. I am crushed into a small shuttle bus squeezed between the door and a glass pane through which I exchange smiles with a woman in a large black woolen hat, unbefitting for an Asian summer.
I’m running late so quickly consume my routine airport breakfast, before hearing an announcement that tells me my flight is delayed. I hurry to the desk to see if I can change my ticket so I can make the next connection. Apologetic attendants direct me down to the gate where three ground staff poor over a computer umming and ahhring before the it finally spits out a new boarding pass.
Waking to see the Borneo coastline I grab my camera and once again begin to shoot through the window, now cleared of the rain drops that had blurred by earlier pictures. The cabin crew make one final check of the plane and we land, whistling past the small Bandar Seri terminal building. As the gangway draws towards me a man in a yellow vest chats on his radio clearly finding it difficult to hear.
Before the day is finished I still have one final new connection to make. On the elevator floor a picture of an unknown man stairs up at me alone and forgotten, probably having fallen from his wallet as he fumbled for his hotel key. I make my last portrait then return to my empty room ready to sleep and wake the next day to start connecting again.
Apologetic attendants direct me down to the gate where three ground staff poor over a computer umming and ahhring before it finally spits out a new boarding pass. I run through the airport to the gate where I find the straw hatted man in a line in front of me scrurring down the gangway and onto a half empty plane. Begrudgingly I leave the warm morning sun of Beijing to arrive three hours later in a hot and wet Hong Kong.
The plane is late and as I exit the gangway juggling my camera after a hurried picture of a plane landing in the rain, I am greeted by a lady in green who groups me with Mr Ge and Mr Hirobe and marches us through the airport at breathtaking speed. At the gate I see two passengers photographing the boarding sign and wonder if they too are capturing their day for ADay.org. I turn around to look for Mr Ge and Mr Hirobe who I feel have become attached to through our mutual desire to make the connection. They have boarded so I follow and take my seat on a crowded plane with three newspapers picked up in the galley.
Over the last few years I estimate I have spent on average one day a week passing through airports around the world, being thrown into new acquaintances I had never intended. March 15th, 2012 is one of these days. At 6 AM my alarm rings and I quickly dress, kiss my wife and cats goodbye and head out to the subway. I travel three stops amongst the early commuters, then change to the cleaner and faster airport express. The train emerges from the black tunnel to reveal a glorious morning waking the passengers from their pre dawn daze. It’s a beautiful day in Beijing. My first connection happens as we disembark. An elderly gentleman in a straw hat looks at me suspiciously and then quizzes me on why I am taking so many pictures of him. “It’s a nice hat”, I tell him. I sail through check in, onto a shuttle and into the lounge all the while still following the man with the straw hat secretly photographing from behind.
The man in the seat opposite me raises his legs in an attempt to get comfortable in his confined space and I turn to look out of the window watching Hong Kong disappear below thick dark rain clouds as muslim prayers for the fight ring out over the speaker system. My lunch is simple but filling, I eat then begin to doze.
Waking to see the Borneo coastline I grab my camera and once again begin to shoot through the window, now cleared of the rain drops that had blurred by earlier pictures. The cabin crew make one final check of the plane and we land, whistling past the small Bandar Seri terminal building. As the gangway draws towards me a man in a yellow vest chats on his radio clearly finding it difficult to hear. I am first off the plane and make my way quickly through wide open empty corridors through passport control and to arrivals where a man introduces himself to me as Muloy, from the Brunei times. I take a picture while wondering how he fits his vast phone into his pocket. We walk towards the car as I tell him this is my first time in Brunei and am looking forward to the next few days helping him develop multimedia at the newspaper.
As we drive to the hotel the sun sets behind nets and palm trees that line the local golf course. On the seat is another sign with my name Muloy had chosen not to show, choosing to recognize me from my facebook profile instead displayed on his vast mobile phone. The centrepoint hotel boasts a sweeping lobby with a receptionist dressed from head to toe in black. Muloy left and I made my way to my room, opening my bag and emptying my pockets on the desk. It is going dark so I take my camera and go out on the street, first photographing the buildings and cars around the hotel then venturing into a mall. It is large but refreshingly empty of many of the chain stores I am so used to in Malls all over the world. I climb the escalator to the fourth floor for a better view and find myself peering down on shoe shops, and brightly dressed shoppers clutching undisclosed bags. At 8 Muloy returns to pick me up, this time with Monica one of the newspaper executives. She drives us to the river side and up to a sushi restaurant where I enjoy my first proper meal of the day. Leaving the restaurant I snatch a blurred picture a group of women leaving the shore on a small boat bound for the other side of the river. Behind me an impressive Mosque which I later request to be dropped at for a few minutes for a photograph. Monica obliges and I run out with my camera while Muloy stands outside the car smoking a cigarette.
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