Destination Saigon – Walter Mason
From the crazy heat and color of Saigon to the quieter splendor of Hanoi, this is 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 colorful city cafes and bars make way for visits to out-of-the-way shrines and temples, we take an impromptu visit to forbidden fortune tellers, and glimpse a little of the Cao Dai religion, made famous in Graham Greene’s The Quiet American. Traveling 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.