Tuesday, June 8, 2010

expo Expo EXPO (the UK bit)

There's so much I want to blog about the Expo it's unreal. I really don't know where to start, the spare ice-creams outside the China pavilion, the Danish need for white paint, the terrible sadness of Turkmenistan, the Angolan 'diamonds' or the superb superbness of experience that was the UK pavilion. I need to sort my head out - professional blogging this is, I'm totally making it up as I go along.

Right. I should mention by the way I LOVED the expo. since we got back I've heard mixed reviews but I thought it was wicked and 2012 South Korea - I'm there.

We start with the best.

The UK pavilion is amazing. I'd been looking forward to seeing it for ages, the Expo or 世博会 as we call it out here has been bigged up so so much. It's like Shanghai's Olympics. The UK pavilion has dominated much of the news for being so splendidly unique it makes all the other pavilions look a bit samey.
Straight of we ran over to have a look, the queue was about 3 hours long so we thought we'd take a few photos and come back later. So we took a few photos.

As we were doing this we were approached by these two english gents:

With a whisper they asked where we were from, on hearing England they asked us to very subtly - without alerting the 3hour long queue of Chinese - follow them round to the back - where they let us in!

(it looks like CGI - in real life!)

And it was wonderful. The concept (as explained to us by a lovely Chinese studies student from Leeds - we get about a bit out here) was based on the seed banks that are in place in London, Edinburgh and Kunming (big city in the west of China). The whole structure was designed to look like a dandelion seed thing and the grey astro-turf stuff around the outside for people to sit on like the wrapping paper which had surrounded this present to China. The present being the cooperation of the seed bank project, and once the Expo is finished every single rod of the pavilion is being sent to a school in China as a gesture of friendship to China's youth. It is a wee bit melodramatic, but compared to other pavilions it was understated.

The inside of the pavilion was beautiful. Every rod from the outside stemmed in and the clear plastic acted like fibre optics lighting the inside with natural light. Set in the end of each rod were seeds.

Simple but beautifully effective. I tend towards nationalism pretty easily but I really felt proud to be part of a country that would send something so memorable and unique and bizarre as their emblem to the world.

So began the weekend of blagging. Watch this space.


P.S One of my favorite moments was finding this by the exit of the pavilion:

Professional, professional, professional but David Miliband gets attached with selotape. That'll be the Chinese influence.

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