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First Impressions, Last Impressions

What’s the first and last thing you’re likely to experience in a country you visit? And what kind of lasting impression is that going to leave? Cigarette-burn marked toilet paper dispenser (empty) at Jakarta’s Soekarno-Hatta Airport, April 28 2007 Toilet paper dispenser at Singapore’s Changi Airport, April 28 2007 Investment in tourist attractions, advertising campaigns and big ticket infrastructure projects may lure visitors, but chances are they will remember what hits them first and last. If you want to win visitors over, bathrooms at airports might be a good place to start. Travel tip: the practice in an Indonesian bathroom, by the way, is toContinue readingFirst Impressions, Last Impressions

How To Build A Good Airport

I just want to sing the praises of Singapore’s Changi airport. I was upset to see a year or so back that they had discontinued free Wi-Fi —  now you have to pay, although many GSM operators have roaming agreements that give you a free access code to one of the airport’s Wi-Fi operators — but to me far more important is the availability of decent working desks with working power outlets and Ethernet cable slots. Changi has recently upgraded these facilities but has yet to update its airport maps, so I was aggrieved to find that in my usual spot the number of tablesContinue readingHow To Build A Good Airport

The Airport Shuffle

I always find it slightly unnerving when people consider an airport a destination in itself. Waiting to check in for my ‘retimed’ flight at Singapore’s Changi Airport, i am engulfed by hordes of locals shuffling around the shops near check-in, wandering aimlessly and most of them apparently with no intention of meeting people, or checking in themselves (unless they arrived really, really early and travel very, very light.) So what gives? Well, of course it’s the second day of Chinese New Year and everything in town is shut. This is the only place to buy stuff, get a decent bowl of noodles and escape theContinue readingThe Airport Shuffle

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