2010 World Expo delights and teaches
I recently visited Shanghai, home of the 2010 World Expo. Spectators come from all over the world to see the Expo and I was one of them! I was bursting with excitement!
The 220,000 people who were there with me that day created an overflow crowd at entrances and hallways. It was so loud I thought we would break the sound barrier! Since I live in a town with fewer than 40,000 residents, it was quite an experience for me.
The park where the World Expo was held has two sides connected by a short ferry ride across the Pu River: the Pu-dong side (east of Pu River), and the Pu-xi side (west of Pu River). Since we stayed in a hotel on the Pu-xi side, we visited there first.
Our first stop in the jam-packed area was the General Motors pavilion. Lucky for us, we didn’t have to wait in line for three hours like almost everyone else! My friend’s dad works there, so we got a VIP pass.
While in the pavilion, we sat in rocking chairs to watch a sci-fi movie about how smart cars and smart roads could end traffice jams and smog in a mega-big city like Shanghai by the year 2030. The chairs rocked to simulate the ride in a high-speed car.
Our next stop was Abilia, a place for kids—finally! Kids were sorted into different jobs by their age group. As I was in the oldest age group (being most responsible and all), I was stationed in the hospital.
We learned about doctor’s routines and how the machines worked. After we had gone over the rules, we each chose a station. There were three stations: The computer station, where someone types in information; the body fat machine, where someone calculates the fat of another person; and lastly, the height and weight station.
I was in the height and weight station where I ran a health check on my mom! My mom was glad she has a nearly athletic body!
After my session was over, I nagged my mom to let me do the Abilia one more time. This time, I was a money-counting banker. Sitting in an office and dealing with money and cards seemed so much less interesting than taking someone’s pulse!
Right beside the Ablilia was a puppet show, where we watched a popular Chinese folk tale called The Monkey King. It’s about a monkey, a pig, a strong man, and a monk who were going someplace to seek the true words of Budda. All the bad guys wanted to eat the monk’s meat because it would give them eternal life, so it was very brave of the monkey, the pig, and the strong man to protect him.
The ferry carried us to the other side of the park to see the pavilions from all the different countries. I especially loved the China Pavilion. There we saw displays of beautiful artifacts and mini pavilions and performances.
Teacup dancing in the Sichuan pavilion was thoroughly entertaining! The teacup spout was extremely long, and hot water was in the tea pourer. The brilliant and talented teacup dancers did all kinds of tricks, like turning it around and doing backbends, but the hot water never came out except for when they were trying to pour it in the teacup.
A lot of pavilions later, the lights came on. It was a gorgeous scene, with pavilions and pathways outlined in neon lights. But we didn’t forget about the rest of the pavilions.
We toured the USA Pavilion, and I tried to use my Scholastic Kid Reporter credential to get me through the lines. It didn’t work! We waited in line like everyone else.
In the pavilion, an economics student from Stanford University greeted visitors with perfect Chinese. We watched a few videos, which I thought were funny, touching, and inspiring. We first watched a brief video of Americans trying to say “hello and welcome to the United States of America pavilion” in Chinese. It was really amusing, because they kept on failing—it seemed so simple!
The next video, called “The Urban Garden,” told the story of a young girl who started a garden that brought the whole community together. President Obama and Secretary Clinton concluded the presentation, welcoming all to join with America to build a better world with hard work, teamwork and inspiration.
Finally, feeling tired after 10 hours walking in the Expo, we headed back to the ferry. I was surprised to find out that my day wasn’t over yet. My parents had planned a river cruise that lasted about another hour and a half along the Pu River! Under the night sky, the city’s skyline was lit with picturesque scenes along the two banks that kept unfolding like a painting before me. As we toured the river, I couldn’t help how much fun this day turned out to be.
PHOTO: Kid Reporter Alexandra Zhang outside the USA pavilion at the 2010 World Expo in Shanghai, fall 2010. (Photo Courtesy Alexandra Zhang)