[Shanghai Photos] Shanghai World Expo, Better City Better Life

So I’ve been meaning to put up these photos from the World Expo, but to be honest, I’m sure that by now we’ve all seen or skimmed through  pictures of what each of the Pavillion looks like. It’d be boring if I just posted pictures of the pavilions so instead I’ll just post pictures of what I thought the Expo represented to me with my thoughts. As I have said earlier, Shanghai had changed a a lot in the last year and a half since I last studied there. Most of the changes were made due to the Expo and the image that the city along with what China wanted to portray to te foreign tourists and Chinese people from outside of Shanghai. The makeup of the audience when I was there was heavily Chinese. I say 90% Chinese 10% foreigners. It was to a point where I felt relieved to hear some English. I didn’t bother to line up for 5-8 or whatever hours it took to see some of the popular pavilions so I decided to head in to the ones with the shortest wait. Those pavilions were the following:

UN Pavilion, Pavilion for international organizations, and small pavilions that only had pictures hanging on the walls and a message from the head of the government.

I encountered an interesting situation when I tried to enter the Japanese pavilion. The line was already a 4 hour wait so I rushed to the side to see if there was anyone that spoke Japanese. It was the day when the Chinese boat captain was released from Japan and returned to China. It was interesting to see how yet so many people in line wanting to see the Japanese pavilion as Diplomatic tensions still took place. Soon enough, I found out that the Japanese student Ambassadors were wearing something like this so it wasn’t too hard to spot them. I asked if I could enter without waiting in line and the girl, who looked exhausted yelling and telling Chinese visitors to remain calm and not to push people in line, told me that would be possible. So as I was about to enter I could feel hundreds of Chinese people in line stearing at me with rage. The very next moment a Chinese guard came up to me and told me to wait in line. His explanation was that it wasn’t fair to the people who have been waiting. At that point I looked over to the girl who said yes to me and she told me that I should follow what the security guard told me. It was an interesting situation to be in nonetheless of the political situation during that week between Japan and China.

To me, what was most interesting was how there were so many student volunteers within and outside the Expo. Everytime I would ask a security guard a question in English, they would always point me to a student volunteer who would speak decent English or a third or fourth language added on to that.

Overall, I didn’t have the greatest time of my life at the Expo but I could generally see how the Chinese people were full of excitement to explore and see different cultures. You can’t feel or understand what the country is all about by just going to the pavilion but its a great way to see all the different pavilions coming together and making this great event. I was just exhausted after 3 hours of walking. The Expo is HUGE! I think if you can get through 5-8 pavilions you’re in good shape. My personal favorite was the UN pavilion since I didn’t have to wait and I actually got to talk to UN officials about their job and what they wanted to portray at the Expo.

One last note that I have to talk about is the Expo Passport. For every pavilion, there is  a special stamp that you can get on your Expo Passport. Now, I don’t know how cool stamps are these days but the Expo stamps were somewhat of a status where I witnessed people fighting over stamps and even taking off without looking at the pavilion right after they got the stamp, which was sad, but the people who had to stamp everyone also has a tough task of staying awake.

Here are some of the photos I came out with.

Picture #1: Guards holding back visitors outside the Japan Pavilion. Most people go on to other pavilions after hearing that the wait is4 hour wait but some had multiple day passes so that they could see all the pavilions. The guards have a long day as well as the workers and student ambassadors at the Expo.

Picture #2: Inside Cambodia Pavilion. Pavilion visitors await anxiously to get there Expo Passports stamped.

Picture #3: At the UN Pavilion. Most visitors didn't have time to stop by and look at the 8 Millinium Development Goals that the UN has set up.

Picture #4: A lady sits and rests amongst the other visitors walking by her. Many people carried around their own chairs already prepared for the long wait.

Picture #5: China Pavilion. Great weather.

Picture #6: Chinese flags were everywhere in Shanghai that week for Guo Qing Jie.

Picture #7: Expo student volunteers did a great job helping people with directions and tips on which pavilions to check out.

Creative Commons Licence
Go Katayama – Photojournalist in Beijing by Go Katayama is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
Based on a work at gokatayama.com.

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