People in airports are often not on their best behavior. Maybe this is due to airport/airline policies and the fact that people are trapped in a space they cannot control. This post is not about them; however, I mention them to provide a contrast for the kindness and comfort I found in airports this weekend.
Yesterday Asher and I were flying back from Hong Kong via Nanjing. Nanjing airport is smaller and older than the Xi’an airport. In fact, we found it hot and cramped and confusing. Our flight had been slightly delayed, so we were worried we would not make our gate in time. We made it with time to grab a water bottle. Then we looked for somewhere to sit thinking we would only be there a few minutes. People were taking up several seats with their luggage. A woman was lounging across three seats and laughing at a video on her phone. Everywhere we looked there was nowhere for us. Finally, we found a spot on the floor. Then a man moved over and made an open seat. It was next to the luggage table, so Asher took the seat and I took the luggage table. We were very grateful. Then it turned out that our flight was delayed, so we had to sit for much longer than we had planned.
When we travel to Hong Kong, we like to stay at the Regal Airport Hotel because it is connected to the airport by a walkway. Then we take the train into town to have adventures. Because our hotel is connected to the airport, we wander around watching people and eating at restaurants. I especially enjoy watching the people in line at McDonald’s. People from all over the world line up for the inexpensive predictable food. (McDonald’s do vary from place to place, but they have coke and fries all over.) In front of us there was a little boy who had an American accent, and he was begging his dad for a happy meal. His dad re-explained to the little boy that he was not getting a happy meal in a non-American accent, and then he spoke to the cashier in Cantonese. She seemed to understand, even though she seemed to be of Indian heritage. My son, who at one point in his life also begged for a happy meal in his American accent, had more in common with the little boy in line that probably anyone else in the room.
But my more important take away from the Hong Kong Airport McDonald’s is that this is what the world should look like. Covered women eating next to Nigerians in business suits. Australian children running around in Easter bunny ears, and elderly Brazilians waiting for their coffee. Thai teenagers ordering fries in English from the Indian girl behind the counter. The whole world wonderfully coexists while eating ice cream.