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Anybody visiting Yeosu?

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I just returned from the Yeosu EXPO. I really liked the layout of the event. I was in Zaragoza in 2008, and I found the Yeosu event more interesting both architecturally, and from the standpoint of the geographic location. Of course it helps that the EXPO is located on the coast.

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The corporate end of the EXPO had several stand alone pavilions like the Hyundi and Samsung pavilions that gave that area the feel of a larger EXPO. I believe that the crowds have been a bit lighter than expected. However, there were around 120,000 people who visited last Saturday. And crowds were brisk the entire time of our stay, with the exception of Wednesday evening when a typhoon moved through. Hopefully the images I have attempted to attach, showing a few corporate pavilions, have come through

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Sadly, the USA pavilion was, once again, a letdown. It seems that the Shanghai model was followed. You first enter a vast, empty room with a waterfall curtain at the back. There they show a welcome from Clinton, Obama, and Philippe Cousteau. Then you enter the Citi theatre to see a glorified Powerpoint presentation with a number of people saying, "This is my Ocean." You then exit past the corporate sponsor displays and the gift shop. I guess that the most troubling part of the display is that there are no opportunities for visitors to get hands on with anything. The person I was traveling with described it as a lecture. Given the technological sophistication of viewers, I think that you have to give them a lot more than images on a big screen to impress them.

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Hello Bill,

Mind you, this is only the third EXPO I have attended. However, I would give it a solid 8. And that number takes into account the fact that it is, by design, a smaller EXPO.

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A few more shots...This is the Marine Industry and Technology Pavilion. The basic message here was the many uses of seaweed. I like this pavilion because it was done in a classic, grand, world of tomorrow style. You view a film, and then the screen opens to a science lab where the man of the future leads you through the science of seaweed.

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Here are a few more. This is the Climate Pavilion. You are shown a film, and then you walk through a glacier on your ay to another 360 degree theatre.

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Lithuania had a beautiful pavilion. They were showcasing the amber that is found in their country. The relocated very rare amber fom a museum they have in Lithuania. Each of the metal tubes that you see contains a piece of amber. The top is a lens that magnifies it to three times its actual size. The people we met at the pavilion were also some of the most pleasant, and helpful we encountered. I have added Lithuania to my list of must visit countries!

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Argentina was also popular. They had a large bar area where you could enjoy a drink or a snack. And there was a steady dtream of traditional dancers. The dancers were very popular with the crowd.

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The Marine Robitics Pavilion offered a glimpse of how robots will be used to harvest undersea resources. The model in the lower portion of the stage had mock-ups of the robots. After leaving this room you could visit a tank where robot fish with laser rangefinding eyes were swimming around.

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A few additional shots of the EXPO grounds. Unfortunatly I had rainy weather throughout my stay. So I focused manly on interiors. However, here are a few shots. As I posted earlier, the Fair had the feel of a larger Category 1 Fair.

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And last, a few shots of the MVL Hotel. This hotel was built for the EXPO. It takes about three minutes to walk out of the front of the hotel and to the nearest EXPO entrance gate. That is ultimate convenience! It's a higher end hotel, and the rooms are very nice. However, the staff didn't seem as frinedly or helpful as you would expt in a 5+ star hotel. It is also very difficult to figure out how to book the hotel during the EXPO. I used Koreahotels.com. This is the EXPO hotel for VIPs, so, you request a room and they check to see if there are extra rooms in their reserved EXPO block. Then they award you a reservation. You can only do this 30 days or less before your arrival. Then you pay a broker, like Koreahotels.com. They pay the hotel and then issue you a voucer. It all worked flawlessly. But, it isn't as easy a a point and click reservation. All that being said, if anyone is planning to visit the EXPO in the few remaining days, I highly recommend this hotel for the convenience of being right next to the grounds!

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My final thoughts on EXPO 2012 are that it reinforces he fact that World's Fairs remain unique and amazing! There is nothing else in the world like a Fair. It is tragic that they are not held in our own backyard. I plan to take my family to EXPO 2015 in Milan. And I am saving now to be able to afford four airline tickets, hotel, ect. But Americans shouldn't have to always spend thousands of dollars and travel for 24+ hours to experience this. I expect that the tens of thousands of Korean school kids that streamed into the EXPO will be inspired by the vision of tomorrow that was presented to them. I hope that one day we can use the Fair to inspire America's youth to dream again.

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And one final, final observation. This actually bridges 2012 to 2017. Both Belgium and Kazakhstan had pavilions and displays highlighting their bids for the 2017 EXPO. Late this year the BIE will select either Astana, Kazakhstan, or Liege, Belgium to host EXPO 2017. I have to say that I was blown away by the Kazakhstan pavilion and their 2017 bid. Without question, Kazakhstan had the best, most powerful and moving film at the EXPO. They also featured cultural performances, the ability to send a digital postcard with a picture of yourself at the pavilion, and very informed and helpful pavilion guides. It was my favorite pavilion at the EXPO. I love Belgium, and have enjoyed visiting it in the past. However, I'm pulling for Astana in 2017. I think that they have a grand vision for the EXPO that would result in a Class 1 style Fair small only in the footprint of the grounds.

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A few shots of the Aquarium at EXPO 2012. This was one of the more dissapointing displays. The building was impressive. However, it looks like in the rush to get it open for the event many displays were not completed, and thus not open.

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