I get off the plane and as unexpectedly as it is mesmerizing, a healing heath welcomes me. Non air-conned placid silence. I transfer to a lower level and I can’t resist a big smile. What a vivid bright colored mess of people, neon lights advertising hot dogs, piled boxes filled with Turkish Delight and luggage everywhere.
At the verge of different continents appropriate sized hand luggage definitely isn’t an item, I discover in line at the gate for Kinshasa. The people carry along duvet covers, bulking suitcases and a lot of huge plastic bags with no matter what kind of content, all hand luggage. Merchandise most probably, surely no one forbids them to bring along their means of existence. Even if it’s gotta go in the cabin. Two young women catch my attention, both dressed in long black dresses, their heads covered by burka’s but their beautiful faces are uncovered. Never have I seen such stylish examples of orthodox moslem attire. Strass and flowers made of pearls are dangling from the burka besides their invisible ears. Voluminous lips are painted matte red. A purple velvet U-shaped little inflatable cushion is wrapped around the neck of one of the women. Why not indeed carry the customized cushion around your neck I ask myself, as to maximize to the fullest a six hours day time flight experience. Both me and them laugh. Bright eyes, Africa is in sight.
Two weeks later we return to Istanbul airport. We run through it’s alleys in order to catch our connecting flight to Paris. We make it. Not twenty four hours after passing through, the airport is attacked. Thirty people die, we read from a digital device while waking up that next morning in Paris’ 7th arrondissement.