An all expenses paid trip to the Yeosu World Expo. Sounds too good to be true? Well the only catch was that it involved accompanying a class of 8-10 year olds and being directly responsible for the lives of five of them.
It certainly didn’t feel like a good decision when my alarm rudely interrupted my sleep at 5.30am. Nor did the feeling get better as we arrived to “a sea of fog” (as our patriotic Director called it) or what looked like suspiciously like heavy smog.
Carried along by the students’ excitement, we entered the Expo and walked straight under the spectacular Expo Digital Gallery, essentially thousands of LCD screens covering a roof over 100m long, showing (according to our Expo map) “An Underwater Panorama in the Sky” and at times, pictures of the people standing underneath. Can you spot the foreign teacher with her gaggle of students?
Fueled by a bowl of Rice Cake Ramyeon (soup is a typical breakfast here), and relieved by a new perspective on the spectacular buildings and layout of the site due to the smog being burnt off, we started queueing to enter pavilion after pavilion.
As you would expect from the home of Samsung and LG, the visual displays were amazing.
I knew there would be a lot of people but I had no idea just how many there would really be at the Expo. When faced with a 2 hour queue for the Aquarium (the only reason half our students were on the trip it seemed), I would have loved to turn away. But seeing the delight on the students’ faces when they finally saw the much anticipated Beluga whales, made it all worthwhile.
Arriving home at 12.30am on Sunday morning (yes, it was an unpaid 20 hour work day), I realised how lucky I was to have been given such an opportunity as this. It’s not something I would have seeked out, but being handed it on a platter made me so glad to have experienced it.
My recommendations for anyone wanting to go to the Yeosu Expo:
– Avoid weekends at all costs. It was so busy and we were warned that the line for the Aquarium could be up to 2.5 hours when we first got there. It was full of school trips, families, and tourbus loads of feisty octogenarians.
– If you must go on a weekend, get there as early as possible and go straight to the Aquarium queue.
– Do your research on where you want to go and what you want to see, so you can choose which queues are really worth waiting in.
– If you can afford (both time and money wise) an overnight stay and visiting the Expo over two days, I think it would make the whole experience much more enjoyable. There’s so much to see and 12 hours on your feet is exhausting for anyone.
– Stay for the light show at the “Big O.” You’re going to be exhausted the next day regardless, so why not top off a great day with a magnificent light show?