Were you thinking that? Cause that's what I thought.
Turns out I was (or we were, if you were thinking that too) WRONG!
The World Fair changed its name to World Expo around 50 years ago. From what I understand, it was cause too many companies were hosting their own expos successfully, so the traditional get-together-to-showcase-new-ideas was losing its draw (or something along those lines). Instead, they started holding the Expos every few years around a central theme each year, with the participating countries bringing their technological advancements to fit the themes, rather than the broad-stroke innovations-of-all-sorts.
For example, the Expo in Shanghai in 2010 had a wood theme, so each country's pavillion had to do with wood. The next expo in Milan in 2015 is going to be focused on food!! Who wants to come with me?!
This year's theme was "The Living Ocean and Coast," so every country brought their take on the ocean theme. It is happening all summer, through mid-August, in Yeosu, South Korea, only about an hour away from Gwagnju. I didn't think that it was really a world fair while I was there, cause it was big (too big to see everything in one day, for sure), but it wasn't as big as I expected a WORLD FAIR to be. Turns out it's a small one, but a legit one nonetheless. The Shanghai Expo was 3x its size and the Milan Expo will be 4x its size. Thaaat explains it!
I had so much fun though! I'm going to drag my parents to see it when they get here in LESS THAN A MONTH!!! Hopefully we'll spend two days :)
The basic idea: there's a few big exhibits put on by the host country, like the aquarium, the huge Korea Pavillion, and the robot exhibit. One of my favorite things was the digital ceiling in the main entry-way. I didn't know at the time, but the giant photo-filled whale is called the "Dreaming Whale." The Dreaming Whale is comprised of photos taken and uploaded by visitors using their smart phones, getting larger as more photos are uploaded. It's also trained/programed to swim toward you if you shout at it! (Though how it can hear you with all that din, I don't know.) I wish I'd known all of that before I went! Technology is super-duper-awesome, right? Smart phones were a major player in this year's expo. Many of the pavilions had smart phone interactions, as I learned about after the fact. So what's the lesson that I learned from all that? Read up on it before you go!
And then there are the International Pavilions! There were sooo many countries represented! Our goal was to eat and drink our way through the whole world, and we darn near accomplished it. I didn't know about them until we were well underway, but there are passports that you can buy and collect stamps in each pavilion. I'll do that next time! What a neat way to commemorate your trip.
If you ever get a chance to see one, do it!! You can join me in Milan in 2015. I hear Google's bringing some new-fangled "augmented reality glasses" to the party. They overlay what you really see with data about it. How in the heck? It'll be neat to see :) I think Yeosu created an Expo-loving monster in me!
If you want to check out more about the Expo, especially if you're going to be able to visit it, check out this website: http://eng.expo2012.kr/main.html?mobile_at=Y (and make sure you reserve a spot in line to see the big Aquarium or the Korean Pavilion, cause those lines were crazy-mess).
And now for a smattering of pictures to round out your idea of the Expo!
|Blue Yeosu water drop theme character, cause of the ocean theme|
|Robot exhibit - not as awesome as you'd hope|
|Italy, con gelato|
|Lithuania really brought their A-game! Thinking out of the box with the amber theme, cause they harvest the beautiful rocks out of the Baltic Sea (ergo: ocean theme, check)|
|We loved Lithuania|
|Band of Indonesians? Not sure the represented country, they were out in the atrium jammin'|
|Turkey! Turkish ice cream and COFFEE!!!|
|Digital ceiling at night!|
|The Big O (awkwardly named, right?)|
|A good night for a water show|
|Multimedia at its finest :) Well done, Expo 2012|
If you've enjoyed these and you'd like to see more, just check out the facebook album I made. I posted a few more there ;)