Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Goodbye to Shanghai

Waiting to enter Expo 2010
China pulled off the biggest world's expo in history, and now - after a six-month run - it's over. An estimated 73 million people attended the fair, beating the record set by Osaka back in 1970. How'd the PRC get those numbers in an age when international expositions have been supplanted (to some folks, at least) by the World Wide Web? One way was to get 192 nations and 50 international organizations [wiki] to produce a global confluence of architecture, commerce, and entertainment that couldn't be reproduced online. The other way, just as importantly, was to force Chinese people to attend.

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
Only five years until the next expo. Location? Milan.

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)

1 comment:

Unknown said...

I don't even know how to start this. If I call you 'dude' it would reduce the impact. If I say "SIR", I know you were an enlisted 'puke', with 'knowledge' of who sired, I think I have it correct if I ' send'
Bravo Zulu
I think I got it right.
I am otherwise 'speechlees' which means I can't type as fast as my mouth/mind/beerconnection wants.
Thank you for the 'groove'
Ghoul Power