The 2010 Shanghai World Expo opened April 30 with a 90-minute ceremony featuring a song by action star Jackie Chan, as well as music from Chinese concert pianist Lang Lang and Italian tenor Andrea Bocelli.
Presidents Nicolas Sarkozy of France and Lee Myung Bak of South Korea attended the ceremony, which was capped by an elaborate fireworks display that is said to have been the largest ever staged. China has reportedly spent twice as much on the Expo as it spent on the 2008 Summer Olympics.
The next day, tens of thousands of Chinese poured into the Expo site and lined up for pavilions.
In almost all cases, the wait was more than two hours and the crush to gain admittance was sometimes frightening.
Many visitors who attended isolated events before the official opening complained that the food was too expensive. Organizers responded by offering cheaper concessions as well as more garbage bins and places to sit.
They expect 70 million people to visit the Expo before it closes in October, the vast majority of them Chinese.
Almost 200,000 people came to the park on the second day. However, by the third day, attendance had dropped to a little more than 100,000 people.
In related news, Japan’s most popular boy band, SMAP, will make its first-ever concert appearance outside of Japan when it performs at the Expo sometime in June.