What’s it like to work the Expo at one of the busiest pavilions? We asked several USA Pavilion staff to record a diary of their day during Golden Week during what we expected to be one of the busiest weeks. (It didn’t turn out quite so. The numbers for that week were actually lower than usual, probably due to the ticket price mark up for the public holiday…much to the relief of all Expo staff.) Ben Frohman is a student ambassador from Georgetown university who works in Communications. Here’s a peek into his day.
9:00am: The scene at Houtan Square (Gate 8) just before opening hours. It was mercifully free of visitors as I made my way in to work just before the rush began.
9:01am: Below, the onslaught. The tip of the spear aims straight for USAP and the European Pavilion area. Wheelchairs fly. I was luckily able to buy my 豆浆(dou jiang) at Family Mart and take cover inside before the mad rush enveloped me.
The tip of the spear.
11:05am: I’m in the Communications Department in the office, so I do not have to deal directly with the crowds during Golden Week. To better remember what life is like “on the ground” (where I was for my first two months at Expo), I went downstairs to see the crowd. A 保安 (bao an) tells me that there still won’t be that many people today as the Expo Bureau is trying to keep down the numbers to avoid the chaos and confusion that would certainly result from unfettered ticket sales. It still looked like a lot of people to me.
The line snakes way out of the stanchions into Columbus Square. Over the Expo loudspeaker they said, accurately or not, that the waiting time was up to three hours.
1:15pm: I went down again in the afternoon to catch the crowd pulse. Still as many people in line as in the morning, with the usual crowds at Fast Access and happy visitors taking commemorative pictures in front of the photogenic USAP waterfall.
Student ambassadors working Fast Access.
USAP “Cowboy Clown” entertains visitors in line.
It was nice having refuge in the office–it often gets hectic, but it’s possible to escape the heat and the crowds. Still, it’s always fun to go down to where all the action really happens – Operations!