Friday, October 22, 2021

The unveiling: Excited crowds flock to the first day of Expo 2020 Dubai

DUBAI – As Expo 2020 Dubai opened its doors to the world for the first time, crowds of visitors flocked to the spectacular site, eager to witness first-hand the first day of the first World Expo in the region.

Excitement levels were already high before the gates were opened at 10am at the Sustainability Entry Portal, with many enthusiastic people beginning to line up after travelling from all over the UAE and around the world to be among the first to see Expo 2020.

“I woke up at 6am. We left at around 7am,” said 17-year-old Mubarak Salah Al Hemeiri, who came with his whole family from Al Ain, Abu Dhabi emirate, and planned to spend the whole day at the Expo site. “I don’t use social media. I came here to get my own first impression. I’m so excited. I couldn’t imagine seeing this city in the middle of the desert.”

Dubai-based Fabio Berti, from Italy, was also among the early birds, alongside his wife and children. “I am very happy to finally be able to see the Expo. I have been waiting a long time for this.”

It was a sentiment shared by Viju Kumar, a UAE resident for the past 15 years who visited Expo with his wife, Nirmala, after driving from Abu Dhabi. “We have been waiting for this since last year. We are excited to see what’s inside. We’ll stay here for the whole day,” Kumar said. Nirmala travelled to the UAE from India to spend a holiday with her husband and see Expo 2020.

Metra Jayakumar, a network engineer who works in Dublin, Ireland, also travelled to Dubai on holiday and to visit Expo 2020 with her husband, Sid, a business analyst. “I went to the Expo to explore. I have seen a couple of pavilions and I had a good experience.”

Desmond Hayes, also from Ireland, was awed at seeing the world in one place. “I am here on vacation and I have visited different countries… The place in itself is amazing,” he said. “The construction is unbelievable, and I have yet to see a lot of different countries in terms of innovation and technology.”

“Making something from nothing” is how Cara Fernando, a digital marketing entrepreneur from the Philippines, referred to how Dubai has developed the Expo site from scratch. “It’s amazing … so vibrant,” she said. “We are going to stay here till tonight to also watch the fireworks.”

Shaun Warner, who attended with his wife and two children, said that making something from nothing is “the story of Dubai” and exclaimed that the Expo site is “fantastic!”

“I came here to see the world in one place,” said Farrahana Hashim, an Abu Dhabi resident from Malaysia who brought her husband and four children.

Education was on the agenda for Monica Adamin, who brought a group of students for an awe-inspiring learning experience. “We are taking students all the way from Italy to take part in some educational laboratories inside the Italy Pavilion. So, we’ll have a general look of the Expo and for the next three or four days, we will be working in the pavilion,” she said.

Business was the priority for Atik Roman, originally from Bangladesh, who travelled from Florida, USA, and said that he “came here to see what kind of opportunities for investment are available”.

With up to 60 live events each day and more than 200 pavilions, the Expo site is coming alive during its 182-day feast for the senses. Its dynamic, diverse and ever-changing entertainment programme features an array of internationally celebrated names and the sounds, rhythms and sights of a global cast of performers.

Expo 2020 Dubai is open every day until 31 March 2022, from 10am to midnight from Saturday to Wednesday and 10am to 2am on Thursday and Friday.

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