siem Reap town – Construction workers were busy on Friday hauling potted plants into place and hammering together the final sections of a large pavilion at the center of the Angkor-Gyeongju World Culture Expo 2006, which will officially open inside Angkor Archaeological Park on Tuesday.
Most of the South Korean culture pavilion was complete. So was the Cambodian pavilion, except for the section for Cambodian specialty-product makers.
Cambodian and South Korean staff at the festival office on the site located near Angkor park’s new entrance were still hard at work and Cambodian performers were rehearsing for the opening ceremony on the main plaza stage.
The expo, with a price tag that ranges in the vicinity of $6 million, will be inaugurated on Tuesday by Prime Minister Hun Sen and South Korean President Roh Moo-hyun.
Security measures for the ribbon-cutting ceremony was one of the reasons why Siem Reap Provincial Governor Sou Phirin, wearing running shoes and a festival T-shirt, was still driving around Siem Reap town and at the expo site on Friday evening. Some 4,000 police and military police officers, both in uniforms and in plain clothes, will be deployed during the festival. But the presence of both Hun Sen and Roh Moo-hyun on Tuesday will call for special provisions, he added.
The 50-day festival, which will end on Jan 9, is a joint project of the Cambodian government and Korea’s Gyeongsangbuk-do Province. Organizers hope to attract a minimum of 300,000 Cambodian and foreign visitors. By Friday night, issues such as power supply still had to be handled. But organizers looked confident all would be solved before opening day.
But one major concern remained, said Lee Pil-dong, the festival’s South Korean chairman. “The weather,” he said.
The opening ceremonies, which involve elephant parades, parachutists and fireworks, would greatly suffer if it rains.