The World’s Ten Best Airports

Charles De Gaulle Airport in Paris
Charles de Gaulle airport. Image via Wikipedia

Pack, rush, stand, wait, take off shoes. Flying, so much fun.

Do you notice the airports you travel through? Here’s a recent list of the world’s top 10, which includes Paris Charles de Gaulle (which, built in 1974, looks like a cartoon idea of the future with all its tubes) and Rio’s domestic airport and Dulles, in D.C.

Here’s my top 10:

1) Santa Barbara, California. Tiny, red-tile-roofed. There are pool houses larger. Charming, cute, feels like vacation.

2) Mae Hong Son, Thailand. The only sound you hear is that of temple bells from the Buddhist temple across the street. The only airport I’ve ever flown into where you can walk right into town.

3) Vancouver. The architecture is spectacular — lots of glass, waterfalls, totem poles inside and out. One of the very few airports that actually makes specific reference to where you’ve just landed. The approach is also fantastic — the Rockies, the ocean, not to mention all the huge log booms on the water. I also love their use of YVR as its name — every Canadian airport code starts with Y. (YUL is Montreal, YYZ is Toronto. Go figure.)

4) Seattle. Think about it — when do you ever notice, in a good way, what’s at your feet? I’ve flown through this airport a few times and marveled at what lovely materials they chose for the flooring. Not to mention the inlaid bronze salmon inserted randomly. One of whom carries a briefcase.

5) Toronto Island Airport. You can wing into this one if you fly Porter Air from Newark. It’s set on a small island from which you take a ferry for about 1 minute, then a ten-minute taxi ride to downtown. The best way to see Toronto’s dramatic skyline.

6) Cuzco, Peru. OK. I admit it. I remember nothing of the airport but my immense, weeping gratitude that I saw it at all, after a hairy, scary descent on Faucett Air. (now defunct.) Think of a sewing machine needle threading up and down through cloth. That was us, trying to find a clear bit of air between many large mountains.

7) Shannon, Ireland. I love any airport that immediately gives me a strong sense of place. Landing in the west of Ireland, you look down over an impossibly beautiful patchwork of green, hundreds of small fields ringed by low stone walls.

8) Bastia, Corsica. Like Galway and Mae Hong Son, the landscape is at the edge of the airport. I remember seeing sheep within a few hundred yards of the runways.

9) Charles de Gaulle, Paris. Although many hate it, it is saturated with happy memories for me from my year living in Paris on a fellowship. From there, I flew out, or back, from Montserrat, England, Istanbul. I loved that CDG became “my” airport. Easy access to central Paris on the RER.

10) Westchester, New York. My home airport. It’s impossibly crowded but small and easy to get in and out of. I love that we walk across tarmac into the planes. You can sit in the restaurant and watch planes taking off and landing. I love being able to get to an airport in 20 minutes.

What are your favorites and why?

Enhanced by Zemanta

A Venti Skim Latte — And Don't Hold The Glock: Starbucks Caught In Gun-Rights Activism

Starbucks logo
Image via Wikipedia

Not quite what Starbucks had in mind — gun owners exercising their right to openly carry their firearms into coffee shops.

From the AP:

The company’s statement, issued Wednesday, stems from recent campaign by some gun owners, who have walked into Starbucks and other businesses to test state laws that allow gun owners to carry weapons openly in public places. Gun control advocates have protested.

The fight began heating up in January in Northern California and has since spread to other states and other companies, bolstered by the pro-gun group

Some of the events were spontaneous, with just one or two gun owners walking into a store. Others were organized parades of dozens of gun owners walking into restaurants with their firearms proudly at their sides.

Now, gun control advocates are protesting the policy. The Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, launched a petition drive demanding that the company “offer espresso shots, not gunshots” and declare its coffeehouses “gun-free zones.” And Wednesday, that group planned to deliver 28,000 signatures to the coffee giant’s headquarters in Seattle….

Businesses can choose to ban guns from their premises. And Starbucks said Wednesday that it complies with local laws in the 43 states that have open-carry weapon laws.

“Were we to adopt a policy different from local laws allowing open carry, we would be forced to require our partners to ask law abiding customers to leave our stores, putting our partners in an unfair and potentially unsafe position,” the company said in its statement.

It said security measures are in place for any “threatening situation” that might occur in stores.

Starbucks asked both gun enthusiasts and gun-control advocates “to refrain from putting Starbucks or our partners into the middle of this divisive issue.”

From the Seattle PI site:

Few even cared about Starbucks’ gun policy — or anyone other company’s, for matter — until January, when word spread that gun-toting advocates of open-carry laws were meeting in coffeehouses and restaurants in California’s Bay Area. Seeing an opportunity to further their cause, the Brady Campaign asked two of the businesses — California Pizza Kitchen and Peet’s Coffee and Tea — to exercise their legal right to ban guns in their stores.

When they complied, the group aimed higher, asking the same of the most powerful name in coffee. Starbucks refused, citing existing safety procedures, but the Brady Campaign persisted.

This is why many people think gun-owners are nuts.

No one needs to be this provocative. No company wants to deal with a bunch of people carrying guns into a public space shared with others, some of whom loathe and fear guns and some of whom may have had terrifying, life-changing experiences of emotional or physical violence relating to the use of a firearm.

Selfish, stupid, frightening behavior.

Yeah, that’s persuasive argument.

Amanda Knox Awaits A Verdict, The Seattle Student Accused Of Briton's Murder In Italy

PERUGIA, ITALY - JUNE 13: Amanda Knox and her ...
Amanda Knox. Image by Getty Images via Daylife

The sensational murder trial of Seattle student Amanda Knox, 21, which began January 16, 2009, has ended, with closing arguments that lasted seven hours in an Italian courtroom. The case has attracted worldwide attention for the college-age lovers, as her Italian boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito has also been charged with the murder. The two met at a concert only two weeks before the murder.

On November 1, Meredith Kercher, a 21-year-old British woman sharing a Perugia apartment with Knox and two others, was brutally stabbed. Kercher’s father, a journalist, is writing a book about it.

The case, said Newsweek, has already destroyed the lives of everyone it has touched.

It is hard to feel sorry for prisoners who are serving hard time for heinous crimes. But Knox is not a convict, and yet her life has fallen apart. Between the trial (which resumes Monday), the constant media blitz (she is a tabloid sensation across the Western Hemisphere), and the expenses, the experience has essentially wrecked her adulthood. Thing is, she’s not alone. The collateral damage from Kercher’s tragic murder now spans from Seattle to London and Bari to Perugia. Her co-defendant and former boyfriend, Rafaelle Sollecito, is also being held in prison during the trial; his lawyers say he is suffering from health issues, including depression and acute gastroenteritis from stress. Meanwhile, her parents are broke, the victim’s parents are distraught, and even the lawyers who got involved with this case have come to regret it. The Knox trial is poison: nearly everyone it has touched so far has suffered irreparable psychological and financial harm.