Monday, February 8, 2010

Of Airport Arrival Gates

Is there anything more exciting in the world than the arrival gate of an airport when you're waiting for a loved one to walk through the sliding glass doors?  I'm inclined to think that there is not, and I think that all the Love Actually fans in the world might agree with me.  I didn't sleep at all last night, thinking of my partner, Drew's, impending arrival.  He is on a plane even as I type this, having left Montreal yesterday evening (early this morning Geneva-time), changed planes at Heathrow, and he arrives in less than two hours.  The fact that I haven't included a single exclamation point in the post so far is truly amazing. 

The Geneva Airport, at a calm time (this is actually the whole thing)

I am itching to get to the airport and join the crowd of people at the arrival gate.  The Geneva airport is a special special place.  People not from Switzerland can't understand why the German-Swiss consider the French-Swiss so disorganised.  A quick trip to the airport in Geneva quickly demonstrates even to outsiders why the German-Swiss might think that.  The airport is tiny considering the amount of air-traffic; people are constantly flying into and out of Geneva, as anyone can well imagine with the United Nations, ILO, Red Cross and a number of other important international organisations based here.  The employees at the airport often go on strike - the month of January was particularly bad as the luggage handlers were on strike [when I returned from Christmas holidays I waited 2 hours for my baggage, which I eventually found spinning on the Moscow carousel - I flew from Toronto].   With all of the in-coming passenger traffic, the absurdly small arrival gate is especially hilarious.  People in suits with dark sunglasses, blue-rays, and signs with names that start with "Honourable" or "Esteemed", jockey for position with the family members and children mobbing the tiny tiny set of sliding doors.  Passengers pass through with startled and mildly terrified looks as they, road-weary and dehydrated, encounter the noisy throng and attempt to get through it to exit the building, or scan the crowd expectantly to find a familiar face. 

I've got my elbows ready, and I'm mentally prepared for the crush of people, and especially to barge my way through when Drew comes through the magic doors.  My heart is racing just at the thought of it.

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