The Shanghai Expo Bringing the Global Family Together
By staff reporter ZHANG MAN & GONG HAN
THE 2010 Shanghai Expo is expected to attract 70 million visitors, many from around the world. A home stay program, dubbed the "Expo Family," has been set up to allow locals to open their home to foreign visitors. It serves as a solution to temporary massive shortage of accommodation that this influx of visitors will face, and also gives overseas guests a chance to interact and experience local living.
The Expo Family Evaluation Committee has selected 500 families from a pool of qualified candidates. This program differs from the traditional understanding of a family hotel in that it is completely done on a nonprofit basis. The hope is that these Expo Families will embody the theme "Better City, Better Life" and echo the Shanghai lifestyle.
The families involved predominantly reside in Zhabei, Jing'an, Luwan and Huangpu districts straddling the Huangpu River. Apart from good housing conditions, each of these chosen families should also have some sort of cultural specialty that they can share with the guests. The following four candidates exemplify the Expo Families.
Wu Guoxiang: Communication Beyond Boundaries
Wu Guoxiang shows her renovated guestroom with new furniture and galant wallpaper.
Born in Shaoxing, Zhejiang Province, the birthplace of Yueju (Shaoxing Opera), Wu Guoxiang was exposed to Yueju from an early age, which led her to become a lifelong practitioner of it. After retiring from work, she has been involved with a local professional Yueju troupe to continue improving her skills. She has transformed her home into an epitome of Yueju culture. The photo frames hung on the walls depict her days performing in traditional costumes. Squeezed under the glass top of the coffee table one can see many photos she had taken with well-known Yueju personalities.