Although I may comprise a group of one, I miss some of the old airports. A few days ago I landed in a new section of the Indira Ghandi International Airport in New Delhi India. Acres of marble floors and hundreds of baggage carts greeted me. Gone are the days of sitting on the conveyer belt waiting for hours for your bags to finally arrive because there was nowhere else to sit. And what about the cat who stole my donut from the seat next to me a few years ago? Will they keep her on? I doubt it.
Then there is the new huge glass and steel monstrosity in Bejing, China, full of duty free shops. In the old days you entered through corridors with flaking institutional green paint and peeling linoleum floors...reminiscent of an old state psychiatric hospital. At immigration armed guards stood in the back glaring at you...just daring you to enter their country. All the letters and numbers on the flight announcment board in the front of the airport were made of metal, and the whole thing made wonderful clicking sounds when they changed. After check in you were herded down to a gate in the round area with a small blackboard in the middle. Departing fights(by bus...there were no new flangled loading ramps) were chalked on the board in faintly passable English. Without good interpreting skills you could literally miss the bus.
And what about Hong Kong? You used to descend among the towering skyscrapers hoping your plane wouldn't hit clotheslines on nearby balconies. But the view of the harbor was stunning. Now they have built an admittedly beautiful airport miles away...connected by a very efficient train. Its just not the same.
Hanoi, Vietnam had an airport with pink peeling paint that any American city of 40,ooo would have been proud of. There were two departure sign in areas and a small gift shop which gave the place a cozy atmosphere. Not much for a city of a million plus. So it was replaced with a big shiny gitzy affair with no character.
And then there is Bangkok. I loved the old airport with two international and a domestic terminal all connected by a long scary tunnel. There were plenty of chairs tucked in corners all over the place where I could sleep safely on my overnight stays. And a 7-11 where I could get cheap sodas. So they built a huge new one on the other side of town in a place called "cobra swamp" As soon as it opened some of the runways cracked so they had to partly close it down and reopen the old one for some domestic traffic. It figures.