So far I've failed miserably to do any posts about Christmas and New year, even though I do have a few in mind. So having missed blogging about New Year, I decided I had to blog about Chinese New Year, especially as I realised that a post I intended to write back when I visited Beijing in 2010 would be perfect response to this blog post from my father-in-law.
After eating Peking Duck we were taken on a short walk around the edges of Tian'an Men Square and down Qian Men Dajie (Emperor's Avenue) which I described as "a soulless shopping street". One shop did, however, attract my interest: Yunhong Chopsticks Shop. I only had time for a quick glance through the window, but I was determined that if I had time then I'd go back and take a proper look. Fortunately on the last day I was in Beijing I had time and was in the area.
My picture doesn't really do a good job of showing you what the inside looked like. The best I can do is suggest you imagine what Ollivander's Wand Shop from Harry Potter would like like if it was modernized and sold chopsticks instead of wands. Every conceivable wall space and counter was covered in small boxes. Every draw or cupboard opened to revel more boxes. The sales assistants were very friendly and would ask if you knew roughly what you were interested in and would then buzz around the shop collecting boxes from which they then suggested you try the feel of a pair of chopsticks. It was a fun experience and I spent about half an hour choosing what I wanted to buy.
By this point you might well be thinking, what does this all have to do with Chinese New Year? The answer; I bought Bryony and I each a set of good luck chopsticks engraved with our Chinese birth sign. I'm a goat/sheep and Bryony is a horse. They are apparently made of ebony and silver with the Chinese birth symbol as part of the engraving on the silver (sorry about the image quality but I was in a bit of a rush to get the post out today and I forgot to take the photos while there was daylight).
As a bonus, because we are now in the year of the dragon, here is another photo I took whilst in Beijng of the Nine Dragon Wall in the Forbidden City. You can zoom right into the image although the quality of the photo isn't great. For once it wasn't a problem with the photographer or camera but the level of air pollution I was shooting through.