I was just killing some time at the Hong Kong International Airport (HKIA) before I left. There are always some interesting shots at my favorite airport in the world. This airport reminds me of Heathrow Airport in London – it’s a shopping mall where they happen to park planes outside. I love its big panoramas; its airfield views; its diverse food and drinks offer; its mix of generic and specialist retail; and its sheer sense of drama – a real feeling of a vast international crossroads.
I actually like hanging out in airports for a few reasons. First, I love to people-watch. When you travel internationally you see a real cross-cut of humanity in airports. The other reason I like airports is they are emotional places. Most travelers are excited about the prospects of new adventures and destinations. Others are travel-weary and emotionally drained. It’s fun to watch kids at airports. Their faces are full of awe and wonder.
This is, I think, one of the most iconic images of any airport in the world. It is a replica of a Farman bi-plane, suspended from the ceiling at Hong Kong International Airport T1. The wood and fabric, French-made Farman was the first aircraft to fly in Hong Kong, where it was flown in Sha Tin on 18 March 1911 by pioneer Belgian aviator Charles Van den Born. I never fail to snap a photo of it and every time I am here I count many others doing just the same. What a glorious, nostalgic reminder of the allure and nostalgia of flight. This is truly one of the most memorable examples worldwide of how the concept of Sense of Place can come to life in an airport.
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