World’s Fairs have traditionally brought a sense of wonderment, a feeling that the world is on the cusp of transformation and you simply can’t wait to see what happens next. After all, the Eiffel Tower, the typewriter and Dr. Pepper were all introduced at their prospective World’ s Fairs over the years. In this regard, the World Expo in Yeosu, South Korea has failed to live up to the illustrious achievements of expos past. In my opinion, it’s theme “The Living Ocean and Coast” produced more of a large scale 8th grade science fair effect than that of a cutting edge world exhibition. Granted, I have a tendency to want things Disney-fied and I certainly didn’t see every exhibit due to long lines and excessive heat. But what I did see with my one day pass was more than enough for me to realize the Yeosu World Expo fell far short of the gold. Sorry Yeosu World Expo, I wouldn’t even give you the bronze.
But even though the Expo seems unremarkable compared to many of its predecessors, it did make for a fun day out. Situated right on the water in Yeosu, the Expo grounds were quite impressive. Architecturally speaking, the Expo was ingenious, the shiny, space age buildings reflecting so much sun it can probably be spotted from space. Interspersed throughout the fair complex were massive fountains, gardens, giant screens and the best part? Air conditioned bathrooms with western-style toilets always fully stocked with toilet paper! Trust me, this in itself was a success. Also notable were the aquarium (Korea’s largest–built specifically for the Expo) and the Big-O– a giant steel contraption resembling a ferris wheel but situated in the water and used for the evening laser light show…quite a spectacle.
The fair will end next weekend, and while it may not have brought any lasting inventions to the world, it brought a day of family fun to many a Korean and foreigner alike.