Shanghai's Dazzling World Expo Opening
    2010-05-05 10:00:31     CRIENGLISH.com      Web Editor: Sun Yang
 

The fireworks light up the night sky of Shanghai, the host city for the 2010 Expo. [Photo:CRIENGLISH.com/Duan Xuelian]

by Julianne Page

The Shanghai night sky was ablaze with a kaleidoscope of laser lights and fireworks as the largest, and some might argue most impressive, city in China welcomed the opening of the 2010 world expo in grand style.

The oval shaped expo cultural centre, which will serve as the main performance, exhibition and entertainment venue for the six month duration of the expo, played host to the initial part of the opening ceremony. Twenty world leaders were in attendance including the French president Nicolas Sarkozy, and European commission president Jose Manuel Barroso.

Following the official speeches and an impressive series of performances, including those from the Soweto Gospel Choir and Italian tenor Andrea Bocelli, attention turned to Shanghai's Huangpu River.

The river divides Shanghai into two parts, east and west. Shanghai locals call them Pudong and Puxi. During the expo the east side (Pudong) of the river will play host to three of the five expo zones, the west side (Puxi) of the river the other two.

Both banks of the Huangpu and the river itself were the focus of the later stage of the expo opening with a world record number of fireworks, a truly spectacular light show, dancing fountains and an awe-inspiring visual display of searchlights and glowing LED balls floating on the water.

At various stages throughout the night the sky was completely illuminated either in red, silver and gold or a variety of other hues. So loud and impressive were these fireworks that they not only broke the world record for the greatest number but also caused nearby buildings to vibrate. The term 'visual spectacular' is often overused but in this case its completely apt.

Many of Shanghai's landmark buildings and bridges were also illuminated with fireworks and laser lights. One of the most impressive sights was the famous oriental pearl tower shooting colourful fireworks off from all heights and in all directions.

Just as Beijing did two years ago for the Olympics, this city has transformed itself for Expo 2010. Some $59-billion was reportedly spent on the 5.3-square-kilometre site that spans both sides of the Huangpu, as well as new subway lines, a new airport terminal and an overhaul of the citys signature Bund riverfront stroll.

This will be the largest and most expensive expo in the 149-year history of the event and in this point in history, the greatest show on earth. Despite the large crowds and tired feet this will be a once in a lifetime event, don't miss it!

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