Thursday, June 10, 2010

Shanghai Expo - Part 2

The four of us met up with Tao for the second half of the day, and we spent the better (read: longer) part of it waiting in line for Spain.

In general, i'm a sucker for all things Spain. I have been since i lived there in 2001. The pavilion's exterior is simple, yet intriguing, and massive! It's covered with sheets of rattan, making it look like a piece of wicker furniture, with curvy, impossible angles everywhere. Waiting in the line, although hot and tiring, afforded us the opportunity to view the pavilion from multiple vantage points.

Inside, the first room is a cave. In Sevilla, true Flamenco is performed by gypsies in cuevas, or caves. They aren't actual caves (well, maybe some are), but more like underground (in the non-commercial sense) bars built with stone walls, moss growing in the damp corners, hard, wooden seats, and acoustics that make you feel the ground-pounding steps and sharp, rhythmic clapping.

Within this cave, we watched as scenes from Spanish life were projected on the cave's front wall: Picasso's Guernica, the running of the bulls, great moments of soccer, and, of course, Flamenco. The music grew with intensity and quickened its pace. A woman, a flamenco dancer, arose from a crumpled heap of clothing on the stage before us and began to dance. It would not last long, but it was captivating. We stayed in the cave and watched the cycle repeat twice.

There was also a giant baby. I'm not sure what it has to do with Spain, but people seemed to love it.
  • Pros - Comfortable and cool interior, flamenco dancers, giant baby.
  • Cons - 90 minute wait
  • Verdict- Definitely a treat. Apparently you can make a reservation and get in a priority line. And now i know.

While Spain appeared to be going for quality, or at least scale, over quantity, Indonesia endeavored to cram in as much information about itself as possible. Indonesia is pretty much the king of biodiversity. We learned Indonesia contains 10% of the world's flora species, 12% of the its mammal species, 25% of its fish species, 17% of its bird species, 16% of it's reptiles and amphibians. We learned about various tribes and cultures, such as the Kombai tree house dwellers, and marveled at indigenous people with plates in their ears or bones through their noses. All this was terribly exciting to therese and i, as we had just officially decided on Indonesia for our three week vacation in late July.
  • Pros - Very Short line, comfortable and cool interior, very informative.
  • Cons - Can't think of any, unless you dislike Indonesia.
  • Verdict - If you're the type that loves the National Geographic, you won't be disappointed.

That was the end of a long day. We left as the sun was setting and the pavilions were beginning to illuminate. In retrospect, i would have loved to stay another ninety minutes to see some pavilions lit up, but we were pretty beat. I think the long line for Spain ended us. Fortunately, the Expo will be open for another 4 months, and you never know, i may have another opportunity to check it out.


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