MontanaRon

Just another ordinary English teacher eclectic expat blog about nothing in particular.

Month: July 2012

Expo Update

Well, actually, I don’t have any right at the moment. I’m heading out there this afternoon and will get some photos to post. I’ve gone out the last few weekends and have been taking photos, but I haven’t got around to processing them, yet. Call me LAZY! I’ll get something up here tomorrow probably.

Here are a few recent updates, though. TS Khanun kind of fizzled out by the time it passed us by, so we got only about an inch and a half of rain. The Expo has been extremely crowded the past few weekends, so if you haven’t visited yet, be aware that the lines for just about everything are quite long. I saw lines last weekend at pavilions where I’ve never seen lines before, and the major sites had very long lines. Finally, the rainy period has seemed to come to an end (good), but most of Korea is experiencing a heat wave right now, with very high humidity (bad). Very energy-draining. (Hmmm, maybe that’s my reason for not posting in so long.)

OK, sorry about the long period between posts, but I promise I’ll get something up this weekend. (How many times have I said that before?) More soon.

Tropical Storm Khanun

We’ve had enough rain, in my opinion, but we’re in the middle of a typical Yeosu summer–very little sun, seemingly endless days of dull, cloudy skies and plenty of rain. To top it off, tomorrow Tropical Storm Khanun will be in our vicinity. (Khanun is the Thai word for jackfruit).

As the map from Weather Underground below shows, the storm looks like it will graze the western edge of the South Korea. We’re about half way along the southern coast, so we’ll get some of the expected heavy rain and brisk winds. It won’t be anything major, since the storm is predicted to remain fairly weak and small, but it’ll still have plenty of rain to dump.

Tropical Storm Khanun Track

Tropical Storm Khanun Track

My last class tomorrow finishes at 2 p.m., but I doubt that I’ll be going to the Expo if it’s raining hard. That won’t keep most people away, so I imagine there will be a big crowd out there. Attendances keep rising every day, and last Thursday the Yonhap News Agency reported that an all-time high had been reached when more than 112,000 people showed up. On a weekday! So, weekend totals are probably going to top that before too long. What are all those people going to do tomorrow if we get a lot of rain? Probably just what they did last weekend–stay under cover.

Expo Digital Gallery on a Rainy Day

Expo Digital Gallery on a Rainy Day

See ya’ll after the deluge.

Yeosu Expo 2012-Joint Group Pavilions

Well, finally, I’m getting back to posting. I’m really sorry about the length of time between posts; I was under the weather for a few days, the new teaching session started recently, and . . . ummmm, well, I’m afraid I get a bit lazy sometimes. Hopefully, I’ll be adding entries to the blog much more frequently.

Expo attendance has really been picking up recently, and the two main reasons are that school is out, so families are taking vacations, and daily ticket prices have been reduced, which I mentioned in the previous post.

For the first time since I’ve been back from Thailand and Laos, I ventured out to the site this past Saturday. Typically for Yeosu in the summer, it was raining cats and dogs. That didn’t stop people from attending, so the place was packed. And where do people go when it’s raining? Inside, of course. It seemed like everyone was under cover at the International Pavilion. There were very long lines at most of the national pavilions.

However, four pavilions didn’t have long lines, and they never do. These four very interesting areas are the joint group pavilions. Many smaller countries just can’t afford to foot the bill for the floor space that countries like France and Russia, for example, are paying. So, many of them share a pavilion, setting up in spaces that are, more or less, the size of small street stalls or vendors. There might be as many as 20 countries sharing a pavilion, and most of these small areas are very well done, with beautiful designs, cultural assets, gift shops, and friendly native-country folks who are very eager, usually, to talk to English-speaking visitors.

The four joint group pavilions are the Pacific Joint Group, the Indian Ocean, and two joint group pavilions devoted to the Atlantic Ocean, East and West. You can spend a lot of time in each of these pavilions (recommended) or zoom right through them in several minutes. The Atlantic Pavilion (East and West) have performance areas, as does the Pacific Ocean (outside the pavilion), so you can catch some artists in short concerts. These pavilions are a great place to hang out and make some new friends if the major pavillions are too busy. Since there are so many countries packed into such a small area, I’ll sprinkle photos and comments about them throughout my future Expo posts.

Like I mentioned in another post, my friend Nai from Laos came to visit for about a week, and, despite the trauma of getting through Incheon airport immigration, he really enjoyed the Expo and was quite, uhhhh, impressed with German beer, a beverage he’d never enjoyed before.

His first day here, I took him to the Laos booth, which is located in the Pacific Ocean Joint Group Pavilion. Go figure; Laos doesn’t border an ocean. Neither does Mongolia, which is also in the same pavilion. Still, it’s nice to see that they made the effort to be here, unlike oil-rich Saudi Arabia, which reneged on their obligation to be a presence at the Expo (read post that debacle here).

After he talked with his fellow countryman for about 20 minutes, we walked a few paces over to the Mongolian Pavilion. Here, he’s posing with a couple of Mongolian reindeer. Oh, by the way, the reindeer have been stuffed. I could say the same about Nai, what with the German beer and German food, which he also loved. But, no, I won’t say that.

My friend Nai posing with Mongolian reindeer

Nai and reindeer friends

The Mongolian Gift Shop

Mongolia Gift Shop at Expo 2012

Mongolia Gift Shop

At the risk of extreme embarrassment and ridicule, here’s a shot of me in the Laos Pavilion. No, I hadn’t been drinking and going around wearing a lampshade on my head–that’s traditional Laos head wear.

MontanaRon at the Laos Pavilion

One too many, MontanaRon?

After you finish laughing, you can check out these other photos of some of the countries at the Pacific Ocean Joint Group Pavilion.

First, Papua New Guinea.

Papua New Guinea Pavilion

Papua New Guinea Pavilion

Tuvalu

Tuvalu Pavilion

Tuvalu Pavilion

Vanuatu. Hmmm, where have I seen that design before?

Vanuatu Pavilion

Vanuatu Pavilion

Some beautiful cultural assets from Vanuatu.

Vanuatu Pavilion Wood Carvings

Vanuatu Pavilion Wood Carvings

Solomon Islands

Solomon Islands Pavilion

Solomon Islands Pavilion

Solomon Islands Pavilion Cultural Assets

Solomon Islands Pavilion Cultural Assets

Last, but certainly not least, Palau.

Palau Pavilion

Palau Pavilion

I’ll have more of these as we go to the end of the Expo. Cripes! That’s less than a month away! It seems like it just began. Oh, well, stay tuned for more later.

Vacation Almost Over and Expo Lines

I’ve been back in Korea for a few days with my friend from Laos, and we’ve been spending most of our time at the Expo, as was to be expected. A couple of days were very rainy, so we spent much of the time at the International Pavilion, which is mostly sheltered from the weather. We’re flying to Seoul in a few hours, to spend a few days there before flying back to Thailand. I’ll be returning to Yeosu this coming Sunday, since that interlude from vacations called “work” starts on Monday. The vacation has been at times fun, but at other times a near disaster. I’ll have a future post (incoherant rant) about Korean Immigration in this still-xenophobic country. (It wasn’t called the Hermit Kingdom for nothing.)

One of the blog readers commented and asked about waiting times for standing in line at some of the pavilions. About all I can recommend is go either early in the morning, just after 9 a.m., the opening time, or go later in the evening, around 6 p.m. or so. The lines then are much shorter. At many of the pavilions I’ve seen no long lines, among them Argentina, Uruguay, Turkey, the Joint Pavilions of the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian Ocean nations, and others. The Big Four for ALWAYS having long lines are the pavilions of Russia, Thailand, China and Japan. Japan has a reservation/ticketing system, so the actual wait there might not be all that long. We did manage to get into the Thai pavilion yesterday after about a 5-minute wait, but that was early in the morning. Other pavilions where you may have to stand in line for a while include the USA, Australia, and Singapore. Waiting times can vary from 5 to 10 minutes to probably around half an hour. Browse around, though–you’ll find many of the pavilions don’t have long lines.

Another thing to take into account is the new lower rate tickets. If you buy a ticket after 1 p.m. the cost is 20,000 won, and if you buy one after 5 p.m., it’s 10,000 won. Good deals, but be aware that hordes of people are taking advantage of these rates, and there are long lines at the ticket windows and at the gates around these times.

I’ll be back in Korea on Sunday, as I stated earlier, and I’ll resume my regular Expo reviews then, so stay tuned for more later.

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