Friday, July 30, 2010

Expo 2010: UAE Pavilion

Theme: Power of Dreams

The United Arab Emirates Pavilion is located near entrance #5, in the southeast side of Zone A, adjacent to the QatarPavilion.

The pavilion is shaped like a sand dune, inspired by the country's desert.  The outside is made of gold-colored stainless steel and glass and its curvature resembles the natural formations of the leeward and windward sides of sand dunes.

Designed in response to Shanghai's weather, the pavilion's unique shape protects against the direct glare of the city's summer sun but allows indirect light to enter the pavilion via louvers. Visitors will approach the "dunes" by a walkway, which follows a stream of water towards the entrance.

Plans for UAE's planned city Masdar, a 6 square kilometer carbon neutral and zero waste community in Abu Dhabi, will be on display.

Pictures retrieved from the official World Expo 2010 website.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Expo 2010: Russia Pavilion

Theme: New Russia: City and Citizen

The Russia Pavilion is located in the center of Zone C near the No.8 entrance, adjacent to the Canada Pavilion.

The pavilion is comprised of 12 irregularly-shaped towers linked by a central building dubbed the "Civilization Cube."  The white/gold/red colors of the towers resemble historically Russian architecture while the perforated tops of the towers were created based on traditional Russian garments from the various ethnic groups in the country.  The central cube is made of a reflective material that changes along with the movement of the sky, towers, greenery and people during the day.  It symbolizes civilization's constant evolution.

The design was based on the importance of children and was influenced by the Russian writer Nikolay Nosov's novel "The Adventures of Dunno and His Friends."  Decorated as a fairy-tale world, visitors will see the world through children's eyes as they walk through three fantastic cities: The City of Flowers, the City of Sun, and the City of Moon.

The City of Flowers on the first floor is decorated with giant plants, so that visitors will feel small and like a child again.  The City of Sun on the second floor is a small artificial space where sunlight shines permanently and will mainly exhibit Russian youth's technological achievements. The City of Moon on the third floor focuses on space exploration to ignite visitors' boundless imagination about the future of the world.

Pictures retrieved from the official World Expo 2010 website.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Expo 2010: Singapore Pavilion

Theme: Urban Symphony

The Singapore Pavilion is located near the No. 7 entrance, on the southwest side of Zone B, adjacent to the Australia pavilion.

The 2-story building is in the shape of a music box, with water and gardens being the two main elements inside the pavilion.  Many of Singapore's flora has been flown in to be featured in the "Hanging Garden" in the rooftop.  Here, visitors will get a first-hand feel of Singapore being a "Garden City," with not only the gardens but also the many music fountains.

The theme "Urban Symphony" is inspired by the harmony between progress and sustainability, urbanization and greenery, tradition and modernity, and a cosmopolitan mix of residents of different races living peacefully together, all of which can be found in Singapore.

Visit this pavilion at night to view the dazzling light rays shining through the interlaced windows and facade slits that were designed to help reduce energy consumption, making this building more environmentally-friendly.

Pictures retrieved from the official World Expo 2010 website.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Expo 2010: Switzerland Pavilion

Theme: Rural and Urban Interaction

The Switzerland Pavilion is located in Zone C, facing the river, adjacent to the France pavilion.

The building incorporates high-tech and nature and emphasizes the interdependence between urban and rural areas.  It is comprised of two cylinders:  The urban cylinder features 3D television screens and a giant projection screen showing the Swiss scenery; the rural cylinder features a chair lift that takes visitors to the roof of the pavilion.

The facade enveloping the pavilion is a curtain of woven aluminium under which visitors pass to access the urban area on the ground floor of the building. This curtain stores energy from the sun during the daytime and is activated at night to produce light.

One of the main highlights of this pavilion is the chair lift ride, which takes ten minutes and transports visitors from inside the pavilion to the roof garden.  The chairs are sheltered to ensure operation during rainy weather.  The roof garden, filled with flora, provides a natural landscape in contrast to the urban setting.

Pictures retrieved from the official World Expo 2010 website and via Dezeen.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Expo 2010: Malaysia Pavilion

Theme: One Malaysia, City Harmonious Living

The Malaysia Pavilion is located near subway exit #3, in the center of Zone A, adjacent to the Singapore Pavilion.

The pavilion is shaped in the form of a traditional Malaysian hut and is made from recyclable plastic and palm oil.  The exterior imitates Malaysian textile printing, with colorful flower, birds, butterflies, and geometrical drawings.  After the Expo is finished, the pavilion will be donated to the county of Wuxi in China.

Inside, visitors will be able to enjoy dance performances showcasing the 47 different ethnic groups living in Malaysia.  There is also a miniature putting area for those who enjoy golf, as well as a sightseeing elevator that takes you between the two stories, designed to simulate the Petronas Towers in Kuala Lumpur.

Pictures retrieved from the official World Expo 2010 website.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

12-Day Air-Inclusive China Tour Starts at $1799

Wow, even I was surprised at the price being offered for this tour!

This is our Deluxe Series China Scenic tour, which normally costs up to $2649*+tax, offered as the China Scenic Winter Special, starting at $1799*+ tax.

The tour is a 12-day / 10-night, air-inclusive vacation visiting Beijing (3 nights), Xian (2 nights), Guilin (2 nights), and Shanghai (3 nights).  Price includes international air out of LAX or SFO on Air China (JFK only add $100), fuel surcharges, China domestic air, transfers, 5-star accommodation throughout, 25 meals (including the Peking Duck Banquet and the Imperial Dumpling Banquet), sightseeing, and special entertainment such as the Tang Dynasty Show and the Chinese Acrobatics Performance.  Also enjoy a cruise down the Li River.

And as if that's not enough, when we receive your full payment 60 days prior to departure, Travel Insurance (P3) will be included.

There are only four dates of departure for this Winter Special:
December 08, 2010
December 29, 2010
January 26, 2011
February 23, 2011

Interested in a China Winter vacation?  Click here for more information.

*Price is inclusive of fuel surcharge. Detailed breakdown of applicable tax: Federal Taxes & Fees $63 to $105, September 11th Security Fee $2.50 to $10, China domestic airport taxes $8 to $40. Tour is subject to availability. Additional baggage charges may apply. Price based on LAX/SFO departure. Price not inclusive of visas, tips, or any items of personal nature. Offer cannot be combined with any other offers, discounts, or promotions.

Expo 2010: France Pavilion

Theme: The Sensual City

The France Pavilion is located along the river in the middle of Zone C, adjacent to the UK Pavilion.

The pavilion features a rooftop garden, ponds, and fountains, with the walls covered in plants and birdsong piped in as well as flowery fragrance wafted in so that visitors may have a true sense of what it feels like to be in France.  The pavilion is covered by a distinctive concrete trellis-like structure.  Couples may choose to tie the knot in one of the French gardens, and one lucky couple will be offered a romantic honeymoon in a French castle.

On display within the pavilion are seven masterpieces on loan from the Musée d'Orsay.  There are six paintings and one sculpture:  "The Angelus" by Jean-Francois Millet, "The Balcony" by Edouard Manet, "The Dance Hall in Arles" by Vincent Van Gogh, "Woman with a Coffee Pot" by Paul Cézanne, "The Box" by Pierre Bonnard, and "The Meal" (also called "Bananas") by Paul Gauguin, and "The Age of Bronze" by August Rodin.

In addition, there will be classic French films being played, and visitors can enjoy delicious French cuisine at "Le Sixieme Sens" (The Sixth Sense) restaurant located within the pavilion.

Pictures retrieved from the official World Expo 2010 website.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Expo 2010: India Pavilion

Theme: Cities of Harmony

The India Pavilion is located near the end of the Expo Boulevard, near the L2 Ferry Dock in Zone A, adjacent to the Expo Culture Center.

The pavilion has a central bamboo dome inspired by the Sanchi Stupa temple.  It is designed as a zero-chemical area and its energy efficiency is made possible through the usage of bamboo, solar panels, and wind mills.  The floor is made of stone and terracotta and is cooled by embedded pipes.  The roofing panels are made with bamboo and herbal medicinal plants.

The entrance is through a vaulted portal with a carving of the "Tree of Life," inspired by the Sidi Saiyyed Mosque in Ahmedabad.
Due to its diverse culture, India was assigned a larger pavilion area of 4,000 square meters to showcase the rich culture and various ethnic groups, religions, and languages.
Within the dome, there is a 360-degree holographic projection depicting India's evolution over its long history from ancient times dating back to 3000BC through the medieval period to modern India.

Also featured is an Indian Market where visitors will be able to try the traditional cuisine of different regions in India.  In the Shopping Arcade and Amphitheater, visitors will be able to see various trade artisans demonstrating their skills as well as cultural shows from different regions, and purchase regional products.

Pictures retrieved from the official World Expo 2010 website.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Expo 2010: UK Pavilion

Theme: Building on the Past, Shaping Our Future

The United Kingdom Pavilion is located along the river near the No.8 entrance, on the west side of Zone C, adjacent to the Italy Pavilion.

The pavilion is comprised of the Seed Cathedral and Wrapping Paper.  The latter is an open area where children can play football and visitors can watch live performances such as ballet, opera, and drama; below it are three narrative environmental installations.  The former is a large hollow wooden structure that is pierced by 60,000 fiber optic cables that blow gently in the wind, creating a dynamic effect.

During the day, these 7.5-meter-long rods draw daylight into the interior of the structure.  At night, light sources inside each rod allows the entire structure to glow.  Each of these transparent acrylic rods contain one or more plant seeds at the tips.

Visitors inside the Seed Pavilion can see the thousands of illuminated seeds and ponder on how such tiny seeds can produce wonders of nature and life.
The Seed Pavilion is nicknamed locally as "The Dandelion" due to its unique appearance.  Once the World Expo ends, each rod and seed from the pavilion will be distributed to different schools throughout China and the UK, just like each dandelion seed are blown and spread by the wind.

The pavilion hopes to raise awareness for the Millennium Seed Bank Project, which is an international conservation project launched by the Royal Botanic Gardens in 2000, collecting seeds from all over the world to provide an insurance against the extinction of plants by storing seeds for future use.

Pictures retrieved from the official World Expo 2010 website and via Dezeen.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Expo 2010: Vietnam Pavilion

Theme: 1000-Year History of Hanoi

The Vietnam Pavilion is located near the No. 4 entrance, on the far north side of Zone A, adjacent to the Japan pavilion.

The pavilion structure is made of bamboo, a traditional material used in Vietnam, which helps to reduce the heat from the sun.  As water is an important part of Vietnam, the pavilion takes on the appearance of a river surrounded by bamboo, with a water stage in the center.

The city of Hanoi, historically named Thang Long, is celebrating its 1,000th anniversary this year and visitors can take part in the festivities with cultural art and music performances taking place inside the 1000-square-meter pavilion throughout the day.

Pictures retrieved from the official World Expo 2010 website.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Expo 2010: Italy Pavilion

Theme: City of Man

The Italy Pavilion is located along the river near the No.8 entrance, on the west side of Zone C, adjacent to the UK Pavilion.

The structure is made up of 20 separate functional irregularly-shaped modules that can be assembled into smaller structures.  The modules represent Italy's 20 regions and their diversity of cultures and compatibility.  The building is made of a cutting-edge material known as transparent concrete, and visitors can look through into the adjacent modules.
The structure is inspired by the childhood game "Pickup Sticks," which in Italy is known as "Shanghai." Seen from above, the pavilion resembles the start of one of these games, where the "sticks" are the separations between each module.

The pavilion embodies a mini Italian city where visitors may feel like they are strolling through narrow streets and courtyards.  Within each module are exhibits of various aspects of the Italian culture, including cuisine, music, fashion, architecture, and art.  Master craftsmen, such as restoration experts, violin makers, tailors, and more, work in a glass-enclosed workshop.

Also being displayed between July and August are the country's various innovations, including a paint that cleans the air by eating smog.

Pictures retrieved from the official World Expo 2010 website.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Expo 2010: Thailand Pavilion

Theme: Thainess: Sustainable Ways of Life
The Thailand Pavilion is close to the No.7 entrance and the subway exit #4, on the west side of Zone B, adjacent to the Australia Pavilion.

The red and gold pavilion features traditional Thai architecture and decor, with its pointed tiered roof, the Sala on the pond, and the statue of Indrajit, a Thai mythical giant, guarding the entrance with Lan Tan, a Chinese mythical guardian-warrior. Also featured is a replica of the Thai-Chinese Friendship Bell Tower, which celebrates the diplomatic relations between the two nations.

The pavilion is divided into three main exhibition halls: Journey of Harmony, Harmony of Different Tones, and Harmony of Thais.

The Journey of Harmony takes visitors through the history of the Siamese people and their relationship with water, as rivers and canals provide nourishment and means of transport.

The Harmony of Different Tones shows visitors the interaction between urban and rural communities as well as the long-standing interaction between Thailand and other nations.

The Harmony of Thais explains to visitors how despite the adoption of technology and international way of living, the Thai people still value simplicity and belive that happiness is achieved through harmony and sufficiency.
Pictures retrieved from the official World Expo 2010 website.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

We'll be at the Lotus Festival

If you live in or around Los Angeles, CA and have nothing planned for this upcoming weekend, why not drop by the Lotus Festival at Echo Park Lake?  Learn about the diverse and unique Asian and Pacific Islander cultures and traditions through art, music, dance and food.  This year marks the Festival's 32nd year and will highlight the people and cultures of China.

Ritz Tours will be at the China National Tourist Office pavilion.  Drop by to pick up a brochure, ask questions, or just say hi.

Saturday, July 10, 2010 - 12 noon to 9:00 p.m.
Sunday, July 11, 2010 - 12 noon to 8:00 p.m.

This is a free event and fun for the entire family!
For more information, click here.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Expo 2010: USA Pavilion

Theme: Rise to the Challenge

The United States Pavilion is located near the No. 8 entrance, on the southwest side of Zone C, adjacent to the Brazil pavilion.

The gray steel structure of the USA Pavilion is meant to resemble an eagle with outstretched wings welcoming visitors.  The exhibit tells the story of the American spirit of perseverance, innovation, and community-building, presenting the US as a place of opportunity and diversity, where people come together to change their communities for the better.  The exhibition shows that America will "Rise to the Challenge" of creating environmentally sustainable communities, engaging in a healthy lifestyle using technology to improve people's lives.

The pavilion showcases American businesses and technology, as well as culture and values, to foster a stronger friendship between the American and Chinese peoples.  Polls among the Chinese show that the US Pavilion will be the most frequently visited after China's national pavilion.

One of the last participants to sign up for the Expo, the US struggled to raise the funds needed to build the pavilion; however, Hillary Clinton's personal intervention and fund-raising network helped reach the $61million needed, with approximately 60 corporations sponsoring the pavilion. 

Visitors can enjoy various multimedia shows as well as live performances.  The main show, entitled "The Garden," tells the story of a young girl who creates a closer community by inspiring her neighbors to work together to turn a blighted lot into a neighborhood garden.  It is shown in 4D, with vibrating seats, lightning, and mist.

Pictures retrieved from the official World Expo 2010 website.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Expo 2010: China Pavilion

Theme: Chinese Wisdom in Urban Development

The China Pavilion contains exhibits from all the provinces in China, except for Hong Kong and Macau which have their own pavilions.  It is located near the main entrance, adjacent to the Expo Boulevard in Zone A.

Meant to resemble a crown, the main structure of the China Pavilion, the "Crown of the East," is the tallest structure in the Expo, standing three times taller than any other pavilion, and has a distinctive roof made using the "dougong" method.  These interlocking wooden brackets are an important element in traditional Chinese architecture, dating back over 2,000 years.  There are 56 dougong brackets on the roof, symbolizing the 56 minority cultures in China.

The top floor of the pavilion will have a core exhibition area.  On the second floor, there will be an experience area and a functional area on the first floor. The main theme will highlight achievements in China's urban development from ancient to modern times. The pavilion also focuses on how the Chinese people will tackle future challenges brought by urbanization in a more sustainable way with low-carbon technologies and energy-efficient building practices.

This is one of five permanent buildings in the Expo site.  It will be converted into a museum of Chinese history and culture once the Expo ends on October 31st.

Pictures retrieved from the official World Expo 2010 website.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Expo 2010: Theme Pavilions

There are five theme pavilions featured in the 2010 World Expo:  Urbanian, City Being, Urban Planet, Footprint, and Future.  They explore the various aspects of urban living and development.

The first three theme pavilions are located in Zone B within a central theme building (shown above) adjacent to the Expo Boulevard.  The latter two theme pavilions, Footprint and Future, are located in Zone D and Zone E respectively.

Focusing on urban dwellers, the Urbanian Pavilion shows the needs and development of the residents of cities.  It features five topics: Family, Work, Contact (Relationships), Learning (Education), and Health.  Visitors will be able to view video clips of six families from Paris (Europe), Sao Paulo (South America), Phoenix (North America), Melbourne (Oceania), Lijiang (Asia), and Ouagadougou (Africa) and their lives surrounding these topics.
Family:  3D pictures are displayed creating an effect in which visitors feel as if they are looking through a window into the lives of different families.
Work:  Various screens display how people work in different cities.
Contact:  360-degree projection displays the social life of city people.
Learning:  Section resembles a traditional classroom and library, showing educational facilities in different cities.
Health:  Videos displays various data concerning health matters of city people.

Focusing on the city itself, the City Being Pavilion shows how a city can be seen as a living organism consisting of a body and soul that need to be looked after to remain healthy.
Visitors can examine the modern cities' infrastructure and intricate network of transportation, energy, finance that sustain urban living.  Walk through the "Circulation System," an interactive underground pipeline highlighting the vulnerability of cities, or visit the "City Street Library" to see how the rise and fall of ten cities impact the life of their residents.

Focusing on the cities' impact on the environment, the Urban Planet Pavilion demonstrates both the negative as well as the positive influences of urban life to the planet.
As visitors enter, they will walk the "Road of Crisis," where they will see the threat that cities cause to the ecosystem as natural resources are depleted.  Then they walk the "Road of Solution," where visitors can see technological innovations and a more eco-friendly lifestyle to promote symbiotic living with our planet.

Tracing the birth, growth, and advancement of cities, the Footprint Pavilion consists of three halls: City's Origin, Growing City, and Urban Wisdom.  The main lobby area is devoted to the "Ideal Fantasy City," taking ideas from around the world.

City's Origin:  Shows what cities looked like in the early agrarian era and why cities are formed.
Growing City:  Shows what larger cities looked like and urban developmental achievements.
Urban Wisdom:  Deals with the Industrial Revolution and how industrialization is a double-edged sword that changes city life.

Inviting visitors to imagine what cities will be like in the future, the Future Pavilion shows examples of sustainable solutions to urban problems.
Dream of Yesterday:  Watch various science-fiction movies on a gigantic screen.
Dream and Practice:  Digital books shows how people used to depict future cities.
Multiple Possibilities:  36-meter-high screen showing an animated film presenting a colorful fantasy world.
Dream is Approaching:  Focus on eco-friendly living and a healthy community with technological advancements.

Images and information are retrieved from the Official World Expo 2010 site