Photo by Flickr user arnybo
I finally visited the Expo as a tourist this week (I know, it’s taken me a while) and I have to admit, after all the news about tourists behaving badly there, I really, really went there praying all my worries were for naught. Unfortunately, I saw something so disgusting it made me actually shriek out loud.
But before I get into my personal experience, Expo workers themselves are complaining that tourists are not attending “Expo in a civilized manner.” One case in point, the beautiful “Along the River During the Ching-Ming Festival 清明上河图” display.
From a translation by ESWN:
“Actually, the river water was just the effect of image projection.” The workers explained. “In order to display ‘Along The River During The Ching-Ming Festival,’ a thin net was laid out at the bottom and a projector from above cast down the water patterns onto the net. The effect was very realistic. But nobody could have imagined that some spectators would toss bottles and napkins into the ‘river.’
The workers said that the acts take place almost every day in spite of their admonishments. The workers use nets to fish out the large objects such as water bottles. As for the paper scraps, they had to use glue-tipped bamboo poles to extract.
The China Pavilion workers also complained about visitors stomping on fake tree roots and pulling flowers from flower beds (before tossing them back in). Their biggest gripe though was gum, which people apparently find appropriate to spit anywhere. The once red carpet was now plastered with black “gum scars,” despite constant attempts to clean it… and the Expo’s not even a third of the way through!
But while gum scars, destruction and littering tourists are one thing – they pale in comparison to what I saw:
A mother, perhaps not willing to wait in line for the numerous toilets scattered around the Expo, holding her bottom-half-naked son up to a drinking fountain. My jaw dropped in horror as the son, in plain view, then began pissing into the fountain. Yes, I know that parents let their kids pee all over the place in China, but was it really necessary to take a wee where other people drink?
While nobody around them seemed to take notice, I think this should be an important announcement for the more queasy, less want-to-drink-some-boy’s-peepee of us: just keep on buying the slightly overpriced water bottles.
Ah well, at least it wasn’t a poop, right?