That has got to win the award for friendliest welcome ever at an airport. So my mind drifted across to a few other awards up my sleeve...
for the most remarkable transformation
from mud-hut to maharaja palace
for the most grumpy pills taken by immigration officials
whatever extra it costs to go via San Francisco, it is worth it
for the most technology-adverse
Mt Hagen (PNG)
dig away - your baggage will be in that dumped mountain somewhere
for 'I'll be back - but only if God calls me to go back'
50hr journey, dim-lights, low-flying fans threatening to behead me, guns everywhere, custom officials playing TYO 'take-your-own' with my possessions ... all helped unnerve me a bit
for oxymoronic excellence
Abu Dhabi and Dubai, a dead heat
how do these Arab airports sell so much of the worst from the west which they supposedly hate?
for the longest immigration queue (in that land which invented queues)
once it extended two-thirds of the way back to the airplane
Perth (with Melbourne as runner-up)
Australia IS lovely, but some people actually do pass through the country
for having a carpet diminish an otherwise exuberant experience
never mind - the whole airport is like an airline's business lounge anyway
for having a carpet enhance the exuberant experience
it is mogul-coloured - how cool is that?!
for the ease with which to arouse smuggling suspicion
goodness me?! they even went through the lining of my suitcase
for most likely to inspire car-usage
'NZ is such a beautiful country - I really do prefer to drive ... 8 hours!'
for most likely to stay competitive
their eyes never seem to leave Singapore - and it works
for being most paranoid about security
'so we go through security in London - then 12 hrs to Hong Kong, with another 12 hours onto New Zealand beckoning - and you want us to do what while we have 2 hours in transit in HK?' 'Oh right - stand in a security line for 90 minutes?!'
for being the best airport to step my feet into and stretch those hammies in a hurry
it means I'm home
[With apologies to Latin America and Europe where I have traveled very little]