By Brian Spegele, with contributions from Juliet Ye
JUNE 11, 2010, 4:33 PM HKT
Visitors to the Saudi Arabian pavilion of Shanghai¡¯s World Expo might be spending more time there than they bargained for if you include waits of up to nine hours.
While the opening weeks at Expo saw surprisingly low attendance, Saudi Arabia¡¯s pavilion has emerged as among the most popular, according to a report in Shanghai¡¯s Liberation Daily. Thousands of expo-goers, the elderly among them, have braved Shanghai¡¯s humidity for a chance to see the ¡°moon boat,¡± a nickname for the country¡¯s 6000-square-meter pavilion complete with date palm trees planted on the structure¡¯s roof.
¡°In the very beginning, few people paid attention to Saudi Arabia,¡± said Terrence Ou, CEO and founder of The Great Wall Adventure Club, which specializes in trips to the Expo. ¡°It¡¯s an Arabian country and people thought they know what it looks like by looking at the TV or whatever.¡±
That changed, however, when word spread of the Saudi pavilion and its 1,600-square-meter movie screen, among the world¡¯s largest. France may have duty-free perfume to sell, while Australia has Ugg boots and China a dose of patriotism, but no one seems to have tapped visitors¡¯ desire to glimpse the future quite like the Saudis.
That doesn¡¯t mean all Expo-goers are patiently waiting their turn. Saudi Arabia, along with several other countries, recently closed down express handicapped access to the pavilion after visitors were found to be faking disabilities, according to a report in the Shanghai Daily.
Continue to read at China Realtime Report.