One of the more colorful pavilions at the Expo was the Romania Pavilion, and it was colorful in more ways than one, changing shades every few minutes. It seemed to occupy a smaller space than other major pavilions, but it was quite beautiful. However, it was larger than at first glance, taking up two floors. It also harbored a small restaurant, which, unfortunately, I never tried. In the early days of the Expo, this was quite a nice area in which to relax at the half dozen or so white, plastic tables with their chairs outside the restaurant. No one from the restaurant or pavilion hassled you if you didn’t order anything, and just sitting there and people watching was quite pleasant. Later, of course, with the huge numbers of people, hanging out there, if you could get a seat at all, was more an exercise in crowd watching; you couldn’t see the forest for the trees, so to speak.
So, here are a few shots of the Romanian Pavilion, chameleon-like, but nice.
Romania Pavilion in Pink and Blue
Romania Pavilion in Green
Romania Pavilion in Purple
Romania Pavilion in Violet
Romania Pavilion in Blue
Romania Pavilion in Brown
Upstairs at the Romania Pavilion
We had some nice weather the last few days, pale reminders of this past summer, but it’s turning cold and windy again, so I thought I’d start posting some photos of the Expo that I’ve got laying around on my computer. Hopefully, these shots will help recapture the fun that was the Expo and help me to feel the summer heat again, if only in my mind. Yeah, I know that it’s quite a while after the fact, but perhaps you’ll enjoy them anyway.
First up are some shots of a few of the exteriors of various country pavilions. I won’t comment on these, since the countries are evident. These were all taken early on in the Expo, so there aren’t any huge lines of people waiting to enter the pavilions. Later on I’ll post some interior shots and some cultural performances. I was going to go to the Expo site today to take some new photos of the area, but the weather started becoming more winter-like sooner that the forecast predicted. I might still go down there, but then again I might just stay in my warm cave. More later.
United Arab Emirates
I took a trip to the Expo site on Sunday to see what had been dismantled since my last visit 3-4 weeks ago. There really hasn’t been too much taken down since then. All of the corporate pavilions have disappeared, with no sign that they had ever been there. However, none of the remaining buildings have been touched. The only other structure being removed is the Organizing Committee Office building, across the street from the Expo, near the Expo Town Gate.
So, the only major structures remaining at the site are the very large International Pavilion, the Korea Pavilion, the Theme Pavilion, the Sky Tower and the Big O. I’d make a good guess that the Sky Tower and the Big-O won’t be taken down. The Sky Tower will be a good observation platform for whatever becomes of the site, but I’ve heard from a reliable source that the Big-O’s special water effects won’t be available. It was underestimated how high the costs would be to keep the effects functioning, because they have to be run every day, due to the salt water clogging the system if it’s not used. I suppose the lighting effects would be easy and cheap enough to use, but without the water, it just won’t be the same.
Those lighting effects are located on the Theme Pavilion, which I also have heard won’t be taken down. Most of it wasn’t designed as a temporary structure, since a large mass of it is concrete. If the lighting is used for the Big-O, the system will probably have to stay where it’s at right now.
Here’s a shot of the Big O with the Theme Pavilion behind it. Do you see those 6 small blue spots on the Theme Pavilion? (You might have to click on the photo to enlarge it.) Those are the projectors used to light up the Big O.
The Big O and the Theme Pavilion
The International Pavilion contains the Expo Digital Gallery (EDG), which probably won’t be dismantled. The vast main concourse area, where the EDG is located, has been used successfully as a concert area since the close of the Expo, so I’m gonna guess the Pavilion, at least most of it, will remain.
Main Hall at the International Pavilion
I’ve also read in one of the English-written Korean newspapers that the Organizing Committee stated that the Korean Pavilion won’t be taken down. Here’s a night view of part of that structure.
Here are a few more shots from last Sunday. First, a couple of views of the corporate pavilions area. The first one looks down the Ocean Plaza walkway and the other was taken from the far end of the Expo site, near the MVL Hotel. If you look at my previous post, you can see what the view down the Ocean Plaza looked like several weeks ago.
Looking Down the Ocean Plaza
Sky Tower and Corporate Sponsor Area 2
If you enlarge the next photo and look to the far right of it, you can see what the corporate pavilion area looked like back in August.
Expo Site on August 28, 2012
And another shot of the corporate area. The white building on the right is the Cruise Ship Terminal. I assume that cruise ship visits are probably part of the discussion about what to do with the area.
Sky Tower and Corporate Sponsor Area
And here’s the area from above the railway station now, and when it was under construction.
Corporate Sponsor Area From Above the Train Station
Corporate Pavilion and Energy Park Construction, Yeosu 2012 Expo, Jan 28, 2012
Here’s the skeleton of the Organizing Committee Building now, and the building with the “Spyglass Lady” right after it was constructed.
Skeleton of Organizing Committee Building
Steel beams from the Local Governments Pavilion are stacked up near the aquarium. The aquarium was again busy this past Sunday, which is hopefully a good sign that the area has a bright future.
Steel Beams Near Aquarium
One of my former English students, a professor at the university, who is on the advisory committee that is deciding what to do with the site, told me that no decision has been made yet on the future use of the area. Shopping area? Tourist destination? Ocean theme park? High-end resort? No one seems to know, yet, but I’ll keep my eyes and ears open, and as soon as a decision is made, I’ll post about it here. More later.
(The MVL Hotel, self-described as a “seven-star” resort, would be a good option for high-end tourists staying in the area.)
Boats and MVL Hotel
Well, not the post-modern kind of deconstruction. Unconstruction? Demolish might be too harsh, since the pavilions and other buildings are being taken apart brick by brick and beam by beam. It’s a bit sad to see the area going down, but at least it appears that many of the resources put into the construction are, hopefully, going to be recycled. I last visited the area several weeks ago and here are a few photos of the site.
Hauling away the debris. There’s rubble scattered everywhere.
Hauling Away the Debris
Looking through the fence toward the aquarium at some of the debris.
Looking Through the Fence
Near the same area, but past the aquarium, are the remains of the Local Governments Pavilion. There are lots of beams being stacked up, so I assume they’re going to be recycled for other uses.
The Remains of the Local Governments Pavilion
Here’s a shot looking down the Ocean Plaza Walkway toward the far end of the site at the corporate pavilions area. Most of them have been torn down by now.
Corporate Pavilions Area
Here’s a closer look at the Samsung Pavilion going down.
And the International Organizations and NGO Pavilion skeleton.
International Organizations Pavilion
Down comes the Kids’ Fun Lab, near the railway terminal entrance.
Kids' Fun Lab
Finally, for now, the Climate and Environment Pavilion, mostly gone.
The Climate and Environmental Pavilion
I plan on going down to the area this coming weekend, so I’m sure there will be more drastic changes to shoot. I’ll put the photos up here, of course.
There were any number of great cultural performances during the Yeosu Expo 2012, including the high-energy African and traditional Korean percussion groups. Probably the most beautiful and sublime performance I watched, however, was the Turkish Dance performance, the famous “Whirling Dervishes” of the Mevlevi Order of the Sufi sect of Islam.
From the Whirling Dervishes website is this description of the dance:
In the symbolism of the Sema ritual, the semazen’s camel’s hair hat (sikke) represents the tombstone of the ego; his wide, white skirt represents the ego’s shroud. By removing his black cloak, he is spiritually reborn to the truth. At the beginning of the Sema, by holding his arms crosswise, the semazen appears to represent the number one, thus testifying to God’s unity. While whirling, his arms are open: his right arm is directed to the sky, ready to receive God’s beneficence; his left hand, upon which his eyes are fastened, is turned toward the earth. The semazen conveys God’s spiritual gift to those who are witnessing the Sema. Revolving from right to left around the heart, the semazen embraces all humanity with love. The human being has been created with love in order to love. Mevlâna Jalâluddîn Rumi says, “All loves are a bridge to Divine love. Yet, those who have not had a taste of it do not know!”
There’s a lot more information on that site about the dance and on Wikipedia about the Mevlevi Order. As you can see in the first photo, this particular group is the Konya Turkish Tasawwuf Music Ensemble, whose website is here. Of course, if you do a search, you’ll find much more information about this beautiful dance.
Following are a caravan’s worth of photos; I loved this performance so much that I just have to post all of these (18) shots. After the photos is a short (about one minute) video that I took of the dance. Enjoy!
At the Start of the Dance
The Start of the Dance
The Start of the Dance
Dancer and Musicians
The Dancers and the Sheikh
There’s been a lot of talk about what will happen to the Expo site, now that the Expo itself has finished. I’ve heard that it will be transformed into an ocean-oriented tourist site, that shopping malls will be installed and that international restaurants will pop up (as I wrote in a previous post). Before and during the Expo, I was told by various “people in the know” that most of the buildings at the site would be torn down, except for the aquarium and a few other “permanent” structures. So far, nothing has been destroyed, as you can see from the picture below that I took when I was at the site on August 28th. The insides of the pavilions, especially the individual international pavilions, are being gutted, but everything else is mainly untouched.
Expo Site on August 28, 2012
While I was bicycling past the area a few weekends ago, I noticed that the fountain in front of the Big O was being set off, probably, I thought, to keep the salt water from encrusting and plugging up the underwater mechanisms that enable the fountain to work. One of my colleagues told me that she ran into one of the American technicians who work on the fountain, and he said that the Big O and the fountain would reopen to the public in October. That’s great news! It would be a shame to let the whole area go to waste and ruin, especially in light of the fact that one of the themes of the Expo was sustainability. Hopefully, the site will see a lot of use in the future. I’ll take another ride down there this coming weekend to see if any recent major changes have occurred, and I’ll try to stay on top of any rumors and official news about the ultimate fate of the site.
By the way, the aftermath of Typhoon Tembin was pretty much a no-show here in Yeosu. We had a bit more than in inch of rain (26 mm) and some fairly brisk winds, but no damage that I heard of. Some parts of Korea to the south (Jeju Island) and the west of us got quite a bit of rain, up to 12 inches on Jeju. Hopefully, that’s the end of typhoon season in Korea. More later.
Bolaven has come and gone, but wayward Tembin, now a tropical storm, is on its way, predicted to dump some heavy rain on Korea tomorrow. It won’t have quite the wind speed of Bolaven, as here in Yeosu the forecast is calling for about 30 mile-per-hour winds and rainfall of more than 3 inches.
Bolaven didn’t dump that much rain on us; we got just a bit over an inch in Yeosu, according to the KMA. The winds weren’t terribly destructive, but I’m guesstimating that the peak gusts were around 60 mph. I have a good idea about that guess, because, after the rain quit, I took the bus down to the Expo area yesterday morning, down by the harbor, where fierce winds were howling through the area around the Expo. I had to keep my eye out for any debris that might have been heading my way, but I didn’t have any serious trouble. The wind was strong enough to keep me off balance, and quite a few of the trees that were planted for the Expo had been blown over. Signs in the area had been knocked down, trash cans upended and various bits of mayhem caused by the wind could be seen.
Here are a few shots from campus and from the Expo area. First, here’s a short video of what it looked like from outside my dormitory apartment around 9 a.m.
Most of the trees knocked over at the Expo were planted not too long ago and they hadn’t had enough time to put down deep roots. However, here’s an older tree at the university campus that was blown over.
Tree Down at University
Down by the Expo Main Gate was this unfortunate tree.
Tree at Expo Main Gate
Quite a few of the trees by the MVL Hotel, right at the harbor’s edge, were uprooted, including this one near the hotel.
Tree by MVL Hotel
There was other damage in the area, including this restaurant sign that was half-way taken down by the wind.
From the MVL Hotel, I noticed that the spray of the surf was washing over the causeway that leads to Odong Island. I walked over to the road in front of the MVL, but the street had been closed off by police, and I was politely told to vacate the area. Hmmmm, I wasn’t going to go out on the causeway; I just wanted to see if I could get some good shots. Well, there’s more than one way to skin a cat. I decided to walk through one of the new tunnels that take traffic from the Expo area to the other side of Jasan Park. From there, I was able to hike up to Jasan and part way down the other side to the pagoda that overlooks the causeway and the island. I shot this video from up there. Here’s a shot of usually-placid Odongdo.
And here’s what it looked like around 12:30 p.m. on the 28th, one still shot and one video.
No way could anyone have walked to Odongdo that day; you would’ve probably been swept into the harbor. I’ve got a few more photos and another video of the island that I may put up later, but I’ll update you on what happens with Tembin in my next post.
OK, loyal readers, here’s the first video post on this blog! This is a performance by a Korean percussion group that I took, handheld, on July 20th at the Expo Plaza. I think most of these youngsters are university students, but I could be wrong. They’re really quite good. Turn up your sound and enjoy!
P.S. Sorry about all the people moving around in the audience, but there wasn’t much I could do about that. Also, I have a few more videos of this group, so I’ll get them up soon, and I have several others of various cultural performances, which I’ll also post when I can.
EDIT: Since I first posted this entry, I’ve added the other two videos I had of this group. I put them in more or less chronological order. The first vid shows the group working out on the big drums, the second is of the smaller drums, and the third features some dancers with smaller percussion instruments.
Here’s the Big Drums portion of the performance. Watch out for the two large profiles that walk in front of my camera at the one minute mark. I guess I coulda whacked ‘em upside the head, but that probably wouldn’t have made any difference. The guy on the center drum was the leader, more or less, of this energetic and talented group of performers. The fellow was quite charismatic and fun to watch.
Here’s a close up shot of the leader of the group.
The Group Leader
Here, the group works out on the smaller drums. The day was very humid and hot, but the performers didn’t appear to be affected by the weather. However, I saw them a few days later putting their drums in a storage area after they had done another performance, and they did look worn out. Ah, to be that young and energetic again.
Another shot of the leader and one of the other drummers.
Finally, a few other performers join the drummers for a romp. Right after this, many other performers and dancers from a different group, and many onlookers joined in for a free-for-all frolic around the plaza. Many folks in the audience participated also, dancing, clapping, shouting and enjoying themselves in the mayhem.
Here’s a closeup photo of the young lady playing the wind instrument.
Traditional Korean Wind Instrument
Finally, a view of the general hilarity that followed the performance.
Frolicking at the Expo
As everyone probably knows, the Yeosu 2012 Expo finished on August 12th. It was a wonderful 3-month run for this “magic” event set down in the middle of quiet, little Yeosu. I’ve been a bit depressed that the fun has ended, so I’ll have to figure out a way to make my own “magic” for the rest of the summer. Organizers reached their goal of 8 million visitors over the 3 months, but they had to resort to lowering the fees substantially during certain times of the day to entice people to visit. So, they got their 8 million, but what the profit or loss was has yet to be determined.
I’ll keep putting up photos of the Expo over the course of the rest of the summer (and maybe the winter!), so here are some more night shots of the event. As always, click on the thumbnails to get larger views.
Here are a few shots of the exterior of some of the pavilions.
Angola Pavilion at Night
The “guardian” outside the Thailand Pavilion.
Thailand Pavilion Guardian
Here’s a shot of some of the interior infrastructure of the International Pavilion from near the Angola Pavilion.
International Pavilion at Night
And just around the corner is the Expo Digital Gallery.
Expo Digital Gallery
Up on the third floor, you could look out onto the roof of one of the International Pavilion blocks.
International Pavilion Roof at Night
And, here’s another view of the International Pavilion roof and infrastructure.
International Pavilion Interior
Also from the third floor is this view of Gate 4, the Expo Town Gate.
Gate 4 at Night
Here’s an early-evening view looking back toward the Expo apartments, “Expo Town”.
Expo at Night
Finally, a couple of shots of the “sail” structures that were ubiquitous throughout the grounds.
Exterior Sail Structure
Exterior Sail Structure
Sunset Over the Expo
In more ways than one. This is the final day of the Expo–so sad.
I’ll be going out to the site in just a short while. I’ll walk around and visit all my favorite pavilions and say goodbye to the many friends I’ve made. I’ll take in the Big Ocean Show, one of my favorite parts of the Expo, and I’ll try to get some shots of the closing ceremony fireworks. (I’ll assume there will be some.) I doubt I’ll be able to get anywhere near the closing festivities themselves; I expect half of Korea will be trying to get there, and I’m sure the Big O amphitheater will be packed hours before the show begins.
Even after all is said and done, I’ll continue to post photos of the Expo on the blog. In the meantime, I find that the Expo is most beautiful at night, so here are a few night photos that I’ve taken over the past three months. I have many more, so I’ll get some of those up in the next few days.
Please check back for more Expo photos and, even, some videos of some of the performances.
Here’s a shot I took of the Expo from the same position I took the sunset shot, across the bay on Odong Island.
Expo at Night
There are a couple of tour boats that you can take to get a view of the Expo from the sea. This one’s the Mir.
Mir Tour Boat
The fountains around the site are especially beautiful at night.
Colorful Fountain at Night
Fountain at Night
Here’s a view of the Theme Pavilion.
The Theme Pavilion at Night
And the Main Gate
Main Gate at Night
The Angola Pavilion at night.
The Angola Pavilion
Some of the infrastructure at the International Pavilion building.
International Pavilion Infrastructure
The Korea Pavilion
As I wrote earlier, I have quite a number of these night shots that I’ll put up in the next few days, so if you like these, check back for more later.