[Monday May 31]-- We returned to the Expo on our final day in Shanghai, and visited as many pavilions as we could. Our plan was to stay into the evening (which we did) and witness the fireworks that are done every evening (we didn't stay that long). The expo was a great place to visit-- I wish we the queues had been shorter such that we could have seen more of the larger pavilions. However, I found the experience to be worthy of our expense in traveling, and I hope to visit Shanghai again sometime.
The promenade walkway at the expo. There were two promenades that intersected one another-- they're enormous. The promenades are elevated steel decks-- there is also a walkway underneath. (The major promenade also has an additional sunken level that connects to the subway.) I have tried to imagine how much steel went into the construction of these promenade decks alone. There were a few electric 6-seat vehicles (like a large golf cart) powered by fuel cells, that shuttled people along the promenades, if you were willing to wait for them. No people up here-- they are all in the queues trying to get into the pavilions.
Perhaps one of the most interesting, and in my opinion most creative, was the Chile pavilion. The entire inside was constructed of a sculptured plywood, featuring the natural resources of Chile. They also were featuring Chilean wines, and had free wine tasting! Apparently this was an exception-- we were there on the right day at the right time. We spent some time talking with a couple of the Chilean representatives, who were very friendly and informative. We were told that, although the earthquake was very destructive, the Chileans are very familiar with earthquakes and will pick themselves up, rebuild, and move on-- quite stoic. They also said that wine production this year will be very minimal, as one of the primary wine regions of Chile was heavily impacted by the earthquake. Chile is high on our list of future places to visit-- definitely a fly fishing destination.
Russia pavilion-- large queues to get in
Ukraine pavilion. Their exhibit featured a small cafe style restaurant, where we had lunch. What else-- chicken Kiev!
The United Kingdom pavilion as seen from the Netherlands pavilion. The U.K. pavilion was "Thousand Points of Light", and built around a theme of a project launched by Kew Gardens in London. The project plans to archive and catalog plant seeds from around the world, as many species become extinct from climate change. Nope-- didn't get inside. Major queues.
The Netherlands pavilion. One of the more bizarre exhibits, this pavilion was a spiral ramp with a number of small exhibit windows that featured both the artistic, agricultural, and technological prowess of The Netherlands. At first I thought the small window exhibits were art exhibits (one or two were), but then realized that each was a contribution of something from the Netherlands. One window showed a large steel diamond covered cable-- a section of a cable used to slice apart and recover the soviet submarine Kursk from deep water. Another exhibit appeared to be a gas pump. In reality, it is a water purification system developed by a Dutch company that can be brought to disaster areas to dispense purified water.
Fill 'er up-- Not petrol, but water. This is the distribution end of a water purification system that can be brought into disaster areas to purify and pump water for victims in areas where the water supply has been fouled.
What would a Netherlands exhibit be without tulips? I thought they were artificial at first, but no, they are the real thing.
A flock of plastic sheep, grazing on indoor/outdoor carpet-- a tribute to The Netherlands agriculture no doubt. These were present underneath the elevated pavilion, and popular with the Chinese kids to sit on (as intended).
For anyone planning to attend the Expo, my suggestion would be to go in the evenings. Shanghai is a city of lights, and the Shanghai Expo has followed this lead. The pavilions are spectacular at night.
United Nations Pavilion
The Lupu Bridge-- the lights on this bridge, which crosses directly over the Expo site, change colors. The bridges and buildings light shows in Shanghai are almost as good as a fireworks show. This picture also shows the promenade walkway, which connects the various sections of the expo.
Chinese Gardens-- The Expo site included a Chinese Garden, which was a great place for people to relax and take a break from the queues and walking about the pavilions. There were bird cages (See Shanghai: The French Concession) and bonsai plants and art-rock.
Turtle Rock-- This rock, among others is natural (not carved) and has a striking resemblance to a turtle. There were others-- one that looked like an elephant.