Alright, I’ve stopped procrastinating with other posts — it’s time to tell you about Yeosu (finally)!
Here’s the short of it: I really enjoyed my trip with Ji Young. We had heard not-so-great things about the Expo (lots of people, long lines, mediocre pavilions/attractions), but that didn’t deter us from going (mainly me, I dragged her along). Yes, the pavilions weren’t all that great and the Expo wasn’t as grand as we had imagined, but that doesn’t mean I didn’t enjoy myself. I had myself a ball hopping from pavilion to pavilion and have expanded my “places to travel” list, which I will share at some point. Ji Young hates crowds, so we avoided the huge attractions that we didn’t really want to see anyway (there were a couple we waited for, of course). And we hardly spent any time at the Expo on our second day, opting to explore Odongdo (a tiny island right next to the Expo site) instead. Pictures and details below!
Also, here’s a visual of most of the pavilions I visited. I took lots of pictures of signs, so I had to use them somehow…
We arrived in Yeosu at 11:30 am. We took a (free!) bus to the expo, stopped by a bakery, then headed inside.
After dropping our bags off at a locker, we went straight to the Digital Media Center, a huge LCD roof that connects the four large international pavilions.
We headed to Pavilion B and saw the Netherlands, Italy, Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Lithuania. The first two were like mini museum exhibits — they contained lots of visuals depicting important historical aspects of the country, particularly with respect to the ocean and maritime trade. There were a few artifacts and glass-encased items as well, of course. But that’s not very interactive…
The DR Congo’s pavilion was market-themed and had more of a cultural element. There were numerous traditional handmade crafts on display and there was a pretty extensive gift shop.
DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC of the CONGO
My favorite of the four was Lithuania, which had an amber themed pavilion (because it borders the Baltic sea). It helped that a cute Lithuanian boy explained the exhibit to me and Ji Young in English… Anyways, the pavilion was just an amber-colored room that contained a series of thin, hip-height cylinders that you peered down into.
The cylinders magnified small pieces of amber that contained fossils — plants or shells in some, insects in others. The line of cylinders progressed chronologically, which was cool.
I guess the Lithuania pavilion was also a bit museum exhibit-like, but it was more interesting and interactive than the ones we’d walked through previously. We ended the first round of our international pavilion tour on that note, and headed to the Energy Park and Deep Sea Fisheries Experience Zone. We ran into a lot of interesting sights along the way…
ENERGY PARK & DEEP SEA FISHERIES EXPERIENCE ZONE
After we had our fill of air conditioning (scratch that, we probably could’ve stayed there all day if there wasn’t more to see), we headed to the Korea pavilion, which we had heard great things about. I had no idea what to expect, but I assumed the positive reviews and large number of those waiting in line were good indicators. We actually only waited about 20 minutes because the line moved quite quickly. The presentation/show (I’m not quite sure what to call it) lasted almost half an hour, and consisted of 2 parts, both of which were awesome. The first room had floor-to-ceiling screens on 3 of its walls, which showed a movie focused on Korea’s scenery and its reliance on the sea. It was a beautiful presentation filled with gorgeous shots of the Korean coast. At one point five Korean women dressed in hanbok came out and danced along the perimeter of the room, calling kids out of the crowd to join them as well. That was a nice addition.
The second room had a domed ceiling that reminded me of the theater in LA’s Griffith Observatory. It was another movie, this time more focused on the ocean and its inhabitants, as well as korea’s connections to the ocean via its ports and “maritime” industry. The visuals were great — I lay down to watch it (along with many others), which gave me the perfect vantage point.
After the Korea pavilion, it was back to the international halls. I wanted to see the USA’s pavilion, so Ji Young indulged me and came along. We also stopped by Peru, Israel, Turkmenistan, Nigeria, Turkey (where we returned for dinner), Pakistan, and Angola.
I saw a few celebrities at the USA’s pavilion… namely, Shamu, Hillary, and Barack. Fun times! (It wasn’t a very good pavilion. Basically, we just watched a movie that showcased America’s coastline and had a tagline of, “This is my ocean,” spoken by a variety of diverse Americans, of course.)
After all that, we went to go see the Big-O show, a water and light show that’s supposed to be one of the Expo’s main attractions. There sure were a ton of people there…
But the show wasn’t great… In fact, it was hardly exciting and quite slow. Disappointing. We left after the first 5 minutes (it’s a 30 minute show) because the show wasn’t worth our attempts to catch a decent view in that huge crowd.
Souvenir shopping sounded much more appealing. Besides, we were tired. It was about time to leave.
Wednesday morning, I returned to the Expo on my own to check out a few more pavilions. I managed to go to quite a few in the hour and a half I was there, including India, the Indian Ocean joint pavilion (which included Nepal and the Maldives), Algeria, the United Arab Emirates, Argentina (I had an Argentinian empanada!), and Belgium (where I bought chocolate, of course).
I won’t bore you with the details of each — it was generally more of the same, with lots of bright screens showing movies of ocean water and its inhabitants, historical tidbits galore, and tons of crafts and other cultural items for sale. I’ll let the pictures show you the rest.
INDIAN OCEAN JOINT PAVILION
UNITED ARAB EMIRATES
Content with the amount of the Expo I had seen, I met Ji Young at the front gate and we headed to Odongdo, a tiny island right next to the Expo site that you can walk to. We went on a short hike to the Dragon’s Cave, where we took a long, leisurely break.
After exploring Odongdo, we headed back to the “mainland” for lunch.
We were utterly exhausted from the travel, Expo, and the intense heat and humidity, so we decided to hang out at a cafe for a bit until it was time to head to the bus station. Air conditioning brings such sweet relief.
Soon, we were on our way out of Yeosu…