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Many moons later and with this weekend's closing ceremony the Shanghai World Expo 2010 will draw to an end.

As to be expected, there are a few things we never got round to: eating Michelin stars in the Spanish Pavilion; riding the Swiss Ski lift; actually seeing one of the Haibao parades - but of course we got to see the star of the show and some pretty good pavilions... and the Chinese fascination with the Expo Passport.

Due maybe to the difficulty of getting out of China as a local, or the resale value of completeness but either way, when the expo first opened people were queueing longer to get a country's stamp in their 30RMB book than they were to get inside the pavilion.

Of course, we all bought one. I've got at least Canada, Belgium and Trinidad & Tobago in mine... and that's probably enough. To others (and I mean a lot of others) they became a fascination. Complete books of 250-odd stamps were selling for thousands on Taobao.

Thanks to the Chinese being on a complete other level, things got six-sigma.

In the same way as the express delivery companies utilize the Metro, a logistics network was built around the workings of the park. There were runners ferrying fist-fulls of passports between carriers in the queues; old ladies with easy-entrance privileges caravanning handbags from stamp-to-stamp and coordinators on the corner of every section directing flow.

All of this went mostly behind the scenes. Above board we got a taste of commotion at every pavilion caused by a throng of people with only one thing on their mind. Sitting on the other side of the desk were the poor guys who had come from all over the world to stamp passports all day long.

"We looked at it a different way" the VIP host of the UK pavillion told us on our first visit, "The stamp is tied to the table with a length of string. They can fight over it themselves"

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