Greetings from Shanghai!
Tuesday morning, Mike and I took a Shanghai Expatriate Association (SEA) tour to the World Expo 2010 Exhibition Hall. There were about 25 people on this tour. We had to be at the St. Regis - Portman Hotel at 9 am so we grabbed a taxi and got there early enough to grab some coffee and tea at the Element Fresh there. It was the only restaurant open before 9 in the plaza due to Chinese New Year - Starbucks wasn't even open yet.
We went via tour bus and rode through a section of Shanghai I had not been to yet. Lots of shops and malls so it looks like the Girls will be taking a field trip sometime soon. It was funny that we turned up at the Hong Kong Plaza which is right across the street from the Huangpi Road Subway stop. This is the same subway stop we use when we go to Xintandi - like we did for the Dragon and Lion Dance on Monday.
This was a very interesting tour in that our tour guide was a young man who spoke excellent English. He wore some crazy shoes though - red metallic tennis shoes. We have found that the Chinese like to make statements with fashion and express themselves through fashion - I guess beauty is in the eye of the beholder but we've seen lots of strange accessories. You know what Suzi always says - Accessorize, accessorize, accessorize!
The Expo will begin in May 2010 and run until October. I've included a photo of the diorama (the last photo) that is very interesting. There are areas set aside for pavilions on both sides of the Huangpu River. There is a separate area for each section of the world. Unfortunately, there will not be a United States pavilion. There are many corporate sponsors - mostly Chinese names you would not recognize but Coke and General Motors are committed and of course many nations.
You can see the Chinese pavilion in the top photo - it will be enormous and I'm sure every bit as grand as the 2008 Olympics were. I also included a photo of an adorable little girl posing with Haibao who is the mascot.
Haibao means "treasure of the sea". The blue color represents the water, which also speaks that Haibao is from a coastal city Shanghai. Haibao is confident, lovely, happy, witty and lively. Its hair is like the wave of the sea; its motion shows his generosity and hospitality; he thumbs up to show the appreciation and warm welcome to the friends from all over the world. His smile manifests an optimistic spirit and a will to showcase the achievement of world's civilization. Haibao is expressing his sincere greeting from China -- "World Expo 2010 Shanghai China welcomes you!
They will be looking for thousands of volunteers and I'm so looking forward to doing so.