Saturday, September 25, 2010

Anticlimax

Well, we finally did it - Socrates and I went to the Expo. I decided our day off for the Mid-Autumn Festival was the perfect day to go, and maybe it was. It was cool and cloudy (even rainy at times), and I really don't think it was as busy as it would have been on the weekend. But that doesn't mean there weren't lines. Oh no. I promised him "trendy" pavilions, and we made a beeline for the Japanese one, thinking we would use the reservation system and avoid the lines. Well, as it turns out, the Japanese pavilion isn't on the reservation system...not that it mattered, because the reservation machines we found were not working. I did some research about the different pavilions the night before, and had quite a few that I was interested in, but they ALL had long lines. The volunteer at the Japanese line told us it was a six hour wait. Later on we saw a message board that listed the waits for ALL of those pavilions on my list as longer than 3 hours. It also suggested that next time we should make better plans for visiting the Expo.

...

Yeah, sure. And although we both had books, neither of us felt like standing in line for 3+ hours. So what did we see? Uzbekistan and Ukraine. Wednesday's expo was brought to you by the letter U. We joked about seeing the US, UK, or UAE pavilions, but in the end, we walked from the middle, to the north end, to the south end, and back to the middle to catch the subway home, looking at the outside, at least, of the structures along the way. Can't say I didn't get my exercise that day, at any rate, but it was probably not worth the 160 kuai we each spent on admission. Still, part of me wants to believe that there are hidden treasures to experience there, wants to go back some night after school (for the reduced admission) and see the pavilions lit up at night, believing the lines would be shorter at night and if not, that the sight of them all lit up would be worth it. Maybe it wouldn't. But I'd at least be able to get into the Thai pavilion without waiting - turns out my friend from Speed Dating night works for a company involved with them, and can get me on the VIP list. But if not, I have to remind myself that, unlike my Chinese co-patriots, I can go to any of these places whenever the mood strikes me (and whenever Mr. Plastic is up to the task of getting me on a plane), and be satisfied with the experiences that I've had in the countries themselves.

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