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EXPO 2020: Small Pavilions

Giving the small pavilions some love at EXPO 2020

EXPO 2020: Small Pavilions
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After the overwhelming response for my post for suggestions for small pavilions at EXPO 2020 I thought it was only right to check some of them out. And guys, I gotta say, I think I had the most fun I have had at EXPO in a while! I knew I wouldn’t get as many as you suggested done in one afternoon (in fact it may take me until March 31st to run round all the recommendations), so I gave myself the challenge of 15 pavilions. I popped on my comfiest trainers, packed my EXPO passport and away I went.

Now this brings me to my one little gripe about EXPO: the passport stamps. Now don’t get me wrong, I love the concept; it is a brilliant way to keep kids involved and entertained throughout a tiring and often busy day, and it is also a great (and cost effective) memento of your day travelling the world. But what I don’t like, is how it’s bred this culture of ‘having to collect them all’; people running in and out of the pavilions, not stopping to talk or read, and demanding stamps of the, sometimes harassed, staff members.

So determined not to be one of these ‘stamp collectors’, I didn’t put pressure on myself but instead wrote myself a list and went with the expectation to do what I could do. I also wanted to truly enjoy each pavilion for their individuality. And, to have the freedom to stop and watch something interesting along the way, if the mood took me.

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The great thing about the small pavilions is that on the most part the staff seemed so happy to talk to you, proud to tell you about their pavilion and ready to impart some interesting facts about their country. This was especially true in El Salvador, where I learnt to play the age-old game of Capirucho and tasted one of the most expensive coffees in the world, in Syria, where I marvelled at the linguistic skill of one gentleman, and in Slovakia, where I listened to a staff member excitedly tell me about the castle where Sean Connery had played the part of a dragon once! 😂

Some real thought has also gone into the way these pavilions look and the effort that has gone into them astounds me – the bright, beautiful colours of Jamaica, stepping into the history of Cambodia, and Tonga, which was jaw-dropping, like stepping into a different world, possibly the best pavilion I have seen for kids so far!

And probably the best bit… there was absolutely no queuing! I managed to get all my 15 done and have time to stand and watch a couple of street performances and most importantly eat! Boy, did I get my steps in though!

If you are planning a trip to EXPO before it ends (on the 31st of March – there’s not that much time left) I would urge you to not overlook these small pavilions. Yes, they may not be as flashy on the outside, but they have just as much heart and more.

by Lorenna White
February 2022