Dubai: It took 16-year-old Fazil Ummer just three days to visit all 192 country pavilions at Expo 2020 Dubai.
The Saudi Arabian-born teenager, who is of Indian descent, has visited Dubai with his family, but came to Expo on his own. It is believed he is the first Indian person to have collected stamps on his special Expo passport from all of the nations on site. He made a decision early on: see as much as possible.
‘It was like a dream for me’
“When I was a kid, I had a dream to go to every country in the world but when I matured, I realised that it was too costly… I can’t do it. [Then] I came to Expo, and when I finished all the pavilions I felt like I went to all the countries. It was awesome. I met many people from different countries. It was like dream [come true] for me,” Fazil said.
Of course, there were a few standouts for him – his three favourite pavilions were Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Germany. “I really liked the people inside [these pavilions]. They were very good to me.”
The authentic desert sand in the UAE Pavilion, the largest at Expo, impressed Fazil. “The movie inside, the show inside the pavilion is really good,” he added.
80 pavilions in one day
Part of his strategy was to take plenty of photos but not to waste time posting them on social media just yet. He also went to the Visitor Centre for help in planning his journey. On day one, he visited 80 pavilions, but they were located in different areas at Expo, and he did so without a map.
The Visitor Centre helped him strategise the rest. On the second day, he managed 50 of the busiest pavilions, and saved day three to make his way around some of the smaller ones. “I was very tired after completing all the pavilions… my legs were burning,” he said with a laugh.
“Thank you Expo 2020 for this amazing experience. I’ll never forget this one… I have no words.”