Sunday, 7 August 2016

Portals and Hubs: Singapore Changi Airport

The border is the first experience we have of a country. Some would like it to be temporary, entirely liminal, a place for passing through; but Singapore takes tourism very seriously. Arriving in Singapore at the start of my trip, the airport is clean, calm and orderly even after midnight. Proceeding down a glass-sided escalator one is confronted with a huge wall of planting, the rainforest greenery consciously reminding us of this highly-developed island nation's jungle past. It takes hardly any time at all to get through immigration, even with forgetting to fill out a landing card and having to re-queue. Past the counter, the last-chance duty-free alcohol shop beckons. Baggage control is similarly lush, and the whole airport is filled with brushed steel, glass, and foliage.

I end up spending rather a lot of time at Changi airport this trip, as I shuttle between Singapore, Indonesia, Hong Kong; and now await my flight home to London. The airport departures lounge is like a huge hotel lobby, studded with expensive shops and plenty of comfortable places to sit; or perhaps it's more like a theme park, a miniature Singapore within. I was also surprised to discover a butterfly garden in Terminal 3. I believe that most of these photographs are of moths. Time passes ponderously, but it is not unpleasant. The authorities have done well to create a relaxing atmosphere, where the visitor retains favourable impressions of both Singapore and air travel.

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