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Day 36: Illuminating The Past

Even in historic locales, it’s sometimes hard to get a feel for life in days gone by. The endless barking of souvenir vendors selling smartphone accessories and the dodging of motorbikes are a reminder that you’re in a modern-day tourist area. But when the sun goes down in Hoi An, a sense of what was begins to emerge. The vendors head home to their families, the commute slows and the lanterns that lit the streets 500 years ago illuminate a revived town.


That moment you realize you've taken the same picture roughly 20 times is when you know you're seeing something special. Our memory card is full of variations of Hoi An street scenes. The bright colors, interesting angles and haunting lighting is a photographer's dreamーeven for point-and-shooters like us.

That moment you realize you’ve taken the same picture roughly 20 times is when you know you’re seeing something special. Our memory card is full of variations of Hoi An street scenes. The bright colors, interesting angles and haunting lighting is a photographer’s dreamーeven for point-and-shooters like us.


Just after breakfast time, the small cafes began to empty out and the streets quieted before the daily rush of tourists arrived. This knick-knack vendorーstill in his pajamasーcaught a few winks during the downtime.

Just after breakfast time, the small cafes began to empty out and the streets quieted before the daily rush of tourists arrived. This knick-knack vendorーstill in his pajamasーcaught a few winks during the downtime.


Ornate decorations floated all along the Thu Bon River, including this one depicting Maudgalyāyana, a disciple of Buddha, emerging from a lotus flower.

Ornate decorations floated all along the Thu Bon River, including this one depicting Maudgalyāyana, a disciple of Buddha, emerging from a lotus flower.


The Japanese Covered Bridge was built sometime in the 1700s, linking the Japanese and Chinese merchant settlements in Hoi An. A small Buddhist temple is attached to the bridge, the only one of its kind in the world.

The Japanese Covered Bridge was built sometime in the 1700s, linking the Japanese and Chinese merchant settlements in Hoi An. A small Buddhist temple is attached to the bridge, the only one of its kind in the world.


A moment of serenity in the streets of Hoi An.

A moment of serenity in the streets of Hoi An.


On the ides of the lunar month, the electric lights in the ancient town are turned off and all motorized traffic is blocked, leaving only the lights of the lanterns. We visited in between these holidays, but just a regular night in Hoi An is a close replica.


Nice by day...

Nice by day…


...and nicer by night!

…and nicer by night!


The lanterns at this shop were a big tourist draw for shoppers during day and photographers at night.

The lanterns at this shop were a big tourist draw for shoppers during day and photographers at night.


A boy on a bike coasts through the lantern-lit streets.

A boy on a bike coasts through the lantern-lit streets.


More Photo of the Day posts from Taiwan, China, Hong Kong and Vietnam

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