Shanghai World Expo 2010 – Photo Essay
Shanghai 2010 World Expo
On my 2010 trip to China I ended up in Shanghai after a night train from Beijing; and since this was in 2010, the Shanghai World Expo was on.
And World Expo is one of those things I haven’t quite ever figured out, so naturally I was curious.
They have this huge area where all the countries come in and build a building for themselves and then they fill it with things they want to showcase about their country.
And then people pay to come in to see the buildings and the stuff in the buildings. Which actually is quite like all the national houses in London during the Olympics.
They were expecting about 70 million people to visit. That’s over dozen times the population of Finland; and a lot more than the population of UK.
That to me seemed like a very ambitious target, so I figured I really should do my part. The expo only ran about six months, so that’s almost half a million people every day. Alright, alright, it’s more like 400.000, but half a million just sounds better, ok.
London Olympics had about 8 million tickets sold, so basically the World Expo is like the Olympics that lasted six months.
Half a million visitors every day?
Where do you get so many people?
These were the questions on my mind as I got to the Shanghai world expo area and was greeted by sight of empty yard. This didn’t seem right. Was it open today?
It seemed too quiet outside the expo area
Apparently it was, but I was still looking around a bit suspiciously even after I had got my ticket. Was this whole thing a flop? There was nobody here. Maybe the half a million visitors’ thing hadn’t worked out at all. Maybe nobody was coming.
It wasn’t until I got thru the gates, I realized that no, the half a million people a day seemed to be working alright. Apparently everyone just got here early, really really early; which started to make sense to me after I had a look at the map and started walking around.
The Chinese pavilion – which was sort of upside down pyramid
South Korea had gone for stairs, cubes and rectangles
Sweden’s pavillion does remind me a little of Ikea
The Swiss Pavilion
The Polish pavilion, sort of a cube
Iceland’s umm well, ice cube
The place was huge.
There were five main themed pavilions, then there were the country pavilions and top of that there were some corporate pavilions; and if you wanted to get into any of them, well then you would be queuing for hours. Some of them actually even required a separate ticket, which you couldn’t buy on site.
The inside of one of the more corporate pavilions
Queue outside the Spanish pavilion
Back entrance to the Saudi Arabia’s pavilion, that’s why it seems empty
Girl playing in front of the Austrian Pavilion
And I wasn’t quite in the mood for queuing for hours to get in somewhere.
So, I just contented myself with walking around checking out the buildings themselves, and they were funky indeed.
However my online research into the expo had revealed one very handy fact, which was that my Finnair boarding pass would get me access to the VIP line of the Finnish pavilion. Now it wouldn’t had been my first choice for a pavilion, but as they say, you don’t look a VIP horse into the mouth.
And at least this was Finnair doing something for me, as they did loose my luggage on the way to Beijing.
The Finnish pavilion was called Kirnu, a giant’s kettle; and not surprisingly it was actually shaped like a giant kettle. And it wasn’t just the outside; there actually was an empty space at the middle.
The Finnish pavilion, Kiuru, or the big kettle
The kettle was surrounded by water which is important for Finnish
Inside the big kettle
I actually quite liked the building, but I am not quite sure I agree with all the things they wanted to showcase about Finland.
The air guitar, really?
I don’t think we can create a massive export out of air guitars; those things are quite cheap to design and build anywhere. I suppose today, it would be full of Angry Birds.
After I got out, something more familiar caught my eye.
It couldn’t be.
A Porter House!
Porter House, good beer
Which is one of my favourite pubs in London, and they also have pubs in Dublin and New York; and apparently in Shanghai for the Expo. It was such a welcome sight and taste after all the Chinese beer I had been drinking on my trip up until then.
Now this kind of foreign stuff I could appreciate.
So it was with a pint of beer brewed in Dublin I contemplated what I had seen that day. A lot of weird and interesting buildings, but which I don’t think are very useful as such.
But I’m glad they’ve done it. The world needs more crazy and funky buildings in my opinion. I also later learned that the expo actually still made a decent profit after it had cost almost 2 billion US dollars. That’s what you can do when you get 70 million visitors.
But what I had learned, is I quite like looking at funky buildings; and I’d be quite happy to visit another World Expo to see some more of those.
Dutch Pavilion was pretty cool
And offered shade from the sun
The UK pavilion was called “Seed Cathedral” and actually won the title of Best Pavilion at the Expo
Turkey’s red pavilion at the back
The Russian Pavilion
Have you ever visited a World Expo? Would you want to?