The Expo (otherwise known as The World’s Fair) was held in Yeosu, Korea this year. This is the second time I have had the opportunity to visit the Expo (I also went to the one in Hannover, Germany in 2000). If you’re not sure what the Expo is, here’s a really interesting Wikipedia article about it. I suggest you read it. And maybe also the fantastic novel Devil in the White City by Erik Larson. It chronicles the development of the Chicago World’s Fair in 1893 and also a serial killer praying on unsuspecting women in the Chicago area at that time. Educational and suspenseful. But I digress… Joe, Emily and I made our first trek to the Yeosu Expo in early July, thinking we could tackle the whole place in one day. Silly waygooks. This place was bigger than Disneyland. And had longer lines. We got up bright and early so we could arrive at the Expo just as it opened at 9 a.m. (it’s about a 1 1/2 hour train ride from Jeonju) because I REALLY wanted to go to the aquarium and knew there was going to be a ginormous line for it. We got in line and they told us it was going to be a 3 hour wait. I didn’t care. I freaking love aquariums. I also know that the line managers lie to people so they won’t stay in line, thereby making their line and wait shorter. 45 minutes later, we were inside the aquarium. It was pretty cool, but jam packed with people. And after seeing the amazing aquarium in Busan , the ones I’ve seen since then just haven’t been up to snuff. We decided to spend most of our day at the International Pavillion, which is where various countries set up exhibits to showcase their county’s epic epicness. The theme this year was “The Living Ocean and Coast”, so most countries centered their exhibits on that theme. Some countries had guided tours, some let you wander through their displays at your own pace, some had videos, some were just hawking souvenirs and some had a combination of those things. Personally, I found the exhibits with only videos to be the least interesting. Tragically, my fellow Americans disappointed me once again. At the Expo in 2000, we didn’t even have a display because we didn’t realize we had to pay for it ourselves. We were kind of a joke because we had planned all of these grandiose parades and exhibits and then… there was nothing. This year I would say we had, hands down, the most boring exhibit of all. We had not only one, but two extremely lame videos touting our awesomeness at all things aquatic. America, you’re killing me, smalls!
On our first trip, we were unable to get the last train out as it was sold out. So we had to leave earlier than we wanted and missed out on the Big-O Show (not as sexy as it sounds). Aside from the aquarium and the International Pavilion, the Big-O Show was the one other thing I really wanted to see. And since we had only tackled a fraction of the International Pavilion by the time we had to leave, Joe and I decided to come back my birthday weekend. We got up bright and early to get there at 9 a.m. once again, but this time we made sure we got tickets for the last train out. We managed to hit every country except for Russia and Oman (2 hour wait in line!). Who knew Oman was so popular? I didn’t even know where it was. We ate some delicious, authentic Italian food for lunch, followed by real, Italian gelato for dessert. After 11 months of Korean food, it was AMAJING (as the Koreans say)! Not that I don’t love Korean food, but pretty much all western food here tastes like crap. You know it’s bad when the best burger you can find is a Quarter Pounder. So we followed up our spectacular lunch with authentic German food (and beer!) for dinner. The beer and brats did not disappoint, although I’m pretty sure the mashed potatoes came from a box. Either way, it was still fantastic. After dinner and a few more country exhibits, we headed to the magical and wondrous Big-O Show. Unfortunately, I have no photographic evidence of this because at some point that night I lost my camera. =( So here’s a video from Youtube. I was SUPER bummed about my camera, but I still had all of my photos from the first trip and Joe’s photos from the two trips. Although my pics were better (Shhh! Don’t tell Joe I said that!). Both trips were amazing and I wish I could tell you every single thing we saw and did. But then this blog would go on forever. We all know I’m capable of going on forever, but, for your sake, I’ll keep it to the highlights. Best exhibits: Albania, Denmark and Sweden. Worst Exhibits: USA and Kazakhstan. Everyone else disagrees with me on Kazakhstan, but seriously, that video super weird. Closing thoughts: I’m so glad we went back for the second trip, and if you ever have the opportunity to visit an Expo, DO IT!!!