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Never say goodbye to the World Expo

2010. 1 November

by Xu Lin
( It's the afternoon of October 31, the last day of Shanghai World Expo 2010. Visitors are still queuing outside the pavilions, chatting to each other. Staff are still introducing the exhibitions and volunteers are ushering people into the pavilions. All are savoring the final moments of the great event. No one wants to leave.

Liu Lina, a Chinese overseas student in Norway, is a working as a hostess in the Norway Pavilion. She went to Oslo three years ago, to do a postgraduate course in East Asia studies. Her language skills gave her the opportunity to work at the expo. She told a journalist from that she felt really lucky to have been chosen, even though the job is unpaid and she had to quit her studies for a year.

Lina's job was to introduce the pavilion to visitors and tell them about Norway. Working in the pavilion made her feel as if she was still in Norway. The pavilion reminded her of northern Europe's forests, hills, beautiful scenery and tranquility. "It's just like where I live in Norway," she said.

Working on such a big event is not easy. Repeating the same information and answering the same questions every day can be boring. But her passion for the expo sustained Lina through the past six months. She has also made many friends among her colleagues and visitors. "It's really hard saying goodbye," she said. She will soon be heading back to Norway to continue her studies, but she will never forget her time in Shanghai.

Wang Xiao was a receptionist for VIPs in the Canada Pavilion. He went to Canada as a student and has since become a Canadian citizen. "I am very glad to work for the Expo because I was born in Shanghai," he said. "Of course I am happy to work with the amazing Canada team, but more importantly I feel extremely honored to greet visitors from my home country. I always try my best to present Canada in a good light so as to bring the two peoples closer."

Wang was impressed by how well this huge international event was organized. "We are all very emotional now it is time to part because we have worked here together for six months," he said.

Because it was the last day, many visitors came to have a last look at the pavilions. Yang Zhiyong was one of them. He traveled to Shanghai from Fujian Province especially for the last day of the expo. "If I miss this one, I'll have to go to Milan for the next expo," he joked. He had to wait four hours to get into the Italian Pavilion, but he said it was worth it. "I hope they keep some of the larger pavilions so more people will have a chance to visit them."

Mr. Luan is a manager at a large state-owned enterprise. Queuing for ice cream in the Turkey Pavilion, he said he has been to the expo park many times. He was able to describe the exhibitions at all the pavilions. His favorites were Russia, Germany and Saudi Arabia. He said he hoped the expo would last forever.

Mr. Dai drives a special expo taxi, one of 4,000 specially laid on in Shanghai. He is very proud he was chosen as an expo taxi driver. "My customers were from all round the world, and I learned a lot from them," he said with a smile. He took his son to the Oil Pavilion and the GM pavilion and said they were very informative and educational. His son was extremely excited. Mr. Dai said he hoped Shanghai would organize more big events like the expo.

At midnight on Sunday, the flags of more than 200 countries and international organizations were lowered at the expo site. People hugged each other, and Shanghai bade farewell to all the participants and visitors. But the happiness and tears, culture and spirit the expo brought together will remain forever in people's minds. There will be no goodbye to the World Expo!