Just Passing Through

Layover (n.): an opportunity to be touristy within the shelter of an airport

In years of travel, I cannot recall a single flight layover in a city I had never visited. Yet this week I stopped in three completely new cities: Dublin, Dubai, and Johannesburg.

Airport gift shops are usually stocked with kitchy items to appeal to tourists. Had I visited any of these new cities, I would have purchased many similar cultural trinkets in local shops and markets. At half price. The idea of buying them on a layover is a bit blasphemous. Nevertheless I wandered the aisles to pass time.

Occasionally, I felt compelled to check a price tag – looking for decorations in my new rondavel in Lesotho, perhaps, or gifts for my new coworkers at TTL Yet having never visited Ireland, United Arab Emirates, or South Africa before, what could I possibly buy with any degree of justification? I don’t even know any Irish, Emiratis, or South Africans well enough to claim respectable knowledge of the culture and sights.

I left empty-handed. As I should.
After all, I was just passing through.

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