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Farewell Shanghai

Today marked the official closing of Expo 2010 in Shanghai. With over 73 million visitors in the six months of its operation, it is the most-attended single event in human history.

It will take a very long time indeed for the effects of this Worlds Fair to be measured. The world came to Shanghai, and so did millions of Chinese citizens. For most of them, the Expo was the closest thing they’ll ever come to travelling outside of China, and the glimpses at European, American, African and Oceanic cultures is sure to change the thinking of those who attended it. For those who came from outside of China’s borders, such as myself, it was a chance to see China at her best and brightest.

While it is true that most of the interior exhibitions did not match the spectacular exterior architecture of the pavilions, there were several memorable Pavilions from the high-tech presentations of Germany to the idyllic chairlift ride in Switzerland, to the magnificent artwork in France and the bio-diversity displays in Indonesia. The lines were a challenge, but at the end of the day I’m very grateful to have gotten at least a glimpse at this event which will now be relegated to the memories of those who attended.

As you no doubt have noticed, I have been trying to give a flavor of each of the Pavilions – not all of which I visited personally, so I’ve been relying on official websites and blogs to help fill in the blanks. I haven’t gotten to nearly all of them and although the Expo itself is finished, I will continue to publish my Pavilion pages as long as I can, at least through Zone C, which are most of the Western national Pavilions, and perhaps the industrial Pavilions on the Pudong side as well.

To those who have been reading these – and there haven’t been many, I’ll admit – thanks for your patience and your interest. This is more of a labor for myself rather than an attempt to create an exhaustive record of the Fair, but as great an exercise in self-indulgence as it has been, I’m pleased that at least a few people have found some value in it. Whether or not I’ll repeat the effort for Expo 2012 in Yeosu (which I do not plan to attend, by the way) I haven’t decided yet.

I truly believe that this will be the last great World Exposition of our lifetime, perhaps ever. I suspect you will begin to see these types of expositions become more and more of an online event. As our ability to transmit information becomes more sophisticated, so the need for a central gathering of nations becomes less important but still the physical power of an event that gathers together the nations of the world, be it an Olympic Games or a World Expo, cannot be denied.


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