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Old February 9th, 2012, 04:55 PM   #161
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Japan

part 1



This was the best Shanghais Expo had to offer. Full stop.
At least according to my opinion.



From outside a bizarre pink turtle like structure surrounded by millions of Chinese quueing up to get inside it was not one of my top priorities. Although China and Japan had a difficult relationship in the past it was one of the most popular attractions.
The interior told a totally different story than its slightly bizarre exterior architecture.
A magical and mystical place withe an escalator leading the visitors to the top floor


the pavillons motto was "four seasons". At four location the change of the season and its characteristics were shown, also offering interesting insight into the Japanese way of life.
On the pic below you see traditional architecture and a cherry tree in full blossom. Yes, this was spring



Looking down to the coming attractions



A typical Japanese Ryokan, outside summer rain and some children running around.
After the year was completed some video animation with no resal meaning, just nice to watch. The Chinese had something similar to offer.



Weird curtains


Behind the curtain, things suddenly got matter of fact again. Now it was time to present some innovations designed for the future city. Japan is suffering under a stagnating economy but still has a lot of ideas to offer.

The following pictures shows used water being purified.



The Japanese did not only show some billboards with pictres but real 1:1 models where you could watch the process. Very costly but very interesting.



Time for the visitors to get involved. Step on the ground and create some energy in order



...to neutralize your CO2 balance! It worked.





Robots taking over our tasks.
But how do these innovations fit into our daily life?



Some nice to watch cardboards with people and Tokyos skyline shown in the background gave some explanation

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Old February 9th, 2012, 05:07 PM   #162
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part 2

Of course also some hybrid vehicles were shown. Japanese car manufacturers have a leading position regarding alternatively powered cars.



The last attraction of the Japanese pavillon was the most bizarre thing of the whole Expo.




some jaw dropping psychedelic video animation



Nobody really got the meaning, and maybe there was none, but


"This is very interesting" a young Chinese next to me said



Some insects appeared while grass was covering the structure



But then everything was burnt by blueish light



The structure disappeared and gave way for a new one



This continued on and on until the staff asked us to leave the pavillon due to it is closing time. But nobody wanted to leave and preferred to watch this strange animation until the end. Finally a Chinese woman started a very loud argument with the staff and promised to go to court. This was the last highlight of a performance full of interesting things to see
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Old February 10th, 2012, 01:09 AM   #163
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I love this thread
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Old February 11th, 2012, 08:16 AM   #164
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thx, we continue with "j"
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Old February 11th, 2012, 08:22 AM   #165
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yeah..let's go on!cant wait for more...
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Old February 11th, 2012, 08:29 AM   #166
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Jordan

Located in the Middle East joint pavillon it was just another Bazaar like appearance. On the walls hung some huge wallpaper showing the capital Amman and the antique city of Petra. Plus some basic information about the country.
One nice unique feture in this well-rounded (atttention: suggestiveness!) pavillon were mobiles hanging down from the wall.
And even better the fact that you could take photos without hundreds of visitors runningaround in frotn of your lens. Indeed, small Jordan was not one of the crowdpullers.



More attention caught a man offering henna tattoos (or whatever that was) to some curious Chinese.

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Old February 11th, 2012, 08:53 AM   #167
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Cameroon

As promised we put this at K. A quite tricky as it is written with K in my language although it is known as "Cameroon" in English.



The Cameroonians were very clever guys as they had anticpated a football boom during the Expo as this event coincided with the World Football Championship - in "Africa". For most Chinese Africa is just Africa. And Cameroon was the only country offering some goal wall shooting making this booth become very popular amongst youngesters. With this attraction Cameroon wanted to comemorate for what it got wellknown allover the world for 20 years ago: playing an attractive and successful way of football like 1990 at the WC in Italy when the country reached the quarterfinals and was very unlucky to lose on extra time against England.

20 years later the only trouble about all this is: Cameroon didnt qualify for the World Championship in South Africa.
But neither did China. Chinese are usually quite patriotic people but when it comes to football they show an ultra-suicidal, self hatred based egophobia especially when poor and small neighbouring North Korea manages to qualify. ...

So the goal wall shooting was something unique in the then worlds greatest souvenir bazaar calles African joint pavillon. The rest did not differ very much from other Subsaharan showcases. Many colours, many pictures, some artefacrts, funny "locals from abroad", little information.

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Old February 11th, 2012, 10:03 AM   #168
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Kazakhstan

Another of these strange countries which share a border with China but is mentally light years away from most Chinese. I have to admit that the distance from Shanghai to the Kazakhstan border roughly equals the distance from Germany to Kazakhstan as well.
Maybe its not only the distance but rather the culture. Kazakhs are majorly Muslim, the Russian minority is of Christian belief and in recent history Kazakhstan had close ties to its huge ally Russia.
For Kazakhstan, the Expo might have provided a huge chance to overcome some prejudices. "We are not communist anymore, we are not poor, we have a lot of petrol" was naturally the key message of this pavillon and indeed the picture below was very "Shanghainese".



Mayvbe the Kazakahs also know well how to manufacture shoes. The outside appearance reminded of a shoe box and also inside, the Kazakhs did not care too much about design. Just some white walls with not much on it. This was one of the more attractive parts.



But it was quite nice anyway. Friendly Kazakhs were waiting to explain some traditional Kazakh games the visotrs could play on computer screens
This game was similar to the Afghan Buzkahsi.



A more modern game is erecting skyscrapers to complete the skyline of Astana



Then it was time to enter the so called 4D cinema. It was not as spectacular as the Saudi Arabian but was obviously the main reaons for some 1 to 2 hours of queuing (I had to wait about 40 minutes in the evening) but I was treated as a VIP as I was apparently the only visitor who knew that the Kazakh capital is named Astana and (by chance) Kol Say is a scenic lake region on the southern border of the country. This obviously impressed the Kazakhs and so I did not had to rush in order to get a good seat in the cinema.
The 4D movie was a magic carpet ride through some gourgeous canyons




and along soaring mountain ridges

while the VIP seats were moving and rattling and soap bubbles, cold air blow and some rain came down from the ceiling.

After this was over, a Kazakh women introduced us to the worlds "coldest capital" (although I think Ulaanbaatar is still colder) where the mercury plummets down to minus 40 degrees on cold winter days. The air temperature inside the room shown was not quite as cold though but rather on "refrigerator"-level.



All in all a quite decent affair especially when compared to some other "-stan" countries with a really cool 4D movie.
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Old February 13th, 2012, 04:53 PM   #169
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Kenia

Slightly more developed than its neighbours, Kenya is one of the more known countries in Subsaharan Africa, at least to Westerners. It was ruled by a charismatic pro west leader in the 1960s, its capital has become an economic hub (especially for criminaility) for the region and Kenya was the country that welcomed Western tourists in the 1980s. No wonder as it surely has some potential, be it its wildlife, the scenery including Africas highest and only glaciated mountains, its largest inland sea, the different ethnics like Massai, Samburu plus the distinctive Indian and Arabian influecne near its coastline. Some of its wildlife was shown inside the pavillon



It was still not enough to rent or construct an own pavillon, but the Kenya booth inside the African joint pavillon encompassed a quite huge area leaving enough space for some ideas beyond the usual sculpture plus mask plus photo topics.
These African "necessities" plus some locally manufactured products you can see on the pic below



Coffee is a major export good



Ohter features included a pair of tusks. In Mombasa a pair of tusks cover one main road. They have become something like the citys symbol



BTW, lets have a short look beyond these usual sights. Kenya was one of the few African countrys directly corresponding to the Expos "better city, better life" motto as it showed some interesting urban planning projects. I was very surprised, if not shocked to find some information about a slum upgrading project I was also involved working in several years ago. You can see my former company boss on the picture on the bottom right...



It was not only about helping the urban poor but also keeping the countrys architectonic heritage. Lamu is a town at the Inidnan Ocean coast with a distinctive Islamic cultural tradition.



Finally a picture of modern Nairobi. One of Africas most modern but also dangerous cities.

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Old February 13th, 2012, 05:04 PM   #170
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Kiribati

One of these small but nice appearances in the Pacific pavillon. They used the usual standard wooden structure as most other countries in this joint pavillon to introduce their country to their audience.



Kiribati is one of these small distant countries a few people have ever heard off. Although strechting several thousand kilometers and three time zones across the Pacific Ocean its land area fits within the city limits of Hamburg or Berlin.
With a population size of less than 100,000 they do not even have an own national football team. Maybe this is also because they lack in a proper football ground. The country more or less survived on exporting what birds had left behind when making a stopover on the countries territory: birdshit. But since the phosphate has now been completely exploited and the country is far off the tourist route, the Kiribateans face tough times ahead.

One thing I learned at the booth is that the country is actually spelled "Kiribass". There is no "s" in the Kiribatean alphabet, so locals substitute the "s" with an "ti."
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Old February 13th, 2012, 05:17 PM   #171
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Kyrgystan

Besides Kazakhstan, the only decent contribution from Central Asians "Stan" countries.



A yurt was located in the pavillons centre. The whole pavillon was flooded with blueish light. Most of the pavillon was focusing on past and traditions like stone sculptures dating from the ancient era of the Skykhs 2500 years ago. This was long before the Mongols or Russians had settled on Kyrgystans rugged 4000m Pamir plains.



The other features were rather conventional, a colection of clothes, pictures and some products "Made in Kyrgystan". Anyway, just because of the flashy blue light it was a place to remember proving that one can create impression also with a humble amount of money.



It was located in a quite remote corner next to Bangladesh, the Maldives and Mongolia. Anyway, queuing up was around 20 minutes which is very much for such an pavillon. The reason for this were probably some violent clashes between government parties in K which had ocurred just a few days before before we visited this pavillon.
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Old February 15th, 2012, 02:34 PM   #172
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Kuwait

did not participate
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Old February 15th, 2012, 02:50 PM   #173
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Laos

With its rugged jungle clad limestone mountains it is one of the most scenic countries. Add the most friendly people you ever met, deeply rooted in their Buddhist traditions, and you can vaguely imagine waht a gourgeous place to travel this is. Their capitals skyline is still solely comprised by temples, no highrises, but quiet alleys, French colonial architecture, an Arc de Triomphe replica and of ocurse a lot of smiling people.



Their Expo appearance was not as spectacular though, located next to Myanmar (which makes sense) and Iraq (which is not really logic). The centre was comprised by ancient temple architecture which you can also a lot in Luang Prabang.
Like with a lot of authoritarian governments it was not really entertaining and economic achievements were in focus, like a joint venture with a Chinese company manufacturing aircons. Given that Laos had no industry at all until 15 years ago, this may be a major achievement. Indeed the Chinese have become an important investor generating constant cashflow to the poor southern neighbour. But I hope they wont exaggerate it like elsewhere.
Of course it was also political, the president wasnt missed out. Plus some photos of meetings with Chinese politicans, underlining the friendly relationship between both so called "communist" countries



Laos was btw the first country pavillon I visited.
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Old February 15th, 2012, 03:08 PM   #174
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Latvia

To the Chinese, small Latvia was one of the biggest surprises of the whole event and became a real crowdpuller!
The design was inspired by a loo paper roll.



Like its neighbours Estonia and Lithuania it was proud enough to show up with an own pavillon. Queuing was about 2 to 3 hours. I was very happy that the Latvian woman let us in after a short chat. I did not even mention to go inside, it was just smalltalk without any special intentions.
Then I had the rare opportunity to see an empty Expo pavillon and I soon recognised why this pavillon was so attractive.



Flying men in a huge tube! This is not really new (I have seen this on TV when I was a kid) and I cannot see anything sustainable about this but of course this was quite nice to watch.





It was btw one of the few attractions you could watch from outside without queuing up, at least once a day. Each evening at 7:30 the two guys flew much higher than during their usual perfomances, namely about 20 meters high, surpassing the Latvian pavillons ceiling. Two men floating high across the dark sky - this was a real draw for most visitors.

Unfortunately the interesting exhibition adjacent got a bit overlooked because of that. Yes, the Latvians also showcased some urban city projects but ironically these got victim of the pavillons attractiveness
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Old February 15th, 2012, 03:13 PM   #175
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Lesotho

As with Kuwait, they did not turn up

Liberia
please check at Sierra Leone, they had one pavillon together with SL

Last edited by Rinchinlhumbe; April 14th, 2012 at 12:44 AM.
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Old February 15th, 2012, 03:23 PM   #176
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Libanon

This was one of the last pavillons we visited. And also one of the least interesting. Sry.



They had their own pavillon but inside the space was not bigger than at some joint pavillons. This would be nothing dramatic if the rooms were filled with interesting things to see but in this case they were not.
Some green walls with some poster and an occasional television screen, thats it.



This pic can be done on my PC in 10 minutes as well.
Most interesting thing were the historic artefacts, at least for the people who are interested in archaeology or history.



Libanon is an interesting country on the crossroads between east and west with a rich and varied history. But this message was not transported to China.
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Old March 10th, 2012, 12:33 AM   #177
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Libya



Lets directly jump into the pavillon. The outside design was just a blue box of concrete, nothing to write home about like most African own pavillons.



Yes it was an own pavillon but one of the few with almost no queuing. You were able to move around without being squeezed like sardins in a tin box. When visiting this pavillon, Lybia was not on the map of the majorly Chinese visistors. It was 2010 and Libya was still - apparently - under firm control of Gadaffi. No Arabian spring, no uprisings, no revolution.



And as you can tell by looking on these "ordinary" photos it was also surprising that this whole performance was not about any politics at all.

Just people, landscape and culture as shown on the next pics



At lot was done through illumination plus some nice information on the country itself. The concept reminded me very strongly of these unpretentious European pavillons. This idea was also shown in the Czech pavillon.



During his 40 year long reign Gadaif was notorious for some surprises and abrupt changes in strategy. When visiting this pavillon everything seemed to be normal and alright about his country. Far away in Shanghai nobody could anticipate what would happen a few months later....


Neverthelsss Lybia was a welcome surprise given the fact that I was prepared to witness another Iran or Turkmenistan like propaganda show. In the next pic you see one of the very few trees of Libya.



This country is covered 90 percent by desert. Only the tiny Cyrenaika mountains near the north eastern Mediterranean shores receive anough rain to support some forest. Add some nice beaches and antique sights and L could be an attractive travel destination for Europeans. Well it could, if dear leader Gadafi would have allowed this....

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Old March 10th, 2012, 12:47 AM   #178
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Liechtenstein

Despite absolute world domination, Europes heroic superpower princedom Liechtenstein prefered to move into a humble joint pavillon next to San Marino and Montenegro.



Liechtenstein was besides Monaco the only country to show its complete territory to its visitors. This was done through adding photos next to each other making up the whole 20km stretch from north to south.
20 km north to south, 12 km west to east, the River Rhine, some vineyards, a quaint castle overlooking the 5000 soul counting capital village of Vaduz and the majestic snowcovered Alps in the background - a German saying says: vagabond if you come to Liechtenstein, step in, dont (accidentally) walk by. A small anachronistic paradise.

They also had a movie theatre on the top floor but it was closed due to "technical difficulties". A real shame for the worlds highest GDP per capita earning country. But with its huge and comfy couches the pavillon provided a welcome rest for the Chinese visitors after getting up early in the morning and running around and queuing all day long.



It was one of the few pavillons where a guide introduced the audience to the country and showed the visitors around.
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Old March 10th, 2012, 01:09 AM   #179
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Lithuania



Lithuania is the last Baltic country I will show. It was an own pavillon located just off the Expos "main street" and set in a familiar location next to its geographic neighbours Ukrania and Estonia. Boxy but colourful from the outside, it was not very special in the inside. A lot of booklets and brochures about the country with emphasis on its econommic potential showcasing proudly its sucessful European integration.
On a more positive note, it also was a very spacious affair (a rarity at this event!) with friendly talkative staff and some deliious food made up of an intriguing combination of russian, Polish and German ingredients.

I ended up chatting 20 minutes with a nice Lithuanian lady about her job as a "volunteer" Expo worker and learned some then strictly confidential insider information like Turkish Expo workers starting fights with Chinese visitors and false fire alarms in the Italian pavillon.

One unique feature presented the opportunity to step on a magic square and think about a secret wish (a Lithuanian tradition?). Actually I wished my wish and some few weeks later it came true. No I am not superstitious...

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Old March 10th, 2012, 11:57 PM   #180
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Luxemburg

Another small European country but big enough to have its own pavillon which despite its small dimensions was something like a landmark.



The outside walls were made of rusted steel, referring to the era when Luxemburg was not yet a place for finance but relied on coal mining and steel manufacturing.



People could walk along and sit on the planted facade. Or waste one or two months salary in the restaurant with its skyrocketing prices.



Actually, the exterior architecture was almost more thrilling thant the compact inside which only offered little information. Anyway one photo of the woodcladded walls and the Chinese crowds for your information.

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