So I had to go down to Toronto to Pearson International Airport on Wednesday. My youngest brother is in critical care on a respirator for reasons we aren't still 100% sure of. He has gone from bad to better to bad to better to a little better to extremely bad, which is where we are sitting down. It's so bad that that is the reason I went to the airport - to pick up my younger brother (the middle child) who flew home from Australia on a last minute flight. That is how bad it is. So I did what I could do - I took responsibility for getting my brother to my parents', where my dad got him to where our brother is.
But first, I people watched.
His flight was supposed to be in from Perth via Dubai at 3:45pm. Hah. Yeah, right. A flight in on time? Please. His flight finally landed at 5:04pm. Which was actually ten minutes ahead of when they said it was going to land. As I knew it was going to be late - thanks to my sister in law who e-mailed me at 4am to tell me that at that point it was already 4 hours behind - I left late and got the the airport about quarter past four. And that left me with lots of time to people watch.
People watching at the busiest airport in Canada at Terminal One International arrivals (which is one of two, the other being Terminal 3) is, to say the least interesting. So, things I learned....
Firstly, Mediterranean and Middle Eastern men kiss each other. A lot. Which I actually found kind of refreshing compared to western men who barely even shake hands. It would appear that, to western men, touching another man is, well, it would make them look gay. Quite honestly, I'd rather have a man not be afraid to great another man the way I saw many men greet each other at the airport, rather than just a "hey, how's it going?" I did manage to get my brother to give me a hug though.
There were lots of Muslim women there in headscarves, especially once my brothers flight landed from Dubai, but that would pretty much be a given. However, there is one thing I'd like to kindly say to a couple (just a couple) of my sisters in Islam. Girlfriend, the headscarf? When you're wearing skinny jeans and fitted jacket that leave absolutely nothing to the imagination, the scarf covering your hair? Almost pointless. I loved some of the African women who were there with bright colourful scarves. I love bright, colourful scarves with amazing prints, but I find them next to impossible to actually find. Maybe a trip to Africa will solve that problem. It might create other problems, but it would certainly solve THAT problem. Oh, and to you sisters that looked at me like I had five heads? Yeah. I'm a white girl. Wearing hijab. And yes, I was the only white girl wearing hijab there. And I was wearing a long loose, long sleeved shirt and jeans (and most definitely NOT skinny jeans by any means of the definition). So I wasn't wearing a flowing skirt or an abaya (come to think of it, I didn't see a single abaya in the place, either in the people waiting or coming off the plane) but yeah - I'm a white, Muslim girl. Get over it.
There was a lady there that made me think that for a moment we might just have possibly been in a small, rural Russian or Eastern European village. Mid-calf skirt, long sleeved sweater and hair covered with a kerchief. And when she met the people she was waiting for (coming off a flight from Warsaw) it was all "Nyet" and "Dah" so I'm pretty sure we could have been in a rural Russian village. If we were in rural Russia.
Tween/early teen boys from Poland? Bad haircuts. Though as my brother said, there's a huge punk culture among youth in Poland, so that would explain why they looked like they just stepped out of an 80s punk rock band poster. I grew up in the 80s. I'd really rather not see the 80s again.
I had to giggle (very softly) to myself over the people coming off the flights from the Caribbean, Mexico and Florida. Shorts? Really? In Canada? In early April? Oh honey, you're gonna freeze when you get outside, seeing as it's hovering not much above zero. And there were way too many older-middle aged women who were wearing shorts and shirts that left nothing to the imagination. The last time I saw that much cleavage was at the beach. When I'd go to the beach. As much as I'd rather not judge, I know I am right now. But I just do not understand by any sense of the imagination why people have the need to flaunt their bodies like that. Why do people feel the need to walk around three quarters naked so that you leave nothing to people's imaginations? Quite honestly, I'd rather see someone completely covered - male or female. Even before I became Muslim, I was (except for my hair) covered. I rarely even wore shorts during the summer.
The number of languages I heard I could even count. The number of nationalities I wouldn't even fathom to count.
I love people watching at the airport.