Thursday, March 12, 2009

Flighty Hobby

Last Saturday afternoon I was walking along Gongtibeilu, right by the Worker's Gymnasium and decided to take a break.

At first a young girl on pink roller skates caught my eye and a few people walking their dogs and the gymnasium was their meeting spot for the canines to hang out and play.

It was a nice warm afternoon and signaled that spring was just around the corner.

Then behind me did I realize there was a small group of men, about five of them, hanging out with their birds.

These aren't the small ones old men like to keep in bamboo cages that they swing back and forth as they walk.

The birds here were much larger but seemed to be on leashes -- string wrapped around their necks -- that were tied to sticks.

Their wings weren't clipped because a few of them were released and flew to a nearby tree. When called, they would return to their master, with an edible reward in hand.

And the men weren't just retirees, but middle aged and even in their 30s.

All afternoon, that's all they were doing, hanging out talking about their birds and letting them stretch their wings and fly around a bit.

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