Thursday, 13 September 2012

...And Yeosu Expo 2012 Was Worth The Trip!

More than a year ago, when I heard about the Yeosu 2012 Expo's opening date, I immediately thought of planning to revisit.  I was in Yeosu years ago to attend a halloween party. Now, this seems to be the perfect time to go back.

At first, with the pricey accommodations (KRW100,000 a day for a Yeosu hotel room!) and the oh-so-wrong schedule of KTX trains and domestic flights, it was frustrating planning the trip. But luckily, thanks to Seokjin's travel club, Adventure Korea, I finally made it there!

While it was fun roaming around the International Pavilion, especially the Philippine pavilion, we had fun visiting the other interesting pavilions at the Expo, although we did our best not to 'melt' under the summer sun.

The Marine Life Pavilion, perhaps the most popular among children, has a daily dose of long lines. But since we have been reserved at 9AM, we simply walked in!  From the Expo gate to the Aqua Pavilion's gate! That convenient!
                 (These penguins remind of (1) one of Batman's archnemesis, and (2) Happy Feet, the movie!
From penguins, to the beluga, to turtles and exotic colorful fish, the Aqua Planet pavilion was full of, well, aquaria of different sizes displaying marine species from different seas and oceans (although I couldn't remember if they had a display of my favorite, piranhas! Ha-ha-ha!)

                      (According to the Visit Korea website
          this pavilion will remain open after August 13, 2012)
And in front of that huge tank (above) where baby sharks and thousands of other fish swam, children and adults alike stood in fascination while taking photographs (we were reminded by the attendants not to use flash photography so as perhaps not to startle the sharks. Ha-ha-ha!) 

With all the volume and water pressure and all, I could just imagine how thick those glasses were!  As I stood there, I wondered what if the glass actually cracked and broke?! All the water would then rush into the viewing area, and humans and fish would swim alongside each other, and the drowning question would then be: who would eat what? Or what would eat...who? Ha-ha-ha!

After going up and down the pavilion to see all those fish also swim up and down, we stopped by a snack stand and grabbed hotdogs for our mid-morning snacks.
We ended up sitting on a resting place, much like a traditional Korean hut, where you have to leave your shoes on the ground before climbing into the area.

Our next stop was the Korea Pavilion. Gosh, the long lines again! And this time,we had to queue. What greeted us at the entrance were these mascots in pink and blue costumes.
The Korean Pavilion's showcase was a mini-movie showing the history and the progress, up to the present day economic powerhouse of the Korean economy that it is today.

And at the DSME Robot Pavilion, a human-looking robot named Ever talked before an audience. She looked like she was dressed for the future and looked coiffed for the night. I told the guide that Ever looked like she's from Gangnam in Seoul. She giggled at my joke. I mean the human, not the robot.
(Ever, the robot, is wearing a sky blue dress, while the lady in orange skirt is a human.)

Entering the DSME Marine Robot Pavilion was like stepping into a new world of robotics, where one (Ever) looked like human, a few could dance to K-pop music, a few could swim like a fish, and the tallest one, Navi, could explore and work into the deepest part of the oceans.

A few even could play soccer. But it would a very slow moving soccer match with the scoring perhaps not expected to be convincing.

These robots (below) danced to Super Junior and Shinee songs. They could mimic even the dance steps. Someday, K-pop bands may be replaced with robots, and may no longer require years and years of training. Just a computer program and commands would do the trick. No need for thick make-up and glittery costumes as well.

I took this short video of the Robonova k-pop dancing.
Navi, the underwater robot explorer stands at 6.5 meters, dwarfing the lady guide below. It actually moved during the presentation and looked like one of those transformers from the movie.

(These marine robots put on a show where the lights turned blue to simulate the dark depths of the ocean.)

There were aquatic robots, which were shaped like fish and actually swam on the water like real fish. They could someday explore and monitor the seas for water quality, temperature and for other purposes. 

(That's the robotic fish handled by kids. I am not sure if I could borrow it and play with it on an actual swimming pool. It would have been cool!) 

We stumbled upon the parade of the representatives from Equatorial Guinea during the day. 

And this giant marionette, Yeonany, standing at 11 meters, roamed around the Expo, and we chanced upon him next to the Sky Tower.
There were interesting architectural designs of the participants' pavilions.

And while walking around the Expo using my phone to take a few photos (and to check my Facebook page!), it ran out of power! I had to look for a charging station, which was conveniently near!

Naver ran the very helpful charging station where I left my Samsung Galaxy S2 (after its battery lost power!).

The helpful English-speaking attendants gave me the box 56, where inside, there was an electric charger for my phone. I waited for almost an hour for my phone to recharge, and during that time, I also needed my legs to do some recharging from all the walking. I must have covered a few kilometers so far.

And right there at the International Pavilion, where its huge ceiling covered everyone on the promenade below, is the Expo Digital Gallery, where various animations, displays and amazing scenes were all enchanting everyone who looked up to the huge ceiling filled with LED screens. According to the Expo, it is 218 meters wide and 30 meters long.

This design shaped of a whale is composed of photographs of some visitors at the Expo. The 'whale' swam up and down the ceiling of the pavilion.

Aside from the pavilions, promenades which were brightly colored at night were enjoyable for visitors to stroll along as well.

And with street performers and activities all around, kids, along with their parents, were kept busy even outside the international or theme pavilions. 

And of course, when the darkness fell, everyone gathered before the Big-O floating stage for the amazing light, water and music show. According to the Expo, the fountain has 345 fountain nozzles, which could shoot water as high as 70 meters.

The show was a mix of a dancing fountain show, holograms and laser. Not to mention a few flames shooting up during the show.

My friend Sharisse and I had to rush to the stage at the Big O wishing to get a good view. But gosh, thousands were already there! We just had to settle for seats at the side, with a good view of the show. Of course, we would have wanted a seat right in front.

And as if the Big O show wasn't enough, there were fireworks display at around 10PM by the shore. Luckily, we were already outside the expo and were seating near the shore waiting for our bus when the fireworks lighted the Yeosu horizon.
As the Yeosu Expo of 2012 celebrated its closing a month ago after three months (May 12 to August 12) and eight million visitors (according to news reports), I congratulate the organizers, the attendants, the volunteers, the performers, the dancers, the restaurateurs, and of course, all the fish and other species in the Aquarium, which all made my visit to the Expo a memorable one.

Let's not forget Ever, the lady robot, whom I may stumble into in Gangnam one of these days, and Navi, the giant robot explorer, who may now be in the deep seas exploring the depths for all of us!

Thanks Yeosu, it was definitely worth the trip!

No comments:

Post a Comment