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July 13, 2011

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Expo favorite still pulls in the crowds

VISITORS queued for two and a half hours yesterday to get into the China Pavilion, as it reopened for the second time since the end of the World Expo 2010.

The pavilion, one of the most popular in last year's Expo, received 32,000 visitors on its first day open this time around.

"That exceeded our expectations of how many people would turn up to visit the pavilion," said Zhang Linfeng, a senior operator of the pavilion.

Showcasing the "Bronze Chariot and Horse" from the Qin Dynasty (221-206 BC) and the animation "Along the Riverside During the Qingming Festival," the pavilion received more than 9 million visitors during the Expo from May 1 to October 31. Another 5.7 million people visited when it reopened between December 1 and May 31.

Yesterday, long queues formed in front of the ticket office on Guozhan Road even before it opened at 8am.

Some pavilion enthusiasts had been there for two hours.

By 9:30am, about 8,000 visitors were waiting patiently as staff switched on mist sprayers and handed out fans.

People had to wait 30 minutes to buy tickets at 15 windows and another two hours to enter the pavilion. Queues died down later, and visitors arriving after 2pm didn't have to queue.

People needed to wait a long time because too many visitors came in the morning on the first reopening day, said Zhang.

Scalpers mingled with visitors, claiming they could get visitors in without waiting, but Zhang said their tickets were fakes.

The pavilion will remain open through October 9 with the same exhibits. The admission is 20 yuan (US$3), though discount tickets at 15 yuan are available for some people, like the elderly or the disabled.

The pavilion will open from 9am to 5pm every day, except for Mondays, with entrance on Xueye Road. Tickets will be available from 8:30am to 4pm on Shangnan Road.

Yesterday, 15 percent of visitors had already been to the pavilion more than twice, but for most this was their first trip to the iconic structure.

Nearly half were with tour groups from outside Shanghai, according to Zhang.

The Saudi Arabia Pavilion, another Expo star attraction, is being redecorated and will open around September, Shanghai Daily was told.

Escalators in the pavilion have been inspected, Zhang said, as some are made by OTIS, the manufacturer at the center of current safety concerns following a fatal accident in Beijing last week.


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