Last year at this time, Shanghai was completely in Expo mode. The Expo was inescapable. There were tourists milling about, prices were higher than normal, statues of Haibao (the blue Gumby-like mascot) were EVERYWHERE, and the news was basically constant coverage of the Expo. It got to be really annoying, but when the Expo closed in October, it really closed. It got quiet. And the Expo was never heard from again. Sort of.
The statue of Haibao that was once prominently displayed on the campus of ECNU is still on the campus of ECNU. Except that once the Expo closed, it got moved to the storage/junk yard in the back corner of the campus. Where it still is. The only reason why I know it’s there is because I take a shortcut that winds between buildings. Depressing, but despite his ill treatment, Haibao still looks quite cheerful in his bright blue.
Oh, and remember this story? At the time I thought his comment about kissing him came out of left field, but now that my Chinese has improved, I realize that he was making a joke about my dismal Chinese skills. In Mandarin, 请问 (pronounced qing3 wen4) means “May I ask?”, which sounds awfully similar to 请吻 (pronounced qing3 wen3), which means “May I kiss?”. So yeah, mystery solved. Good gosh that was a long time ago.