Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Some Airport Reflections

I am currently stuck in Arlanda Airport outside Stockholm waiting 6 hours (with 2 kids and tired wife) for a connecting flight back to Umeå after 4 weeks in Australia and Hong Kong. I feel like my brain has been pureed and had sand added to it after 3 days of movement between Brisbane, Hong Kong, London and here. This experience has prompted me to make a list of the 5 worst airports I have experienced during my years or travel....and at number five is:

5. Cairns, Australia: It is always good to be arriving in Oz but Cairns is a two room airport with 3 security checks between them....Why?
4. Charles De Gaulle, Paris: While De Gaulle has the added feature of feeling like some some huge atomic fallout shelter populated by those who escaped the blast (there seem to actually be people living there) it is the ugliest airport I have ever seen and it is a trauma to navigate through, especially if you are late for a flight.
3.Leh Ladakh, India: When I was here in 1998 this was a concrete buiding in the middle of an Indian military base at 3400 metres above sea level. Soldiers overrun the place and Kashmiri touts wait at the door leading to the desolate carpark. The amazing Ladakhi culture is under tremendous pressure and the Leh airport is a symbol of the horror of it all.
2. Arlanda Stockholm, Sweden: My present prison. Why are there no places to sit in this huge glass, stone, steel and timber place? The Internet conection is great and I recommend the Radison Gym and sauna (150 crowns), but why is there nowhere to sit outside the cafes, let alone sleep. No rows of comfy armchairs or couches, now nooks between pillars to curl up in. Just sunlight steel cement and glass.
1.Darussalam, Brunei: I once spent 9 hours here and my god does time drag in Brunei. There is one gift shop and one cafe in the tiny terminal. The only thing to do is take the free bus tour of the Sultan's building projects in Darussalam, something I declined to do. While Royal Brunei Airways does do a cheap ticket between Singapore and Darwin, the wait in Darussalam is a dear price to pay for it.

With that Ill just say I'm back online and will be blogging again as soon as the jet lag psychosis lifts.


Patrik said...

Hi Jim! Mostly I like airports, but of course, it depends on how and when. I find O'Hare to be a rather not-nice airport - partly because of the security check points, and knowing that that making the connection is *difficult*. Last time I skipped an enormous line in the domestic terminal (prob. 45 minutes waiting time), and just about made it.

Good to have you back in Umeå! Did you purchase a new laptop?

((((((((ö)))))))) said...

Hi Patrik, No, I have'nt got my laptop yet but I feel it is getting closer to me :-)
Travel with small children is a character building experience. I feel now, having completed a trip to Australia and back to Sweden with two small kids I am capable of a lot more in life.
I looked in on the lab floor!
I'll see you about soon maybe. I am working now, either at home or at uni, on a paper for the 3M conference.