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Yeosu Expo Deconstruction

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.

Truck hauling away the debris of Yeosu Expo

Hauling Away the Debris

Looking through the fence toward the aquarium at some of the debris.

Looking through the fence at Yeosu Expo demolition

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

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 being demolished

Corporate Pavilions Area

Here’s a closer look at the Samsung Pavilion going down.

Samsung pavilion demolition

Samsun Pavilion

And the International Organizations and NGO Pavilion skeleton.

International Organizations Pavilion being torn down.

International Organizations Pavilion

Down comes the Kids’ Fun Lab, near the railway terminal entrance.

The Kids Fun Lab being torn down

Kids' Fun Lab

Finally, for now, the Climate and Environment Pavilion, mostly gone.

The Climate and Environmental Pavilion being torn down.

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.

Off the Face of the Earth

No, I haven’t fallen off the face of the earth. I’m still here, but just not posting, obviously. Lazy, lazy, lazy. Maybe I’m just getting bored with blogging, maybe I’m just generally bored. Call it the post-Expo letdown.

Speaking of which (the Expo), workers are tearing down many of the buildings. The traditional stage, the Local Governments Pavilion, and the Marine Life and Technology Pavilion are no more, and most of the corporate pavilions have come down. There’s rubble, steel beams and bricks everywhere–kind of depressing, really. Still, lots of people visit the area, especially the Aquarium, which is open to the public and always seems to attract a fair amount of people, at least on those weekend days that I’ve been down to the area. Since I documented the construction of the Expo and the days of the Expo itself, I may as well document its deconstruction. I’ll get some photos up, I hesitate to say, soon.

Despite last Saturday being rainy, we’re still getting some superb fall weather, with bright, sunny days and moderate temperatures. Chilly at night, but not bad. The leaves are starting to change colors and fall to the ground, and it’s really one of the best times of the year in Yeosu. Unfortunately, my least favorite season, winter, is not far away.

As most people know, the Yankees got swept out of the playoffs and World Series by Detroit, and now Detroit is on the verge of getting swept away by the Giants. My mother and one of my brothers are Tiger fans, but I’ll resist any Detroit put-downs (at least, on this blog).

Maybe it’s a good thing the Yanks didn’t go into the Series, in light of the huge storm, Sandy, threatening a shut down of NYC. Good luck to all the folks on the East Coast in the next few days.

Happy Halloween, everyone. I hope to get some more timely posting done soon, so bear with me, please. More later.

Yeosu Expo 2012-Turkey Cultural Performance

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!

Turkey "Whirling Dervish" Dance

At the Start of the Dance

Turkey "Whirling Dervish" Dance

The Start of the Dance

Turkey "Whirling Dervish" Dance

The Start of the Dance

Turkey "Whirling Dervish" Dance

Turkish Dancers

Turkey "Whirling Dervish" Dance

Turkish Dancers

Turkey "Whirling Dervish" Dance

Dancer and Musicians

Turkey "Whirling Dervish" Dance

Turkish Dancers

Turkey "Whirling Dervish" Dance

Turkish Dancer

Turkey "Whirling Dervish" Dance

Turkish Ensemble

Turkey "Whirling Dervish" Dance

Turkish Dancer

Turkey "Whirling Dervish" Dance

Turkish Dancer

Turkey "Whirling Dervish" Dance

The Sheikh

Turkey "Whirling Dervish" Dance

Turkish Dancers

Turkey "Whirling Dervish" Dance

Turkish Dancers

Turkey "Whirling Dervish" Dance

Turkish Dancers

Turkey "Whirling Dervish" Dance

Turkish Dancers

Turkey "Whirling Dervish" Dance

The Dancers and the Sheikh

Turkey "Whirling Dervish" Dance

The End-Reflection

Yeosu Expo 2012–Post-Expo Usage

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.

The Yeosu Expo site on August 28, 2012

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.

Yeosu Expo 2012-Korean Percussion Group Video

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.

Young man playing Korean drums

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.

Man and lady playing the drums

Drum Players

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.

Young lady performing in the Korean percussion group

Traditional Korean Wind Instrument

Finally, a view of the general hilarity that followed the performance.

People dancing

Frolicking at the Expo

What to Do With the Expo Grounds

It’s been raining cats and dogs here in Yeosu for several days, including 3 inches yesterday and more than 5 inches since midnight (and a typhoon is heading our way–more on that later), so I haven’t been out to the Expo site to see what kind of de-construction is going on. I’m sure some of the pavilions have been taken down, but the aquarium is open to the public, if you’re willing to pay the 20,000 won admission fee.

There’s been a lot of speculation about how best to use the site. The consensus I’ve gathered from various news articles and websites is that the grounds are to be used as an ocean tourist resort, with shopping malls and international restaurants. We’ll have to wait and see about that.

At least, though, the Expo site is being used right now. Tomorrow night the 14th Korea-China Music Festival will be held at the Expo Digital Gallery and will feature several K-Pop and Chinese pop singers and groups. I hope there’s a good turnout for this, but I wonder how many people will make the trek from the larger cities, like Seoul and Busan. I might go down there tomorrow night not to see the concert, but to check out the crowd.

I’m really hopeful that the site will be put to good use and maintained. It’ll be a great addition to Yeosu, and, hopefully, will draw people to the area, helping the local economy.

Yeosu Expo 2012-More Night Photos

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.

The Angola Pavilion at night

Angola Pavilion at Night

Belgium Pavilion at night

Belgium Pavilion

China Pavilion at night

China Pavilion

Indonesian Pavilion at night

Indonesian Pavilion

The “guardian” outside the Thailand Pavilion.

Thailand Pavilion at night

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

International Pavilion at Night

And just around the corner is the Expo Digital Gallery.

Expo Digital Gallery at night

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

International Pavilion Roof at Night

And, here’s another view of the International Pavilion roof and infrastructure.

International Pavilion at night

International Pavilion Interior

Also from the third floor is this view of Gate 4, the Expo Town Gate.

Gate 4 at night

Gate 4 at Night

Here’s an early-evening view looking back toward the Expo apartments, “Expo Town”.

Expo at night

Expo at Night

Finally, a couple of shots of the “sail” structures that were ubiquitous throughout the grounds.

Sails at night

Exterior Sail Structure

Exterior sail structure at night

Exterior Sail Structure

Yeosu Expo 2012-Sunset on the Expo

Sunset over the Expo

Sunset Over the Expo

In more ways than one. This is the final day of the Expo–so sad. :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

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.

The Mir tour boat at night

Mir Tour Boat

The fountains around the site are especially beautiful at night.

Colorful fountain at night

Colorful Fountain at Night

Another colorful fountain at night.

Fountain at Night

Here’s a view of the Theme Pavilion.

The Theme Pavilion at night

The Theme Pavilion at Night

And the Main Gate

The main gate at night

Main Gate at Night

The Angola Pavilion at night.

The Angola Pavilion at night

The Angola Pavilion

Some of the infrastructure at the International Pavilion building.

Infrastructure of the International Pavilion at night

International Pavilion Infrastructure

The Korea Pavilion

The Korea Pavilion at night

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.

Yeosu Expo 2012-What to do If You’re Bored

Well, for these several thousand folks, there was only one thing to do–watch the Olympics. The Expo organizers set up a huge screen at one end of the Digital Gallery showing a judo match in which a South Korean was involved. (Normally, Korean broadcast stations will show international events only if a South Korean is involved. For example, they won’t show Major League Baseball games unless there is a Korean player on one of the teams that are playing against each other.) I wasn’t at all interested, so I don’t know who won, but the audience here was rapt with attention.

People watching the Olympics at the Expo Digital Gallery

Olympics Fans at the Expo Digital Gallery

Yeosu Expo 2012-Paraguay Cultural Performance

Here are a few photos of the Paraguayan cultural performance at the Ocean Plaza the other day. These lovely dancers, members of the Ballet Ibero-Americano, looked like they might’ve been very hot in their beautiful gowns, but they put on a superb performance.

Paraguay Dancers

Paraguay Dancers

Paraguay Dancers

Paraguay Dancers

Paraguay Dancers

Paraguay Dancers

Paraguay Dancers

Paraguay Dancers

Paraguay Dancers

Paraguay Dancers

Paraguay Dancers

Paraguay Dancers

Paraguay Dancers

Paraguay Dancers

Paraguay Dancers

Paraguay Dancers

So, where do these young ladies (ages 16-19) hang out when they’re not performing? Well, one place they might be found is in the Angola pavilion restaurant. Here they’re giving an impromptu performance with Gelsom Castro, the headline singer at the Angola Pavilion. You can see some photos of him in my previous post of the Angolan Cultural Performance at the Ocean Plaza.

Paraguay dancers with Angola singer

Gelsom Castro with the Paraguay Dancers