I read a great article in the Washington Post recently about the countdown to the 2010 Shanghai Expo. If you’ve never been to Shanghai, this piece will give you a great description of what the city feels like – old and new, modern and ancient, all at once. Here’s a sneak peek, a passage where the author Andrea Sachs describes the ubiquitous Expo clocks around Shanghai:
Throughout the city of 18.8 million people, oversize clocks loom on plaza squares and inside public buildings. Many visitors, especially Chinese, stand beneath them, straightening their spines and grinning for the camera as Shanghai gets a few ticks closer to opening day.
Expo clock-watching would be a sport here, if Shanghai knew how to kill time. But the city, an economic renegade in the communist country, is dialed to high speed, trying to be the first to reach some undefined finish line. Drivers disregard speed limits and red lights; pedestrians move with the force of an undertow; futuristic-looking buildings materialize nearly overnight. Even the steamed dumplings are ready before you’ve had a chance to unfold your napkin.
I really liked Andrea’s descriptions of the hustle and bustle of Shanghai, and the contrast between Shanghai’s colonial past and it’s incredibly modern present. There’s no other city in China, or the world, like Shanghai. It’s going to be amazing to see the changes the 2010 Shanghai Expo brings. Shanghai residents are as excited about the Expo as Beijing’ers were about the 2008 Summer Olympics. The countdown is on!