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Entries for June 2010


Today we visited Zone A of the Shanghai World Expo. We visited the pavilions for South Korea, North Korea, Iran, Bangladesh, Qatar, Vietnam, and the Asia Joint Pavilions.



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Rather than going to Expo, we decided to spend today sightseeing in Shanghai. Saturdays are very busy at Expo, and we hoped that this would result in smaller crowds at other tourist spots. While perhaps a bit less crowded than usual, the Yu Garden Bazaar was still packed with people.

Yu Garden Bazaar - Shanghai - decorated for Expo

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We started today very early, so that we could get to Expo in time to get a wheelchair for my mother. Wheelchairs are free for Expo visitors over 70 years old (increased to 75 on July 1st), but they often run out shortly after opening. My mother can't walk long distances, so getting a wheelchair was essential. We went to breakfast at Yue Garden at about 6:30, and left the hotel shortly after 7:00. We arrived at Gate 2 (South Xizang Road Entrance) at about 7:30, and thousands of people were already in line. The Expo doesn't open until 9:00, so we had a while to wait.

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The pavilions in the Urban Best Practices Area (UBPA) display the vision of future urbanization from over 70 cities from all over the world. The focus here is on livable cities, sustainable urbanization, cultural heritage, and technological innovations. The massive amount of cutting-edge technology on display here makes this one of the most interesting sections of the entire Expo. It is also probably the most underestimated section. That combined with the walkthrough nature of the pavilions means waiting in line is somewhat rare. Some of the highlights include:

China Aviation Pavilion - Shanghai World Expo 2010

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Today we visited Wuzhen, a small ancient water village in northern Zhejiang Province. It is one of the best preserved ancient villages in all of China, and has become a very popular tourist destination. Because of its canals, Wuzhen is sometimes called "Little Venice." Although Wuzhen was founded in 872 AD, legend states that people have inhabited this area for over 7,000 years.

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We ate a very light breakfast because we were going to Louwailou for lunch. Established during the Qing Dynasty more than 150 years ago, Louwailou is one of the oldest and most famous restaurants in China. It is located on West Lake, and they even have a couple of permanently moored "boats" where customers can dine. However, we didn't have reservations for those, so we ate in the main dining room.

Louwailou Restaurant - Hangzhou

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Hangzhou was founded about 2,200 years ago, but it is most famous historically as the capital of China during the Southern Song Dynasty. When Marco Polo visited Hangzhou in the late 13th Century, it was the largest city in the world, and he described it as "the City of Heaven, the most beautiful and magnificent in the world." Today, Hangzhou is no longer the largest city in the world, but it is still beautiful and magnificent.

West Lake, Hangzhou

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We started off day three with a ride on the world's fastest train, the Shanghai Maglev, with a top speed of 431 kph (268 mph). For those who don't already know, the word Maglev is short for magnetic levitation. Basically, that means this train uses powerful electromagnets to hover only about 1/3 inch above the track, which eliminates friction. Propulsion is also achieved using electromagnets, creating a very fast, quiet, and efficient means of transportation. At top speed, a maglev train is about twice as efficient as a car and three times as efficient as an airplane.

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I woke up early and my computer's battery wasn't charging, and I only had about 15 minutes of power left. I decided that it might be a good idea to buy a cheap laptop to use for our trip. Ideally I would like to have found a Toshiba that used the same battery as mine, but I knew that was very unlikely. We asked the concierge for suggestions, and he...

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