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Friday, August 05, 2005

Up, Up and Away....

Google Earth is one cool tool. I had flights of fancy to all the different places I have been to in a matter of minutes. Speaking of flights...

Ever wondered how airports have their own feel and reflect a city's culture? Boring, digusting, smelly, bare, conservative, glitzy, elegant, comfortable; airports have their own unique feel. Kualalampur, Malaysia is an airport I don't associate pleasant memories with. I was flying for the first time , that too just 10 days after a severe bout of jaundice. Orange juice and plain water were the only things my dad would allow the airhostess to pass me. I remember sitting at the airport with longing eyes while my brother was devouring some chocolate mousse..:) The airport in itself resembled Chennai Central Station with a huge waiting lounge cluttered up with people sleeping on the floors. I don't remember if there was some problem with the flights out of Malaysia or if that was the general nature of the airport. Seoul, Korea was really bare. I was there in-transit and all I remember are cold, hostile marble floors. Heathrow, London bought back memories of India. I was flying from Canada back to India and I got my first feel of India in Heathrow! Back to bare, uncarpeted floors and signs reading "Toilets" instead of the "Restrooms" of North America. I didn't really like Heathrow that much because of the nasty, snotty Immigration Officers.

Vancouver, Canada is a really friendly, quiet, elegant airport. It doesn't have the hustle and bustle of a JFK or LAX but is quietly busy. LAX was typically hollywood-ish. It was friendly, glitzy, attractive but not all that comfortable. I had a bomb scare at LAX. And I was hustled out of the airport in a huge wave of humanity into the hot blazing California sun and none seemed really worried. Finally, it was a hoax. Duh. JFK is a HUGE let-down. Unfriendly, smelly, crowded. I hated it. Of course, our own Bluegrass Airport at Lex is pretty cool. The best thing I like is that there are no huge check-in queues and I admit, it is pretty beautiful too. Dulles is like Washington itself: sombre, formal.

I had a brief taste of Paris at deGaulle. I checked out all the perfumeries at the airport and I can see why they call the city the "Fashion Capital". Tokyo was an amusing experience. We had one of the worst landings at Tokyo, Japan and I remember holding the airsickness bag all through the landing process. Our flight made a steep banking turn and my ears painfully plugged up. My brother and I were cursing the pilot as we tried to hold onto our sickness bags for dear life because we didn't wanna have it smattered on the person next to us!
But the "Best Airport" title goes to Changi, Singapore. One of the most beautiful, aesthetic, comfortable, charming airports I've ever set my foot in. It is as friendly as the city itself, has some of the best eateries, cool soft music playing in the background. And it is one of my favorite cities too!

If you think this is a miserable post, I am sorry. I was having my Friday afternoon indulgences...:) Oh and on a parting note, I think "Anna" as a name for an airport stinks. It could be Annadurai but to call an airport "Big Brother"....I wonder what Sai Santosh would have to say to it...:)

16 comments:

Anonymous said...

olagam sutrum valibi

Anonymous said...

subha...eppo kl airport super...u know the kannum kannum nokia song was shot there...
Kaushik

Narayanan Venkitu said...

I like this post...partly because I can relate to a few airports you mentioned.

Singapore Changi - I agree, It is the best IMHO.

Heathrow - Sucks big time.! Have been there.

Frankfurt - Sucks too.!

SFO - My hometown, is ok, not as posh...as LAX but decent.!

Atlanta - Very Big..crowded but decent enough.

Pittsburgh - One of my favorites.! IMHO, possibly the best..not too big...not too small..not too crowded..!

JFK - Huge again and very crowded.

Chennai - Is that an airport?

Aatma said...

As anonymous said - ullagam sutrum valibi than ninge - not seen as many airport as you have done - seen some

Milan Airport - sucks big time - one of the barest airport u will ever see - think about spending 7 hours in a place which has very few shops and white walls - it looks more like an Hospital than an Airport

Heathrow - ok anything better an Milan Airport

Amsterdam - it was a good airport - nicely spaced - had a small museum - cool seating arrangments - spent 5 hours there - but didn't feel it

San Jose - Small airport - Not much crowded - ok

SFO - As Naryanan sir said pretty decent - evokes deja vu due to the movies

JFK - Thats a big airport - so much crowd and so many terminals ...phew

Amchi Mumbai - Ok please don't remind me of that place - amazing customs official - always ready to snatch money. And the way they look at you - its as if they are ready to remove all their frusterations on you. One of them even asked why i am going abroad and why can't i work here - I asked him - please get me a job I will.

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Priya said...

hmmm ippo dhideernu enna airport talk.. oorukku poga aasaiyaa???

Priya said...

hmmm ippo dhideernu enna airport talk.. oorukku poga aasaiyaa???

Leon said...

Thank your stars you changed flights at Heathrow and not Gatwick.. That's much worse..

I don't think Frankfurt sucks like Narayanan does.. It seemed well organized to me.

But the best airports I've seen are:
Zurich and Dubai. Fantastic.

Happy Friendship Day.. :-)

Prabu Karthik said...

Hmm

airport kooda station bus terminus nu expand pannirundha edhuna sollirupen....

btw naan partha orey airport stinks nu sollitey :-(

visithra said...

I think u're referring to the older KL airport. They newer one is still crowded but bigger n more stylish. KL's a popular stopover - ppl tend to get down on transit go around for a few days n then leave for their destination.

Anonymous said...

Peter Miss :),

Kalakki podu ... Frankfurt @ Germany and O'hare @ Chicago (Way too BIG) were good though but I had a pretty bad experience there that I lost my leather gloves and a ring :( .. And British airports will definitely bring back the memories of India (Toilet boards and Indians everywhere !) ...

-Vasu

Sridhar said...

Amazing monday! Not much work. Stumbled upon this blog, thanks 2 PB's blogspot.

Any city that has airport, is left? suththi suththi vandeeha-hmm.

Delhi, Bombay, Trivandrum, Chennai: Aesthetic sense? You must be kidding :)

Kualalumpur, Frankfurt, Paris CGL: Good Airports, friendly people.

JFK, EWR: Good but crowded (never ever try to board a flight to India from these in diwali eve. Why? coz you wud misunderstand that the world starts and end at ahmedabad and a carry-on luggage should be minimum 2 in numbers and each has to weigh atleast 100 pounds).

Detroit, Charlotte: Good, typical US airportd. Despite big one can cross one end of the airport to another end in 6 mins time. :)

ORD, LAX, Atlanta: Good but crowded.

SFO, SJC, SAN: Decent

Hethrow: India's extension counter mixed with worst element of alien land.

Changi, Sydney, Melbourn:
Plesant ville. Stay in good pages of my brain. Gnabagam varudhE Gnabagam varudhE.

Madurai: You get down the flight you are already in the road no building :)

But it was at chennai and trivandrum I had a splendid before-landing view that really made me to feel that I was indeed flying not looking down at some circuit-board/mother-board.

Never ever had I imagined such a beauty in Marina and Shangumugham when the sun was still cooling its feet in Bay of bengal and arabian sea.

Arjuna_Speaks said...

Check out the airport in Jaffna :) - u will love it - lol

Singapore is awesome - but I thought Malaysian airport was the best..

B said...

the Amsterdam airport is one of my best...