Expo 2010, the biggest World Fair ever, launches in Shanghai tomorrow. The event will last exactly 6 months and its theme, as all Expos have a theme, is Better City Better Life. Expo 2010 is huge and guaranteed to be rather amazing. This is China, hosting the world for 6 long months. Forget the blip that was the Beijing Olympics. If you have the opportunity to go, do. Organizers expect over 70 million visitors and the Fair features more than 190 participating counties and over 50 international organizations. (Click images for a larger view.)
World Expos of this size only take place every five or so years. They always bring the world together to address a theme and feature new ideas, new architecture, and if you're lucky, an optimistic look into the future. The last large-scale World Expo was in 2005 in Aichi, Japan. The one before that was in Hannover, Germany in 2000. I had the pleasure of working at Expo 2000 in Hannover, where the theme was Humankind, Nature, Technology. It was a five-month fair, and unlike the success seen in Aichi and the expected success of Shanghai, Expo 2000 was a bit of a flop. That's putting it delicately. The problem wasn't the content; it was an issue of attendance and ticket-pricing. I'm certain that Expo 2010 in Shanghai will be a massive success.
Lucky enough to be attending?
1. Study up on the most popular pavilions before you go. Study your expo map. Know the main corridors, as well as the general location of your must-sees.
2. Get there early, before the doors open in the morning and run like mad to get to the popular pavilions that are on your list. Really study your expo map. You thought I was exaggerating but I tell you, people will be running. This can make the difference of waiting 45 minutes versus several hours.
3. Go for several days; you really can't even scratch the surface in one. There's far too much to see. That said, one day is better than none at all.
4. Take advantage of your connections. If your company has business on site but you're just visiting make sure you have an Expo ID. An Expo ID means coming and going at all hours; ie, being first in line every morning before anyone else has walked through the gates.
5. Expect long line-ups and exercise patience as best you can.
6. There will be lots of food kiosks along the way to grab a quick meal, but it's much more interesting to dine inside a pavilion. No doubt there will be Heineken at the Dutch pavilion, and gelato in Italy.
7. Stay late. It's often a little quieter and some pavilions have bars, some dance clubs; you'll see things at night that aren't in full swing or even available during the day.
8. Bring the biggest, best camera you have access to and keep it handy. I can't even tell you the amazing things you're sure to stumble upon.
9. Know there's no way you'll see it all. I was on site virtually every day for 5 months and still missed things.
10. It's an event: buy a souvenir. Preferably something ridiculous and small.
Here's what you're looking at above:
All images here are from The Frame, a gorgeous photo-blog by sacbee.com
Exterior of the Chinese Information and Communication Pavilion
Exterior of the UK Pavilion
Interior of the Danish Pavilion. That's the Little Mermaid herself, covered in red, waiting to be unveiled on Day 1.
Exterior of the Spain Pavilion, from one of the trail-open days
Exterior of the Iceland Pavilion
Interior of the Australian Pavilion
Musical Water fountain display, sure to be a popular evening destination
The entrance of Expo 2000, near the Expo Axis
Interior UK Pavillion
The Expo site at night
There's much to come on Expo 2010. I'm working on several posts that feature individual pavilions and themes. See you next week!