Hoi An Footbridge
Bridges can be fascinating places. Because most of the people of Vietnam still travel by foot or by bicycle, small bridges in the smaller towns are an essential part of a busy network of passage. The Thu Bon River divides the ancient town of Hoi An near the market. The famous Japanese Covered Bridge crosses a tributary, connecting two of the historic districts--the old Japanese and the old Chinese quarters. The original bridge, built in 1593 by the Japanese community, has managed to survive renovations, floods and wars and is now one of the main tourist sites in Hoi An. (It seems rather a shame that the name change in 1719 never caught on; "Bridge for Passers-by from Afar" would be appropriate.)
Around the corner on the main river is the bridge for watching the locals. The An Hoi Footbridge crosses the Thu Bon near the market and early in the morning a fascinating cross-section of Hoi An's society walks across the old concrete bridge. The bridge connects the historic district of Hoi An with the peninsula called An Hoi, an area of homes, cotton mills and other small businesses.
Before six o'clock one morning Steven set his camera and tripod beside the river facing the bridge. For two hours that morning we watched the world of Hoi An go by: children on their way to school, pho vendors off to sell breakfast, a jogging European woman, a western tour group, mothers with children seated on the backs of their bicycles, a dog perhaps wandering home after a night on the town.
The Japanese Covered Bridge must be seen not only for its historic and architectural importance, but also for the sheer delight of watching the people beginning their day and for catching a sense of the Vietnamese people. Find a bench along the river and spend a few hours sitting quietly and watching the world cross the An Hoi Footbridge.
Steve and Sandra Rudy can be reached at PO Box 37, Crested Butte, CO 81224, (970) 349-7319 or by email firstname.lastname@example.org
Selected images are for sale. A matted 11" x 14" is $215.00; a matted 16" x 20" is $320.00; a matted 20" x 24" is $480.00 and a matted 24" x 30" is $720.00. Prices are the same for black-and-white and for color prints.
Published on 11/1/98