Early this morning I picked up a friend flying from Australia. He’s staying with us while holidaying for 10 days or so. I personally picked him up from the airport, despite the risk of his arrival being a very elaborate April Fool’s Day joke – his emailed booking details suggested he was arriving at 00:15 on April 1st.
In a massive inconsideration on his side, he flew on Royal Brunei airlines. He booked prior to reading my condition of entry clause that our guests must fly with my employer Emirates. It was good though to finally experience Dubai International Airport’s Terminal 1 for the first time. Flying Emirates has given us the advantage of only ever using the massive, new and shiny T3 – devoted to Emirates Airline (largest single carrier terminal in the world).
The public area of terminal 1 is very basic, to say the least. It reminds me of my childhood flights to Cairns domestic terminal in Northern Queensland, Australia. Both facilities clearly have no pizazz or gloss. To a visitor, T1 is just a lot of people waiting outside the automatic arrivals doors – emblazoned with large unwelcoming NO ENTRY signs.
Like all arrival meeting areas, it was filled with emotions. One benefit of the primitiveness of this facility is it gave the various set of interactions a more raw set of mood.
Part of me goes all mushy in this kind of environment. You can’t help but love seeing the genuineness on display as various people greet their incoming guests.
Some of the folks arriving, or those waiting had very tiny babies. From the warm feelings transparent in their embrace it had to be their first introduction to the family.
There were also grown children offering more traditional welcomes to their arriving parents through pausing in front of their family member’s feet, then with their hands sweeping away perhaps any evil sprits before they had gave more standard kisses and cuddles.
Of concern was a very different reunion between perhaps a daughter maybe in her 20s, and her waiting sister and mother. The girl’s face showed that she spotted them, and then she began to walk with more purpose toward her waiting kin. However when I followed her trajectory the responding reactions had no appreciation, welcome, or even anything positive. It was a bit of a downer. I stopped myself from creating theories on the cause and context for close family members coming together with such a negative display. It didn’t take long for more positive exchanges to fill the time .
There were many scenes all producing different energies of excitement, laughter, curiosity, or adventure. Sometimes it was a combination of all of the above, and then some.
I waited there for an hour or so, just long enough for my cheap chewing gum to begin to taste like poison and my jaw to ache. In the time I was waiting, my fondest memory though was reminiscing when I had seen my own family come through the doors of Terminal 3 for the first time after we were split from for four weeks after I moved to Dubai. I can still clearly recall my surprising tears as soon as Myles and I spotted each other through the glass and the quick wiping of them away as we both sprinted to where we could hug. In just four weeks away he looked like he had aged a whole year. I felt so fortunate now to think that the sheer joy I had at that time came after a month. I’m certain many of the families on display had a much longer wait, it’s lovely to see they finally met again.
You’ve gotta love airports.