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Beijing Touchdown

The superlatives start with the airport, the world's biggest has been built for the Olympic city and there's no way you could miss it. From the air it could be a sci-fi geeks design - all scimitar angles and sleek forms but once you hit the ground you appreciate its hugeness. My plane taxis to Gate 529 dodging through the field of neon lime and blue lights. It takes a while to get there.

Then the terminal. I've always felt like terminals had a universal decor, like hotels rooms, but this has a fluorescent futurism to it that you couldn't mistake for anywhere else. Even the escalators seem to be just out of the box and the new car smell pervades everything. It's stadium scale with silver rafters strapping out the sky - though there's a galaxy of lights embedded in the roof. Lightbulbs alone must account for a fair whack of the US$3.75 billion and there's not a shred of environmental guilt to this design. They reckon it will take over 90 million passengers a year by 2012 but at the hour I'm arriving there's just three empty floors of closed duty free.

Even customs officials have been given a new lease of life: young, smiling like they could be Olympic mascots and speaking excellent English. And if that didn't leave me feeling re-assured, there's an attendant snappily dressed in a navy blue duffle coat and a Miss World-esque maroon sash (already I'm thinking gift ideas for the folks back home). The attendant lady seems to be there exclusively to smile and push the door button when the snazzy train arrives. I let her smile and push my own button. Then I'm zipped away to the positively ancient feeling T2, where there's a guy holding a card with my name on it.

Comments

  1. I just found this - yr so sneaky. have added you to my bloglines and looking fwd to regular updates.

    Oh god, do you remember our beijing book tour back in 97? Those were the days eh?

    -ac

    ReplyDelete
  2. hey hey the dunnervational dunnerz, sounds GOLD dude. can't wait to hear what happens next. nina x

    ReplyDelete

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