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Holiday brings 480,000

MORE than 480,000 people visited the Expo site yesterday on the Mid-Autumn Festival, surprising some foreigners who assumed few Chinese visitors would come on the nation's traditional family-union day.

Francis Briano from France said he could hardly feel the festival atmosphere amid the crowds of visitors.

Visitors had to wait more than 30 minutes to get onto the cross-river buses that shuttle between the Pudong and Puxi Expo sites yesterday afternoon. Queues on the terminus station on the Puxi side extended for nearly 50 meters.

Briano said he especially chose to visit the Expo on the festival day because he thought Chinese visitors would stay at home with relatives. He was astonished that the site was filled with people.

Xiao Liping from Shanghai took her two German friends to the site and planned to take them to the China Pavilion and China's Joint Provincial Pavilion to give them the feel the traditional festival.

But she had to change the plan because the waiting lines were too long.

People had to wait for more than six hours for the Oil Pavilion in Puxi, the longest at the site yesterday, followed by the Saudi Arabia, Japan and Germany pavilions, which needed more than four hours.

One of Xiao's guests, Thomas Bock, said the one good thing about visiting yesterday was the suddenly cooler weather.

Heat subsides

Temperature plummeted to around 20 degrees Celsius yesterday from Tuesday's 35, with wind and drizzles off and on throughout the day.

Stefan Zurfluh from Switzerland, who visited the site both yesterday and on Tuesday, said he felt extremely cold yesterday and extremely warm on the previous day.

Some visitors didn't mind the crowds.

Jesper Nielsen from Denmark visited the site on his business trip to China. He said he still felt fine with the many visitors because everyone looked happy.

Zurfluh said the festival made it possible for him to visit the Expo because the enterprise he previously planned to visit had a day off for the holiday.

The Taiwan Pavilion became one of the most popular backgrounds for photographs after it turned its pavilion into a "moon" and fairy for the festival.

More than 40 foreign pavilion officials celebrated the festival with Chinese students who had studied in their countries yesterday in a restaurant near the Expo site.

Also yesterday, new ticket exchange policy went into effect and proved popular.

About 200 ticket holders waited at the No. 6 Entrance on Yaohua Road at 3:40pm to exchange an unused standard day ticket for two night tickets that had to be used the same day.

A local surnamed Zhang got four night tickets yesterday to take her husband, son and sister to celebrate the festival at the Expo.


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