The defining thing about airports is that no one really wants to be there. Everyone in every airport would rather be somewhere else, someplace more like home, and preferably soon. This goes for all the people selling denatured food to people who don't much want to eat it; all the travelers who would just as soon be wherever they're going; the tired-eyed gripe-magnets overseeing security; the wan salespeople in the Duty Free grimly spritzing cologne on scowling Russians.
Airports' international terminals are mostly the same sort of non-place. That place is an expensive one. It is a world Free of Duty, but also inhabited and ruled by the sullen and uncompromising familiarity of global luxury brands. Those can be found in the Duty Free stores, not so much being sold as announcing to travelers coming or going what kind of place they're moving through -- a world merciless and seamless and innocent of discount, recognizable and ubiquitous and familiar in the least-comforting ways.Continue Reading