This is the original summary from my journal.
We went to the Expo on July 2010.
I have to say - it was truly a once in a lifetime experience. The Chinese sure know how to make it. BIGTIME! :)
The architecture of the pavillions was amazing and creativity was certainly taken to new levels.
The Expo site was divided to numerous zones, so my review goes through the site - zone by zone.
Well, too many folks have scared me to a point I had very low expectations regarding being able to stand the long, long lines under the Shanghai sun.
However, my experience was totally different. It was hot (VERY hot, actually), but in 2 days (August 7th and 9th), we managed to see dozens of pavillions, including the good ones (though not all).
Since 95% of the visitors were Chinese, a lot of pavillions welcome Westerners with open arms and gave them on-the-spot VIP fast entries. Just smile and be polite. If you know any foriegn languages, it sure helps. I speak quite a few languages and it did the trick (plus, I'm charming, I guess...).
The entrance to the Expo took minutes. Not hours - minutes, with no problems whatsoever. We took line 13 and reached the gate near the Australia pavillion in no time at all.
Asia joint pavillion I, II and III - 3 big pavillions covering numerous Asian countries that couldn't afford (or didn't want to) have seperate pavillions. It's nice for a 1 hour tour. No lines at all. The Yemen pavillion was cute (had a great chat in Arabic with the silver merchants), the Palestinian pavillion was truly pathetic (lies, lies, lies...) and the Syria pavillion was almost empty of exhibits. So sad... .
North Korea - hillariously bad propogandic pavillion, portraying North Korea as the number 1 place to live in the world. 5 minutes tour. No lines.
Iran - tons of lies and about a dozen carpet merchants could've made this pavillion hillarious, hadn't it been from such a dangerous country to the entire world. 10 minutes tour. No lines.
Israel - I was truly excited upon visiting my home country's pavillion. I realize I'm biased, but I loved it - straight to the point - it actually deals with the Expo's theme. The tour and movie took about 20 minutes. 2 hour line. Obviously, I took the VIP fast access, so no lines for me. Being Israeli, the movie inside brought tears of pride to my eyes.
Kazakhstan - a great interactive pavillion. Apx. 30 minutes tour. The lines were about 2 hours, but we got treated to the VIP fast access. Highly recommended!!!
Lebanon - rather pathetic, I'd say. 2 minute tour. No lines.
Morroco - cute pavillion with a market feel to it (3 floors, if I'm not mistaken). 15 minutes tour. 1 hour line. Took the VIP access instead with a smile and some Arabic greetings.
Qatar - cute pavillion with a 5 minute tour. 30 minute line. Took the VIP access.
Vietnam - a disappointing pavillion that only shows (and sells) Vietnamese merchandise. The tour took 5 minutes. The line is apx. 15 minutes.
Australia - a flashy and nice pavillion with a 20-minute movie on moving circular screens inside. The line was 2 hours, but I got the VIP access for being able to name famous charachters from an Australian soap ("Home and away"). How awesome!!!
Brunei - a rather boring pavillion with not that many exhibits. 5 minutes tour. No lines.
New Zealand - a cool pavillion with a great funny dance act outside and some nice exhibits inside (including the technology of creating trees, used in the LOTR trilogy). 15 minutes tour. 15 minute lines. Recommended.
Pacific pavillion - a cute pavillion with all the small island nations. 20 minutes tour. No lines. Looks like a travel agency to magical islands.
Africa pavillion - dozens of countries from all over Africa, gathered in a huge pavillion. Alas, none of the countries stands out as special and the "see one - see all" feeling is innevatable. 30 minutes tour. No lines.
Bosnia and Herzegovina - a boring pavillion with few exhibits. 5 minute tour. No lines.
Canada - cute pavillion with a long 2-3 hour line. We got VIP access since we were nice to the security guard and told him all the places we already visited in Canada. One of them happened to be his home town, which is not THAT known, so he let us in. Awesome! :)))
Czech Republic - a nice pavillion with numerous light effects. 10 minute tour. 5 minute line.
Denmark - a sporty pavillion with the actual mermaid from Copenhaggen in the center of the pavillion. Took our breath away to climb to the top, but the view was great. 20 minute tour. 10 minute line.
Egypt - a small disappointing pavillion from our neighbour to the south. 1 hour line. Got VIP access using some Arabic. <-- Reading this description nowadays makes me so sad, knowing what Egypt turned into in 2011.
Malta - tiny pavillion with not that much to see. 5 minute tour. No lines.
Bulgaria - a cute pavillion with several exhibits. 5 minute tour. No lines.
FYROM - a boring pavillion with no actual exhibits. 5 minute tour. No lines.
Georgia - a cute pavillion with a nice Georgian touch, yet not that much to see there. 5 minute tour. No lines.
Montenegro - (sorry for this, but...) - same as above.
Greece - totally disappointing. I've had great expectations from this pavillion, which was called "Polis", yet made no effort at all. 5 minute tour. No lines.
Hungary - I wanted to love this pavillion but there were no exhibits (other than strange sticks coming off the ceiling) nor Hungarian there at all, so I didn't get a chance to practice my Hungarian. 5 minute tour. No lines.
Iceland - cool pavillion (pun intended) with a great 360 degrees movie. 20 minute tour. 30 minute Line.
Libya - a pathetic attempt to portray Libya as an advance (and democratic) nation. Boring and misleading. 5 minutes tour. No lines.
Monaco - small but nice pavillion with several exhibits and a movie. Gotta love the Grace Kelly photo. 15 minutes tour. 30 minute lines.
Netherlands - a strange pavillion that makes you climb to its top expecting exhibits, but all you can see is the UK pavillion next door. 20 minutes tour. 15 minute lines.
Norway - a rather empty pavillion with a lot of vast Nordic nothingness... . 5 minute tour. 15 minute Lines. Got VIP access.
Poland - a nice musical pavillion. 10 minute tour. 1 hour lines. Got VIP access.
Portugal - a rather disappointing pavillion from this great country. 10 minute tour. No lines.
Romania - a musical number (rather aweful) which lasts for 20 minutes. A 1 hour line. Got VIP access.
Russia - a fairytale like pavillion with no major theme. a 20 minutes tour. 2 hour lines. Got VIP access.
Slovakia - a boring pavillion that doesn't show much of this beautiful country. 5 minute tour. No lines.
Tunisia - a cute and harmless pavillion with lots of Arab merchants. Try the natural parfumes. 10 minute tour. 30 minute lines. Got VIP access.
Turkey - a total disappointment of a pavillion. Nothing to see. 5 minutes tour. No lines.
USA - 3 nice movies, with the last being truly great. 30 minutes tour. 3-4 hours line. Got VIP access with a smile and a "pretty pleeeeeeeeeease".
The following pavillions had way too long lines and we were not able to get VIP fast access: Japan, Thailand, Spain, Germany, UK, France, Italy.
Obviously, we didn't even try the Chinese pavillion. Not that interesting anyway, so I've heard.
So, to sum it up - during our two days at the Expo (12:00-22:30 the first day and 11:00-21:30 the second) we managed to see almost everything we wanted to see and we enjoyed it immensly.
If you're a Westerner, you're more likely to skip the long lines. Just be nice and smile a lot. Worked perfectly for us.
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