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The YIN and YANG of airports

I’m now at the salubrious airport in Singapore, and not minding at all that I have to wait 5 hours until my next flight to Melbourne, using the fast free wifi and availing of all the great facilities here. I could easily spend a week here just hanging out. It’s not over-ostentatious, but very well laid out and easy to find everything, with plenty of clear displays and search assistance for flight info and where everything is located . The toilets are like walking into a spa and there are many good places to eat and drink.

Contrast that with Manila Terminal 1 where I had the misfortune of having to spend the night last night with my teeth chattering. Why oh why in this age when the focus should be on taking advantage of any opportunity to reduce CO2 emissions, and the Philippines is supposedly committed to that, are there situations like that, where everybody who enters the airport has to start adding extra layers of clothing to avoid hypothermia. It’s madness…it’s stupid and totally inexcusable!! Unfortunately I had used my fleece blanket to wrap around my paddle inside a long dry bag to protect it, and then carefully integrated the padded bag into my tightly packed bag. I’ve become a well seasoned master of space-defying impossible packing, and packing for this trip presented one of the biggest challenges ever. Fortunately I had the zen calming influence of my three puppies snoozing peacefully, and snuggled up to each other in my little house whilst I grappled with the three-dimensional conundrum the night before my departure.
The only toilets inside the terminal are un-signposted staff toilets at the end of a blind corridor. I only found about them because I complained to one of the security guards that if you wanted to use the toilets at either end of the terminal then you couldn’t get back in without having to go through all the security and x-ray machine again, and I always have so much stuff in my pockets and hanging all over me to take some of the weight out of my check-in bags. The only food counter is also just on the outside with the toilets. I think that I had to go through security four times last night, but at least like most security guards in the Philippines they were very friendly, and some of them wanted to chat to me about my camera, and I took some photos of them; that’s the Philippines in a nutshell; the bureaucracy and dinosaur inefficiency drives you crazy, but the people are always so disarmingly pleasant, and you just end up laughing and smiling with them.

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