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Wednesday, 20 July 2016

Hands across the sea

Buildings the size of aircraft hangers. Aircraft hangers too. Bright uniforms, uniform smiles, make-up and well-groomed. It's a smooth operation. I move swiftly from one zone to another. I realise I could have carried a little more. We'll mark that one as something to learn.

Too many tangled cables hinder the procession through security. But I am cleared. I have my boarding pass, my seat and my suitcase is on a conveyor belt somewhere in the bowels of this city in a city. There is a feeling of the future in a place like this. It could easily flip into a dystopian vision if they hadn't washed the streets outside of anything and anyone undesirable.

Inside all that glitters is gold, or diamond, or silk, or high-end electrical, or expensive tourist tat. Every fragrance or alcoholic creation can be found. I sit and wait and people watch.

An Asian lady meditates. She is still, with her headphones on for what seems like half an hour. She doesn't move, she sits upright and motionless. A procession of men (why men?) attempt to charge their laptops and phones at the charging station. It isn't working. No one sitting around passes on this message as each eager person approaches and untangles their cables.

Finally, my flight is called. It is on time. There are no delays. I wonder with a new crowd of fellow travellers along the chrome walkways.

I am greeted with smiles, a bottle of water and a nice new aeroplane. It's called 'West end girls', how appropriate for an 80s music fan. I find my seat, buckle up and after a while we get underway.

It's been a while since I have flown. I used to be nervous. Not now, I sit back and relax. Soon I am being fed, watered and watching Batman vs Superman. The service is wonderful. The flight gentle. The journey long. The ocean is crossed.

I arrive on another continent. I have travelled back in time, it should be the evening but it is early afternoon.

Now it is time to make my way through what could be the most difficult part of the journey. It isn't. I am welcomed, if not by a smile, but by an official stamp. The next gate, I do get a smile. But I am still only about halfway.

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