MIAT is the international airline code for Mongolian Airlines. Delta is DL .. American is AA .. Mongolian is MIAT. So right off the bat you all know this is about my flight North from Hong Kong to Ulaanbaatar Mongolia on MIAT flight OM 298 last Tuesday the 1st of March 2016.
Now for the second part of the above title .. PEANUT BUTTER.
I like PEANUT BUTTER. Not only do I like it but it has become a major part of my eating pattern here.
Here in Mongolia PEANUT BUTTER is very difficult to find. Oh yes you can .. once in awhile .. who knows why .. find it. That is the kind of sort of good news.
The not-so-good news is that IF you are lucky enough to actually find PEANUT BUTTER it comes in very small 8-oz jars. The small 8-oz jars cost US $ 2.00 each. Oh By The Way IF you do find it there will usually be just one jar available. So it is not possible to ‘stock up’ on it.
It is said that every cloud has a silver lining. The silver lining in this case is that I find uses for the small jars after I eat the peanut butter. The jar on the left below is holding my cell phone charger. Just in case you were wondering what N1 means ‘Zilla it is for my Nokia Cell Phone 1.
The below jar contains forty (48) eight ounces of peanut butter. It is (6) times the size of the Mongolian jar. In Hong Kong where I found these 48-oz ‘Costco Sized’ monsters they cost US $ 6.71. Now it is NOT just about the money. Well I guess maybe it is just about the money. Six of the 8-oz jars would cost US $ 12.00.
“Now THAT’S A JAR OF PEANUT BUTTER MATE ! ”
“Oh Hi Crocodile Dundee. How nice of you to drop in here for a short visit.”
I ENVY ALL OF YOU WHO DO NOT HAVE THESE DISCUSSIONS WITH ALL OF YOUR THINGS!
Thus he is free as a carry on since I can use it as a great pillow. IF any of the airline staffers were to say anything about my three pieces of carry on luggage I would just smile and pull him out and slip him on. Oddly .. so far .. I have never ever been questioned about my three pieces of carry on luggage.
The top bag in the photo below is my ‘medical supplies’ bag with my CPAP breathing machine and some other items I carry to support it such as an extra hose and face mask and filters and several bottles of metamucil etc. You can NOT get metamucil in Mongolia nor anything similar. I use it daily so if I want some I must take a supply of it with me. The bottom piece is my back pack. The parka bag above makes three pieces.
The plot begins to thicken. The Homy Inn in Hong Kong has a baggage weighing scale. What a gift that is. I decided to pack the PEANUT BUTTER (SIX pounds) in my one piece of checked baggage and weigh it.
Down to the Homy Inn office I trot. TROUBLE IN RIVER CITY AND I MEAN TROUBLE. My checked bag (above) weighed in at just a tad under 23-kilograms. International flights allow you 20-kilograms. I had talked to MIAT when Patti left and they said for each kilogram over the allowed weight limit the fee is HKG $ 50 / US $ 7.75. WELL MAYBE IT IS ABOUT THE MONEY ..
Re weighing my suitcase I was right at the limit .. 20-kilograms. Because of the 6-lbs of PEANUT BUTTER I was now well over weight for my carry on bags but I have never ever had them weighed. The two peanut jars and the two metamucil jars totaled 8-lbs 4-oz.
So out and off we go to Chek Lap Kok (Hong Kong) International Airport. I took a taxi to the Airport Express Station in Kowloon. Repeat IN a taxi. I wonder IF I will ever again in this Hong Kong lifetime walk by foot to the Airport Express pickup points. How do you go back in time. The taxi is soooooo easy. HKG $ 52 / US $ 6.71.
I checked my one suitcase in at the Airport Express Kowloon Station.
The weight was almost exactly at the maximum of 20-kilograms. I was not too concerned because I felt the Homy Inn scale was good. In any event I don’t really think the airlines are going to make a fuss out of 1/2-kilogram or so over weight. They may even let it go up to 2-kilograms (which would be a 10% overage) but I don’t want to gamble on this. Lastly it helps (well I think it helps) that I am a member of the Mongolian Airlines Blue Sky Club as a frequent flier.
Am I getting old here? I don’t know but the security line(s) and immigration process in these enormous international airports is getting just a tad boring and yes give it a name .. stressful.
Finally I am at the business end of the security process and it is stand and deliver time. I put my things in the baskets (wallet .. cell phone .. you know-the-drill) and into the x-ray machine went my back pack and CPAP bag and parka.
I look off into the far distance.
Trust me those are words you do not want to hear.
” Sir may we open up these bags Sir ? “
I wonder IF anyone in their right mind has ever said .. “NO !” .. Let alone.. “Heck NO !” .. As in : “NO You can NOT open up my bags.”
“Mister Security Agent you are not listening to me. Let me show you again. Let me repeat myself. The jars are brand new. They have never even been opened. Can’t you see the safety seal is unbroken! Take a closer look please.”
Let me tell you .. allow me to enlighten you .. I have been living here in Asia for over a year now .. They can be so calm and absolutely untouched by what you are saying. Inscrutable Asian expressions tell you nothing.
” The one at the bottom of your back pack can not go either ! “
Long pause .. I was thinking .. “He didn’t understand one word I just said.”
He certainly did hear and yes he understood me! He said to me with an exceedingly helpful and extremely polite demeanor and in really great perfect English ..
“Sir you can leave security and go to your airline counter and check your items as checked luggage.”
I am thinking .. to myself .. with MY Western inscrutable look!
“Lord God in Heaven above. I have been here and I have done this. Do I want to do it again?”
In case you don’t remember .. See the below link!
THANK GOODNESS FOR BEING EARLY. I had time to do this.
“I .. am .. just .. going .. to .. do .. this ! Without my stash of PEANUT BUTTER I will just shrivel up and and I WILL tip over and die. Let’s rock!”
Thank You young Riley for the great line ..
So out and off went gimme-some Roy to the land that knows no time .. THE SEARCH FOR THE PERFECT HIGH .. SHEL SILVERSTEIN ..
We left the security area (I was accompanied out). You do not just wander out of the security check area. Leaving security and going-back-to-square-one is a process! Paper work is involved! The agent had to fill out a form for me.
So out and off went gimme-some Roy to the land that knows no time ..
I show up at the MIAT check in counter in the main terminal.
“You want to do what?” the MIAT counter agent said. “Am I to put a luggage tag onto each jar?”
Exactly how on earth do you check two jars of PEANUT BUTTER?
“Dad I have always wanted to be a piece of luggage. Put the PEANUT BUTTER inside of me Dad and I will carry it for you up to Ulaanbaatar. You can carry or wear your parka Dad.” /s/ YOUR WONDERFUL STUFF SACK
Great idea little stuff sack. You are a real trooper. The MIAT agent was super about it all when I provided a piece of baggage for the PEANUT BUTTER. Without the stuff sack to serve as a ‘suitcase’ I think all would have been lost.
How do I end this?
Oh By The Way .. My flight was delayed by over five (5) hours. It sure made me feel better that I went back and got the peanut butter checked through to Mongolia. If I had lost it because I did not want to have to hurry to get to my departure gate and then had to wait FIVE (count them 5) HOURS for my flight to depart ..
I would have been .. EXTREMELY UPSET !
In both instances .. first to save my mini-tweezers and second to save my peanut butter .. I really made the right-call to save each of them.
I think I am Smiling .. Cap ..
- MAR 2, 16 .. IN AM IN ULAANBAATER .. MONGOLIA
- MAR 4, 16 .. MobiCom .. MY MONGOLIA CELL PHONE CARRIER