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May 22, 2010

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Visitor numbers soar

Yesterday's visitor numbers to the Expo almost broke the record, hitting 325,800 by 9:30pm as enthusiasm soars to see pavilions and experience the site's attractions.

The highest attendance so far was last Saturday when the number of visitors hit 335,000.

Huge crowds queued outside popular pavilions, dedicated fans having to wait more than two hours to enter the France or German pavilions.

In efforts to ease crowding, staff at the neighboring France and Germany pavilions were amusingly seen trying to persuade their own waiting crowds to give up and visit other pavilions first.

Visitor numbers soared at around 11am when the sun scattered the clouds and brought fine weather conditions to the site.

More people were sitting outside enjoying the mild sun and gentle breeze instead of sheltering under the elevated walkways from the scorching sunshine of several days ago.

The forecast rain did not come to the city yesterday until late at night and temperatures were between 19 and 24 degrees Celsius.

Many students in various school uniforms were among the visitors.

"The weather is quite comfortable. Our school takes students to the Expo for their spring outing," said Li Jiaqing, a teacher of Suzhou Xingwan Junior High School.

Li said she and other teachers took the school's over 200 students to the Expo yesterday as a kind of "social practice."

Clint Parker, an American student at Fudan University, joined a university-organized visit yesterday with other foreign students majoring in history.

However, he was separated from his classmates by the huge crowds.

"There are too many people today and, apart from the China Pavilion, I saw no other big ones at all," Parker said.

He and his classmates got advanced reserved tickets to the China Pavilion as group visitors.

Expo organizers are cooperating with some pavilions to shorten the long queue by installing reserved ticket machines in front of every popular pavilion.

Visitors' number is expected to hit another record high today as more than 150,000 group visitors have booked to attend.

Rainstorms and gale winds are forecast to continue throughout the weekend.


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