On my second full day in Milan, I went straight to the expo after eating breakfast. It was a Friday morning and there were significantly more people going through security than the day before. Instead of continuing down the line from yesterday, I started over with the pavilion across Ireland — the Czech Republic.
There are three things in particular that I remember from the CZECH REPUBLIC pavilion and none of them are related to food. First, there was a sign on the wall welcoming people to the “Czexposition”, which I thought was really amusing. Second, there was a strange sculpture of a bird/plane hybrid that was in front of the pavilion. Third, there were these colorful PET(ch)airs that were made of plastic bottles that were in a room with other random creations. Oh, there was also a room with plants that recreated a Czech forest environment, so I guess that’s four.
BAHRAIN was next and there was another emphasis on plants, though at least they produced fruits like dates, pomegranates, limes, figs, and papayas. According to the pavilion, the palm tree is the primary crop of Bahrain and occupies 85% of the land dedicated to growing fruit. Almost every part of the tree is used in daily life and it is harvested for dates and palm water. What’s really cool about this pavilion is that they plan to move and rebuild it in Bahrain after the expo so it could serve as a botanical garden.
There was a small cafe inside the pavilion that served coffee and other treats. I ended up getting date and saffron ice cream and thinking about it is making me crave some more right now. Man, that just sounds so refreshing.
I decided to go to the ANGOLA pavilion next, though that one had quite a wait. I realized that all the pavilions were just going to get busier since it was a Friday, so I decided to just stick it out. It even started to rain a little, but I was armed with an umbrella. Anyway, the wait was worth it because Angola impressed me a lot more than I had expected. There was a lot of information there about Angolan crops and traditional dishes. The central feature of the pavilion was a “baobab tree” that featured stories of different Angolan woman who held a variety of positions in society, from actresses and models to pilots and journalists. That part may not have been directly food-related, but it was still awesome to see nonetheless.
Waiting to go in to the BRAZIL pavilion was annoying, particularly because it was raining and I was surrounded by a large school group with umbrellas. Oi, this one girl’s umbrella kept hitting me so I had to purposely shield myself with my own umbrella, even if that meant getting a little more wet. This pavilion was really popular because there was a large rope net that you could walk over to get to the upper level. That was pretty cool, but unfortunately, the rest of the pavilion was pretty disappointing. I just remember there being info projected against the walls inside, but it didn’t really stand out well. There was a small shoutout to the 2016 Olympics in Rio, but other than that, the rest of the interior wasn’t very interesting.
When I went to the 2010 Expo in Shanghai, SOUTH KOREA had one of my favorite pavilions there, so I was excited to see what they would do five years later. This one was…different, for sure, but it was still impressive. The main difference really was that the Shanghai pavilion was fun and colorful while the Milan pavilion was mostly in black and white and partially depressing. There were three main issues that the pavilion wanted to address: hunger, overconsumption of processed food, and obesity. The pavilion would also try to answer questions related to how we eat, what to eat, and how to feed the world.
There was a short robot show called “Symphony of Food: Balance” that was pretty cool and some other interactive or at least visually stimulating exhibits. Overall, there was a focus on hansik, a term used to describe Korean food in general, and how tradition helps guide the future. There were places to eat near the exit and I got a bulgogi ssam to go.
At this point, I realized that it would be impossible to get through all these pavilions in the time that I had left, so I needed to just start hitting up the ones that I wanted to visit in particular.
Next Post: EuroTrippin’: Milan (Part 6) – World Expo IV