The highlight of the pavilion is phase three of the show: I don't know its official title but to me it is "A Boy and His Dugong". It was interesting because it combined a large screen video (which is the most common feature of the pavilions) with live action. A small Korean child comes out onto the stage, and climbs aboard a dugong.
They then disappear off into the screen, or rather the deep ocean, for a fun ride exploring the great beauty of the deep--the corals, amazing fish and whales, and so on, until pollution comes along and messes everything up! The manatee falls ill.
But humanity realizes its wicked ways just in time, and a triumphant manatee, restored to health, swoops in over the audience's heads to greet the boy.
That last shot isn't very good because I was told at some point to stop taking pictures. So don't tell anyone you saw these!
Another key pavilion is the Marine Civilization and City Pavilion, which focused on mankind's past and future living relationship to the oceans. The highlight was a walk-through reconstruction of the Arab dhow that was discovered off Sumatra in 1998, believed sunk in the ninth century. It has a few of the actual artifacts on display, notably the three plates:
The other feature of the pavilion is a display of some exploratory craft, and a model of a future underground city. Bigger and more impressive than that one Tony Randall and family lived in in that movie, Hello Down There.
Hyundai has a very popular pavilion, in part for the song-and-dance robots, but also for the unusual video display. I recorded a couple of minutes of it, seen below:
The UAE had a very good video, which in my head is titled, "A Boy and His Turtle", rather like the dugong story except is has the added feature of being basically true. A young Emirati boy sneaks aboard his father's research vessel and tries to help save a massive sea turtle who has swallowed too many plastic bags--this is a genuine concern, as plastic bags ruin their digestive system and account for hundreds of thousands of marine animal deaths each year. The boy is inspired to advocate for the abolition of platic shopping bags, and as a result, UAE will ban all non-biodegradable bags by 2013.
Many other countries' pavilions express concerns about ocean pollution, but none was quite so tangible. Although Monaco did grace me with a "Certificate of Engagement" for taking an interactive quiz and promising not to throw a bunch of crap into the ocean:
The USA Pavilion begins with a welcome message, seen above, from Hillary Clinton, as Secretary of State, and President Obama, projected onto a screen of water. Nifty. However, the main show, brought to you by CitiCorp, has a theme of "This is my ocean," in which dozens of Americans in coastal or ocean scenes, look at the camera and say, "This is my ocean," with the message that we are all responsible for taking care of the ocean. But I can't help thinking that other nationalities are saying, "Wow, those Americans! So damned arrogant now they're claiming the whole ocean!"
Australia, though surrounded by ocean, mostly lauded its aboriginal and animal life (including those delicious roasted 'roo tails), and had this photo op:
Belgium had two things, a rotating display of famous Belgian things, such as chocolate, the Mannekin-pis, and the Atomium, legacy structure of Brussels World Fair 1958:
Many poor countries used their pavilion less to promote tourism than to actually make money here and now by running a curio shop. Below, Cambodia:
India was largely a bazaar, but they put in other elements as a seeming afterthought, including a photo op in front of a large image of the Taj Mahal; an English-language video touting India's graces--with the PC running it set up right beside it on a card table; a collection of Shiva and Ganesha statues piled haphazardly in one corner; and an Indian food concession that seemed always to be closed. They did also have a small 3D exhibit of tiny marine creatures:
In the middle of the fairgrounds--actually in the water--is a big circular thing, called The Big-O. Every night at about 8:45 they put on "The Big-O Show, immediately following the musical drama, Girl of the Sea. The seats in the main viewing stand were filled up by about six o'clock, so I watched from the hindside, by the Theme Pavilion. Here is a technician, preparing the Big-O:
The Girl of the Seas was probably quite brilliant to watch, though it was all in Korean. Here's what it looked like across the water:
After it ended, it was time for Expo 2012's piece de resistance, a water and light show, with the neat feature that the O is filled with water jets onto which the "movie" images are projected:
I recorded a couple minutes of it, though the good stuff doesn't happen until about half-way through: