane dividers, turn lanes, etc. Landscaping is at a minimum around most of the temporary pavilions and it looks like as soon as those pavilions come down the city blocks that they now occupy will be available for immediate development.

Moses would be happy to see that some of the ideas from his Fair are still in use today ...

... like the 2010 version of the Glide-a-Rides: DSCF2479.JPG

... and the 2010 version of the General Foods Archways: DSCF2501.JPG

... and the 2010 version of the ever lovin' Belgian Waffle stand: DSCF2217.JPG

... and here's a picture of Expo 2010's version of 1964's Argentina Pavilion (built but never occupied):


Argentina is present at this Fair.

There have been many many comments on the long lines and the line jumpers. As Gary has already mentioned, we tended to go later in the day to the Fair and stayed later at night when the lines were not as long. We concentrated on those pavilions without long lines during the day and hit the popular pavilions in the evening. During the week we were at Expo, the attendance ranged from 233,000 people to about 425,000 people with the highest attendance on Friday and Saturday. Frequent Public Address announcements would let Fairgoers know the waiting time for the busiest pavilions so that those could be avoided. I think I waited in line for about 80 minutes to get into the German Pavilion and that was my longest wait.

Expo officials must have been listening to the complaints about line jumpers because we experienced very few of them, if any. Each pavilion had 4 or 5 security guards stationed at the line and popular pavilions had police stationed at the lines. The most popular pavilions had military personnel stationed at the line!

Below is a photo of the waiting line for the Saudi Arabia Pavilion. As you've no doubt heard this pavilion (and the OIL Pavilion) have the longest lines of any at the Fair. The wait time for Saudi and OIL were both in excess of 6 hours daily while we were there. The wait line for the Saudi Pavilion was divided into sets of canopy-covered stantions in which the queue waited. At the head of each canopy section was a 3-man military guard. As the section in front cleared out, the guard would formally ESCORT the next queue into the open stantions ahead. If you look closely at the highlited area in the photo you will see three green and red unifored military officers preparing to escort their "group" of people to the next canopy waiting area. Needless to say, there was no line-jumping at the Saudi Pavilion.


Then again perhaps it wasn't a military threat that kept us Fairgoers in line. These threatening signs hung over every waiting queue:



I think they were trying to tell us not to shout. Sometimes the language gets a bit confusing in the translation from Chinese to English. This was the sign over a hotel just down the street from ours:


I think they meant BOLD NEW WORLD HOLIDAY HOTEL and not NEW WORLD HOLIDAY BOLD HOTEL. If not, maybe we missed out on something by not staying there? The French Pavilion simply decided to put up pictures to get their point across:


Speaking of signage, it was obvious that Expo did not plan for the crush of visitors to pavilions as directional signs were often located within the queue line and barely visible from the passing crowds. Gary and I both remarked that it was strange that the Expo officials didn't do a better job of planning for crowds considering the theme of the Fair centered around planning for a better city. The signage was really quite good when not within the queue:


Three 1964/1965 New York World's Fair Geeks having fondu at the Swiss Pavilion: DSCF2376.JPG (left to right: Gary Holmes, Gary Miller, Bill Young) The Swiss are selling the flashing red photo-electric cells that adorn the pavilion complete with certificates of authenticity.

Here I am outside my favorite pavilion: The People's Democratic Republic of Korea: DSCF2068.JPG

I signed all my postcards from the Fair, Help! Being held hostage at the North Korea Pavilion. Please send cookies and Jimmy Carter. Otherwise, having a great time at the Fair. Wish you were here!

I was hoping to have my photo taken with "Dear Leader." The best I could manage was a book cover in the pavilion's gift shop. DSCF2077.JPG

In case the State Department isn't aware of it, the Iranians are building a nuclear reactor ... as this lovely model in the Iranian Pavilion shows: DSCF2082.JPG

And speaking the the US State Department, it takes A LOT of corporate sponsors to come up with a US Pavilion at a World's Fair these days: DSCF1984.JPG

My favorite pavilions: The Kingdom of Morocco (drop-dead gorgeous interior and excellent exhibits. It took them 7 months to apply all of the tile to the interior. It was amazing, enchanting and beautiful), Chile (another gorgeous interior with fine exhibits), Finland (interesting projection of Finnish life on the interior of the curving walls of the pavilion), Nepal (3 years to carve all of the wood trim in the pavilion).

Most hard-sell: Venezuela. Couldn't stop talking about the socialist wonderland that Venezuela has become since the revolution.

Most "OMG ... I can't believe this!" Pavilion: Italy. The pavilion's worth a 2 hour wait because it takes you 3 hours to see everthing they have inside. And the pavilion is built to last forever so I hope Shanghai turns it into a gallery or something.

Best Cuban rum: Cuba.

And while we were in Shanghai, Arnold Schwarzenegger was in town looking over Expo 2010 and Shanghai. Seems he wants to put in a bid to the BIE for World Expo 2020 to be held in Silicon Valley. Someone should tell him that the US doesn't "do" World's Fairs anymore is what China Daily, reporting on his visit, seemed to be saying. WAKE UP CONGRESS AND THE US STATE DEPARTMENT! WORLD'S FAIRS ARE ALIVE AND WELL AND THE WORLD IS NOTICING THAT WE AREN'T PUTTING IN MUCH OF AN EFFORT ANY MORE.

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Hi, yes, all that Bill writes is very accurate - I wrote a quick report with pics on Bill's pre-trip post, but don't know how to transfer it over it to here - so here is the connection, if you haven't seen it already.


My post is post #3

A little addition: 9.23.10 I finally had time to sort out my trip and here is a list of my faves at Expo:

Australia - great exhibits, a really good, inventive movie, nicely designed and great Aussie burgers in the outside dining area (Bill and I out first night's dinner here)

Chile - gorgeously designed and presented - a most impressive smaller pavilion - I hope it will be preserved somewhere.

France - really excellent display. You take an escalator to the top floor, then proceed down a ramp, going from movies about France to old french films to various art displays, including great pictures from the Musee d'Orsay. The BIG MINUS, however, was the 'single tunnel' effect. The overwhelming majority of the people raced past everything and it was hard to stop and contemplete of enjoy. But in itself, well designed and presented. On the other hand, there was:

Italy - Gorgeously designed and presented in every single way. A lot to see, but not too much of one thing. An open gallery style of presentation also meant that you could go from here to there and back to whatever you wanted to look at and didn't necessarily have a line of people pushing you forward.

Germany - I believe most of the people in line (and well over 99 per cent of them were Chinese) for this pavilion just wanted to see the giant digital ball presentation - it swung around and told some story about a German boy and Chinese girl - with live actors, too. But, even though it was cute, my fave things in this building were the displays that led up to the show - all of which practically everyone but me raced past in order to get to the 'ball". The building was really neat, too!

SPAIN - Probably my fave building at the fair. The architecture was terific and I really liked the three stage presentation/display inside. First was an atlospheric movie bringing you into the roots of Spain, during which a live dancer gets up and performs SPanish dances. A movie on five or six screens is next (a walk through, which everyone but me and Bill and Rita jsut raced through) and is quite dynamic and extremely well done. Finally, there is a room with this huge audio animatronic BABY - which the Chinese have fallen in love with. I have no idea what its meaning, if any, is, but I thought it was super-neat and didn't really care if or how it fit into the theme or the rest of the pavilion. AND, Bill, Rita and I had an excellent dinner in the pavilion's restaurant

Thailand - a really neat three-stage presentation, with 3D movies, animated figures and a whole slew of special effects. And at the end, the figures make comments in Chinese that the audience was really laughing at - wish I knew what they were saying! Could have played at NYWF 6465.

Theme Pavilions - lots of large displays and graphics but all very well done and were much better at getting their point across than the pavilions that had a million things to read or presented very dry

U.K. - Truly a stunning piece of archtecture. I waited 50 minutes to get into the inside of the 'seed cathedral' and I'm glad I did. It was an experiecne. I spent almost 20 minutes 'engaging' the building, while most of my fellow line waiters gave it ten seconds, at most!! I don't understand that! Fifty minutes in line and then race through??? The exhibits were nice, but minimal. The seed cathedral is really what this pavilion is about, and that is enough. I was surprised, though, that at night it wasn't more radiant

State Grid - really neat light show that took place in a square box. Reminded me, but was really not like, Kaleidoscope at Expo 67.

The site at night - It was truly gorgeous and became somewhat magical. During the day, the Expo site planning (street signs and traffic lights aready up for the post-Expo development) and the very plain, utilitarian buildings the Expo corporation has littered the site with, make for a less than magical daytime experience. Luckily, there is some great pavilion architecture, all of which shows up best at night, with all the utilitarian Expo buildings vanishing into the darkness. Night highlights for me: The light shows put on the Expo axis umbrellas, the DREAM CUBE night light show - a sort of 2010 version of 1964's Tower of Light, and the European area.

Also excellent were, MExico, Morocco, Finland and more!

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Excellent report, Bill!

What's the story with the yellow Unisphere bag?

Love the "Whizzing Prohibited" sign! :lol:

Unisphere bag is one of the Cafepress items that can be purchased at nywf64.com :D

It was the "carry-all" at the Fair for umbrellas, cameras, tickets, maps, empty water bottles for refilling on the site and just general "stuff."

Yeah, I had to do a double-take when I saw that sign at the entrance to the courtyard in the French Pavilion. The courtyard had a beautiful fountain in the center and I couldn't help but think "shades of Flushing Meadows Park" when I saw that sign and the reports of parkgoers going in the fountains at the park.

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