international intrigue


I purchased a snow globe while daytripping in Hong Kong.  It was a gift for a relative.  I never gave it much thought.  I just threw it in my backpack.  I had a hotel in Macau where I was visiting for a few days.  I take a ferry back to Macau and continue with my trip.  I have a couple days in Macau before flying back to Manila.


I spend a couple more days in Manila and then it's time to head home.  I leave Manila flying a jumbo Air China plane.  There's a several hour layover in Beijing before finally getting back to JFK.  I arrive at Aquino airport around 3:00am and wait in a ridiculously long line to check in.  Nobody says anything about snow globes.  I go through security and customs and get on my plane.  The snow globe is safely wrapped in paper inside my backpack.


When I get to Beijing, I start looking for the signs for international transfers.  Beijing has a huge, intimidating airport.  I end up having to go through passport control and security to get to my terminal.  Suddenly, there's a fuss over my backpack.  The security guards are opening up my backpack and going through the sections.  They pull out my snow globe and are making a to do over it.  I am imformed that this is an item not allowed to be taken on the plane as a carry-on item.  This shocks me since I boarded two different flights before arriving at Beijing.


I put up a small argument.  I notice that they have several boxes with confiscated items.  There are other snow globes, glass items, lighters and matches.  I guess they resell the items or divvy them up among themselves.  These are all items that are carried onto planes throughout the rest of the world.


I was a little ticked off about the whole thing.  I refused to buy a cup of coffee or eat any food while waiting for my plane to New York.  It upset my sense of fairness.  But at least now I have a "the Chinese stole my snow globe" story to add to my already stunning portfolio of anecdotes.


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