22. Action in a Terminal

@Dubai City, Dubai.

I have always wanted to enjoy an airport, but most of those structures don’t usually give that opportunity; and then came the Dubai Airport. London Heathrow Airport already gave some of it and Colombo Bandaranaike International Airport had come close to it, but it was the best at Dubai Airport. It was on my way to Manchester and on my return from London that I had this opportunity; the first one was too small a stay as there was the need to run to catch the connection flight in that leviathan of an airport. But the second one compensated for it with lots of time at a point when I was so sleepy and hungry. It was my opportunity to get lost in the airport for about six hours looking all around it. As the airport was huge, considering it as a city or town was not a bad idea either. There were shops and there were attractions; it was as if they were calling out the passengers to cancel their flights and come tour in Dubai and purchase a few things. But it was not something that was to happen in my case, as I had to be home and a Dubai tour was never in my travel itinerary; my aim was always away from the deserts; I liked some kind of heat, but not the desert ones supported by an AC to nullify it; my right type of cooling is through that autumn and winter with those yellow leaves falling.

As I was coming back from the United Kingdom, Dubai didn’t arouse any interest in me, as it was too artificial, even more than Singapore; there was no literature and there was no history to interest me. I haven’t been much into those tall structures either. I would have gone to Iran, Iraq and Syria and started digging for the lost Persian Empire if I was to visit somewhere in the Middle East; or may be at the Holy city of Jerusalem followed by Constantinopple and Alexandria, but not in the modern aritifical world. Being at Europe is like there is no moment when you can switch off your camera. I tried to do the same thing at the Dubai Airport, as there was no photography restrictions as it seemed to me. There were so many people taking photographs and so it was going to be fine. There was surely a problem with the language; there were people around in the shops who knew no good English and talking to them was like a battle between the Indian English and the Middle East English in which the understanding level was quite low, even worse than listening to some local English dialects of some deserted mountains or a city quarantined for decades due to some deadly virus – something which we saw in Resident Evil, Carriers, Stake Land and 28 Weeks Later.

I was going to be Viktor Navorski a.k.a Tom Hanks caught at the New York John F. Kennedy International Airport; I did have enough documents and permission to go back to my country though. I had cash in pounds, dollars and rupees too, but it was quite like that for me. I was as confused as that person in the movie was, and ‘The Terminal’ was indeed a wonderful movie. When we consider the fact that it was inspired by the real life incident of the eighteen-year-stay of the Iranian, Mehran Karimi Nasseri in the Paris Charles de Gaulle International Airport makes it worth recreating in the mind. ‘The Terminal’ was a fresh and different movie, and what would make my stay the most uninteresting for anyone who reads this would certainly be the clear absence of some random Amelia Warren a.k.a Catherine Zeta-Jones. Krakozhia is not in my life even for a sojourn and I knew English which made me not that good a replacement for Viktor Navorski. Those six hours were too small for the movie’s standard too and the number of interesting incidents were less too. But still I was at a terminal and I was part of the airport. I was wandering there and I had no clear aim; I was waiting; hungry and confused.

Dubai might have Burj Khalifa, the tallest building in the world and so many other skyscrapers as well as tons of oil, but I would stick to it’s aiport. Terminal 3 at Dubai International Airport is the single largest building in the world by floor space with Delhi Indira Gandhi International Airport Terminal 3 also coming in the top twenty five list, we can say that the airport is not just an airport, it is more than that. This hub for the Emirates Airline, serves the big city of Dubai and other emirates in the country, ranked as the fifteenth busiest airport in the world by passenger traffic, needs that massive a structure. Still, there were so many people walking around making it look so crowded. The airport was also the sixth busiest airport in the world by international passenger traffic and in addition to it, the airport is the seventhth busiest cargo airport in world. As we came by Emirates Airlines, the natonal airline of Dubai, operating above a hundred destinations in more than sixty countries of six continents, we were to be satisfied; there were enough movies to watch in the flight, including Hindi and Malayalam ones. There were also something from the other regional languages of India. There was need for more toilets in the plane though.

I landed at the airport after that movie experience of Emirates; watching Clash of the Titans, Prince of Persia, The Last Airbender, Centurion, Robinhood and Date Night along with the Hindi movie Housefull and Malayalam movie Samastha Keralam P.O. So the journey was made useful; the only interruptions came with the food and the need to look at the different cameras of the flight and the distance to the destination as well as the other statistics on the flight. The best thing about the movie was the subtitle feature which seemed to serve all those people so well. I was located at the exact centre of the flight from London to Dubai with people of different ethnicities which gave me a feeling of being at all the continents at the same time. Even the airhostesses looked so different from each other and they seemed to speak in so many different languages. But it was to change with the flight from Dubai to Cochin when everyone around looked like a Malayali. The mixed colour stuff took a major change there. The Dubai airport surely was mixed too, but the Indian, especially the Keralite presence there was evident all the time as workers as well as travelers.

As Emirates handled sixty percent of all passenger traffic, and accounts for most of the aircraft movements at the airport, there was that effect in the airport which seemed influenced by that one airline. I was surely disappointed by the price of tea in the airport though; and I found having some drink with ice cream much cheaper and the presence of Burger King and their acceptance of British pounds saved the day. The presence of more coffee was a bad trend, but the price being cheaper at Burger King would not keep that going at least for the people like us. A McFlurry from McDonalds would have made the situation better, but considering the size of the airport, finding it would have made me the new age Marco Polo, Vasco Da Gama, Colombus or Amerigo Vespucci and I didn’t want to take their glory away. As another aiport is going to open in Dubai, I do wonder if I get to travel through this one more. But it was a wonderful place as there were so many shops, especially for buying DVDs, most of them costlier than in the United Kingdom though. There was so much artificial greenery in the airport, which made me wonder what it’s about. It was beautiful, but it paled in comparison to the real natural beauty of the countrysides of England the whole green Kerala. The bottomline is that they have did extremely well with their airport, and I do wish that I had oil fields of my own, it is not that due to that desire to be rich by doing nothing and to gain respect and fame without education, it is just that I don’t want to get shocked again by the rising petrol prices.

Diving out —>