Wednesday, October 20, 2010
The Chinese Pavilion was much bigger than I expected and rather awesome. The line getting into the provincial pavilions moved quickly but to get into the main pavilion, you'd have to spend hours to get in so we didn't bother to do so. Scalpers offered to sell tickets (the most popular pavilions issued tickets) for hundreds of Renmingbi.
Guilin, one of the better provincial pavilions.
I've heard nothing good about the Expo but we bought our air tickets early in the year so despite all the bad feed back from friends and our daughter who was there in blistering July and the fact that the first week of October is the National Golden Week on which the whole country is on holidays, we went anyway. We figured that by now the crowds would have diminished.
The only thing good was that the weather was pleasant at 24 C, lower at night. Our plan was to go after lunch and stay there until the end for the lights show but we were so tired and bored that we left at 7 pm. I was never enthusiastic about the World Expo anyway and this visit confirmed my decision: I'll never go to the World Expo again. It's tiring and boring. Fine if you are from the rural places/never been anywhere outside of your town/under 18/getting an Expo passport for hundreds of RMB stamped all with the stamps of as many countries as you can thrills you.
Most of the signs were in Chinese, like these in the new subway station built solely for the Expo. How international is that.
Do you know what this means?
The guy whipped out his camera to take a photo and his wife asked if we knew what the sign meant in English. These Canadians only read Canadian.
I found the English Pavilion scary to look at so I didn't get any nearer. Besides the queue according to the announcement was 4 hours. I've never queued more than a hour for anything and I sure don't want to do that to see some seeds.
So what do you do when all the queues to the nice pavilions are 3 to 6 hours (the Saudi Arabian one is one of the top favorites, but queue SIX hours to get in?)? You get into the no-queue ones like Lithuania (or was it Slovenia?) and eat a delicious cold beets soup.
"Er, what country this is?" I asked Hub and he wondered where my Russian went. Why do they flip their alphabets and how in the world do you pronounce that??
We were on the way out when I saw this building that stood out with wood & carvings: the Nepalese Pavilion. So homey.
When you can't fight the giants, just make do by joining with all the other can't-fight countries. No queues for these.
I would be proud if I was Singaporean.
It tickled me that they always pitch Malaysia and Singapore against/next to each other, just to show the glaring difference I suppose. One's a modern advanced affluent country and the other a kampung. Btw, do we have to use the same model house everywhere? Athough as a citizen I could enter without lining up, I gave this a pass.
I cringed when I saw the New Zealand Pavilion, which is near the Australian Pavilion. Another case of constantly being pitched against each other, although like Singapore, Australia just can't be bothered because it's way ahead.
I didn't go in either. Do I want to line up for an hour to see an audio-visual show of a couple of kangaroos and Australian bedrock?
Every pavilion has a side entrance for their citizens and Hub joined in the small group going into the Canadian Pavilion. I sort of hung at the back of the group, not wanting to get caught. Someone started to sing "O Canada" and another showed his Canadian passport. We weren't asked; I think the pretty lady knew we were lurkers. She ushered us all in, saying "It's always so nice to meet fellow Canadians!" I whispered to Hub that I felt bad but he said we paid foreign students fees for four years and it's payback time for Canada. A little girl came up and gave us each a Canadian flag...
Like I said, I won't be going to anymore of these Expos. Do you really want to line up for hours just to see a big screen showing the scenery of places you've already been to? And if you think the pavilions look good, they actually are cheap-looking up close. So there. Waste of time.