around the world – part 0.1 (airports)

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June 1, 2003 by juniorannex

Chicago Ohare - photo by Carol M. Highsmith

Chicago Ohare - photo by Carol M. Highsmith

Many travellers absolutely despise airports;  I love them.  Admittedly I have been fortunate enough in my travels to be able to avoid many of the more annoying airports – for instance I don’t regularly travel via ORD or LHR.  Mind you I do have to transit YYZ Terminal 1 on a consistent basis, but Toronto only occupies a dark place in the minds of Canadians who have never had to transit Frankfurt or Kansas City –  surely it doesn’t compare with the worst airports.

I enjoy watching passengers arriving/departing or simply moving about the space.  I think airports reveal all sorts of things about us to those who care to notice.  There are nervous passengers, afraid of flying, and already ill at ease in the foreign environment.  They start and stop, fidget in check in lines, seem unable to find their seats onboard, worry about what they have forgotten etc.  Then there are the experienced backpackers – full of nonchalance – nothing to check with their rucksacks stuffed into the overhead bin.  There are the princesses – decked out in expensive fashions, big hair and matching shiny suitcases and totes – perhaps not realising that the luggage belt respects no suitcase and the $600 leather piece is just as easily marred as the $50 black vinyl case.  There are the experienced travellers – efficiently moving through concourses – leaving exactly enough time to clear security, buy a book or magazine and arrive at the gate just as the flight is called for boarding.

How would I rate myself?  Not so long ago I would have been the first to admit that I was the ‘confused’ traveller; You know, the one with a slightly panicked look, stumbling towards the customs hall, not a clue where the lounge is (there’s a lounge in THIS airport?), and where is the damn car rental agency anyway? Now – and after too much travel – I think I can safely say I am a pretty efficient traveler. 

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Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron'scruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience. C.S. Lewis

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