Expo Exposed:Shanghai Expo's Secret Party Scene Revealed
Normal operating hours of the Shanghai Expo are from 9:30am 10:30pm. But if you thought that's when the excitement stops you'd be wrong, very wrong. In fact this is just when some of the best entertainment starts. Our Dominic Swire brings us this exclusive glimpse into the secret party scene behind the closed doors of the Expo.
With thousands of foreign employees working and living together on the Expo site, many of them young party goers, the emergence of a thriving social scene is hardly a surprise. What may be, however, is the sheer number of Expo events held behind closed doors and the way in which they're publicized amongst those in the know.
"We have 450 staff in the Australian pavilion. About 200 of those are in the main young people from Australia."
Peter Sams is Pavilion Director and Deputy Commissioner-General for Australia at the Shanghai Expo. Speaking in the midst of a huge party hosted by the Australian pavilion, he explains the importance of socializing at such events.
"Young people, strangely, enjoy nightlife; and, of course it's important for them to have fun and interact with other pavilions. The best experiences that they have come from the interacting with other people from around the world. That's a legacy of Expo that's often not spoken about. The connections and friendships and sometimes relationships that are build between countries through people working at the Expo. It's a really nice thesis."
The Australian party is just one of numerous afterhours parties held for those working at the Expo once visitors have left the grounds. In fact there are so many of these parties that a couple of enterprising officials from the Lithuanian pavilion took it upon themselves to launch the website exponights.com. This provides a live update of all the unofficial social events happening at the Expo.
"In the beginning, I really love parties, myself."
Aivaras Kriauciunas is Deputy Commissioner General for the Lithuanian pavilion, and one of the creators of the site.
"In the beginning it was like this. Everyone figured out because I love parties I know where the parties are. So they started calling me every night asking, 'Aivaras, where's the party tonight?' I was really tired of answering the phone, so I just made the website."
Kriauciunas says the first few parties were initially organized by Lithuania, Malta and Angola. But soon after many other pavilions started picking up on the idea. Now not one week goes by without a handful of afterhours festivities.
"This coming Friday, if I'm not mistaken, they'll be four parties. Four parties, one night!"
Paulius Staniunas, also from the Lithuanian pavilion, is the one who updates the site. He explains what's special about the Expo parties.
"Why they good? Because people know how to party. Imagine this: in the Expo, people are collected from all around the world in here, the best people. Because each country wants to represent themselves in the best way they can. The best pavilion, the best equipment, the best staff. The best people from all over the world gather in one place. So definitely they know how to party and that's what makes these parties so good."
Undoubtedly the Expo is primarily focused on catering towards the tens of millions of Chinese visiting the site; but there are also thousands of foreign staff having a jolly good time, too.
For China Radio International at the Shanghai Expo, I'm Dominic Swire.