One day after I cursed the idiotic Olympics-induced paranoid that triggered the flight restriction to Beijing, I seethed again with anger at the security checkpoint at the Shanghai Hongqiao airport. I had traveled by train from Hangzhou to Shanghai in order to catch a flight back to Beijing, for ever. Now the guards were taking forever examining my toilettery bag, opening and sniffing at everything, the toothpast tube, the tiny cologne bottle, the hair gel jar, and even my dental floss pack.
"You have to check in this jar because it's over the size limit," I was told by this particularly fastidious female guard who held my hair gel jar with outstretched arms as if it was radioactive.
After they wrote down the details of that jar in a record book, I was escorted to the exit leading back to the check-in area. It felt like 911 all over again.
At the check-in counter, while the pretty attendant attached the baggage tag to my duffle bag, I asked in exasperation what had caused this...carefulness. The upcoming Olympics? The unrest in Tibet?
"Earlier this month some terrorists brought a bottle of gasoline onto a flight from Xinjiang to blow up the plane," The attendant smiled at me sweetly. "Ever since then it became really strict."
"Were they Ughigur?"
With the Ughigur terrorists and the Tibetan riot, the government's paranoid doesn't seem so idiotic after all.