Our journey across the city to find our first practising falconer was just from a spy movie.
It was getting late and the light was fading fast, we were bundled into a taxi for a dozen miles, then we hopped onto a bus only to get onto another then another taxi towards a very doggy looking part of town.
By now my guide was getting a bit edgy as we were asked to walk though the alleyways of apartment blocks until we came to another bus stop where a phone call was made from a street phonebox.
We waited and eventually a young man came out of the gloom, greeted us and took us to a high rise apartment where his mother greeted us at the door.
This was Mr.Zhucheng, a young teenager with a fine saker falcon in his bedroom. He flew the falcon at rabbits in the surrounding park and fields as we were now on the outskirts of the city. He had flown sparrow hawks and shrikes before but as is tradition they release their hawk or falcon in the spring.
Our young friend told us of other markets in outlying towns who traded in falcons and hawks and we decided to make a visit the following day to find more falconers.
Just before I left he tied a small hood made to fit a shrike to the strap of my shoulder bag as a gift.