expo 2005 photo essays
- weekly report from the World Exposition in Aichi, Japan

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Week sixteen (July 10, 2005)

A trip around the Global Commons (Part 1)

This week's topic is probably long overdue - up to now, I have concentrated more on general affairs than specific presentations at the Expo. Upon reading this one-day trip account of an Expo visitor, I decided to write a similar report about the six Global Commons that are home to the foreign countries' pavilions - one difference being that I took these photographs over the course of nearly half a year.

· The concept of "Global Commons"

As you may know by now, the countries' pavilions at the Aichi Expo are not located in one place, but are split up geographically into the six so-called "Global Commons", which are connected by the elevated walkway "Global Loop". This setting is not deliberate but roughly determined by geographical location; however, some placements just seem a bit odd.

For example, Libya somehow managed to escape Global Common 5 (Africa, but also hosts Egypt) and was located between Italy and Croatia in Common 3, which also housed countries as distant as Jordan, Tunisia, Spain and Germany. On the other hand, all our neighbouring countries such Austria, Switzerland, Belgium and Poland were situated in Global Common 4, which also hosted countries such as Portugal, Russia, Georgia and Azerbaijan. Other former member states of the USSR such as Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan could be found in Global Common 1, which also included - among others - China, Pakistan, and Saudi Arabia.

It seems that this strange setup puzzled visitors and finally also the Expo Association, so they added a "simple selection" feature to their pavilion overview web site that made a search by geographical location possible. Originally, that page had hardly any content apart from information about the Japanese pavilions - after a while, the country pavilions were also featured in a similar way and finally even moved on top of the page to pretend some kind of internationality at the Expo.

Having the countries (roughly) grouped by geographical location, the countries not represented at the Expo stand out even more: the most notable no-shows are Brazil (Global Common 2), the United Arab Emirates (Global Common 1), Hungary (Global Common 4), and Myanmar (Global Common 6). Other countries not represented include Afghanistan, Algeria, Belarus, Botswana, Chile, Colombia, Iraq, Israel, Kuwait, Mozambique, Namibia, Niger, North Korea, Oman, Palestine, Paraguay, Serbia, Somalia, and the Vatican. In some cases, you'd really wonder where you'd have found their pavilions, such as in the case of Israel and Palestine; would they have been both located in Global Common 3, maybe even next to each other?

Anyway, let's take off, starting from the North Gate clockwise to visit the six Global Commons in sequence. This is the way you would travel if you took the Global Tram - imagine yourself riding the tram, me doing the announcements... kind of.

Just a short distance from the main North Gate, we arrive at my favorite Global Common. There is a small canal with benches, a restaurant plaza, giving the place a rather laid-back atmosphere. Most Asian countries (minus Southeast Asia, which is Common 6) can be found here. The highlights certainly are the Korean and Chinese pavilions (the largest in the area). Another really popular pavilion is the Qatar pavilion with its sleak presentation and giveaways. Scattered around the place are many many small and larger restaurants with Asian cuisine.

· Global Common 1 - Asia I

Countries in Global Common 1: Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Qatar, Iran, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, South Korea, China, Mongolia, Bhutan, Central Asia Pavilion (Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan), Nepal, India

Global Common 1 entrance

Chinese restaurant plaza

· Saudi Arabia pavilion

Saudi Arabia pavilion

Q'ran wall script (Saudi Arabia)

· Yemen pavilion

Yemen pavilion

Embroidery shop (Yemen)

· Qatar pavilion

Qatar pavilion

Past, present & future (Qatar)

Qatar entrance

Desert Life (Qatar)

· Iran pavilion

Iran pavilion

Expo carpet (Iran)

· Bangladesh & Mongolia pavilions

Family Mart and Bangladesh pavilions

Mongolia pavilion

· Pakistan pavilion

Pakistan pavilion

Himalaya (Pakistan)

· Sri Lanka pavilion

Common 1 view alongside Sri Lanka

Decorated ceiling (Sri Lanka)

· South Korea pavilion

South Korean pavilion

Paper tiger (South Korea)

Red Box (South Korea)

Paper lamps (South Korea)

· China pavilion

China pavilion

Tree of Life (China)

see also Week 21.

· Bhutan pavilion

Bhutan pavilion

Wall cloths (Bhutan)

· Central Asia pavilion

Billboard (Uzbekistan)

Horseman and cosmonaut gear (Kazakhstan)

· Nepal pavilion

Nepal pavilion

Temple (Nepal)

· India pavilion

India pavilion

Bells (India)

Next in turn is Global Common 2 which houses the Americas and also a few international organizations (Red Cross, OECD, UN). Especially the Red Cross pavilion and also the US pavilion with its movie show have the longest queues. Many of the pavilions are quite beautiful inside (Mexico, Andean) or feature dance and performance shows (Argentina, Centroamerica). Also a special focus lies upon the Cuba pavilion with its cocktail bar.

· Global common 2 - The Americas

Countries in Global Common 2: Canada, Cuba, International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement, Central America Pavilion (Belize, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Panama, Nicaragua), United States of America, Andean Amazonian Pavilion (Bolivia, Ecuador, Peru, Venezuela), Argentina, Dominican Republic, Mexico, United Nations

· Canada pavilion

Canada pavilion

Canada pavilion

· Cuba pavilion

Cuba pavilion

Graffiti wall (Cuba)

· Centroamerica (Belize, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Panama, Nicaragua)

Central American hangar

Canopy tour (Centroamerica)

Stone marble (Centroamerica)

Pirate floor (Centroamerica)

· US pavilion

US pavilion

Mars Rover exhibition (USA)

see also Week 26.

· Andean Amazonian pavilion (Bolivia, Ecuador, Peru, Venezuela)

Andean Amazon pavilion

Topographic floor (Andean Amazon)

Animal gallery (Andean Amazon)

Exhibition area (Andean Amazon)

· Argentina & Dominican Republic pavilions

Argentina pavilion

Dominican Republic pavilion

· Mexico pavilion

Mexican pavilion

Step game (Mexico)

Stones (Mexico)

Exhibitions (Mexico)

· UN & OECD pavilions

United Nations facade

OECD pavilion

This concludes the first part of the Global Commons tour, the remainder will be part of a separate update.

· Next page: "World" Exposition - for whom?