Back when I was still fairly new to Dubai, it was announced that the UAE had won it’s bid to host Expo 2020. I really didn’t understand all the fuss. All I knew was that the rent prices suddenly went up which was dumb given it wasn’t for another 8 or 9 years.
I remember doing a little research at the time and finding out that tomato ketchup had first been unveiled at an Expo. I used to know which one and the year but it’s a long time to remember something I don’t really need to remember.
Over the years I have heard bits and bobs but again, never paid much attention. There was a video on Emirates flights about it, but I never paid attention to that either thinking there would be plenty of time to work it all out!
Then Covid-19 happened. There were no more flights (for me) so I didn’t get to watch that video and finally listen. There were also more pressing things on my mind with a global pandemic, so I didn’t bother paying attention to the news – in fact I paid less attention to keep my anxiety managed. I don’t even remember seeing the official announcement was made that it was being postponed.
There are a few things I do know though:
1. I have time today and can google the heck out of this;
2. Andrea Bocelli is performing at the opening night;
3. The opening night is by invitation only and I don’t have an invitation; and
4. My work gave us all season passes so now I really should know a little more about it.
That is how I have found myself sitting here, on the last few evenings in September, clueless about an international event that is kicking off in my city in a few days’ time. Honestly, will I ever learn to stop procrastinating?!
Since my only followers are either people I know or people who have been following me for long enough to know me, I figured I would confess this first part and then take you on my Googling adventure!
Wish me luck!
Question: What is Expo 2020?
“Expo 2020 is scheduled to be a World Expo to be hosted by Dubai in the United Arab Emirates.”
Well, that made me feel smart at least. I knew that bit. I still don’t know what it is exactly though.
Question: What is the concept of Expo 2020?
“Expo 2020 Dubai will be a celebration of the UAE Vision 2021 by supporting the growth of tourism, stimulating the development of innovative businesses in the UAE, and enhancing the country’s international reputation as a location to do business.”
Ah, ok! It’s like an innovation hub in its simplest terms. I think. That makes sense. The UAE are always driving new initiatives, and innovation is certainly a buzz word here. I work in a building with a lot of government entities and so you hear it and see it all over the place. But a) what is UAE Vision 2021; and b) why are there different countries involved if it’s about the UAE?
Question: Why is Expo 2020 important?
“World expos are key meeting points for the global community to share innovations and make progress on issues of international importance. Each expo is a catalyst for economic, cultural and social transformation, generating important legacies for the host. It will connect people and new ideas with enduring benefits for future generations at home and around the world, under the theme “Connecting Minds, Creating the Future.””
Wait… what? There is a theme?! I absolutely LOVE a good theme! I am absolutely searching that next! But this is starting to make a lot more sense now. It’s a connectivity exercise to drive trade relations, geopolitical trust and promote innovative ideas on a global platform. It makes utter sense that this place won its bid (unlike certain other M.E. sport-based events in neighbouring countries the coming years!) because this is literally all things that the UAE and Sheikh Mohammed in Dubai are known for and passionate about.
But there is a theme, so; Next!
Question: What is the theme of Expo 2020?
“Expo 2020 Dubai’s theme, “Connecting Minds, Creating the Future“, is based on the belief that bringing the world together can catalyse an exchange of new perspectives and inspire action to deliver real-life solutions to real-world challenges.
Expo 2020 Dubai’s three sub-themes are:
Opportunity: Unlocking the potential for individuals and communities to shape the future.
Mobility: Creating smarter and more productive movement of people, goods and ideas, both physically and virtually.
Sustainability: Respecting and living in balance with the world we inhabit to ensure a sustainable future for all.”
OK, so that wasn’t quite as exciting as I had hoped. There isn’t really a costume that goes with it. However, I do like it. It is a way of highlighting problems that we as a society, humankind and the planet are facing, and will hopefully encourage a better and more eco friendly way forward without forgoing soap and shampoo.
Question: Why are there different countries involved?
“Expo allows countries to create a fleeting miniature world, a microcosm of global progress and dialogue. Expo provides a unique and international stage to engage in cultural diplomacy and interact with the host country, other participants, potential tourists, trade partners and investors. For the first time in World Expo history, every participating country will have its own pavilion. Enjoy immersive cultural experiences and discover what makes each country unique as you explore hundreds of pavilions.”
I wonder if there are restaurants/food trucks that go with each country? Something else to google in a minute. But it does make sense now that there are more people involved. I knew it was a global event but had thought that it was just maybe a trade delegation thing, where people would come over and see what is on offer. Again, thinking about it, I’ve heard about how big the place is so with all the will in the world, I’m fairly sure that the UAE would have managed to fill the whole place with all the ideas they have.
Question: What is there to eat at Expo 2020?
“Taste dishes from every corner of the world. Street food, haute cuisine, family friendly meals, sustainable dining and unique culinary journeys are just a handful of the options. Global cuisines to suit every pallet and budget, from old classics to new favourites, street bites to gourmet delights from celebrity chefs, across more than 200 food and beverage outlets.”
Also, because I got into a food driven reading loop:
“Many of Expo’s participating countries are serving delicious drinks, snacks and authentic dishes at their pavilions, whetting your appetite for what their nation has to offer with more than 150 dining options.”
This is going to be the best 6 months, ever! I am going to eat my way around the globe and basically base any/all future travel plans on whether their food was tasty at Expo!
I suddenly now have a place in my mind for this event, and I am really look forward to it. While it will be very nice for all the people who are in the world of innovation or whatever, for me it is going to be a gastronomic expo, and I am super excited. Thank goodness I have left all my research until the last minute or I would be chomping at the bit to get there and started!
My tonight’s homework is now going to be writing a list of all the ‘countries’ I want to visit, based purely on my desire to try their cuisine!
So… who is free on 2nd October!?