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About CofP33

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  1. If you are interested in seeing pictures from Expo 2017, I am starting to post them on my photo blog http://adventuresinarchitecture.blogspot.com/. I have been posting one photograph a day from my travels around the world since visiting Brazil as part of a Fulbright program in 2017. If you go back into the archive you can also find photos of Expo 2010 and Expo 2015. (It's a bit cumbersome as you can't just click on the place, but have to look at the list of places, note the month and year, and then scroll down and click on the dates listed below.) I plan to post Expo 2017 photos for at least two months. After some general images, August will mostly be signage and parts of facades that include text. September will have greater variety. Usually the images I post are more artistic than documentary. I do request that if you do want to use any of the images that you let me know and give a credit line. It's a bit grainy, but here is today's photo. Enjoy!
  2. Expo 2017 Report

    Tia, There were five or six small gift shops including right inside the entrances. Like Milan, there was not a lot of souvenirs to choose from. I assume that they had passports, but don't specifically recall seeing them. We did see stamping stations though. One of the items that they did have were various small magnet sets (Expo, Astana, and Baikonur). I had asked for one of Baikonur (my husband is a rocket scientist) and when we arrived back home I realized that they gave me the wrong set. Very disappointing.
  3. Expo 2017 Report

    Sorry for the delayed response. We did a significant amount of walking in Astana as the city is pretty spread out. I would not recommend walking from the older part of town to the fairgrounds due to the great distance and the expenditure of time and energy to do so (and busses are so convenient and inexpensive). We did walk to the fair from our hotel just south of the monumental buildings on our first morning, which was along a relatively busy road, but there was a sidewalk and it was interesting. In the new part of town there is little shade, but many of the roads in the old town are treelined. Once we mastered the bus system we relied heavily upon it. We did take taxis to and from the airport. They seemed pretty easy to use. I think fares to the airport were between 2000/3000T to the newer part of town. Hope this is helpful. Enjoy your time at the Expo.
  4. Expo 2017 Report

    No. The rail system is suppose to be open sometime next year, but we only saw a bit of construction for it by the new national museum. We found that with the app 2GIS the bus system was really easy to use. You pay on the bus to a ticket person (who can make change)--not the driver. They will come around and find you. The bus was extremely inexpensive--90 tenge (or ~27 cents) for regular buses and a bit more (~1.20 T) for expresses.
  5. Expo 2017 Report We had a great time at the expo. We were in Astana for five full days and spent three at the expo shortly after it opened. It was not very crowded and were able to visit all of the pavilions during those days. (We had budget our last day to return if we felt necessary, but used it instead to explore the city itself. We were able to walk right in to most of the exhibit spaces, with only short lines at the Kazakhstan, China, Israeli and Korean pavilions (the line at the Korean exhibit was ~30 minutes or more at times, but we came back when the wait was significantly shorter). Being a minor expo and limited to 60 acres in size, the fairgrounds is easy to navigate. The LED sphere Kazakhstan Pavilion (reminiscent of the iconic structures of the NYWFs and EPCOT) brought some interest to the otherwise rather dull, but efficiently designed fairgrounds. In general the exhibits were relatively uninspiring (there are only so many ways to highlight forms of wind and solar power). VR technologies, dance performances, and stories of children receiving advice from grandparents (ala UAE’s 2015 exhibit in Milan) were popular. A couple of the better of these were Croatia (VR of Tesla’s Lab) and Korea (combination of a well done animated / live story performance). Austria’s colorful “power machine”—a human-powered kinetic sculpture, was one of the other popular exhibits. As in recent expos, the US pavilion in Astana was another lost opportunity to wow the world. Similar to Milan, there were no real amusement exhibits as at past fairs. (If you want to be a human hamster, go into the Shell Pavilion.) We did attend two evening events—a classical concert of Beatles music and the Cirque du Soleil performance. Tickets were inexpensive and the events were enjoyable ways to end long days at the fairgrounds. We stayed at the Hotel 7 Palat. It is in a convenient location between the Expo grounds to the south and the new axis of modern buildings to the north. It was fine for us as we just really needed a place to sleep and clean up, but I wouldn’t classify it as a hotel—more a hostel with private rooms and baths (no cleaning of the room or changing of bedding while we were there). Breakfast (eggs, sausage, bread, chocolate and cookies) was served to us at a specified time in our room. There was no air conditioning, but Astana did cool off in the evenings. **One of the best tips I can provide is to use the Double GIS (2GIS) app to navigate the city, which downloads the data so it works off-line and provides bus route information between any two points. Unless you can understand the place names in Cyrillic, the best way to use the map is to scroll to find where you want to go and drop a pin. We were able to go all over the city (there is much of interest to see beyond the fairgrounds) with ease thanks to the app. We walked to the expo site our first morning, which was a long, but interesting walk (Unfortunately, since it became the capital city of Kazakhstan, Astana has been designed much like Brasilia—for automobiles and not pedestrians.) We were told about the 2GIS app at one of the information desks at the Expo and then relied upon buses (and our feet) to go everywhere. There is also a bike sharing program (http://astanatimes.com/2017/06/how-to-use-astanas-rental-bikes/), which we didn’t use, but saw the bike stands throughout the city and there were expo workers using the bicycles to reach the fairgrounds.
  6. Anyone going?

    Joey, I'm planning to stay at the Hotel 7 Palat, which is just north of the fairgrounds. I'll be there next week and will try to report on it and other conditions at the exposition. I have a former student from Astana and she said that taxis are the easiest way to get around the city. Astana has also bought new buses and apparently has established new routes through the city.
  7. Anyone going?

    Thanks! I found bus route info for Astana here: https://kz.easyway.info/en/cities/astana
  8. Anyone going?

    I'll be going ~June 20-25. Still looking for logistical info on best ways to get around Astana and where to stay in the city. Anyone have info. or suggestions to share?
  9. Expo 2000 fairgrounds

    I believe that the mystery building is on the site of the Norwegian Pavilion at Expo 2000, which was suppose to have been moved back to Norway and turned in to a hotel. The building had a waterfall on the facade. If it is the same building, it has bee significantly altered. You can see it on the site in 2008 if you look at the fairgrounds on Google Maps. Can anyone confirm if it is indeed the Norwegian Pavilion?
  10. EXPO 2010

    For more photos of Expo 2010 take a look at: http://adventuresinarchitecture.blogspot.com/ A new picture of Expo 2010 a day.
  11. We just returned from Expo 2010 and were able to get "Golden Tickets" (tickets to the China Pavilion) by lining up at Gate 1 around 6am. We actually arrived on another day at a bit after 7am and received them as well. Unless things change, if you are one of the first 30-40 or so in line, you should get one. The wait in line was not bad, except for right at 7:00 when they open up the security line area there was a moment of people trying to rush the line. Once in the security line area there was no way to cut in line. Many people were sitting on little plastic stools and eating or chatting. That area is covered and there is a bit of cooling mist to keep people comfortable. They were handing the tickets for the China Pavilion out as you came through the turnstile. Ours were for 2:30-3:30pm. Even with the tickets, we had to wait 90 minutes or so in line before we actually entered the pavilion. As with most of the pavilions, it was interesting, but not all sure it was worth the hassle. (Wish we could have passed on our second pair of tickets.) We spent four day at the fair, but missed seeing many of the national pavilions due to lines. Crowds were up to the 500,000 level for some of the days we were in Shanghai (up to 400,000 one day we were at the Expo). We did enjoy spending much of our last day on the Puxi side, where things were a little quieter, especially in the Case Building area. The Expo was definitely worth going to. The exteriors of the pavilions are more interesting that at Aichi and are eye-catching all lit up at night. Don't feel like you have to see all of the pavilions to make it worthwhile. For many of them we thought afterwards that they really wasn't worth the time we waited in line. We were told that hotels are pretty well booked in Shanghai. It is pretty easy to take the metro and/or a taxi to the fairgrounds, so I think anywhere you can find a descent place and price should work.