Horticultural World Expo in China (Weird, Fun, and Chinese)

For a city that burns trash on the streets, the last thing I’d expect is the promotion of it being a environmentally friendly city. Xi’an is the host for the 2011 Horticultural World Expo. If you’ve never heard of it, don’t be surprised unless you’re in China. It’s advertised everywhere in China but no one else has heard of it outside of China. Surprisingly, there’s nearly two dozen nations contributing to the expo. Pakistan, North Korea, Bolivia, India, Japan, Thailand, Russia, and more.

You’d think that this expo would have a wide range of flowers, gardens, trees, and other environmental things but it really wasn’t. Instead what I got was mostly confusion, wackiness, giftshops, and some interesting architecture. While there were some beautiful gardens and pavilions, it’s not what you’d expect from a horticultural expo.

One of the humorous activities was being given a fake passport book and given the mission to try to get as many stamps as possible from various locations of the expo. This would have made sense perhaps if the stamps even correlated at all to the locations. Somehow I don’t think they were very well organized. I did happen to get my fake passport full of stamps which didn’t feel as much of an achievement as all the Chinese people made it seem like it would. Many times I had to battle my way into getting a stamp. There was a 20-something who pushed and shoved a 60-something out of the way so he could get his stamp. It’s that serious.

Still, the whole experience was worth it. If you’re in Xi’an, I recommend checking this out to experience something a bit different. I was able to “visit” countries that perhaps I may never get a chance to see in real life, like North Korea. The Chinese pavilions were (of course) the best displayed. Most of the international pavilions had only gift shops. My favorite areas were North Korea, Bolivia, Spanish Islamic, Ancient Greece, and Afghanistan. I ended up talking to the lady in North Korea for quite some time. It was the first time I ever talked to anyone from North Korea (I’m intrigued with nations that are difficult to go to).

The Horticultural Expo is mostly catering to the domestic Chinese tourists and you’ll rarely see any foreigners. It’s a fun to see how the Chinese travel and what they expect to see when they travel. The volunteers can speak a little English and are located throughout the park. The limited amount of foreigners and being a foreigner myself means having the constant call for having our picture taken with random Chinese people (I’m a big deal in China).

So below I put a whole series of pictures. I tried to edit them to make it look a little more colorful but to be honest – the pollution in Xi’an is horrible. The skies, as usual, are grey. Some days are beautiful with blue skies but on the day I attended, they weren’t.

Chang'an Hua (flower)
Chang’an Hua or Chang’an Flower is the mascot of the expo. China loves having mascots.
Horticultural Expo
The entrance to the expo and getting ready with my ticket passport to stamp the day away.
Horticultural Expo
One of the Chinese province pavilions.
Horticultural Expo Train
Transportation to get around. The place was HUGE.
Statues are popular throughout the expo
Statues are popular throughout the expo
Horticultural Expo China
A pavilion of one of the provinces in China
Horticultural Expo
The Chinese province section of the expo
Tea Pot Shaanxi, Xi'an, China
A model of a popular tea pot that was found from ancient China in the province of Shaanxi and is currently in a museum in Xi’an
Chang'an Tower
Chang’an Tower (Don’t you love the smog in the background?)
Province in China Pavilion
Province in China Pavilion
Bangladesh Pavilion
Bangladesh Pavilion
Myanmar Pavilion
Myanmar Pavilion – Another giftshop inside….
Netherlands Pavilion
Netherlands Pavilion which was just a giftshop
Netherlands Garden
Netherlands Garden
The Mud Garden?
The Mud Garden?
Pakistan Pavilion
Pakistan Pavilion
India Pavilion
India Pavilion
Nigeria Pavilion - Shakira's Africa song was of course playing
Nigeria Pavilion – Shakira’s Africa song was of course playing

Michael with dog

Bolivia Pavilion
Bolivia Pavilion – Although it was a giftshop, they sold real Bolivian products. Having been to Bolivia, this bought back a lot of memories. In the back of the pavilion, there was a great Bolivian band playing Spanish music. I talked to the guys for a little while. This was one of my favorite pavilions.
Bolivia Pavilion
Bolivia Pavilion
mirror
We don’t know…
Germany Pavilion
Germany Pavilion
Germany Garden
Germany Garden

Bridge

Ancient Greece
Ancient Greece
Italy
Italy
Spanish Islamic
Spanish Islamic – It was pretty.
Spanish Islamic
Spanish Islamic
Sand Sculptures
Sand Sculptures
Sand Sculptures
Sand Sculptures
Sand Sculptures
Sand Sculptures of a famous bridge in Xi’an
Sand Sculptures
Sand sculpture of Cyclops enjoying himself
Sand Sculptures
Sand sculptures of naked ladies.
Sand Sculptures
Sand Sculptures
Sand Sculptures
Sand Sculptures
The Famous Dogs Museum
This was called “The Famous Dogs Museum”. It was basically a bunch of popular dogs in glass cages. Depressing.
Chang'an Tower
Me behind the Chang’an Tower
SouthEast Asia Street
SouthEast Asia Street
South Korea Pavilion
South Korea Pavilion: What happened?
Japan Pavilion
Japan Pavilion
Thailand Pavilion
Thailand Pavilion: Although the outside was nice and the couches were great, the inside of it had essentially nothing in it.
SouthEast Asia Street
SouthEast Asia Street

Kungfu Fighting

Argentina Pavilion
Argentina Pavilion: Again, very disappointed. Just a few flowers but it wasn’t even well designed.
North Korean Flag
Souvenir from North Korea
Chinese Pavilions
Chinese Pavilions
Chinese Pavilions
Chinese Pavilions

Bush Animals

Michael Tieso

Michael Tieso travels around the world writing, photographing, and filming his adventures. He is the Editor-in-chief of Art of Adventuring.
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