Sunday, April 18, 2010

The thing I love about airports...

... is just how much you can tell about a city by taking a careful look around in its airport.

Take my home airport of New Orleans, for instance. The airport is bright, colorful, and gaudy. It's also usually messy, and your bags never get anywhere on time. And the food is great, even the Lucky Dogs that are sold right out of the cart. Just like the city... just replace the bit about the bags with "nothing gets done on time, because most the residents are drunk."

Take the nearby airport of Baton Rouge. Average, mediocre, and generally boring in almost every respect, save for a few LSU novelty stores. Just like the city.

Or take the Los Angeles airport. It's jam-packed with advertising, crowded, and lacks any system of mass transit (like the small trains and buses in most major airports). It also features many people who don't speak English and look at you like you're stupid if you have the audacity to speak English. Just like the city.

Or take the Oakland airport. It's done up in a strict monochrome color scheme, drab and depressing, although you can see a little bit of the future in the design every now and then. Just like the city. And, in fact, just like the football team.

Or take the Detroit airport. There's technology and bright lights everywhere you look... not useful or productive technology, but more the kind of thing you might expect to see in a theme park, almost as if the airport was desperately trying to prove it was still technologically relevant. Just like the city.

Or take the Portland airport. There are recycling bins everywhere, but you can't find any good fried shrimp anywhere, no matter how hard you look. It's really good looking, but it's awful wet in there... maybe I'm just unlucky, but it seemed like the roof was leaking. Just like the city.

Or take the Las Vegas airport. There are slot machines everywhere you look, complete with lots of old people pouring their entire life savings into them, and the best selection of good food of any airport of its size. Just like the city.

Or take the Atlanta airport. It's big, and it has a good transportation system, and there's lots to do, but oddly they hide their best culture in the basement (I'm specifically referring to a fantastic display of Zimbabwean art that for some reason, they display in their rarely-seen underground areas). Just like the city.

Or take the Orlando airport. There are more Disney merchandise stores than there are functional airplane gates, leaving the airport with little function other than to support a lumbering entertainment behemoth or two. Just like the city.

Or take the Nashville airport. You used to be able to find some really cool stuff there, but now it's just Kenny Chesney drek.  Just like the city.

I'm sure there are more, but I'm tapped out. I'm off to Tucson to look at cactuses... cactees... cacti! I wonder if there will be stucco in the airport....

1 comment:

  1. The most recent of these I visited was the Detroit Airport. I walked down long, never ending corridors of never-ending blight, just to get from the edge of the airport to my baggage. I had a distinct impression that the rest of Detroit would be just like that.