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What Your Luggage Tells Others About You

Airports are fascinating places. In the midst of all the rush is the enforced waiting. Waiting that people make use of in all sorts of ways. One of the things that I enjoy most doing is looking at people's luggage and imagining what they do for a living, where they've been, where they're going to and what they might be like if I knew them.

There are two fertile points where I do my luggage musings. The first one is on departure as I queue up to check in my luggage with the rest of the throng. The other is upon arrival as I wait for my belongings in the luggage carousel.

There are the easy to decipher luggages. One of them is the standard airline sized black luggage with wheels and retractable handles that most corporate executives -ever the efficient time managers - carry. Most of these time saver luggages do not end up in carousels nor are they checked in, as they now fall into the hand-carry luggage that can be wheeled (just) along the jumbo jet's tiny middle aisle, stored in the overhead lockers (again just), and whisked out of the plane and the airport for the next boardroom meeting halfway around the globe,

Another easy to figure out luggage is the humongous backpack carried by the globe-trotting young person out to experience the world on a tight budget. Their backpacks are normally double their size and weight and in them I would imagine would be blankets not usually provided in cheap backpacker hostels and pots and pans that might come in handy when they run out of money and need to camp out for the night.

A hard one for me is the hard case Samsonite luggage and the person that comes with it. They seem to fall into all sorts of categories. They could be rich widows who are going to Europe to while away their time and need a few Samsonite hard case luggages with combination locks to secure their diamonds and pearls.

Or they could be just like me who don't own any luggage for myself but borrow from my Mother who happens to own a handsome-looking golden hard case Samsonite luggage. I always think that they would be infrequent travellers like me because who would be sane enough to go more than twice a year carrying a luggage that is heavier than what you would and could put in them, wheels notwithstanding.

One type of luggage and owners that I spotted on my way out of Sydney to Bangkok recently stood out from the rest however. The set of bags were so worn out and dated and were a "mix bag" (pun unintended) of soft imitation leather orange vinyls cracking at the edges, as well as hard case luggages with patches of green peering from the airport stickers - from Athens to Zaire - plastered onto them. The owners seem to be as proud of their bags as the lady next to them with her Louis Vuitton designer label soft case with wheels luggage.

I reluctantly classed them as retired seasoned travellers who are romantics at heart and who would not trade their worn-out, beaten luggages who each carry special memories, for the classiest Louis Vuitton in the world.

I must confess I have been tempted on a number of occasions to strike up a casual conversation with the owners of these hard to decipher luggages to confirm that my suspicions and mental cataloguing are correct. But who wants to spoil the wonderful world of fanciful fiction over the harsh reality of boring facts. Not me. And not in the midst of all the rush and enforced waiting in special places called airports.

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