As I say goodbye to the Expo Milano 2015, this being my last post on the subject, I can’t help having mixed feelings.
Part of me wishes I had been able, through some kind of special superpowers, to explore much more than I did in just one day. The other part dismisses this as pointless since what my family and I managed to see in that whole day was impressive in itself. It also allowed us to see and learn so much more about our world and our species incredible ability to constantly innovate, create and find solutions to ensure not only our survival but also our flourishing cultures and civilizations.
So here is, the last guided tour, with brief stops in the Americas and Asia.
Our first stop was at one of the most popular pavilions, Brasil. The popularity has a lot to do with the entry point. If you are feeling a little adventurous and wearing the right shoes! There is a metallic mesh that covers the two main areas of the pavilion which will test your flexibility and balance to the limit. It is fun but tricky at points, particularly as you are walking in a group and the mesh is in constant movement until you reach the entry. My daughter loved it of course as all children do. This is how you start going up.
At this point you have to watch out and try to walk where there are less people and movement. Some people lose balance and fall. There is a point where you can just give up and walk on the side where it is stable and “uneventful” as you can see.
But it is a great experience. For those who may not appreciate a bit of height, though, don’t look down!
Brasil is known for being one of the biggest food producers in the world but its technological ability used in Agricultural research and its innovative spirit is not known as much. Their theme “Feeding the Planet, Energy for life” concentrates not only on showing Brasil’s technological success but also their cultural food diversity and their ability to produce healthy food that can be globally available to all.
For obvious reasons, having lived in Mexico for 5 years and having found the most wonderful friends who are like family to us, we could not miss it. For my daughter who was born there, it was also very emotional and exciting as she started to recognize familiar symbols and objects.
Mexico’s theme “Mexico the seed for the New World: Food, Diversity, Heritage” puts its emphasis on its biodiversity, its cultural heritage and its culinary richness and traditions. In 2010 Mexican cuisine was declared Cultural Heritage by the Unesco. In the course of my extensive travels throughout Mexico’s beautiful regions, I had the opportunity to explore and get to know most regional cuisines and discover the brilliance and diversity of their dishes. If your idea of Mexican cuisine is Tacos, Tortillas and Chili con carne (which is not even a Mexican dish), then you need to taste the real cuisine at the pavilion restaurant and learn more through the wonderful presentations in the pavilion.
Ancient wisdom and rituals are still very present in the Mexican culinary traditions and Mexic0 also wanted to emphasize its role in the increased global production of food with healing properties. While in Mexico I learned some of these natural healing practices by using plants and produce that can really make a difference. I always remember the wonderful Bougainvillea tea against cough which helped me many times in Mexico. You can find the recipe on my blog here.
Before we leave Mexico, let me tell you about one of their most famous symbols and handicrafts, the trees of life. I have one on my desk to remind me of the warm colors and sunny days in Mexico. In winter in Austria, when it is dark and gloomy, it always brings joy to my day. I found this one in the pavilion, symbolizing the wonderful diversity of produce used in the rich Mexican cuisine. My heart asks you not to miss the Mexican Pavilion.
When you approach the US pavilion the theme becomes clear. “American food 2.0 : united to feed the planet” gives you an idea of what you will find inside.
But before you go inside please check the incredible world’s largest vertical farm where you can find vegetables, herbs and grains.
The interactive and digital media exhibits inside tell the story of the development of American food but also of the American innovative and entrepreneurial mind in other fields like science, health and technology. There is a lot to explore and interact with.
I also appreciated the architecture inside and the rooftop upstairs with a nice view of the Expo and the opportunity to taste American classics. There was a stage upstairs, where friendly staff members would encourage children to join them and dance to the sound of famous American songs. My daughter had a great time!
- Republic of Korea
If like us you end up only having time for one Asian pavilion then I highly recommend this one. It is one of the favorites at the Expo and we did have to wait in a queue to enter it (fortunately in the shade) but it was well worth the wait.
The theme “You are what you eat” calls your attention already on the outside where you see this strong statement.
Inside we were impressed by Korea’s innovative, state of the art technological display aiming to provoke a discussion about the future of food and humankind.
The symbol “Moon Jar” is a typical Korean food vessel in the shape of the full moon which represents the Korean culinary tradition. Here it is also used metaphorically as a vehicle to adapt this culinary tradition to the future and help solve challenges that our human race will face.
It is really an impressive pavilion which makes you think about important issues related to the future and survival of our species in a visual, informative and fun way.
As we live in a world where certain ideologies have the aim of forcing others to look at the world in just one color, I’m glad that these world fairs exist to remind us it is quite impossible to kill man’s ingenuity. Our minds are rainbows of thoughts and ideas, hubs of possibilities just waiting to burst out. And when they do, they inspire us and make us have faith in the future survival of our species and our planet. May there be many more Expos in the future to wake up our senses and encourage us to be more active in the preservation of our future.
If you want to read about my previous suggestions: