Being, from the very start, launched from the futuristic base of Miami Airport was a strange introduction to India. I must have been away from the United States and the First World for too long, because everything astonishes me as new and unfamiliar. The Miami Airport was one example with its neat palm trees planted like soldiers along the landing strip and its sleek Sky Train shooting from one terminal to another like, well…yes a sky train. I was reminded of Wong Kar Wai’s 2046 time train. We could have been moving into space, so unobstructed was the view into a fiery Florida sunset, with airplanes taking off from both sides like rockets. I might have been noticing airplanes for the first time.
Yes, definitely, I have been gone for too long I was thinking, while marveling at those – oh so elegant – Italians waiting at Immigration. We don’t have such nice shoes-and look at those handbags-in Guatemala, let alone the people to wear them.
The Immigration and Security people were even friendly and smiling, instead of barking and scowling at you. Something has definitely changed here after all those complaints of people being unceremoniously pawed in front of everybody. They didn’t even try to send you through the body scanner, not that I was planning to go anyway.
And then, there was a flat screen t.v. in my hotel room. Another novelty for the yokel that I’ve become. And CNN too, showing and commenting demonstrations in Cairo, demonstrations as fiery as the sunset a few hours earlier. I was up until late, riveted to the television, something I hadn’t done in many, many years.
I was flying from surprise to surprise as a message from the sports drinks and soft drinks lobby warned US mothers against letting, the government raise a tax on these wholesome choices that allowed them to keep the kids pudgy, while still balancing the budget. Mothers of America, unite!!! That’s the true spirit of democracy.
Yep, I have been gone for too long. Will India manage to surprise me as much in its exoticism that the United States in its own version of it?