Don’t Get Detained in a Chinese Airport

After an incredible weekend in Beijing (great wall, great food, great shopping), we headed back to Guangzhou. I packed my already brimming suitcase with newly acquired treasures from the Silk Market and went to the airport. In China, they scan your checked bag with you standing there, just in case anything is fishy so they know exactly who the perpetrator is. I was confident my bag was indeed, fishless, so imagine my surprise when I see a red light start flashing as my bag is put through the machine.

After a thorough searching of my bag (oh no, wave my days of the week undies around for everyone to see, like you’ve just captured a flag, that’s totally fine).  Again he runs the bag through and again a red flashing light appears.  I look back at the growing line helplessly as I keep telling the man “I don’t have anything, I promise.”  This conveyor belt carousel goes around a few more times, until he again opens my bag and digs through.  Then, he spots something in a pocket, reaches down to grab it, and holds it in the air, triumphantly, like he just discovered the holy grail.

He holds the nun chucks in one hand and calls his boss with the other.  “I don’t even know how to use them!” I shout at the man, helplessly. I feel taking them back and doing a few martial arts moves, just so he’ll see how clearly I DON’T know how to use them.  The supervisor comes over and starts talking quickly in a language I neither speak nor understand.  He motions for us to come with him. I feel a pit grow in my stomach. At this point, my brother steps in and starts speaking Mandarin back, giving him his passport.  I’m not sure what was discussed, but eventually the man relents, and takes both of our passports, instead of us, and goes into a back room.  After what feels like an eternity, the man comes back, and hands the nunchucks and the passports back and tells us to get on the plane…now.

As we run towards the gate, my brother informs me that there has been a rash of foreigners being arrested for trying to bring nun chucks on a plane. Apparently smuggling cocaine in the handles was something that was happening in real life and not on an episode of the A-team.  I think to myself that this information would have been really valuable about two hours ago.  I sigh with relief as I settle into the airplane seat knowing that I could easily be somewhere else much less comfortable.  All for a pair of nunchucks.  I imagine myself in a Chinese cell, sitting around with the other ne’re-do-wells, talking about what we’ve done to be put in the clink. “Nunchucks,” I’d say, leaning back, crossing my arms like Chuck Norris, “Nunchucks on a plane.”


Instead, I order a coke and play sudoku.


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