Wednesday, 30 March 2022

Goodbye Expo2020 - and Thank You!

It's Spring Break and for Nathan's days off it was time for a family outing to the Expo2020 - the LAST outing to Expo2020!
We booked a hotel really close to the site, so that we could take the metro over and back and not have to drive.

The plan was to absorb the last of the Expo during the day, and then have dinner and maybe do some bar-hopping later on to enjoy the Expo at night. Although there was a small issue with communication during planning - and instead of meeting up with our friends Chad and Kristen and night, they waited for us already on arrival at lunch time!

We started with some snacks at the rooftop bar of the Belgium Pavilion:

We then continued to Hungary, where they unfortunately didn't serve beer, but we were aiming for lunch. Kristen's Grandma was from Hungary, so she really wanted some Paprikash. It turned out to taste just like her Grandma's, so she was really, really happy - and thanked the chef with tears in her eyes.

Next stop the rooftop of the Denmark Pavilion. Excellent views from up high, and the best way to avoid the masses down below!

It was time for Espresso Martinis, and one of their signature Graffiti Cocktails!

Next to Denmark - Australia! Best atmosphere of the Expo with live music and all.

At the NZ pavilion! I tried a Zespri Kiwitini, while the others went down the more familiar routes of IPAs for the boys and a Sav Blanc for Kristen:

We ended at the Mixology Bar at Jubilee - with views over the Al Wasl Dome. All their cocktails were inspired by World Expos of the past. Here I started with the 'London 1851', while the boys had the 'Shanghai 2010':

This to the left was Kristen's 'Aichi 2005', and later on Nathan and I also tried 'Hannover 2000' and 'Dubai 2020':

Kristen and Chad had to go home to their kids come dinner time, and our kids had given up and gone back to the hotel already. I thought they would've wanted to check some more things out at the Expo, but they couldn't be bothered much (neither with the Expo, nor the crowds...), they made their way back to the hotel come late afternoon. 
So Nathan and I waited for sunset on our own - with some more cocktails..! We continued with 'Milan 2015' and 'Paris 1889':

The views really were worth waiting for! Amazing!

And as we left the Expo2020 for the last time, we even got celebrated with fireworks!
Sad that it's all over, but thankful that it happened - it has been a such a fantastic adventure! Thank you Expo2020 for all the extraordinary experiences!

Friday, 25 March 2022

The Swedish Ladies at Versailles

Yesterday I delivered a tour of the current temporary exhibition at the Louvre Abu Dhabi - Versailles and The World.

But not just a tour - it was a tour in Swedish. It's not so often I get to deliver tours in Swedish, so it was of course extra fun!

It was for the Swedish Ladies UAE group I did this tour, and it went really well. As we went there almost straight after opening, we were the only ones in the exhibit for almost all the time, perfectly planned!

Tuesday, 22 March 2022

Mission complete!

Oh yes, one more day at the Expo! Linda and I wanted to visit one more time together, and Kathleen tagged along. We all had a few different things we wanted to see and do, but also visited a few pavilions together. I had two pavilions left I needed to see - Egypt and Austria.
Our plan was to go see Egypt first thing, but when we arrived it turned out they had the pavilion closed for sanitation until 1pm, so plan B - start with Austria:

I really liked Austria, both inside and out. Their pavilion was inspired by the burjeels of the UAE, the wind towers, but constructed as cones in three different heights:

Then we took on the Vision Pavilion, a pavilion we all wanted to see. It tells the story of the ruler of Dubai, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum. It was beautifully made, really poetic:

Time for a coffee break - and a raspberry croissant!

Linda wanted to see the ENOC pavilion (=Emirates National Oil Company), and it was surprisingly nice. I haven't actually bothered much about the "extra" pavilions, I have concentrated on the country pavilions; but the ones I have visited have all been really interesting. This was all about energy:

We also managed to find the piece of the Eiffel Tower displayed in one of the parks. I find these connections to previous World Expos really nice. Did you know that the Eiffel Tower was constructed for the Paris Expo in 1889, and was actually never supposed to be a permanent structure?

Then 1pm came and I queued up one last time, to get into my very last country pavilion - Egypt.

It was extremely hot, and wearing jeans really wasn't my best idea, but luckily we didn't have to queue for more than about 45 minutes. And the pavilion was fantastic!

I know, I know, the theme of the Expo2020 is 'Connecting minds - Creating future'; but for me, personally, my favourite pavilions have certainly been those who focus more on presenting all that each country has to offer, both culture, history, adventures, nature etc. Like Egypt did!

And there we have it - 9 visits and 192 pavilions later, I picked up my very last country pavilion stamp here at the Egypt Pavilion! Mission complete!

It feels really great to have "seen it all", but most of all - it has been such a great pleasure to "travel the world" these past six months. Especially after those dreary Covid-years we have just been through.
I am so grateful to have been able to experience a World Expo in this way - when will I ever get the chance to do that again? It really has been the most amazing event! The "Worlds Biggest Show" for sure!

I have one more visit left, with the family. Although that will be during Spring Break, and during the last week of Expo... so I guess we will just be wandering around to soak up the atmosphere, as we surely won't be the only ones there...
But I really want to go - just one more time!

Monday, 21 March 2022

Work work work

Yes I have been busy lately traveling all around the world at the Expo2020, but I have also been working - a lot! I have done some external tours, but mostly worked full days delivering tours for the Educational Team, in-house, and I love it!

I have really challenged myself so much lately, I have begun to deliver tours now in French! Mais oui, oh la la, très bien! I kind of enjoy it, even though I feel a bit like a broken jukebox at times, trying to find and play the right disc - the English one, the Swedish one, the French one... Sometimes the French "disc" doesn't quite play so I have to simultaneously translate the English one in my head to deliver a French tour. Although with each tour I do, it flows better and better!

Next challenge will be to start hosting the school visits... but delivering tours to small children scare me more than delivering them in French! Ha ha!

Even though the Express Tours we are doing are mostly about the same objects and stories - every tour is very, very different depending on which kind of guests I get to accompany. I have met so many exciting people so far - and more to come!
I love my job!

Saturday, 19 March 2022

It's now or never before it's gone forever

My friend Kathleen and I decided to do another day at the Expo together yesterday. With less than two weeks to go of the Expo2020, I am starting to feel the pressure as I still have a few of the big pavilions to go. We drove up early so that we could enter before the pavilions even opened, to get a good spot in the queues. I wanted to do Germany, and Kathleen UAE. Nice and quiet that early:

I really should have done Germany in the beginning of the Expo... as the queues has just grown bigger and bigger for each month. I spent all morning in this queue, well over two hours. But, I overheard the end of the queue being told at one point that from there it was going to take over FOUR hours... and people still lined up! Crazy!

So was it worth it? Well, I must say - no. Sorry Germany.
I don't understand the hype with the German Pavilion. Maybe it would've been better if we would've got to use the name tags I had heard about, which would have made the experience personal to each person.

I did like these swings in the end part, in the graduation, but that was about it.

After the morning queuing, we continued with some other pavilions that didn't have enormous queues, like Azerbaijan, which I really liked. Check out the architecture on their cool pavilion:



Kazakhstan, another long, long wait to get in. At least we got entertained while queuing, and I must say - this pavilion was definitely worth it.

There was so much to see with amazing presentations, full of information.

And to top off the whole visit, we were treated to a fabulous acrobatic performance, on the theme of humans and robots, working together. I really enjoyed that!

Sri Lanka:

The only region that is presenting at the Expo2020, is a German region called Baden-Württemberg. I haven't managed to find out why yet, but still visited the pavilion, of course:

Can you recognize me - my avatar:

Kathleen and I also both enjoyed Iraq, it was full of art, history and interesting information that we can use at the Louvre Abu Dhabi.

Another pavilion I regret not visiting when it didn't have queues was Colombia. We spent about 1,5 h here in the afternoon, but luckily - this was a great pavilion which also was worth the wait. I loved it!

Me and Botero:


The flying piano:

Rwanda, and Kathleen in her new purchase from the Vietnam pavilion:


Another good visit to the Expo2020! I have two more planned, so hopefully I should be able to cross off the last two pavilions I have left!