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A CHINESE HOWDY: Haibao is the 2010 World Expo’s mascot.

Shanghai world's fair Think of a world's fair as a cultural Olympics that lasts six months. Prices are better, the airport less jammed. As such, the 2010 World Expo in Shanghai is shaping up as one of the year's best travel events. The coastal city has always considered itself more cosmopolitan than Beijing. It's upping the ante with $45 billion in upgrades that include better roads and expanded mass transit. New hotels include two InterContinental locations -- the Peninsula and the stylish Hotel Indigo, a boutique property. So where's the "wow" factor? As with any world's fair, it's all about the pavilions. Visitors are sure to be drawn to the Saudi Arabia pavilion, which looks like a big gleaming wedding gift. The "moon boat" shape will be surrounded by deserts and seas. Across its roof: 150 date palms. Besides such stunning design feats, more than 100 daily events and performances will take place across several dozen sites. One-day admission is about $24. More info: -- Chris Erskine
Qilai Shen / EPA
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