Through Western eyes
I am not a guy that travels a lot, since I hate flying and it is also kind of frustrating that only 2 years later I have forgotten most of my trip.
In recent years I flew to the East twice though, since my late friend Lin Yun Ta from Taiwan insisted I should come.
I went to Taiwan and China and combined meeting fanciers and talking pigeons with some sight seeing.
I also attended 2 auctions.
Those were unforgettable events, especially since they were so well organised; far better than in Holland or Belgium.
Here it happens that hardly 30 people attend an auction, there the auction team alone, all dressed in special jackets, consisted of about 30 persons; mainly girls.
At both auctions no less than 350 fanciers showed up, some of them accompanied by their wives and they all got food for free.
It was also strange to notice police in the auction room.
They were there because of the big money that Easterners pay for pigeons fromHolland and Belgium of which they think they are good.
Furthermore many auctions are combined; which means 10 European fanciers or so offer birds for sale.
That is a good idea indeed.
If fanciers attend an auction in order to buy pigeons from a certain champion they might see birds from another champion that they want.
Those auctions in the East are not as boring as in Europe since the bidding goes real fast.
The attendants get a yellow card with a personal number on it and when they
want to bid they just put up the card.
It happened that I saw 4 of such cards put up at a time since bidders realise that they have to be fast.
I also found how important it is for Europeans to offer pretty birds.
Many potential buyers handle the birds just before they are auctioned and I know about a Dutch champion who finished himself in just one hour by trying to make money on worthless ugly birds.
As for beauty Taiwanese are like Americans.
They prefer blue bars with eyes that are richly coloured and many grade them with those funny glasses on their noses.
It made me think of a Belgian champion who always says: 'you need not send good birds to the East but pretty birds.'
On a longer term he is wrong of course but no one is blind for beauty when grading birds, especially if it is the first birds that they see from a Champion.
As for China it was remarkable how many are 'Janssen crazy' over there.
What Easterners have in common with many foreigners is that pedigrees are the main thing.
Naturally in a city such as Taipei people cannot afford to have a loft in the yard and when it is training time (about 3.00 p.m.) it is fascinating to see so many managers wave flags on top of those high buildings to force the youngsters to train.
They consider training very important, one hour on the wing is a minimum, and once they start tossing they do this every day and some even twice per day.
It is incredible but they already start tossing babies when they are 10 weeks old.
Due to the climate it is understandable that the lofts are very open.
They are kept real clean which is not strange either since the humidity is so high that the dry litter method would not work.
It was also a surprise for me that so few speak English.
I once joined a dinner with only one person at the table, Mrs Lai from Hong Kong, that spoke English.
This was no problem though, since she was nice company. She is open and talkative, while many Easterners are not.
In Taipei it is scooters that dominate the traffic, while in China you cannot believe how many people move forward on their bikes, even in the big cities.
A bad thing was that the police and customs are so unfriendly and far from helpful.
'Normal' Chinese are the opposite; they are hospitable and friendly and they work hard, real hard.
Therefore it is hard to understand how some Westerners can be so greedy as to try and make money on birds of which they know they are no good.