Friday, August 31, 2012

Moon Festival in Hoi An

So last night we had a lot of fun attending the Hoi An Full Moon Night. Every full moon, part of the town (the most touristy part) turns off all of the electric lights for a few hours and everyone uses lanterns instead to pay homage to the moon. They also set afloat little paper lanterns in the water and you can go out in a boat to release one if you like and enjoy the scenery. We thought it sounded like fun so we asked if any of our friends would like to come and we headed down after getting crazy lost with all of the traffic - a lot of the locals go as well - and while trying to find gas as Michael had forgotten to fuel up before we left :) But it's all a part of the grand adventure and we didn't have to walk our bike at all so it turned out great.
When we got to Hoi An we met up with everyone and shuffled through the crowds (there were SO many people there!) and found a restaurant to eat dinner. We went up on the balcony and here is the view from there:
It was really beautiful, all of the little dots you might be able to see are lanterns, and the larger dots at the bottom of the picture are the clusters of paper lanterns you could buy to float on the river.

Here's an awkward shot of me and Michael at the restaurant, not many of our pics turned out well unfortunately. (Do you like Michael's choice of facial hair? You can't see it but the sides are still there on his cheeks. It was a riot at work but made me think of him as a little too Country. Today he shaved the cheeks so there's only the handlebar mustache, just one more shave to go until I get my clean-shaven cutie back.) I ordered traditional Hoi An Noodles, and Michael had Shrimp and some other seafood ravioli, which turned out to be more like fried wontons than ravioli but it was really good. We also had guava yogurt and orange yogurt to drink and the French version of flan - called Creme Caramel - for dessert, all for roughly $15US.

By far one of my favorite parts of the evening involved this little guy:
After we had eaten dessert and were talking, a little gecko comes crawling across the table, flicking his tongue out in the direction of our dessert plate. To our amazement, he actually proceeds across the table (despite the paparazzo Michael) and starts to lick the sugar sauce off of the spoons: 

I don't know if you can see it or not, but this is a photo of him licking the spoon, if you look close you can even see his little tongue. It was the cutest thing I've ever seen in my entire life, it was SO amazing.
 Here's a photo of the lanterns hung around the restaurants. They didn't have the electricity off as long as we were expecting but it was still really beautiful, and most of the electricity was just to light the lanterns anyway. The atmosphere was lots of fun, though crazy crowded.
 By some of the bridges you could just purchase a lantern to set in the water instead of going out by boat (we didn't do either but watched instead). The papers were all different colors and it was so beautiful to see them out and about (even though in the photo they are starting to cluster as the night wraps up).
 A nice family from Belgium stopped and took a photo of our group. From the left there is Diana (I think from Germany but maybe not), Mary (from France), me and Michael, and Charles (also from France). Charles said we could be French for the evening if we wanted to feel more like the cool part of the group :)
 More photos of the lanterns around town. The spots on the lens are from negligence in cleaning it, not a bunch of ghosts, sorry.
 Here's a photo of one of the ladies selling lanterns. They were little folded papers with a small square of styrofoam inside with a candle anchored in the middle, really neat. 
One of my other favorite parts of the evening were the lantern shops. They were absolutely gorgeous at night, and there would be these amazing stretches of 3-4 shops in a row creating this vast wall of colors. Most of the lanterns are all made by hand, with a wooden frame and a silk cover. The ones with designs are painted or embroidered by hand. It was really beautiful. In the end we had a lot of fun, it was really crowded all over and you had to make an effort not to be run over by a scooter, but it was nice to be having fun with the locals too - we weren't the only ones looking at the booths and Knick-Knacks, and we got some awesome prizes from some of the booths to send home.


Miranda said...

Next month should be really cool because it's the moon festival. I think it's funny that geckos love sweet things so much. Maybe bugs are sweet?

Donna said...

Lokks like heaps of fun. Hoi An was one of my fav places

Tabitha said...

I love the idea of the moon festival and only using lanterns - I so wish something like that would catch on around here so we could turn everything off and see the stars once in awhile. The lanterns are sooo pretty!! And I love the little gecko!