I'm Portuguese, live in Lisbon and I'm a travel addict!
I've been traveling since I was a teenager and I've been around the World a few times already.
This is my attempt to share with you my experiences and the knowledge I've collected after more than 20 years of non-stop traveling. Hope you like it!
You can read more about me here.
Of all the places that I visited in Vietnam, the city of Hoi An was the one that touched my heart the most. I just loved to stroll along the city’s river banks and listen to the noise and the excitement of the central market. That chaotic mix of buyers, sellers, live poultry and curious travelers made me smile and feel good inside!
Things did not slow down after the sunset. At night there was always music and dancing and a special ceremony, where people formulated their wishes and placed small paper lanterns in the Bon River.
Locals sell these lanterns everywhere. One night I decided to buy one so I could make a wish too. I almost bought it from a child who was chasing me for a while, but then I saw an elderly lady sitting in a corner looking really sad.
She had a tray full of paper lanterns with candles and something gave me the impression that she hadn’t sold any that night. I then noticed that she had difficulty walking, so she probably couldn’t chase the tourists like the others.
I approached her and asked how much the lanterns cost. She was so happy with my purchase that she hugged me and wanted to take a photo with me.
Her English wasn’t very good so we communicated more with signs than with words but that was all we needed to get along. After a friend of mine snapped the photo of the two of us, the lady insisted on going to the river with me.
The river bank was quite high where we stood, so to place a candle into the water we needed a sort of a wooden stick. The kind old lady taught me how to use it, so I made my wish and then placed the lantern with the candle into the river. I watched it drift away carrying my secret, as it disappeared among hundreds of other little lights and hopes.
After the ceremony, the lady gave me another hug and said goodbye. Until this day I treasure this moment as one of my all-time favorite travel stories.