Hong Kong airport, 6am

Last week Hidden Documentary uprooted for a brief and frivolous adventure in Europe. Thankful not to be flying on a QANTAS 380A, I headed off to Melbourne’s Tullamarine airport for the long flight.

I had brought Jack Kerouac’s On the Road for an in-flight read, convincing myself I would finally get further than page fifteen. At about page ten, however, I was filled with a sluggishness which seeped over every part of me, until my feet looked like bowling balls and I had no motivation to do anything. 

It’s funny how flying makes us feel as if our lives are changing at an accelerated rate. The man in 69H spent most of the flight absorbed in empire building on his Ipad. Not only did he conquer a city, restock his armies and build a few warships, but by the time he looked up from the Ipad, he had also flown across the South China Sea.

When you fly, you don’t just change location, but also your entire self. In those few hours pinned into my matchbox seat, suddenly, the normal Melbourne me was transformed into an exotic Australian adventure traveler. The plane touched down in Hong Kong and I made my way into the cavernous terminal, clutching my passport and looking gleefully at the world in transit.

The terminal was basically filled with two types of shops – designer stores and eateries. Knowing I had no money for the designer stores (or energy to pretend I did), I hurried across the terminal towards the eateries. They were divided across the causeway between the Hong Kong fast food, where Chinese were slurping bowls of breakfast noodles, and the European section, where diners were sipping hot chocolates after their dinner meals.

I walked amongst the different shops, smugly enjoying my new exoticness and wondering equally, what exotic land each traveler had come from. For a journalist you can find no better place to people watch. Airports bring together people from hundreds of different countries to shop, eat, read, sleep, wait, run (to the gate), let lost and speak in new languages. 

They are a fascinating microcosm of humanity – especially because in a matter of hours every single person I was watching would be off to another far flung part of the world.


After sitting for several hours watching people walk by, I finished my strange lurid blue drink and walked towards my gate.  I felt it was time for an international Hidden Documentary adventure.

To be continued.