02.07.2012 – EXPO 2012: off to new shores

Ready for take off - via high speed train to Yeosu

After a relaxing free Sunday which many used to explore the city, shop or recover from partying from dawn until the morning dusk we had to wake up early. An exciting day was about to start. We’ll leave the capital of the republic and head towards the south – with the high-speed train to the expo in Yeosu. All individually we were leaving our luxury hotel (including microwave, washing machine and kitchen in the room) and made our way to Seoul Station. By taxi through the early rush hour or sardine-like in the well-developed railway system of Seoul we were making our way to the meeting point. At 08:30 am 2012 A.C. the group is entirely assembled at Seoul station. Well, not entirely… One small group of indomitable students is still fighting against a devlish washing machine, which beholds from opening the door and giving way to the rescue of some poor pieces of cloths. And life is not easy for the Roman legionaries äähh Professor René Rüttimann and  Marc who garrison the fortified camps of Seoul Station and desperately tried to get the group together. Well maybe it wasn’t that bad. In a top-notch Korean Highspeed train we were making our way south – down to the coast, down to Yeosu. EXPO, be ready, we are coming.


After a 3.5 hour train ride we finally arrived at Yeosu Station – what a way of travelling. A short briefing later from our ORG-Team Korea specialist Ms. Delia Töpfer and we were jumping into a bunch of taxies towards our hotel. Coming closer to our destination we couldn’t believe our eyes – a palace of glass and steel right at the shore was rising Dubai – like into the blue sky. Our own Korean Burj Al Arab, right in Yeosu.


Our group in front of the Swiss Pavillion


From there the program started to pick up pace. After changing into business casual and a quick brush up we were already heading towards the EXPO.  Just enought time for a short lunch break and Chief Operating Officer of the Swiss Pavilion, Domenico Bernabei, already awaited us with a warm welcome in front of a stunning and pristine Jungfrau-Joch panorama.


Although few have been away from our home for longer than a few day, one or the other seemed to feel the bitter-sweet touch of homesickness raising up. Our guides Mr. Alain Lang, Ms. Céline Guillod, Ms. Marlène Stadler and Ms. Youmi Lee (also a former student of the ZHAW, but currently working at the EXPO) gave us a delightful and interesting introduction into the Swiss installation themed around an over 4000 year old glacier core from the “Gornergletscher” and the slogan “The Source. It’s in your hands.” which describes the pure water reserves in our home country. What a great pavilion!


Pure Swiss mountain water


The subsequent visits of various pavilions including Posco Pavilion, a Korean multinational in the steel industry, and GS Caltex, a major player in the Korean oil industry, revealed, that Swiss quality still seems to set an internatioal benchmark. Also the UN pavilion on water and oceans in general and environmental protection couldn’t challenge the Swiss leader. A little scandal and unrest among the students occurred when during the film presentation free “Fiji Water” was offered by the UN officials – water, coming from the Fijian islands over 12’000 km off Korean mainland. The answer coming from the guide that the water would have been bought in Korea and that the UN representative liked Fiji water very much did not help to put our mind at ease – it still remains unclear why the organization serves import-water at an EXPO themed around the living oceans and coasts including environmental protection and sustainability.


The minds were boggling from the various impressions, our feet hurt and our stomach rumbled – the afternoon slowly came to an end. After Ms. Töpfer’s final announcement we were finally free to explore the area individually. The early evening was mostly spent in the hotels’ fitness room and spa or relaxing and enjoying the view from the beds of our 20 something floor high premium rooms. The Big-O-Light show constituted one last highlight of the day.


So, enough from our side – time for a beer. Thanks for reading ☺.
ZHAW students Group 3, over and out.

Fabienne, Kevin, Mara, Natalie, Silvan, Steffi

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