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Weird 'wows' and record-smashers

THE World Expo 2010 is set to smash Expo records and set a host of very unusual records as well.

The event will be the world's largest Expo with the largest number of participants and the largest Expo site. It will also attract more than 70 million visitors from both home and abroad, the largest number drawn to any Expo.

More than 200 participants, meanwhile, are preparing their own world firsts and records.

Here are just a few of the memorable exhibits and events.

World's largest seed collection

The "Seed Cathedral" in the United Kingdom Pavilion

The centerpiece of the UK Pavilion will be the "Seed Cathedral" that contains more than 60,000 seeds of various plants.

Visitors will be surrounded by the seeds, each in a long thin crystal rod implanted in the illuminated walls and ceiling of the fuzzy cube-like structure. They can watch, touch and recognize the seeds.

After the World Expo Shanghai, the seeds will be planted around China.

Around 100 visitors can visit the 20-meter cube at any time.

Tip: Log onto, the official Website of the UK Pavilion, before visiting the "Seed Cathedral." The names and pictures of the seeds are displayed.

World's top toilet

The potty in the Japan Industry Pavilion

The pavilion on the Puxi site of Expo is touting the toilet that will make users feel as relaxed as in a living room. Organizers call it the "world's most comfortable place" to relieve oneself - and the cleanest.

The luxury toilets feature aromatic odors and 24-hour cleaning with high-intelligence technologies.

Pavilion organizers say "a large part" of the exhibition's 3-billion-yen (US$33.3 million) budget was spent on the throne room.

"The toilet will make cleaners feel proud to work in the WC," said Sakaiya Taichi, overall producer of the Japan Industry Pavilion.

Around 70 people will be admitted to the pavilion every four minutes.

Visitors can choose the brief tour designed by the organizer that will take around 30 minutes - or a complete, one-hour tour if they want to experience the toilet.

Tip: A luxury Japanese restaurant will charge 3,000 yuan (US$439) each for a meal in the pavilion. Visitors can experience one of the world's most expensive restaurants and then experience the world's most comfortable toilet.

World's oldest welcome ritual

Maori dances in the New Zealand Pavilion

Maori performers will stage kapa haka, an ancient Maori dance, at the waiting area of the pavilion every day to welcome visitors.

The loud and vigorous performance involves choral singing, dancing and hand-to-hand combat movements.

Song and dance include waiata tira (warm-up song), whakaeke (entrance song), waiata-a-ringa (action song), haka (challenge), pou or moteatea (old-style singing), poi (coordinated swinging of balls attached to cords), and whakawaetae (closing song). They may include titi torea (synchronized manipulation of thin sticks).

Tip: Don't be frightened by what might seem fierce - loud singing and vigorous dancing are signs of welcome.

World's largest crystal wall

The core exhibition in the Joint Private Enterprises Pavilion

Tens of thousands of crystals from Swarovski, the Austrian luxury crystal glass jewelry brand, are embedded in a wall of the pavilion mainly built by 16 of China's leading private enterprises.

Lights will illuminate the crystal wall so that the carefully cut stones sparkle, dazzle and seem to move.

More than 10,000 private companies sponsor the pavilion and their names are carved on the wall that symbolizes the spirit of Chinese private companies.

Tip: Wear sunglasses if you want to watch the wall for a long time: the awesome spectacle can be tiring for the eyes.

World's biggest IMAX screen

The theater in the Saudi Arabia Pavilion

The pavilion's second floor will feature a 360-degree, 1,600-square-meter cinema screen, said to be the world's largest 3-D IMAX theater.

It's as large as two football fields and will surround strolling visitors. The theater, called the "Wow Space," will take visitors to the country's oases, deserts, villages, seas and cities with their modern architecture as well as traditional bazaars.

Audiences can stroll about and watch Bedouin nomads on their camels, as well as scholars, artists and other urbanites. They will feel as if they are part of the scene.

Tip: After watching the movie, visitors can ascend to the roof garden oasis and relax in the shade of around 150 Saudi date palms.


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