The Galitz Journal for friends and family
A Touch of Shanghai Expo
Since I was going to be in China for a month I felt I needed to check out the Shanghai World Expo. I had heard that they spent more on this Expo than the Beijing Olympics. It was not heavily publicized for foreignors as it was meant for the people of China. Some Chinese will never have an opportunity to travel outside so this would be their only chance for a peek at other nations.
I was able to obtain a reasonable 90 minute internal China flight to Shanghai by booking way in advance ($50) and found a hostel (Innjoy) with private rooms for $17 a night. I debated on whether to get a sleeper back to Beijing or just take a day train but by the time I booked, I really only had one option — the 11 hour fast day train. It is 1500 kilometers from Shanghai to Beijing — the slow train takes 22 hours.
The last time I was in Shanghai was 2004. As usual with things in China, there has been a lot of changes. Last time when I arrived late, there was very little airport activity. This time the airport was extremely busy. There were very long queues for taxis just like NYC. Too bad the metro closed at 11pm because the taxi to my hostel ended up costing me $27. The only other time I have been hit that hard with a taxi fare was in London, again due to an overdue late night flight and a closed metro. The hostel was quite nice and had a lively neighborhood open market right down the block. All the street food one could imagine and lots of fresh leaping seafood. There is a noticable change in the hostel environment. Nowadays with wireless, it’s a little harder to connect with fellow hostelers as everyone is glued to their laptops or netbooks. Still eventually managed to meet some nice folks who have travelled the world or were in route doing so.
There are several entrances. Getting the pricey $20 entrance ticket wasn’t difficult but they only sell one day at a time. I wandered around and checked out the smaller pavillions with moving lines. I understood from others who have gone that Japan, China and USA have the longest lines. For example, to enter the Japan pavillion it would take 4 hours of waiting in line. As a USA citizen, I could have gone into that pavillion as a VIP flashing my passport and bypassed the queue but I never even got to that part of the Expo. It was definitely interesting to see the architecture and the crowds. The weather wasn’t as warm as it could have been because there were occasional showers. I had bought an umbrella and it was useful for shade when the sun was out and to deflect rain when the showers arrived. I’m glad I had a taste of the expo even if my feet hated me for it.
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