Destination Saigon: Adventures in Vietnam
From the crazy heat and colour of Saigon to the quieter splendour of Hanoi, Walter Mason gives us a rare, joyous and at times hilarious insight into 21st-century Vietnam. Seduced by the beauty and charm of its people, and the sensuousness of its culture, we can almost taste the little coconut cakes cooked over a fire in a smoky Can Tho kitchen, or smell the endless supplies of fresh baguettes and croissants just out of city ovens. As colourful city cafes and bars make way for visits to out-of-the-way shrines and temples, we pay an impromptu visit to forbidden fortune tellers, and glimpse a little of the Cao Dai religion. Travelling off the beaten track to far-flung villages and lesser-known towns, we cruise along the Mekong, board hopelessly overcrowded local buses or perch perilously on the back of motorbikes. Behind-the-scenes visits to Buddhist monasteries reveal a quieter and more transcendent world beyond the busy day trips of tourists. And in the process we begin to see the country through the eyes of its people.
Walter is a writer, a spiritual tourist and a lifelong dilettant.