Okay so there’s this giant TV, right? And it’s hooked up to a camera, right? And when you stand still in front of it, Hello Kitties and hearts appear next to you! Cool, right? No? Well if you don’t find yourself entertained by such attractions, the World Expo is not your gig. The sad thing is, this was perhaps one of the more innovative exhibits at the Expo.
For months I had been hearing about all the awesome architecture and infrastructure that was to be incorporated into the event. Things like rainwater catchers that supplied coolant to outdoor air conditioning systems that doubled as giant street lamps capable of turning night into day. If that doesn’t blow your mind then I am truly sorry for you.
It was hearing about things like this that got me excited about attending the expo; I thought I was going to have a chance to test just how sharp the cutting edge of modern technology has to offer. After all, isn’t the expo supposed to show off the best your country has to offer? Evidently not.
In reality, the Expo is just a collection of larger-than-life travel brochures housed inside pretty buildings. A typical pavilion consists of a four hour wait to get in followed by a few movies that advertise how cool the sponsor is (either a country or a company). That’s it. Some went the extra mile going as far as to include 4D special effects and light shows but really, there was nothing you couldn’t learn just by typing in “Thailand” into Wikipedia. Needless to say, it was overall a massive disappointment.
What made it that much worse was the fact that it was all a giant contradiction. The theme was supposed to be “better city, better life” which means improving infrastructure and promoting sustainability (according to an Expo worker). Not only did this thing occupy impossible amounts of prime real estate that could have been much better allocated, most of the pavilions are scheduled to be destroyed once the Expo ends. So much for sustainability.
By this time, most people who want to go to the Expo have gone so I suppose it’s more or less pointless to advise my readers not to go but I thought I’d share this little tidbit. The last Expo took place in Japan in 1976. As many of you may know, Japan and China don’t have the coziest of histories. According to an expo worker, the Chinese government has set attendance quotas in order to beat Japan’s record for attendance and has thus far failed to meet them. They have resorted to subsidizing travel costs for government workers throughout the country to bring them to Shanghai in order to boost attendance. I’m sorry Beijing, I wanted to like the Expo. I wanted to be able to write a glowing review and say I had a great time and learned so much. Unfortunately, this is not the case.