We managed to cram the entire world into our 2nd to last day, literally. Well, okay not literally, but at least a few pieces of it. We were fortunate enough to go to the 2010 World Expo. The expo only happens every 5 years and will last from May 1st-October 31st. This year’s theme was “Better City, Better Life” and the estimated record number attendees is over 70 million! I wasn’t sure what to expect, but it was kind of like a giant Epcot with more people and bigger pavilions.
It was also really, really, really hot. Really! Add a few thousand people to the mix and it was a frying pan.
Prior to going we had heard that people were waiting over 8 hours to get into the USA building; one of the most popular in the Expo.
At least inside the pavilions was air conditioned and there were plenty of drink stands.
It turns out that our little blue friend, who we kept seeing all over the city was the official mascot of Expo 2010. His name is Haibao and he looks like a cross between toothpaste and Gumby. Actually, he beat out over 26k other creatures for this coveted title. I think we saw about that many of him all over China. At least he’s cute and who doesn’t look good in turquoise.
After the Expo, we regrouped at the hotel and got lunch. Next we had to go back to the fabric market to pick up our orders that we placed on Monday. Damon couldn’t resist getting a few more shirts made and then we took a short cab ride to the Yu Gardens and Bazaar.
This place was listed as a must see in my travel book. It was huge and looked like Old Shanghai. Actually, the buildings are newer, but designed to look old. The shops here peddle everything from tourist souvenirs to traditional medicines and, despite inflated prices the area was packed.
I am amazed that in every country I visit, there is always a Micky D’s. That’s some serious branding! After the bazaar we headed back to the hotel to freshen up for our last night in China. We had plans to see the city at night. Actually, the truth is this glowing neon night scape is how I pictured Shanghai in my mind. Although, the smog wasn’t there.
Our plan was to go to the top of the super tall Shanghai World Financial Center. It currently boasts the highest observation deck in the world at over 1600′. The elevator ride was super smooth and super fast. Less than 300 seconds!
Even the street signs were neon. I could not help but wonder how much the electricity bill was each month. Hopefully, they are solar powered :)
After our visit to the top we had one last meal as a group and it was off to bed. Damon and I had to be up at 5:00am to pack and catch a cab to the airport. This was truly the perfect shot to end our trip. The next day we had a 14 hour flight to Detroit and then a 2 hour connecting flight to O-town. It was absolutely brutal.
Our trip to China was beyond words (thank goodness we have pictures). I wish we didn’t have to leave so soon, because there are some many more places I’d like to see there. It was different than any place I have ever been before. It was massive and non-stop. The people were friendly, but they always seemed to be in a hurry. I loved the food, but I didn’t think we will be having Chinese for a while. The weather was hot and there was a shortage of ice in our drinks. What else can I say about it, it was ???