China is the symbolic gift for the twentieth wedding anniversary. Since I have been collecting china plates for years, my husband Bob was not about to buy me another set or even one more piece. We thought of going to China--a clever pun on the symbol, but just the airfare was well out of our budget so we were stuck for an idea. Until my husband, found out the day we were married fell on the same day as the celebration of the Chinese New year. That was it! We could celebrate our wedding anniversary in Chinatown.
The first thing I did was make sure what time the parade was starting so we could get there early enough to find a good place to watch. The parade began at noon. I also noticed some streets would be closed for the parade and parking was also likely to be a problem so I looked up other options and found out how easy it was to get there by public transportation. I also made reservations for early dinner at a Chinese restaurant.
Our teenage children Sophia and Max were excited when I told them our plans, but not excited by how early we had to get up on a Saturday morning. Once we arrived they almost forgot how early it was. There were so many cute shops to look through and even Asian street performers doing everything from traditional Chinese dancing, to acrobatics and even a martial arts demonstration.
The a parade was very exciting. There were several small floats with pretty girls in traditional Chinese costumes riding on them. Max and Sophia were almost sorry we had gotten so close as one of the strings of firecrackers exploded almost in front of them. The troupe of acrobats we saw earlier performed more amazing feats including balancing chairs on their chins and spinning plates on the ends of long sticks. A beautiful girls dressed in Chinese costumes of every shade carried parasols. Every so often they would take them from their shoulders and twirl them to the left and right. A golden ball representing the sun was carried by two teenagers and the dragon came after it. A huge hollow lion-like dragon head was raised and lowered by a man at the beginning and at least twenty other men followed beneath a the dragon's painted red silk body. The dragon slithered from side to side as the men danced in a curving line. The dragon made its way down the street to clashing of symbols and drumming.
After the parade was over we spend some more time looking around at the shops and then headed to the restaurant to have our early dinner. I had heard the restaurant was one of the oldest and best in Chinatown. It was not much to look at on the outside, but inside the lighting was dim and intimate. The decor was like the interior of an ancient Chinese palace. The meal was served on imported China and the waiters were dressed in traditional Chinese costumes. The chairs were carved out of cherry wood and upholstered in oriental silk brocade. Traditional Chinese flute music played soothingly in the background. Over each table hung a large globe shaped paper lantern. Everyone loved the luxurious environment! We decided it was best to order one of their dinner feasts so we could try a variety of dishes for less money. Bob ordered a bottle of Champagne for an anniversary toast to twenty more wonderful years together. After our toast we were surprised when the waiter came over to ask us if we had really been married for twenty years and Bob told him the date we were married. He said it was a shame not to have a picture to remember the event with and Bob handed him his camera so he could take a picture of our happy family together. It came out really nice and is a really great portrait of us.