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Travel Diaries: Hoi An – Part 3

pictures making lanterns

Dates: 05/02

My last day in Hoi An started with a nice walk and a cheese omelette. I sat outside as I looked at all the chaos going on in the street. Motorbikes. Merchants. Animals. It all looked like madness, but the people were so calm. As I sat there drinking my Vietnamese-filtered coffee, I contemplated how negative we can be at times. Sure, there’s chaos in our lives. We all have problems that seem like they will never end. I highly doubt that these people are any different. However, they smile, they are tranquil, and they are peaceful. I need to learn how to be more like them. 

I finished my coffee and walked to the centre of Hoi An, where I was about to take a lantern-making class. I was quite excited about this as I love arts and crafts. Yes, I know this is a tradition and not arts and crafts, but I was excited to make something myself. 

I walked in and was welcomed with a glass of pineapple tea. Yes, you read correctly. Pineapple tea. It was so good I finished it almost instantly. I was only waiting for a few minutes when another girl, Jessica*, joined me. Another backpacker, this time from Australia. 

We started the class by threading bamboo sticks through wires. Of course, I made a mistake and had to take everything apart and start again – typical me. I eventually got it right and we started bending the bamboo. We took photos as we went along to document the process and our progress. 

Once the frame was done, we chose our material and proceeded upstairs, where we would learn how to paint on the lantern. Let me tell you, it looks a lot easier than it actually is. It took hours for us to complete our lanterns. I selected a purple silk cover (purple is my favourite colour) and choose a cherry blossom tree as a painted design.

I finished before Jessica but the instructors still needed to dry my lantern, so we grabbed lunch with Amanda*, another girl who joined half an hour after us. We shared our travelling experiences as we ate traditional Vietnamese food. It was nice to sit and have a meal with other people. This together with my encounter the day before made me feel like I really didn’t need to be alone on this trip. 

We headed back to the workshop and completed our lanterns. I had a transfer to catch so I left before Jessica and Amanda had their finished product. The Vietnamese family (six brothers and sisters – wow) took photos of me with my lantern and I was on my way. 

I walked back to Trường Thịnh Homestay Hội An, where Long was very kindly storing my luggage. I asked if he knew how I could call a taxi to take me to my transfer and he very nicely called one for me. He spoke to me about the lotus flower and why it is the traditional flower of Hoi An. 

The lotus flower grows in muddy water and emerges as a clean species. Therefore, it symbolises beauty in all circumstances. This is a common belief in Asian cultures, and it touched my heart. It made me think about what I experienced in the morning – the calmness in the chaos. 

My transfer arrived, cutting our conversation short. Long’s family and I said our goodbyes and I was on my way. I wholeheartedly recommend Trường Thịnh Homestay Hội An if you are ever in Hoi An as Long’s dedication and passion towards making his guests feel comfortable is outstanding. I thank him from the bottom of my heart for his kindness and hospitality.

My next adventure takes me to Hue, which is a three-and-a-half-hour drive from Hoi An. Stay tuned!

You can find photos of Hoi An on the official Alpha Content Instagram page. Follow @the_life_of_a_creative_writer for more.

*The names of the people I met have been changed to protect their identities and respect their privacy. 

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