The paper lantern floated down the river, a soft light against the darkness. Dozens of others, red and yellow and blue, orange, purple and every combination of colour imaginable drifted nearby, dancing along the current.
In the old part of Hoi An, coloured lanterns adorn every house, and at night a glow fills the town with the softness of candle light.
|The streets of Hoi An|
|A lantern by daylight|
Although I could see no clouds, lightening flashed across the sky, and a distant rumble sounded. The humidity rose even higher. The wet season is an interesting time to visit Vietnam, where it be a coastal town like Hoi An, or travelling the Mekong.
From the bridge, I stood and watched the lanterns as they floated down river. They slowly drifted out of sight, and I wondered how far they went and where they would finally sink, or maybe come ashore.
|Lanterns for sale, Hoi An|
On the other side of the river are the night markets. Lanterns, of course, are for sale, plus everything a tourist needs: cards, hair-clips, pearls, clothes, memorabilia from the war. Whole stalls are devoted to selling lanterns of every colour and shape. Whatever the size, the stall holders can pack them flat, ready to be taken home across the world.
Fat drops fell from the sky, and in a sudden burst of frenzy tarpaulins were stretched across the markets. We made a dash for the restaurant, and a few minutes later, glass in hand, we stood on the balcony watching the downpour. Despite the torrent, people still bustled amongst the stalls, and music drifted up to us.
|Decorations outside a shop, Hoi An|
|Even lanterns at the hotel!|
Across the river, the old town wavered in the storm. I could still see a few lights floating on the river. The lanterns of the town flicked, and it seemed as if Old Hoi An was floating away, back to a forgotten time.