Sunday, January 14, 2007

Airport Nomad

Airports can be such cold, inhospitable places.

Before you even get to your destination, you’ve been frisked, scanned, undressed, and tagged. I wonder if airport personnel realise how much difference a smile could make to weary global trotters. Immigration officers are the most sungit of the bunch but if they’ll continue to ask me “Are you here to study?” every time I enter their country, all’s forgiven.

I haven’t travelled much to be considered a jetsetter but I have been to more than a few airports around the world. I love Changi (Singapore) the most. It’s my default gateway to almost everywhere (because I often fly SQ) and it offers pretty much all the creature comforts I crave when I’m away from home – like free Internet access, a transit hotel (book two weeks ahead!), Watsons (suki for toiletries I thought I still have but used up na pala from a previous trip), clean toilets, and Fuzion for refreshing pick-me-uppers. Believe me, you’ll think this is heaven-sent when you’re waiting for a connecting flight at four in the morning. Shopping is also quite good, especially for last-minute pasalubong that looks like it didn’t come from a Duty Free (read: afterthought).

Another solo passenger.

I started writing this entry while waiting for my flight to Los Angeles. I didn’t realise how a ten-hour wait could feel this painstakingly long. Despite all the amenities available to me, it didn’t take away the restlessness of having to deal with a limited iPod battery, a book I’ve finished on the plane, and not having a comfortable and warm-enough place to nap without someone waking me up.

To Terminals 1 and 2...

and back.

The airport security guards were already eyeing me warily as I made my way to Terminals 1 and 2 and back and again. It was a futile attempt at keeping warm and I gave up an hour later. I found a spot near a few kababayans where hearing them speak in Tagalog relaxed me instantly.

So much for creature comforts.

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