Sushu's Travel Journal

July 21, 2010

World Expo Day 2

Filed under: Asia — Tags: , — admin @ 11:40 pm

Yesterday we got there at around 3pm and headed back at around 9pm. As Jono remarked, pavilions generally convey the following messages:
- “Our country is a friend of China!”
- “Our country is vibrant and modern and worthy of investment/trade!”
- “Our country has a deep and rich culture!”
And then there’s always a store so that you can buy their stuff.

There are 3 general approaches to the pavilions, I think mostly dependent on which people got their hands on the design.
1) National Museum: exhibits of culture and artwork, with detailed plaques (ex: Indonesia, Morocco)
2) Industry Expo: showing off lots of companies and main industry sectors. Many small booths and ads
3) Tourism Highlights: Pictures and videos of why you should visit, showing
Of course, mixing and matching happens as work is divided between, say, the national tourism bureau, the industry sponsors, and the national museum.

Pavilions we visited:
- Cultural Center — looks like giant flying saucer. Had nice view of the river and the exhibit halls. Had some boba on the 6th floor

- Nepal — is giant stupa + shop. Stupa was pretty awesome, but I was disappointed that they didn’t engineer the path up and down the stupa in a way to let us walk around it 7 times.

- Jordan, Afghanistan (“Land of opportunity”), Bahrain (“Pearl of Arabia”), all part of the Middle-East joint pavilion. Jordan was kind of cute, and some ceiling lights and showed off the Dead Sea. Afghanistan was basically a rug bazaar, no narrative whatsoever. Bahrain had a bunch of industry jargon about their business-friendly regulatory infrastructure, and their history of pearls and petrol.

- DPRK — 5 gallant scenes that you can take your picture in front of, a video of national music, and a shop selling great works of the Great Leader and the Dear Leader.

- Iran — Downstairs: a paragraph of welcome by Ahmadinejad, stuff about medical technology, some maps of the Persian Gulf. Upstairs: Persian rugs for sale. Was disappointed by lack of history, obviously in Industry Expo

- Morocco — pure national museum style, with the building itself a beautiful example of Moroccan architecture. Downstairs: exhibits of Moroccan crafts. Upstairs, a “medina” — Moroccan bazaar, but exhibit only, not real people selling stuff. Outside: real palm trees.

- Pakistan — Hilariously disorganized design — they couldn’t agree on a single font or uniform method of presenting images. Projections on mist next to tv screens next to turning slats next to back-lit posters. One hallway had on the right side photos of accomplished Pakistani women, and on the left side, the Mango Saga, wherein Pakistan gave Chairman Mao a mango and then he “gave it to the Chinese people”. There were 5 different photos of this mango. The next hallway had photos of various Pakistani leaders shaking hands with various Chinese leaders. Then there was a hallway about Pakistan’s UN participation.

- India — The inside of the pavilion was subdivided into a shop section, a food section, and a museum section. In the museum it was a circular hallway, with pictures of modern Indian life and people on the right side, and traditional Indian crafts on the left side. In the middle of the circle was an auditorium thing where they showed a 3D-in-the-round video about how chakras were connected with the elements that create urban harmony. Um… yeah.

Pavilions that we wanted to visit but couldn’t:
- Saudi Arabia: The line was over 9 hours long. It blocked up an entire street, and if the line was single-file, it would be over 4 km. Turns out there’s the BIGGEST IMAX EVER inside– instead of a half-dome, it’s a full sphere. Here’s a video:

- China: Apparently you need to line up 3 hours before it opens to get advance tickets for it. It’s also the largest pavilion there — there’s a 3 or 4 story building that forms the base where inside are individual pavilions from all the provinces. Then there is the China pavilion proper on top of that.

- Taiwan: Next to China were the Macau (shaped like a rabbit) and Hong Kong pavilions, and on the other side of China across the street was the Taiwan pavilion, which had a giant glowy sphere that’s actually a screen. We wanted to visit but apparently that also requires advance tickets.

- Japan: the line was super-long, but since it looks like a Zerg cocoon, and promises to have robots inside, we are determined to get in tomorrow.

- Korea: Looked cute, but once again, line kinda long-ish.

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