Last Saturday (October 9)…
we had the exciting opportunity to visit the World Expo, which is coincidentally in Shanghai while we’re here! Since May, the World Expo has attracted over 60 million visitors to the Shanghai area. Can you imagine the boost in economy of the city hosting such a large event (wake up United States)!
Well, Expo was amazing to see! If you don’t know what Expo is, it’s basically a big park (similar to Disney World’s Epcot) where you can walk around and learn about countries around the world without actually travelling there. Most countries build a pavilion which represents the character of their nation inside and out. We didn’t go inside many pavilions since the lines were miles long, but as engineers we enjoyed the architectural features of the buildings more than we would the history inside. The scale of the pavilions is mind-boggling, especially the China pavilion which, at over 200 feet tall, towers above all the others. To imagine the amount of time and effort put into the design and construction of these buildings is actually quite upsetting since they will only be destroyed after Expo is over.
I’m going to keep this post short since the pictures are really worth a thousand words. But I wanted to share a few observations from Expo… I was fairly disappointed with the USA pavilion. Other pavilions were extremely innovative and modern and the USA resembled some sort of institutional NASA building. They also had a cowboy on stilts running around… can you be more stereotypical?! Also, you would think for such a large event that they would have an English translator for signs around the park (check out the “Carefully ground obstacles, Becare walk” sign). The women’s toilets were like urinals in the ground. At first sight, it’s a little scary trying to imagine how to use it, but when you think about it, it completely makes sense. You’re not going to sit on toilet seats that a million others have used anyway, so why not just squat and avoid the hassle of the seat altogether! And finally, in such an environmentally conscious world, there were all kinds of measures taken to ensure that Expo is operating as efficiently as possible, by using electric buses, etc. But what about all the massive buildings they constructed to be demolished after only 6 months? I hope they at least recycle the materials!