Cultures commune in China

By Justine Goode

As a visitor to the Shanghai World Expo, Tiffany Liao ’12 was able to experience a global expedition over the course of few short days, and without leaving a site two square miles in size. During her visit, she sampled Peruvian purple corn juice, got a henna tattoo from Qatar, watched Tibetan monks dance, and even encountered a giant robot baby from Spain.

The theme of the exposition is “Better City – Better Life”, and has an official theme song sung by Jackie Chan. Shanghai beat out cities in South Korea, Russia, Mexico and Poland to become the site of the 54th World Expo.

With pavilions representing 192 countries and a projected 100 million visitors in total, the Shanghai World Expo bears the distinction of being both the most expensive and largest World’s Fair in history.

Liao said that the most popular pavilions included China and Saudi Arabia, the latter of which had a 12-hour wait time for those in line. Less popular with the crowds was the United States pavilion, which featured a video montage of Americans attempting to correctly pronounce the Mandarin greeting “ni hao”.

Elaine Tang ’12, had the opportunity to volunteer at the Expo through a program sponsored by two Chinese universities. “All of the architecture was really cool, especially Saudi Arabia’s ‘moon boat’,” she said.

Relics of past fairs can still be seen all over the world, including the Space Needle (Seattle 1962), Disney’s “it’s a small world” ride (New York 1964), and the Eiffel Tower (Paris 1889).

Jonathan Chu ’12 preferred the UK pavilion, or “Seed Cathedral”, a building with 60,000 spikes jutting out of it from all angles. “Although it wasn’t the largest, the inside was spectacular,” said Chu.