Friday, June 25, 2010

Day 2

Up fairly early, we headed straight over to the Expo on the metro. We bought 4 tickets via a self vending machine, in English. Everything in this part of Shanghai is fairly new and the metro was clean, quiet, and enormous (the length of the train was amazing). We got off the train too early and had to get back on for two extra stops. Getting an Expo ticket was very simple, as was the entrance.

Once inside we made our way to the Italian Pavilion which is pretty cool. We were meeting M. so we went into a conference auditorium for a bit to find him, and then made it up to the third floor (which is a private area) and I was finally able to get online. Also got a little bit of a buffet lunch.

Crappy day weather wise - super humid with a fine mist/drizzle all day long.

Spanish Pavilion - video coming...

General Expo thoughts - coming soon!

Drive to the Hotel Intercontinental in Pudong after the Expo:

We are on a bus with the Italian Delegation heading to their hotel in Pudong for dinner and to watch the World Cup (coming from the Expo site, which was old neighborhoods, factories, and warehouse but was all razed for the expo). I want to try to find something positive to say about this part of Shanghai but for me personally it is very difficult. It is great of course that the Chinese have come this far this fast and managed to raise the standard of living for so many. But even though most of Pudong is brand new, it seems like it was planned for the past. The metro is great, but above ground, everything is laid out for cars, with huge boulevards and enormous traffic crossings. The architecture is simply awful. Rows and rows of very cheap looking high rise condo/apartment buildings, with almost nothing on a human scale, and completely devoid of charm. AC units hung on nearly every building every which way, laundry hung out all over (which you can't blame anyone for - the have to dry their clothes somewhere!).

The race to international commerciality is dreary - KFC, Starbucks, Carrefour, etc. I know people need stuff and food in mass quantities to live, but to me this is the worst living imaginable - in a car, soulless, and corporate. I can't see a backlash on people faces though - if it comes it will probably be decades away if ever - last night the Carrefour was jammed packed and most people looked pretty happy shopping there.

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