|Waiting to enter Expo 2010|
Writing for the New York Times, David Barboza describes how Tao Renran, an employee of a state-run garment factory, was invited to visit the expo - and given a little extra incentive to show up: "[O]therwise... they would cut our wages" [Something tells me that Ms. Tao can expect a visit from her company's Chief Ideology Officer any day now]. Barboza adds that many Chinese visitors were similarly encouraged to fulfill their patriotic duty and ensure that Expo 2010 would be a world-beater. Only 5.8 percent of attendees were foreigners, but this Fair can certainly be called a success - if only through raw numbers of folks passing through turnstiles.
One sign of the expo's popularity: those lengthy queues to enter national and corporate pavilions. Eight hours was the commonly cited wait for especially popular pavilions like China and Saudi Arabia. Barboza reports, "Some desperate visitors tried to con their way into the special access line of pavilions by pretending to be confined to a wheelchair. And there were reports that elderly women were standing near the entrance gates offering to rent themselves out as Expo escorts for $25 a day — a sure way to pass through the special access line." Now those pavilions are being dismantled as China enters the world's fair pantheon.
|Expo 2010's ubiquitous mascot, Haibao|
Read David Barboza's article: Shanghai Expo Sets Record With 73 Million Visitors
Another view: James T. Areddy's Wall Street Journal article: What Makes a Crowd? In Shanghai, 73 Million
See more: Check out my Expo 2010 video and read my Trip Summary!
(Photographs by Andrew Wood)