8.8.15

Expo 2015: The Pavilions, Part 3

We are halfway through Expo 2015 and I still have to visit many pavilions!
Here's another series for you: 
(clockwise from top: Switzerland, Italy, Tree of Life, Japan)


Switzerland
"Free doesn't mean infinite" that's the message this pavilion wants us to understand... and so far it has failed because people can be selfish, inconsiderate and careless about resources and what we are leaving behind for future generations. This one, for me, is the pavilion that mostly represents what the Expo should be about.
There are 4 towers that were filled at the begining of the Expo with tons and tons of 4 resources: salt, coffee, water and dried apples to give away to visitors for free, in a quantity that should have been enough for the whole Expo period and for all visitors; the towers are divided in floors and they should be emptied at the same time, however, many careless visitors have been taking more that one of each in their visits to the towers - especially apples and water - so, many other visitors haven't been able to get water or apples from the towers, and the rhythm at which the towers are emptying after just two months of Expo is not encouraging (I hope the Swiss pavilion doesn't refill them...) - I mean, why do you have to take the water from this pavilion when there's water for free all over the Expo site?!?
Besides the message of the towers, on the ground floor of the pavilion there are interesting exhibits from the different Swiss cantons, a restaurant/bar, the cool Nestlé interactive exhibit that you should check out if you want to find out more about a balanced and healthy diet.
Also, try to take the one-hour-long chocolate atelier taking place next to the restaurant twice a day (check the daily program of Expo for exact times or ask the pavilion staff), a fun activity for all ages!

Japan
So far one of the best pavilions I've seen. Too bad the queue is so long! about 30/40 minutes waiting time, but this is just because there are so many things to see inside and you know how precise the Japanese can be, they want you to have the best experience. In fact, you enter in groups so you can fully appreciate the different rooms without being cramped and rushed (well, you're a bit rushed sometimes, I wish I had more time to read some of the panels). It is all as you could imagine the Japanese might do: technology, design, simplicity and smiles everywhere. I loved the wall with all the variety of their food, and of course the presentation of the Table of the Future - really worth the waiting in line, you'll see!
Naturally, after seeing the table of the future you will be hungry, and so immediately after it you can find the 'fast food' restaurant where you can choose between some Japanese curries, sukiyaki, soba and tempura and rice burgers. You order at a machine (like the McDonalds easy order system) and then pick up your order when the screen shows it's ready.
I had the Teriyaki Beef Burger and I liked it. For 12 euros I got a combo including the burger, fries and a coke. The meat was yummy and the rice bun was different, it seemed like a big sushi rice chunk but it was good and it didn't break while biting it - definitely something to try.
Of course there's another restaurant, famous at the begining of Expo because journalists were saying that the Expo was expensive, the headline was "Expo, milionaire prices: dinner at the Japanese pavilion for 110 euro per person" or something like that - well, yes, there is a restaurant that charges 110 euros per person but it is a historical 1700s restaurant, Minochiki from Kyoto and it is an 11 (mini) courses dinner but they forgot to mention that there is also the fast food option for us common people. So, the Japanese pavilion is really worth the wait and at least one visit.


Italy
One may or may not agree about many aspects of Italy, but there's no doubt about the beauties of this country: landscapes, architecture and art; that's the focus of the first part of this magnificent pavilion: mirrored rooms showing videos of Italian landscapes (feels like you're there), breathtaking monuments (mild cases of Stendhal syndrome might occur) and masterpieces - too bad you are rushed through them...
The second part focuses on man-caused disasters like abusive constructions, etc., and the Italian willingness to rebuild what has been destroyed also by natural disasters like earthquakes - too bad they don't tell you how they plan on improving...
Third part, nice examples of tech innovation - too bad it's a bit boring to go through them all...
Fourth part, the dialogue in the dark (an area in complete darkness where you have to rely on your other senses), the coolest idea - too bad it closes at 5 pm...
In all, a great structure, a good idea, although there are many empty spaces, rushed areas and queues; however this pavilion is a must see, because it reflects what Italy is like: a great beauty, with incredible potential that somehow gets lost in the way...
Ps. be ready to queue from 30 to 120+ minutes at the entrance (if you want to avoid queues, arrive early when the site opens and visit it immediately), also, be ready to climb a lot of stairs (or if you have mobility difficulties ask the staff to use the elevators).


Tree of Life
The symbol of Expo, this 37-meters-high wood and steel structure in the middle of the Lake Arena, was inspired by Michelangelo’s design of Piazza del Campidoglio in Rome. It is a symbol shared by many cultures, the symbol of Primordial Nature, the force of life that originated the universe. A series of special effects using light and sound make us admire it every day and night we are in Expo.