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Shanghai, China: World Expo

During the couple days that I spent in Shanghai in 2010, the majority of the time was at the World Expo. It was the reason why I traveled there when I did, but because of that, I didn't get to thoroughly explore the city as much as I'd like to.

Shanghai is a very busy, modern city that has a little bit of grunge to it. When looking at photos of the city from the 90's, it's almost unreal to see how much it's been developed. The enormous skyscrapers and neon lights are just a part of it. You can see it just from walking around the streets, like the digital displays at bus stops telling you bus location information in realtime. 

While I'm sure much has changed in both these cities since I've visited, Shanghai has a different feel from Beijing, which I went to a couple years earlier in 2008. Beijing had a more spread out feel, with sections that included ancient temples, old buildings and walled-off neighborhoods. You could sense that it was an old, historical city beginning to transform into a modern one. Shanghai on the other hand, had an instantly modern feel that would fall into the same category as Hong Kong or Tokyo.

Crowded subway

Crowded subway

Chinese flags in a subway station

Chinese flags in a subway station

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The World Expo was nothing short of amazing, and a big display of countries showing off their design and tech to the world. Many of the country's "booths" had a couple hours wait time, but I was was able to make it into a few, the highlights being Dubai's and Spain's. 

Spain's pavilion with digital displays showcasing its culture and history, along with a weird, gigantic baby inside.

Spain's pavilion with digital displays showcasing its culture and history, along with a weird, gigantic baby inside.

South Korean's pavilion.

South Korean's pavilion.

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One of the moments that stick out to me was leaving the Expo. Everyone was lined up in a long line waiting for taxis. Keep in mind that the idea of personal space here is different from other countries, so everyone was body to body - with the woman behind me carrying her baby on her stomach pushing him into my back. Someone got impatient and jumped the line, running into the street to an open taxi. When that happened, it was chaos; a flood of people followed, running into the street to find any open cab, carrying kids in their arms and all.

Overall, I found that Shanghai took me a little more time getting used to than Beijing. Even though it had a more modern feel, it still was a bit less refined. It could've been just my experience. That being said, however, I did find it intriguing and I would want to visit again to see more of the actual city.


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