Monday, October 8, 2012

Dubai International Airport

The first sign of being in a foreign airport is the helpful signage.
The blast of Western ads brands cares is solid, so solid it wears at the base.
It's all familiar, no alienation, how are you meant to feel at home?
No shopping centre or terminal back home gives you any help:
this is your manor, your patch, of course you know your way around.
A native will never get lost, so signage is not for the natives.
Nor for the lost.
If you are well lost no sign, not even lightning and fire, will help you.
Signage nullifies the possibility of getting lost and so, with no adventures
(mis or otherwise)
you never burrow into the landscape like a native.

This is all perfect for airports.

There is sure a limit to how much you can learn about a city from its airport
But, as the layovers hits that middle sweet spot not long enough to go
see something but just too long to be passed by several pots of tea
and conversation,
I shall similarly hit the sweet limit of my knowledge.

The staff all were in a hurry, the world about to fly apart if they
are not doing the best automaton impression they could be
No passengers hurry.
Some of them move like maniacs, sure
But that's just the downshift.
Stand on a travelator and walk off the end, feel the earth sap your momentum:
the downshift.
Going from screaming three hundred kays or more through the air –
sitting still –
to moving nowhere, fixed in transition, despite all the locomotion in the world.

I'm locomoting, putting each foot down with precision
As if the wrong distribution of weight may start a riot, make me the cautionary story.
Not tired but plenty wired, on lack of sleep and lack of coffee, which I self-denied to – note! get some sleep on the plane.
No one sleeps on a flying death tube, unless they are foolish or pilots or not me.
Wired, pock-eyed, pockmarked with pores and pimples stretched with hundreds of oil molecules cratering into my face, digging for whatever,
I roam the terminal like a caged tiger (if my moustache were more impressive)
See the people sprawled on chairs and floors, casualties of eighteen or sixteen hour flights from some place they didn't want to be to another place they didn't want to be
Trying to suck in the emotional oxygen to get through another flight, veterans now, one trip and they're veterans of this war on geography.
The defibs have signs saying they don't work, don't bother, do you want to wake up back in an airport?

Did catch some of Dubai during the descent.
Thirty-three Celcius at four o'dark! I'm convinced it's the streetlights.
An ocean of orange, careful to illumine all of the no cars.
Four a.m., okay, but Dubai – known for its hotels and everyone going to bed at nine with a glass of milk?
Pacing cross-legged sitting down, staring at a grey cityline in a grey morning.
Is Dubai even real? Are the houses you see from the flight path fictional, a city invented by rich bastards to golf or fuck or, unlikely, make love without marriage intruding?

Of course Dubai's real, of course it is. Dubai Dubai Dubai we've all been there man.
The ceiling is the same colour as a cloudy – or smoggy, I'm from Brisbane what do I know from smog – sky outside. In Dubai. 
I can't take it any more.
This terminal is making me free, master of my own destiny, I can't stand it.
I can see the fences and razor wire but I need them closer.
Need some boundaries to ricochet around to keep me moving.
I'm like a shark – only one piece of me worth selling.

Thank god for the bars along the terminal walls or we would never get out.

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