And so the journey begins with a kiss and a sad wave goodbye. Why do I do this, heading off alone, leaving those I love behind? Struggling to sleep in a too small bed, seduced by places I’ve never seen, the mental exercise of planning, then I am vulnerable to the call. But once I am away I realise how much I love and miss my B and Alex.
I must do this. Must ride the long and possibly monotonous tracks where the would just suffer. The compulsion to experience what must be evanescent UN a shrinking future. This is the calling of the Japanese rails. So too the aging inefficient Qantas 747s, steadily supplanted by their less fuel thirsty younger cousins.
This is a nostalgia whose time approaches, resignation, but not an embrace, for a future that must yet come.
As the airport winds down for the night it adopts a sombre atmosphere. The bustling crowds of passengers, families, groups, individuals, chattering excitedly, nervously, expectantly about their flights, browsing the many shops, eating, rushing, reclining, surfing, talking has been replaced by hushed tones, solitary diners, cleaners and shopkeepers preparing to close for the night.
Outside, take offs and landings become sparse, as operations are curtailed for the night. Like an unruly teenager having held too many late night parties, Sydney Airport has been slapped with a noise curfew. My flight is the last to depart before the doors are locked.
I retreat to the Qantas Business Lounge, using the last of my passes to enter. Here I can have a seat, a free dinner of roast chicken and a complex pumpkin dish, cheesecake and cheese crackers. Hopefully a shower too.
It is quiet and calm in here, guest murmuring, one child’s voice reminding me if Alex in tone and enthusiasm. I miss him, miss B, feel the nervousness of night flights returning. The lounge staff have switched the television to X Factor, watching Psy and his Gangnam Style. I suspect his recent popularity here is more a case of Westerners trying to hook into what is already a long popular genre in Asia: K-pop. A quick view of PopAsia on SBS reveals it’s repetitive and style of substance nature. J-pop, the origin of where I’m headed, is no different.