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In the still of the night ...

THE Expo site is almost as busy after midnight as it is during the day with more than 5,000 Expo staffers hard at work in the hours of darkness.

The night shift workers include cleaners, gardeners and security staff, said Zhang Qing, deputy director of the Expo Operation Headquarters. Security guards patrol the site, while gardeners mow the grass to avoid disturbing visitors during the day.

In the Germany Pavilion in Zone C, cleaners use water cannons to wash the outside of the pavilion. At the nearby Spain Pavilion, Miguelin, the 6.5-meter electronically animated baby, also takes a bath with workers using a water cannon to clean him up ready for the next day.

At operation headquarters, all the staff are busy at work. Big screens show them the condition at each section of the site. The employees that monitor the operation of the site are at their busiest after 9pm and are kept busy throughout the night, Zhang said.

He said the headquarters had been running around the clock since the Expo opened on May 1. The headquarters has 60 departments, being in charge of work that includes cleaning, facility maintenance and transport.

The 120 electric shuttle buses are driven to a garage for an 8-hour recharge. Engineers check the vehicles to ensure they run smoothly the next day.

Vehicles shuttle between a warehouse in Houtan and various pavilions throughout the night, carrying 1,000 tons of materials and new exhibits as well as 500 tons of frozen food to restaurants before 7am.

After 1am, the major job at the site is transferring more than 200 tons of rubbish collected during the day outside the site, said Yuan Shumin, chief operational officer of the site's rubbish disposal. Six rubbish vehicles are used to remove the garbage.

At the site's toilets, cleaners are cleaning and sterilizing all 8,000 cubicles. After cleaning the toilets, inspectors randomly check the cubicles.

"The night shift workers give the site a brand-new image every day," Zhang said.

At 6am, cleaners open the sunshades around the site to welcome visitors and other night shift workers prepare to go home.

At the same time, the first batch of visitors begin queuing at Expo entrances, mainly to get the limited number of reservation tickets to the China Pavilion.


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