I think it was Billy Connolly who said the Queen must think the whole world smells of fresh paint.
Going to the airport is a bit like that. It’s a clean, freshly-painted, shiny cocoon. There’s no litter. There’s loitering, but only by well-dressed people. There’s security everywhere. There’s international-standard signage pointing you to just about anything you need to find. There’s shopping, but no betting shops, no porn videos for sale, no strip joints, and sure as hell no $2 shops.
I got out of the Skybus (20 minutes, just like they claim) and walked into the terminal, upstairs to International Departures to find Marita and Justine, queueing with a cast of thousands. After checking-in we looked around the shops, got some Euros, I was given the all-important task of doing Marita’s footy tips during her absence from AFL-playing territories.
“Here, hold this.” She gave me an apple and mandarin to hold while she searched through her handbag. Ah, a Thursday afternoon spent standing about in the airport, holding fruit.
We queued for a hot chocolate, at in the food court at the only stall selling hot drinks. An International Terminal monopoly. Two guys running it. One had the sole task of working the cash register. The other was taking the orders, making the drinks, telling the cash register dude what had been ordered. Yet the cash register dude was the bottleneck. He seemed to be struggling to find which buttons to press. Weird.
And the hot chocolates weren’t that good. We drank them, and I was given my choice of the fruit. Because she’d decided that since they weren’t flying Jetstar or Virgin Blue, maybe they’d feed people on the plane after all. Anything I didn’t want would be chucked away. I chose the apple.
We said our fairwells at the big shiny doors, and off they went on their jaunt to Europe. I scampered back to the Skybus and joined the tourists coming in to visit. Sat and watched the in-bus video, clutching my apple (no eating on-board). At the end of the trip, the tourists milled about the Spencer Street bombsite to ask the customer service people where they should go. I left them behind, crossed the street to jump on a tram back to work and the real world, and crunched into the apple.