A couple of weeks ago the Shanghai 2010 World Exhibition opened up, and will continue for a span of 184 days. This is a luxury event of massive proportions, offering up 253 pavilions from 192 countries. This makes it the world’s first developing country to host a World fair, which ended up being the largest and most expensive one ever, at an estimated $48 billion to host.
Well, the theme of the expo is “Better City, Better Life”, so I suppose some spending was in order. In the pre-planning phase, Beijing had informed Shanghai that it would be a modest event, and yet it turned out being far more exorbitant than the Olympics hosted in Beijing! It is also a celebration to mark Shanghai’s entrance as a World city.
So far, around 25 million tickets have been sold, and city officials are projecting that upwards of 70 million visitors will attend the 184-day event. Should this projection come true, it will break the record set in 1970 when 64 million guests visited the World Expo held in Osaka, Japan.
The opening ceremonies featured an elaborate fireworks display along 2.6 miles of the Huangpu River. The ceremony was nothing short of monumental, a celebration of their success. When Shanghai found out they won the bid in 2002 to host this event, they cleared out the 2.6 miles off the Huangpu River, which involved moving 18,000 families and 270 factories. That is no small feat, and shows that preparations for this event began nearly a decade beforehand!
Today, the stretch along the river is crowded with national pavilions, shops, a sports arena, sculpture gardens and a performing arts center in the shape of a UFO. Out of this World.
How will Shanghai contain all of this extra traffic? The city has hired more than 1.7 million volunteers and adopted Olympic-level security measures, including metal detectors on its subways. They will also be inspecting cars at the city’s entrances, even luxury rental cars, so be prepared.
To end on an amusing note, Chinese people have been urged to be on their best behavior, including the 3,500 police officers on patrol, who have been asked not to eat garlic or other foods that are offensive on the breath. Citizens are urged not to spit, wear pajamas in public, and to behave with only dignity and respect for their country.
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