At the Bangladesh Pavilion, the unique biosphere of Sundarbans becomes “The Venice of Nature,” and later Bernard Weber visits the walls of Jerusalem at the Palestine Pavilion
The morning of Monday July 19, Bernard Weber was warmly welcomed at gate No. 5 of Expo and driven to the Bangladesh Pavilion. Major Keramat Ali Khan, an official of the Bangladesh National Tourism Organisation, had traveled especially from Bangladesh to meet Mr. Weber and be present at the Sundarbans New7Wonders of Nature promotion event. During the short wait for the car, the two men had a spontaneous, creative meeting. They were trying to come up with a campaign slogan for Sundarbans that could be announced at the event. The message that the slogan should deliver, in a catchy way, was: Replace the beauty of Architecture by the beauty of Nature, plus the idea of comparing ways to move around on water, Mr. Weber came up with the “million-dollar” solution: calling Sundarbans “The Venice of Nature.” This idea and slogan was immediately adopted and greatly embraced by the other official members present for the New7Wonders of Nature event — M. Muhammed Nazrul Islam, and the Bangladesh Expo Commissioner M. Shahidul Haque, both also Members of Bangladesh’s Parliament. A very pleasant and inspiring morning concluded with a tour of the impressive Sundarbans display in the Pavilion that highlights not only Sundabans’ unique biosphere but also the incredible array of wildlife that it hosts. Like parts of Africa, Bangladesh (jointly with India), is home to another Big Five in this extensive park: Bengal tigers, crocodiles, sharks, cobras and, much less dangerous, a tall species of deer. Special recognition goes to Mr. Mollah Saleheen Shiraj and Mr. M. Shahjalal, who created the mini-Sundarbans exhibit at the Bangladesh Pavilion.
On the afternoon of July 19, the Palestine Pavilion officials waited for a call to pick up Mr. Weber and his Chinese translator, Mr. Chou. Walking from one pavilion to another in this 36º C heat with 90% humidity is indeed a real challenge, especially in business attire. The first thing that was impressive about this Pavilion was the excellent finishing and clean design. The walls of Jerusalem are represented in an palpable way. Interesting note: both the Bangladesh and the Palestine Pavilions are staffed by extremely motivated, smart young people.
Bader Al Zubidi, Director of the Palestine Pavilion and the pavilion’s designer, has lived and worked as a building contractor in Shanghai for more than 15 years. Both he and Issam Wahdan speak perfect Chinese and Issam even write Chinese fluently and very quickly — greatly impressing Mr. Weber. A handcrafted, sacred plaque representing the city of Jerusalem was offered by Bader to N7W. It is one of the nicest presents given to Mr. Weber during the Expo events to date.