The Far Pavilions, and the Spiritual Pakistan Pavilion
19.05.2010 28 °C
We got off @ the Yauhoa Station on Line 7. There're several metro entry points to the Expo (as well as ferry entry, which is free with Expo ticket), but since I live on Line 7 on Langao Roadd Stn, this is the logical entry.
Shanghai Expo 2010 is the largest in history in terms of countries participate/pavilions built. Some appear the first time like Algeria, Vietnam, etc. The fare is also the cheapest with daily entry ticket at 150 Yuans a pop. This leads to success for China. But what's good for the host country isn't always the best for the Expo visitors. In any case, this Expo has to be the busiest with about 1/5 of the world population live here. Shanghainese are given free tickets. So expect unprecedented Expo crowd. This is China, so expect the unprecedented everything. Use 2008 Beijing Olympic experience as a guide.
Beijing Olympic Game is the China coming-out party where China showcased herself to the world. During this world event, People visited China, either physically as tourists, or through TV broadcasts. Shanghai Expo 2010 two years later is, in a sense, the Beijing Game in reverse. This is where the world went to showcase themselves to China, and the pavilion exhibits aren't broadcast to the world. After all, majority of the Shanghai Expo visitors are Chinese (I say about 99%) to sample and to get to know the various countries of the world. The metaphors are also picture perfect where the venues of these two events are placed. Beijing is the capital city, therefore, the political and cultural centre of China. Olympic Game is very much a political and cultural event. While Shanghai is an international port, and the financial centre of China. Expo is very much a commercial event.
The Expo these days increasingly more to do with cultures than science and technology (not that there's anything wrong with that). This is especially true in this Shanghai Expo where China invited barely all countries on earth to attend. If they can't afford, China simply 'sponsored' them. The African Joint Pavilion is the result.
Just a brief side note, for the panda fans, Sichuan sent its 10 giant, b&w, cuddly ambassadors to Shanghai Zoo (since Jan) so the tourists can conveniently glimpse them while they visit the Expo. There have never been such a large gathering of the symbol of this endangered species outside Sichuan.
Enrty Time: 10:30pm. Queue Time: 3 hrs (I'm guessing).
Of course, the first obvious stop would be China Pavilion. Saw the long queue and asked the volunteer how long do I have to wait. He said 2 hours. But that's not all. The volunteer continue to explain, "you need another ticket, although it's free, but I need to get it from the security 'over there'. And these tickets are running out fast, and...", my brain shut down at this point. All I heard from that point on was blah blah blah...I guess my interest for queueing up for the China Pavilion just shut down like my brain.
Entry Time: 11pm. Queue Time: 20 mins.
Was a warm day. Bought an ice cream, and asked the ice cream girl for direction to Asian Zone or Zone A (Atta prefers to see European pavilions, so I confined myself to Asian Zone today). As I finished my ice cream, a whitewash building appear and attaching to a blue glass wall (quite a architectural juxtaposition). Took a photo, and had a closer look. It was the pavilion for Sultanate of Oman. Looking around at the queues of various pavilions, I decided just doing snapshots from the outsides of buildings. The Israel Pavilion looks like a cross between an alien creature and an terrestrial snail. Is it real? Yes, Israel. Again I asked and the answer is "2 hours". Sounds like a pre-recorded message.
Finally, I saw the long queue outside Pakistan Pavilion started to move, but more importantly, I saw a group of 5 or 6 local ladies with colourful umbrellas joining the queue, I thought if I squeezed into the queue with them, it's inevitable that I'll get some shades. I did get some shades during the 15 minutes wait in the line. Yes, ladies do like to carry their umbrellas for the sun here. Despite the somewhat overcast sky, it can be hot, especially around noon.
The first section of the pavilion has 3 kiosks each contains a 'hologram'. The holographic image is created by projecting an image from a projector onto a curtain of cold air that produced by an air-cons that suspended above, not too dissimilar to those air curtain that installed at above the door of shops.
Hologram image produced by projecting image onto cold air. Pakistan Pavilion, Shanghai Expo 2010, China
The flickering 'hologram' (caused by flowing cold air) made me think perhaps this is how the ghost image in a 19th century séance session is produced. Instead of a projector, you only need to shine a light onto a person (say with a lamp or candle) in front of a mirror, and the reflected image of person is then projected onto a curtain of cold air. So the image source comes from a mirror instead of a projector. Of course, the cold air can be produced with dry ice. No worries about liquid dripping down (that's why they call it dry ice). When the lights are dimmed, a slit on the ceiling is opened or unplugged to let the cold air from the dry air descend onto the séance table, forming a thin curtain or waterfall of cold air identical to the one produced by the air-cons in this pavilion. When the cold air hit the table, the cold air spread out and hit the participants around the table. The literature on séance always mentions a chill in the air. The chill comes from dry ice, not spirits.
The whole set up of the mirror and the ghost performer/actor is located next door, and the image is shone through a hole that quite high and therefore nobody notices it (besides, the hole is disguised, and only opened after the room is darkened). This also explains why the ghost image is floating quite high in the air, which adds to the effect. The whole set up for the reflected image could be all carried out on a raised platform in the next room. The whole house of the spiritual medium is of course a magician stage.
I hope I'm wrong. But the explanation seems to come too easy. It's all done with smoke and mirror (as they say in the magic parlance). The dry ice is quite smokey (in fact, it's used in film set when special effect of a smokey nature is called for. The smoke enhances the visibility of the air curtain by making it more opaque. That's it. Did I leave out any details? I think I account for everything. I could be wrong, of course, but it isn't sounded so far fetched now. Another secret of the magic code revealed! Unfortunately!
Ok, back to 21st century Shanghai (from 19th century Europe). Most people take photos of these holograms with the flashes on, and only photograph their own flashes.
The second section consisted of photos of many successful Pakistani women - the Hall of Fame for Pakistani Women if you like - that ranging from politician to air force pilot, defending themselves the view that Pakistan society oppresses womenfolks. Were there many people suggested that? Seems like it.
The last section contains travel postcard photos (not postcard
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