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...:)