The first thing I see when I step off the shuttle bus is a broad, grey, washed-out expanse of floor. The airline staff sit enthroned on their check-in desks, reigning over their empty queues. In the far distance is a wireless hotspot, an ATM and a display cabinet full of prohibited articles.
If I cross the expanse to the hotspot, I see fake moa footprints on the floor, leading to some exhibit upstairs. Sitting at the hotspot I can see a to-scale model of the airport in a plexiglass cabinet, rows of maroon chairs facing a wall, automatic massage chairs, the baggage carousel and the escalators. The escalators are always on, but the carousel moves only when a flight arrives.
Strangely, the airport is as full of floating dandelion seeds as the city is. They tumble in the air conditioned breeze over the litter that tumbles on the ground. I don't know why there are so many dandelions. When I was a child I'd use to catch them and whisper a wish into them and blow them away. Today I can't remember what I wished for, so maybe it came true.
Up the escalators, there's a small display of the ancient flightless birds that walked the airport grounds long before the first plane arrived. It's not very interesting. There's a bank, and a news agent that sells only the shiniest of books and a souvenier store. I'd buy a souvenier, but I have enough black clothes already.
The cafes seem built to remind you that you actually do have better places to be. I try sitting there for a bit, but rank boredom and bland hungerlessness drive me to move away. I wander around, trying to find something interesting. There's a Koru Club upstairs that I'll be refused entry to and a conference centre that will be simply locked. The bookstore still doesn't have any Penguin Classics, so I can't get the Bronte book I want. I go to the bathroom where I read about launching subprocesses in Haskell and reject two calls to my mobile phone.
This last week, I've received several calls from private numbers. Each time the caller has sent me the sound of a phone being hung up as voice mail. The only people I know with private numbers are family members who are afraid of something I don't understand. It could be any of them, or it could be a simple glitch in the global roaming phone system. I don't care either way, but I wish they'd stop or leave a message.
I'm tired, and I want to sleep. Soon I'll buy something with chocolate in it and something else with words in it and sit with a runny nose being comforted by the chocolate and by someone else's imaginary world. First though, I'll do one more tour around the airport.