The 2010 Shanghai Expo

Yesterday I was working on a translation that mentioned the football World Cup that is going to take place in Russia soon and I remembered the 2010 World Cup. Football (soccer for Americans) is the most popular sport in Spain but I’ve never been a fan (in fact, it makes me quite angry when I hear about the ridiculous amounts of money the players get paid) and the finals of the 2010 World Cup was I think the second time I watched a full match in my life. The reason I watched it was that I was working in the Spain pavilion in the Shanghai Expo and, as the Spanish team reached the finals, we put a big screen outside the pavilion and had a party while the match was on. Due to the time difference it started at 1 or 2 am, so the party went on basically until sunrise.

Watching the match.

I have very good memories from the Shanghai Expo because it was my first job. I was an information hostess and, as such, my main task was to help the visitors. Our pavilion was quite big and there were several positions to cover, from managing the entrance queue (visitors would queue for 2-3 hours!) to stamping the Expo passport at the exit, and in between we also had to explain some safety rules before entering, monitor the different rooms and answer any question the visitors had (I remember one of the weirdest questions I got was: “Where is the Little Mermaid?”. “Errr… in the Danish pavilion, this is Spain!”). Of course, visitors often wanted to take pictures with the hosts and hostesses! The job was not too stressful, all the colleagues were very friendly and the atmosphere was very nice in general. Even though I had always considered myself shy, I realised I had no problem at all doing a job that required facing a lot of people all the time. But maybe this was because I was talking in Chinese, and I’ve never been shy in Chinese.

The pavilion uniform was something else, haha. At least it was made of cotton, because Shanghai summers are brutal. I look so young!

A couple went to the Expo to have their wedding pictures done…


This was also the first (and only) World Expo I’ve attended. The theme was “Better city, better life” and each country had a pavilion where they presented their ideas on this topic. Being as it was held in China, there were a lot of people visiting and the lines to enter the bigger pavilions were crazy. I remember Arabia Saudi was like a 6 hours wait on a normal day! But as I had a worker’s pass, I could skip the lines in basically all the pavilions (this was reciprocal; when workers of other pavilions came to ours we also let them in by the “back door”) and I visited almost all of them.

I think the coolest pavilion was the UK one, it was like a huge spiky ball…

… and inside the ball, the “root” of each spike contained the seeds of different plants!


The “star” of our pavilion was Miguelín, a huge robot baby that sat in the middle of a room with screens that displayed several short cartoons which explained some ideas for a better city life. I think most people didn’t even notice the screens, as they were gaping at the baby in typical Chinese fashion, hehe.

A visitor asked once if we needed to change the baby’s diapers, hahaha.


All in all, it was a great experience and I had a lot of fun. I can’t believe it’s been 8 years already!


Have you even been to a World Expo?