We finally made it out to see the World Expo before it ended; boy was it crowded! Over 760,000 visitors that day. The blue character below is Haibao (海宝), the mascot of the 2010 World Expo. His name means "treasure of the sea." If you look closely, you'll see that he resembles the Chinese character for "person": 人.
(Image from Expo2010.cn)
The Expo was divided into two sections, one on each side of the river; we kept to the west side, which was comprised of Asian/Middle Eastern countries' pavilions. The lines to get into each pavilion were incredibly long; some of the more popular pavilions had waits of over 7 hours! We managed to visit two: the China Pavilion and the Israel Pavilion. At the Israel Pavilion (one of the shorter waits) we stood in line for over an hour and a half. When we finally got inside, we were corralled into a planetarium-like room, to be greeted with a (very) brief video presentation extolling the country's various technological innovations. Then the lights came back up, an exit door was opened, and back outside we all went. Um, yeah, not exactly what we were expecting.
This is the line we waited in for the China Pavilion. We were all headed towards the opening in the back center of the picture, between the blue mural on the left and the white umbrella on the right. We had already moved quite a bit forward in line when I took this picture - there were scores more people behind us. It was a long line.
The China Pavilion (below) is one of the few structures that will be kept permanently after the end of the Expo. Inside were intricate walk-through exhibits from each of China's twenty-two provinces, which visitors could view at their own leisure. Definitely worth the time spent waiting in line.
We ended the day with some Sri Lankan street food, which was quite tasty! We tried fish balls, marinated chicken wings, and samosas. Unfortunately, it was dark by the time we ate (and we were sitting outside), so I didn't get any pics. Just believe me when I say it was all really good!
Unfortunately, there was no time to see even half of what we would have liked. After spending the majority of the day doing nothing but stand in line with crowds of people, we were ready for some peace and quiet. Around 6 o'clock we called it a day and crowded onto the metro (with what seemed like half the city) to make our slow way home. All in all, I think the day was summed up quite perfectly by the saying going around Shanghai, "不去世博会后悔, 去了世博后悔一辈子!" which roughly translated means, "If you don't go to the Expo, you'll regret it; if you go to the Expo, you'll regret it even more!"