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Christophers Guide to the Expo

I went to the Expo expecting to be cynical. Corporate glossy visions
of the future... you can already get that at Disneyland, right?
Thankfully, my expectations were not met. We arrived early, stayed
late, did not exhaust or bankrupt ourselves, and had a good time. We
didn't plan a strategy ahead of time, but looking back, our plan was:

* Avoid the long lines. There are about 10 major attractions with long
lines, and we skipped most of them. There are hundreds of things to see
without any line at all. The most spectacular attraction, the 21st
Century, has the longest line. If we go again, we'll to rush there
right at opening time. Hopefully it won't rain next time.

* Baby carriage accessible? Mostly. We were scared from the lofty
Holland pavillion by both the line and the many stairs, but most of
the halls are handicapped accessible. We carried Christopher into
several smaller exhibits.

* Lots of rest stops. Christopher was often hungry, thirsty, tired, or
needed changing. Don't rush, stay flexible?

* Hungry? Use connections if you got them (Mama's employer is a
sponsoring partner of the Expo), or go ethnic. The country booths have
better and cheaper food than the stands outside.

* Avoid the propaganda. Concentrate on the country booths.

What did we see? A rather large country in North America was not
represented at all, but we did see Sri Lanka, Australia, Andorra,
Israel, Egypt, Malta, Luxembourg, France, United Arab Emeriates,
Latvia, Lithuania, United Kingdom, Norway, Brazil, Canada, Iceland
(fron the outside) and Vietnam (for dinner).

My highlight? Germany. The pavillion was lavish, well thought out, planned to the last detail, and
maybe too perfect, but showed a happy, thoughtful ,prosperous and
diverse country that Germany could become. As someone who lives here
by choice, I hope that's the direction it will really go.

One thought I couldn't get out of my mind for a long time last night was "Why is Germany hosting the EXPO 2000 and therefore the world and can't control the problems with right-wing extremism"??? I'm ashamed to read headlines like this on CNN! How many citizens and government officials have looked the other way for years to have come to accept a sort of nationalist sentiment in some Germans! </p>

I'm very much ashamed of my fellow citizens who are disoriented in their way of thinking. 21 years ago I was an AFS High School Exchange Student in the US and I frequently dealt with questions about the "German Conscience" in relation to the Holocaust. I never thought Right Wing Nationalists would be marching in Germany ever again.

Suddenly politicians are thinking what can be done to stop this mental disease. I like a proposal from the Socialdemocrat Party: if convicted of right-wing activities your driver's license may be revoked for a minimum of 10 years. That just might be an effective way to give some disoriented young people a moment to think about what they might be about to do!</b></i>

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