The Airport Safari by Melissa Hill
2013/10/03  |  By:   |  Features  |  

I have a confession to make, more of a declaration really – I love airports.  Not in a nerdy, sit at the end of the runway with a flask of tea and a copy of Aviation Weekly ogling incoming aircraft kind of way. What I love is the excitement of impending journey, the promise of adventure. There’s lots to do:  shopping for one, people-watching for another. I liken it to being on safari: there are so many different species of traveller roaming around.

One such species is the Solo Business Traveller with their determined ‘I just want to get going, let me through’ expressions and demeanour. I suspect they must hate waiting in line behind those once-a-year flyers that arrive slack-jawed at security as if they have just walked into an operating theatre in the middle of a delicate procedure. The Once-a-Years usually have metal in every pocket and enough liquid, gels and pastes to bring down an Airbus A380.

But using their keen eye for spotting the line with the least potential delays, once the Solo Business Traveller gets past the Once-a-Years, they sail though security with a military precision that goes hand in hand with frequent flying. Belt, watch, bag coins into tray one. Laptop, mobile phone and jacket into tray two, before breezing unfazed through the metal detector.

Another member of the airport ‘Big Five’ are The Lads on Tourespecially easy to spot by their broad rictus grins. It’s the kind of unsustainable smile that starts to hurt after a couple of minutes and suggests: ‘I can’t believe I have no responsibilities for the next few days only to drink/watch sports/play sports/eat/score’. You will always see them in the bar drinking and laughing loudly.   A very different breed of traveller is the Shiny Ringed Honeymooners – most common throughout the summer months. Alone as a couple for the first time since they said ‘I do’, they only have eyes for one another and are easily identified by their bright, shiny wedding rings.  Then there’s The Hen Nighters, a rowdy crew who all sport identical day-glo T-shirts. You can always pick out the ‘Hen’ by looking for the one displaying ‘L’ plates, mini wedding veil and fake male genitalia.

I’m certain the BBC will do a ‘wildlife’ style documentary on it all at some stage. In fact, I can already imagine David Attenborough’s seasoned, knowledgeable tones doing the voice over: ‘Here we find the common Snowy White Sun-worshipper. Once a year these magnificent creatures migrate south in search of sunshine and cheap booze. Within a few hours of reaching their destination they will try to absorb a year’s worth of vitamin D by basking in the sun, eventually turning an angry shade of red. Yet, these amazing creatures have even found a naturally occurring and readily available source of painkiller for such an injury – cheap beer.’

Inevitably once you find yourself at the boarding gate you start to recognise other familiar sights: the loud bickering couple that sat on the car-park bus in front of you, the laden-down family with the seat-kicking screaming toddler at the next table in the terminal restaurant. Like safari animals, our destinies seem to merge as we all migrate towards our mutual journey.  And you just know where that seat kicking toddler is going to be sitting…

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agifttorememberDarcy Archer works in a small bookstore in Manhattan. A daydream believer, she refuses to settle for anything less than being swept off her feet by the perfect man… literally.

One day, when cycling to work, Darcy accidentally crashes into a sharply dressed gentleman walking his dog. He is knocked out cold, rushed to hospital and the poor pup gets left behind.

Wracked with guilt, Darcy takes the dog and makes plans to reunite him with owner, Aidan. As she discovers the mysterious stranger’s world of books, travel, adventure and all the wonderful things she’s ever dreamt about, Darcy builds a picture of this man and wonders if he could be THE ONE…

But does fantasy match reality? What happens when Prince Charming wakes up? Will Aidan be the happy ever after she’s always imagined?

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