A Travellerspoint blog

Day 2: World Expo

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Today we went and saw: Angola, Australia, China, Croatia, Germany, Iceland, Libya, Russia, Slovania, Switzerland, Turkey, Ukraine, United States. The best today was China as it was a hugely impressive (and I think the largest) pavilion in the entire Expo. They only gave reserved tickets to enter this display every morning to the first 50,000 visitors, and if you don't have a reservation ticket you couldn't get inside. So we arrived about 7:45 in the morning and waited until 9:00. It had so many really interesting displays, some showing how China has changed since the seventies (showing furniture and electronics, clothes) and future plans for an ecologically responsible China with a big focus on sustainable living, living quarters, fuel. The United States came an easy second place and we think that they really planned it well allowing 500 persons in at a time which people were ushered through three huge theatres to sit down and watch some videos. In one of them, the seats rumbled and water sprayed down when it was a thunderstorm on the screen and that made everyone shout out in surprise which was pretty funny. But Ben said that it was to be expected that the US would be very entertainment focused. It was the only pavilion that we saw the actual leader of the country greet and give a very warm wish to those who were watching. Go Obama!

We waited 3 hours in line to go to the Swiss pavilion, which to be honest wasn't that impressive and the only cool thing was that there was ski lifts which took you up for about a 20 second ride at the top of the pavilion to look around (which was pretty darn neat and more important was that we could give our tired feet a rest and let them dangle!!). Turkey was very interesting and probably our third choice today. We could hear Ireland playing bagpipes at their pavilion, although Ben thought that was more a Scottish instrument and that the Irish were probably just too inebriated to realise that. The United Kingdom's pavilion was very odd looking with huge silver spikes, and in talking with friendly people in the Expo it was quite well known that it was as boring on the inside as it was on the outside and not worth visiting. That was a huge shame. The biggest disappointment at the Expo was the Australian pavilion. Recently, there has been a very huge international issue between Australia and China in the area of iron exports; even going as far as Australian citizens being arrested and placed in prison for bribing Chinese officials. In a nutshell, Australia wants to increase the price of our largest export item (and China is the largest importer of our iron), and China wants to keep the price level. So having the entire pavilion made out of iron sheets with raw iron ore material all around the bottom was a bit rude we thought. The inside of the Australian pavilion was odd with lots of caricatures made trying to explain in about 2 minutes what Australia's history was. There wasn't any interesting imagery of how diverse the country was nor how Australia is leading in many eco areas such as photovoltaic technology (that's probably because the University of Sydney was a sponsor and not the University of New South Wales), as well as algae fuel. Oh well. In the theatre there were no seats, just something you could lean back against and watch an interesting movie on three screens that swivelled in a circle. The largest complaint we had was that everything was entirely in mandarin and there weren't even english sub-titles unlike the other pavilions we were at. It was discussed by a person next to me that while Chinese people enjoy Australian people, that the government is untrustworthy with our prime minister trying so hard to be Chinese. Ben thought that was pretty interesting.

Thomas and Alexis found some very funny statues outside of the Angola pavilion and we had to stop and take some photos while they played with them. Today was the biggest day that we have had at the Expo and as soon as we arrived back at our hotel, we crashed asleep!

We had dinner at a very interesting restaraunt called the Jade Garden.

Interesting Thing Eaten: Donkey hamburger

Posted by giffords 17:30 Archived in China Tagged family_travel Comments (0)

Flying!

The exits are located.....

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The day finally came! We headed on down to Sydney International after Ryan (Cara's brother) was so fantastic and took us all there in the very early morning. Cara did a great job in getting everything ready to go in advance (although Ben was a bit teary on saying goodbye to Molly for so long) and we had a really good drive into the Sydney airport with minimal traffic.

The people in Customs were really trying to prove and go that extra mile in that you can do a job without any smiles or happiness; what a shame. While this trip we weren't able to head into the Qantas lounge, we did do some duty free shopping and Cara scored a cool new Cyber-shot camera that she really loves. Bye bye old Kodak!

As we were boarding the plane, Alexis instantly made friends who wanted to take her photo, but how unfortunate for those people that their camera battery was out! What a pity.

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Thomas was actually very good on the 10.5 hour flight, often sleeping or playing very nicely with his little toys that the flight attendants gave him. He sat next to Sophie ! The two of them actually were real fantastic and didn't at all do any sibling fun also known as fighting.
Ben and Alexis sat next to the window and every few minutes Alexis would open the window, shut the window, put it halfway, etc. She did great though, mostly just staring at her screen and watching all sorts of movies and television shows .

Cara tried to get some sleep, although the man in front of her enjoyed reclining his seat AAAAAALLLLLLLLL the way back, I think his ticket allowed him to think he could think he was able to receive neck massages from people behind him. Growl.

The flight had minimal turbulence and was pretty good considering how long it was. Qantas did a good job.

There was quite a lot of cloud covering and once we dipped below them we could see Shanghai sparkling in the evening. Our arrival and processing through customs was done so quickly and efficiently. And then that's when we met Mr. Leu and Shawn (our translator).

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They were extremely friendly and wonderful welcoming hosts as they took us to our hotel room. We caught up with Michelle and David and then went to all have dinner together.

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While Alexis and Thomas were very sleepy, they did a very good job at remembering their manners. We had a beautiful dinner of:

Pumpkin
Vegetable and mushroom salad
Jellyfish
Salted duck
Awesome dumplings
Thai yellow fish
Beautiful tiger prawns cooked like lobster
Sharkfin and mushroom soup
Meatballs
Egg
Delicious laksa
all sorts of fruit and vegetables

Then we said our goodbyes as the children were very very sleepy. So goodnight, friends, and talk to you tomorrow as we explore Shanghai.

Posted by giffords 15:15 Archived in Australia Tagged air_travel Comments (2)

T Minus 1

sunny 11 °C

So today is going to be busy getting all the packing and suitcases (or is it one suitcase? I'm not sure) for the flight on Saturday. The weather looks to be raining all on the weekend unfortunately until Monday and then it will be a nice 25 °C sunny day. That's a shame, seeing how it's going to be a bright sunny weekend all until Monday down here in Sydney. Still, it's freezing (it's 11 °C!) right now at night and we're really looking forward to seeing our good friends and meet up in Shanghai. They said that it's about a 5 hour line for the World Expo, ack!

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Might head though down to Peter's of Kensington as they have some great bits of small luggage that might come in handy! (Not to mention just some cool stuff).

Today will be the last night in Sydney for a long time!

Posted by giffords 12:49 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

Getting Visas

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So after 2 hours of sleep, made my way with Thomas on the trains to the city. Not bad really, and we made pretty good time. We went to the Sydney Chinese Visa Application Centre at 299 Elizabeth Street and it had a really nice view of the ANZAC memorial. Had a little walk in the shade there at the park before we had lunch.

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Had lunch and then zipped on back towards home before a meeting and that's when insanity happened; nearly 2.5 hours worth of waiting and delays due to no idea! We went a bit down the track, stopped, hopped out and waited on a nearby track. Did that twice and finally after a huge wait at some station I can't recall, we made it home. Thomas wanted to lay down but complained that the seats smelled like bottoms. Completely missed my meeting, air conditioning on the train wasn't working and wow were there some grumbly people.

But! Visas will be ready to be picked up this Friday, how's that for fast service! Excellent!

Posted by giffords 22:14 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

Tickets! Yes Please!

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Today we received our tickets to Shanghai. Now we're busy organising the visas required but that should all be sorted this week. Looking forward to sharing our time with our good friends David and Lu Lu throughout China and Hong Kong.

Posted by giffords 18:25 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

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