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June 9, 2012 Posted by tahir in Travel

Kabul airport, Afghanistan

Daydreams and nightmares are the currency of Kabul airport, a realm awash with raw adrenaline, lost hope and off-the-scale corruption. For those flying out, the Afghan capital’s airport has a warm hazy aura. Get to the ramshackle departure lounge and you’ve run a terrifying gauntlet. By the time you reach the broken plastic chairs on the upper level, and the stall selling Marlboros, flat Perrier and stale Pringles, you’ve most likely been threatened and patted down hard. A stream of crooked officials are on standby, eager to coax stray weaponry from your underwear. And they’ll gladly extract a few last dollars too (no worn bills, please) for the privilege of a boarding card.

For those landing at Kabul airport, entering the squalid belly of the terminal building is like stepping into a Jean-Claude Van Damme movie: guns, guns, and more guns – most of them strapped to towering mercenary types with blonde ponytails and cast-iron jaws. The last time I flew out of Kabul, my film crew and I were relieved of all our Super 16 exposed film – a month’s work. The reason? We didn’t have $20,000 in cash for a last-minute bribe.

From The Guardian article ‘Travel writers’ favourite tiny and unusual airports

What’s your favourite tiny and unusual airport? Have you been to any of the airports on this list?