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Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Don't judge a city by its airport


Many have said that you can tell a lot about a city by their airports. I am just beginning to agree.

I have the remarkable gift of flying for no cost due to my Father's hard work as an employee at US Airways. What does that mean? I fly everywhere. For free. Nada. The only dilemma is that I have to fly stand-by, and for those who have never had the pleasure, let me tell you…it can be exhausting. You are always looking for the flight with the most open seats and most often those flights are either early in the morning or in the middle of the week. In some cases you may have to fly out of an alternative airport in order to reach your destination. This has been the case for our last three adventures. Three trips. Three airports.

Eugene. Spokane. Portland.

Eugene, Oregon…the city that never sleeps. Right? Oh wait…never mind…it's the city that's always sleeping because the majority of the town is in a nursing home or sleeping off their high. How do I know that? Because I met half of the town at the airport. Exhibit A: Betty the ticket taker. Her favorite restaurant was Marie Calendar's. Everyone knows that you only eat at Marie Calendar's for the pie…and why would you want pie…munchies. She likes the ganja. She let me know that it was usually busy, so I better get down there quick. Busy? Who eats at Marie Calendar's restaurants and could possibly keep it busy enough that she recommends a call ahead? Who would sit down for dinner at 5 only to leave at 8:30? Old people. So, I have Eugene figured out. Old people. Pot heads. Check.

Spokane, Washington. The home of the Zags. This airport was clean, had a cute little Chili's to go (I got the buffalo chicken sandwich which led me to the lavatory in a hurry. This may be a little gross…but does anyone else enjoy the smell that happens when you flush the toilet in a lavatory? If I could bottle that blue stuff and use it as soap, I would be a happy man.) The news stand was well organized and had both magazines that I wanted to purchase. Wired and Men's Health. That's right ladies…muscle and brains. Anywho…here is what gave this city away. They had a store in the main concourse with the restaurants. What did they sell here? HIKING GEAR! Is there anyone who is about to get on a plane and thinks to themselves, "You know what…I need about 25 feet of rope and a carabineer." Or how about, "I really wish that there was some place near by where I could get a pick axe and some green hiking shoes for my next climb. Oh wait…there it is!!!" Spokane…you hike too much. Stay inside, watch some TV, and maybe consider a "Made in Washington" rather than "Hikes R Us".

Portland, Oregon. Want to know about this city? Just look at the carpet and the miscellaneous airport decor. It looks as if they went back to '91, called David Bowie, Mr. T, and Hammer and asked for their wardrobes. The carpet looks like the pattern on Hammer's Hammer Pants during the Can't Touch This video. It's awful. Then, they actually just took Mr. T's pendants and hung them throughout the concourse. I actually said this sentence…"Look babe…there is 24k gold baby Jesus in a manger. I think T wore that on the A Team!" So the consensus on Portland? Get with the times! Re-carpet your airport and just get Nike to swoosh out your terminals.

How is that for a judgmental rant? Ehhhh? Anyone else get a good impression of a city (or even a country) by their experience in an airport?

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