Scheduled to begin May 1 and to run through October 31, the Shanghai World Expo has the city of Shanghai bursting with excitement and anticipation. The Expo is a giant showcase for culture and technology where individual countries have built representative Pavilions to display their most impressive distinctions and innovations. Each pavilion is an architectural wonder (you see the China pavilion above). Even though the expo was not yet open during our time in Shanghai, we were able to see the pavilions from afar – from one of Shanghai’s many bridges overlooking the massive Expo area. Some of our favorites were the Mexico, China and Africa pavilions (several African countries came together to build the Africa pavilion). Oh how we wished that we could be in Shanghai to experience the Expo!!
One part the Expo that we did experience – constantly – was the mascot, Haibao. He is everywhere – all over Shangahi!! And by all over, I mean ALL over (actually, Haibao “creeped” the students out a bit because he was so inescapable) – as a statue, carved into hedges, on billboards, stickers, riding around the revolvong door of our hotel etc. etc … Haibao is an invented character representing the theme of the Expo, ” Better City, better Life.” His name means “treasure of the sea” and is a traditional lucky chinese name. A friendly , open-armed and blue cartoon character, Haibao represents both the heritage and the future of China. After our initial astonishment that he could be so constantly with us, we came to understand and enjoy Haibao as a symbol of our special time in Shanghai!