The UK pavilion at the Shanghai World Expo
Ow, ow, ow! That’s what I say every time I try to walk. My feet are in a very delicate state after 12 hours of walking the 5 square kilometre Expo site on its first day of opening to the public. To add to that, it seems summer timed its arrival to coincide with the Expo opening, so not only did I sweat like a pig, but my arms are a nice shade of pink and are going to be quite sore for the next few days, I’m sure. So was it all worth it? Well, yes.
The Portuguese pavilion
Quite a few people have questioned my sanity for deciding to go on the opening day. Sure, I could wait a few months for the excitement to die down, but surely opening day has its merits too. I mean, apart from anything else, I get to report back to all the blog readers and share my experience so that when you guys go, you’ll know what to expect.
And so without further ado, here’s my Expo opening day report:
I think the easiest way to get to the Expo site is to take the special Expo subway line (13) from Madang Lu / Xu Jia Hui Lu. The entire line only has 3 stops, so you can either get out at Lupu Bridge (Puxi side) or carry on to the main Expo site which of course is across the river in Pudong.
There were no crowds when I arrived at the subway station at around 10am, so after a quick security check, I was on the subway line and a short few minutes later I was at the Expo site. The excitement was starting to build up as I took the escalator up to street level and headed straight for zone C where most of the European pavilions are located. I won’t hide the fact that top of my list of places to see was the UK pavilion and so I have to admit I sort of rushed passed a few of the other pavilions (Portugal, Czech Republic, Turkey, Sweden) and headed directly for the UK pavilion.
I think it’s by far the most interesting and original pavilion but unfortunately, it seems most of the Chinese visitors shared my view and so the queue for this was the longest by far. The estimated queuing time was over 3 hours. THREE HOURS! So sadly, I did not get the chance to look inside on this first visit.
180 minutes. Is that supposed to sound faster than 3 hours?
I did get to see the Spanish pavilion. The line was long but it moved quickly and after just 20 minutes I was inside.
There are 3 main halls in the Spanish pavilion. The first looked like the inside of a cave and on the walls of the cave they projected movie clips in a sort of 360 degree format on both sides which was amazing. There was also a live dance performance which was integrated in to the video clips being shown.
Live performance in the Spanish pavilion
In the next room were several large TV screens showing various aspects of Spanish life. One of the screens was vertical which was interesting because usually movie screens are horizontal. The clips being shown on the vertical screen were shot specifically in the vertical format. There was also one screen overhead which was very cool. At one stage, they showed a clip of a group of people looking down at the audience which gave the funny sensation that we were being watched. I almost felt like waving back up at the people in the video.
Multi-media presentation in the Spanish pavilion
The screen directly above showing people waving down at the audience
And in the final room, the centrepiece was a gigantic baby, and I mean HUGE! It was a little creepy because the baby wasn’t a happy smiley baby, in fact, he seemed a little troubled. I am not sure what this was supposed to represent but it was interesting nonetheless.
In part two, I’ll show you – among other things – the most popular pavilion of the Expo which of course is the Chinese pavilion and I’ll share my vote for worst pavilion. Stay tuned!