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More pavilions, services in smooth trial for 300,000

YESTERDAY'S fourth trial of the World Expo 2010 site ran smoothly with 300,000 visitors, the largest of the preview days, experiencing improved services, more performances and more pavilions open.

Around 75 of 120 pavilions on site opened yesterday, the largest number since previews began on Tuesday.

Many pavilions prolonged their opening time. Germany and Italy closed at 7pm while Japan and Saudi Arabia stayed open until 10pm.

After the China Pavilion, France, Australia, Italy, Japan and Saudi Arabia were the most popular.

Like earlier previews, long queues circled around the pavilions. Site broadcasts from 11am to 5pm repeatedly told visitors they had to wait two to three hours to get in.

Some pavilion staff suggested people come after 5pm when queues would be shorter.

Volunteers continued to hand out tickets to the China Pavilion at all eight site entrances. However, 20 minutes after the gates opened at 9am, all 30,000 tickets allocated to the popular pavilion were gone.

More stalls selling bread and steamed buns were set up around the site but most visitors brought their own food, so long queues didn't form at restaurants.

Some restaurant staff hawked outside during lunch to attract customers, a marked contrast to earlier previews when crowds gathered at almost all eating areas.

Many food outlets run by pavilions, including one outside the Australia Pavilion and a fast-food cafe at the Malaysia Pavilion, served customers.

Visitors also found they could get hot water at the 56 inquiry offices and used the service to make tea and instant noodles as well as make up powdered milk for babies.

More maps in English needed

Guide maps in English were also available at the inquiry offices but there was insufficient quantity and they ran out around noon. Many foreign visitors used Chinese maps.

Laure Guilmen from France said although she understood Chinese she was confused by the guide and an English map was necessary.

Senior visitors complained it was difficult for them to find a seat, especially in the most crowded European section, so many sat on the ground or grass.

The organizer said they have ordered many benches for the site and soon will install them.

A dozen shows, including test performances of "Window of City" and "CHA," the Expo organizer's two main theme shows, were open to visitors who scattered to several indoor and outdoor stages that can accommodate more than 1,000 people at a time.

"Window of City" tells the story of an angel's travels around world and involves acrobatics, opera and Japan's traditional performing group Noh Drama, Spanish flamenco dances and Hip-hop performers. Two sessions, at 2pm and 7pm, were held at a 2,000-seat venue near the No. 8 Houtan Entrance to the site.

The stage lighting, special effects and creativity were stunning, but the meaning of the show was quite hard to understand, said Zu Bin, a 40-year-old patron from Tianjin.


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