A GROUP of USP students is in Yesou, Korea for the World Expo. They continue the story of their amazing journey in a land of technological wonders.
Around 5:30am we woke to the loud knocking from team leader Valerie Waqanivavalagi, who has made it her mission to get everyone up early.
But the pain of having to struggle out of bed was soon forgotten as we made our way to our first Korean breakfast of bread and jam and fruits like watermelon, peaches and tomatoes. We were also served with orange juice and really, good strong coffee.
By 6.45am were ready to leave for Yeosu, the location of the 2012 World Exposition. At 7am, we were on the road. The trip was a smooth five-hour drive via a highway which required toll fees. We spent the time admiring the landscape, joking and sleeping. During trip it became clear just how pollution-free Korea is — not a single sight of rubbish along the road. This was also noticeable in the cities and parks and on rooftops. We arrived at Yeosu at noon and as we got off the bus, the view after first few steps into the exposition area were breathtaking.
Professor Jae-Hun Ahn guided us to the multipurpose hall where we were to have lunch. The 15-minute walk there was an adventure on its own as we had to find the hall first. In doing so we lost Alifereti, Latu, Kelly and Eseta as they were busy admiring the different attractions. It was only several minutes later we noticed they were missing and the search for them was made difficult because of the large number of people present.
Eventually, after backtracking they were found — alive but terrified. After his experience Alifereti decided to maintain visual contact at all times.
After this short ordeal, we made our way to the multipurpose hall for lunch. According the labels on the food provided it was a "Yeosu lunch" which was almost similar to what we had for dinner the day before, beef with lots of vegetables.
After a satisfying lunch we attended a symposium titled "The Future of the Ocean Economy — A Green Growth Perspective". We listened to James Crawford Philips talk about the future of new marine eco-biotechnological industries. Ahmad Fadzil B. Mohd. Hani talked about the future of offshore plant industries with new eco-technologies and while John Huckerby discussed global marine energy industries and green growth and Hasjim Djala spoke about the future of marine mineral resources.
The presentations were informative and interesting and provided challenges for young scientists and policy makers like us.
After the conference, we were free to explore the rest of the exposition. Once we got out of the conference hall we walked around admiring different attractions until we found ourselves under the biggest TV that we had ever seen. The screen was made up of the entire ceiling of the Expo Digital Gallery and the entire group stood still and looked up in awe at the modified ceiling to watch the short video clips.
After about 15 minutes of our little kaicolo moment, we decided to split up to explore on our own and meet up an hour later for dinner. Most of the group decided to walk through the national pavilion which hosted the displays of different countries. The ones were visited were the Pacific Ocean Joint Pavilion, Israel, Egypt.
The Pacific Ocean Joint Pavilion hosted several mini booths for various island nations each showcasing their country and culture. The Israel pavilion showcased the deep sea and Egypt emphasised its history with the trademark pyramids of Giza.
In the process, Epeli, who was walking around barefoot all day, was approached by a security and safety officer and escorted out to buy shoes. Epeli's sandals had snapped earlier in the day and he couldn't find a shoe shop at the expo.
At 7.30pm we successfully reunited at the meeting spot and went to have dinner. We all agreed to dine at The Born which offered various Korean fast food, but unlike in Fiji we had to order before we entered the restaurant. By 8pm we had finished and were all satisfied with our meals except Jonathan who thought the food was too spicy.
After dinner we made our way to the Big O where we eagerly waited for the show which was supposed to start at 8:15pm. We had read the show would feature a short film on the world's largest water screen using lasers and lights to project the image and liven up the show.
By 8:20pm the show had still not started and we were getting impatient. We were just starting to consider leaving when the show started at 8:30pm.
The delay had been caused by technical difficulties but all was forgotten when the show started and images were projected into smoke in the air and on the water screen. Stunning us even more was the display of lasers, fire and water fountains which were used to present the story and captivate the audience.
After this finished at 9pm, we made our way back to the main exit where the bus took us on a 15-drive to Chonnam National University. When we got here we were put into rooms on the 9th and 10th floor, and everyone except for a few made their way to bed in order to get much-needed rest.
* Eseta Drova is a 300-level Bachelor of Science student majoring in food science and biology. Jasha Dehm is also a 300-level undergraduate undertaking a Bachelor of Science majoring in marine science.