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A world in a day

HOW much will it cost to tour the world? The answer is 160 yuan (US$23.35). In just a year's time, people will be able to enjoy tea in a French garden, chat with friends on Australia's Uluru and take a trip on Switzerland's Mount Titlis cable car, all on the same day. The dreamlike journey will take place in the 2010 World Expo site along the Huangpu River in Shanghai.

With 365 days to go and more than 1 million tickets already sold in China, it's time to think about what the 2010 world fair will have to offer.

What can visitors exp`ect for their 160 yuan? The organizers have the answers: pavilions, foreign cultures, exhibitions, performances as well as cuisine and shopping.

Visitors will be dazzled by more than 200 innovative pavilions. For example, the United Kingdom Pavilion will be a huge "light box" with 60,000 spines projecting out into the air. The Poland Pavilion will be designed like a paper cutting. The Spain Pavilion will look as if it was woven out of reeds. The newly unveiled India Pavilion will replicate a 2,000-year-old Buddhist stupa.

While strolling around the world, visitors can also experience the atmosphere of the exotic. Couples may like to take in a French wedding in the France Pavilion. The Republic of Korea will let visitors to walk through Seoul's streets. Visitors to the Norway Pavilion will have the chance to stroll through Scandinavian fjords and forests.

The Expo site will be huge, but never mind, people can borrow bicycles from the Denmark Pavilion and ride around the world.

The Expo site will also become one of the world's most packed museums as many countries have decided to bring their national treasures to the event.

Denmark's Little Mermaid, Japan's Monk Jianzhen statue, and paintings by Van Gogh and Paul Cezanne from the Musee d'Orsay will be displayed. Moreover, a mysterious national treasure will be on show at the China Pavilion.

For 160 yuan, locals could expect to buy a ticket or two to a film at a Shanghai cinema. But at the Expo, many films using new technology and shown on various innovative screens will be on offer. The spines of the UK Pavilion will be tipped with tiny colored lights to display images. The Theme Pavilion, built by the organizers, will have a dome-shaped screen to imitate the curvature of the Earth and give people a bird's eye view of our blue planet.

Every day, more than 100 performances will be held across the Expo site. China's Shaolin and Wudang kung fu will fight for mastery. The Joint-Africa Pavilion will be a paradise of the continent's folk music. Visitors can also become performers at the Expo by joining a 1,000-person chorus.

If they feel tired, visitors will be able to take the weight off their feet at the Expo Center while listening to a forum about the future of our cities.

The Urban Best Practices Area is one of the innovations of the Shanghai event. Experiences of tackling the problems facing the world's urban areas will be shared by more than 50 cities, while Shanghai's "eco-house" will display an idealized living space.

The Expo will also be a real feast. Chinese food, French wine, wild fish from Finland, Mexican hoecake and Japanese cuisine will be on offer. And shopping fans will be busy in the Expo site, too. Almost all the pavilions will devote about 20 percent of their space to shopping areas, so people can pick up souvenirs or buy products from across the world without leaving the city.


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