Situated literally on top of subway line 1, the Beijing Ancient Observatory was the site of star gazing and astronomic observation continuously for over 500 years. There many instruments for measuring and mapping the position of stars and celestial motion made from copper and still functional hundreds of years later. The place was deserted and the quiet courtyard, small exhibits, and observation tower provided a nice escape from the heat of the afternoon.
[flickr album=72157624164650640 num=30 size=Square]
Back in September 2008 I wrote a blog post titled World's Fairs are still happening! which read as follows:
Anyone in Seattle knows the Space Needle, downtown monorail and a few other things were built for the 1962 World’s Fair. The World’s Fair is an extravagant event that throughout history has left several major cities across the US with large, oddly-shaped landmarks and a legacy to tell to children for generations.
Asking around, I’d not been able to find anyone who has the slightest recollection of any World’s Fairs since the early 1980s. It turns out that since Vancouver, BC in 1986, all subsequent fairs have been in other parts of the world. The World’s Fair Museum site at expomuseum.com has the full details.
A trip to Shanghai in 2010 does sound rather tempting.
Leaving after work on Wednesday we had two weekdays at the Expo followed by some time in the city. The weather cooperated and we had little rain and mild temperatures which was ideal for exploring the huge Expo site. There were many crowds, as expected, but away from the major pavilions (China, US, western Europe) the lines were rarely more than 20-30 minutes wait. We covered a good spread of Asia, the Middle East, Eastern Europe, the Pacific and many of the other smaller venues. As you'd expect no two pavilions were alike and many approached their displays and attractions with different purposes in mind. Some focused on education, others attracting tourism, some attracting business and investment, a few providing on-site dining and high end restaurants, another creating an upstairs market for selling rugs and so on.
After two full days we were both exhausted. There was much more to see but it would have been hard to go back for a third day without a break in between. Overall, however, well worth the trip.
Sign writing in falling water droplets
Mexico Pavilion (with a restaurant serving good, but expensive, burritos)
Favorite site: Happy Street as a collection of future living ideas by the Netherlands.
[flickr album=72157624035341587 num=100 size=Square]