Thursday, January 07, 2010

Waiting for family 

I visit my parents often in the winter in Myrtle Beach.  It has an airport that reminds me of how the old Ontario, CA, airport was before LA County decided they wanted it to be the alternative to LAX and enlarged it without regard for passengers.  In the old days you walked in, through security, and outside to gates that had benches.  Myrtle Beach doesn't have you wait outside, but you still walk on tarmac and up trucked-stairs to the plane.  There is something very 1960s about it; you expect an airplane door to open and John, Paul, George and Ringo to pop out.

But better for me is the airport's receiving area.  Passengers come out of the secure area down a long aisle.  Along one side are chairs, where people wait for their friends to arrive.  You never see these seats anywhere else.  Why?  My parents are typical -- seniors waiting for family to come to visit.  Even though it has been 30 degrees most of the week here, children my age arrive daily with smiles to see their parents who have managed to live well enough to be in a vacation area.  Those older people are the ones that need the seats, and there you are.  It is for me a reminder of a pre-9/11 time when going to the airport was exciting and fun.  When my parents picked me up I had been waiting for them, watching these people greet each other.  It was as happy a place as you've seen in an airport in many years, more like those mob scenes at foreign airports when the emigrants to America come back to visit Mom and Dad.

The area here is experiencing 12%+ unemployment; the first two restaurants we tried to visit were closed "temporarily".  (Had a fantastic meal at a small Greek place where we were served by Albanians who had worked in Greece -- figure that out for me please!)  Parking is easy everywhere.  The hospitality industry is still in trouble almost everywhere.  

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