You may already know this about me by reading this post; I do spend an unhealthy amount of time on airports. Waiting endlessly at boarding gates gives me enough time to observe the airport dynamics. Just like the clothes we wear give others a glimpse of who we are, likewise for airports. As I see it, they are like windows that give us glimpses into the country’s population, politics and economy.
Currently on transit via Abu Dhabi airport, not only am I introduced to its male dominated dynamic but also its luxury retail scene. The passion for hukkas is evident in its souvenir shops. The many women walking around in burkhas and the dispersed prayer rooms throughout the airport reflect UAE’s religious inclinations and, as some may say, dogma.
Spending time on airports almost feels more surreal than being 40,000 feet above the ground. I do not belong to this country and yet, I am an inevitable part of it. Airports make me realise that although we may all be from different backgrounds, nationalities and cultures, we are still on the same journey and foster the same universal values of trust and respect. Evidently, appreciating the myriad differences and understanding the similarities we see between national airports brings us one step closer to overcoming racism and cultural antagonism.