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Hong-Kong airport ramblings December 2015

HK thermalHong-kong airport.
I have 6 hours between flights.

Security with a thermal imaging camera screening arrivals for the latest marketed virus.

Another sec stands at the top of the escalators, stops random people and zaps their head with a contact-less thermometer.

Some travelers with face masks. Mostly asian.

Should I stay or should i go now. Out to the city outside.
Wanted to see the old city and the sky scrapers of Hong-Kong, but couldn’t be bothered with more traveling, currencies and deadlines. And the visibility was shit.
Needed to sit in one place for a bit in the middle of a 30 hour journey. 32. 34 start to finish.
Is flight time, layover time and airport transfers time the same?

Airports are different but the same.
You know the rules but the pieces are laid differently.
Departures. Arrivals. Immigration. Transit. Gate. Announcements. Boarding time. Last call. Flight delayed. All passengers to Bangkok please make your way to.

Extremities of feelings.
Happy to go on vacation.
Sad to leave.
Sad to see their loved ones leave.
Or sometimes secretly happy?

A microcosm in every queue.
Every flavor of asian and a good selection of everything else.
People watching to pass the time.

In transit.
A world outside time.
Obeying its own rules.
I need to make the next flight in the local time.
My body is still at my origin’s time and my mind is projecting to my landing time.
And on top of that, flight time always messes up with my internal clock. If I would spend my usual 16 waking hours in airports and flights and come back to where i’ve started, i will still be out of sync.
Time flies but then it slows down when you’re waiting for your next flight.

This airport is alive 24 hours a day.
Breakfast is always served. The lights are always on. Something is always open.
And yet, this place is half-dead. Artificial. Fake. Engineered.

Cute airline hostesses in red uniform.
I mean, airline personnel.
I’m so PC.
And tired.
Although it’s only afternoon. here.

This couple is so tall.
Or maybe everyone around them is short.

A sexy hipster walks past.
Goes into the smoking lounge.
I decide she wasn’t that sexy after all.

Free airport wifi.
Wins me every time.
But I secretly yearn to be offline.

The masked thermometer man shifting his weight from leg to leg. No targets in sight.
I want that gun.
It’s so cool.

And beyond, escalators, signs, trollies, hexagonal ceilings, voices of people and airline announcement. And the unmistakable symphony of  planes. Thank god there’s no music on the speakers.

The masked asians stepping into the smoking lounge.
Do they smoke through the mask ?

People with duty free bags.
I always wonder who buys in all those shops, and what, and why.

Airport shops.

Everything from a hair pin to fashion that costs like a trip around the world.
I secretly despise these shops.
And even more secretly, I wanna do some shopping there. For myself and my woman who stepped out of the poster. Magically keeping her photoshop makeup and superhuman proportions.

Fucken consumerism. I love and hate it.

Suddenly i see them,  the invisible people of the airport. They were here all along, near me, around me, but my bourgeoisie filter blocked them out.
Wearing uniforms, carrying brooms and brushes and trash bags. I smile to one of them. He doesn’t notice. The invisible class wall between us. Like a one way mirror.

Smoker lady steps out of the lounge after a breath of fresh air. For her. Sans mask. Puts it back on. Walks on. Eyes glazed.

The universe of carry-ons and bags.
Can you tell a person by their bag?
Can you tell me by my words?
An orange volcro skateboard bag with room for laptop. What does it say about me?

Was this really distaseful carpet considered modern at some stage?
Is modern in Hong-Kong the same as modern in Paris? Earlier? Later?

The tireless motion of the escalators.
Are they feeling sad when no one is riding them, or happy when no one is riding them?

Layers of reflections through a series of glass panels.
Some of the people I see beyond the glass and at other levels are at different states of the airport journey – arriving, departing, before or after immigration. Might as well be on another planet.

All passengers on tesla space flight to Mars are requested to proceed to boarding at hyper gate A1.

How long until I hear that? Until I take that flight?
2040? 2060? I will be 85. Will that be old, then?

The thermal imaging camera continues to stare without averting its cold gaze.

Would the bad guy from 12 monkeys travel through here? Would the camera guy stop him?

My laptop adjusted the clock setting by itself.
Who needs privacy?

People in different states and levels of awake-ness.
Strolling lazily.
Walking briskly.
Running to catch their flight.
Exhausted after who knows how many hours of traveling.
Beaming when they leave for a vacation, or since they just came back home.

The food court.
Lots of awesome asian food but the McDonald queue is the longest.

I eat.
Roasted Duck.
From a chinese-looking chinese place.
A recovering vegetarian.
Or a vegetarian in denial?
The mystery of paying with credit card without knowing how much it is.
The excitement.
The worry.

It’s nearly time.
I plug my laptop to power.
Pick up a few words from the german guy who kisses his girlfriend through his phone.

They are queuing outside my gate.
I always wanna be the last.
Beat the system.
Squeeze more wifi and electricity out of this place.

Through the corridor into the aircraft which will soon not be there anymore.
In Hong-Kong.

 


 

Somewhat inspired by William Gibson.