Airports

I hate airports.

I especially hate airports during peak travel season. The lines are long, the porters are pesky and the bookstores almost always run out of the good stuff.

I hate airports.

***

I was on my way to Bangkok for the Asians (All-asian Universities Debating Championship) one summer when my hatred of airports was solidified. It was a last-minute trip, having decided to go only the day before and my teammates had already gone ahead to enjoy a few free shopping days before the tournament.

I was a DOST scholar, which basically meant that the government paid me to major in something Sci & Tech related (there are requirements to qualify for the exam, and then there’s the national exam, blah blah…). In any case, they turn it into some huge deal and we’re not allowed out of the country without the submission of requirements. We either post a bond or an entity assumes responsibility for our return. I had previously planned on going to the Asians, so I had already taken care of the requirements. So imagine my surprise when as I hand over my passport right before boarding I was stopped. MY NAME was FLASHING on the computer screen in big red letters. Under no circumstance was I to be allowed out of the country. Airport security was to hold my departure at all costs.

I was actually escorted away from the line of departing passengers by guards!!!! People around me were staring unabashedly, obviously thinking I was some sort criminal disguised as a college student. It was resolved eventually. But not before I was reduced to a blubbering state when I realized:

(a) I wasn’t going to make it in time to compete
AND
(b) My luggage was on board and I wasn’t.

A debater I was travelling with had already promised to take care of my bags when she got to Bangkok, but still, the thought of being separated from my outfits by international boundaries was just plain HORRIFYING.

***

I also have the distinction of having been lost in Singapore’s Changi airport. Although, it wasn’t altogether an unpleasant experience. My boyfriend waited for ages before I managed to weave my way out of the maze of shops. It really wasn’t my fault you know, the shops are altogether too distracting. I couldn’t help it! Fabulous retail just calls out to me. 

What was unpleasant was the grilling I got for being "suspiciously" too young to be travelling alone. Whatever. I travel alone all the time. The man was just looking for an excuse to frisk me or something. Good thing the female airport official waved me on, rolling her eyes while at it. She’d probably seen him do it tons of times and was on to him.

***

I do like being at the first leg of a journey though. The moment you arrive at the airport, knowing you’re actually ON YOUR WAY… I love the feeling.

Maybe airports aren’t so bad after all.

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