By Walter Mason
Get a flavor of the genuine Vietnam and its humans on a occasionally humorous, consistently interesting trip from the bustling towns to out of ways villages, into Buddhist monasteries and alongside the MekongFrom the loopy warmth and colour of Saigon to the quieter beauty of Hanoi, this is a infrequent, joyous, and from time to time hilarious perception into twenty first century Vietnam. Seduced through the wonder and grace of its humans and the sensuousness of its tradition we will be able to virtually style the little coconut muffins cooked over a fireplace in a smoky Can Tho kitchen, or scent the never-ending offers of clean baguettes and croissants simply out of urban ovens. As colourful urban cafes and bars make approach for visits to out-of-the-way shrines and temples, we take an impromptu stopover at to forbidden fortune tellers, and glimpse a bit of the Cao Dai faith, made recognized in Graham Greene's The Quiet American. touring off the overwhelmed tune to far-flung villages and lesser-known cities, we cruise alongside the Mekong, board hopelessly overcrowded neighborhood buses, or perch perilously at the again of motorbikes. Behind-the-scenes visits to Buddhist monasteries exhibit a quieter and extra transcendent global past the busy day journeys of visitors, and within the procedure, we commence to work out the rustic during the eyes of its humans.
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Extra resources for Destination Saigon: Adventures in Vietnam
The thing is,’ said Khoa, ‘my work bores me. I never wanted to be an analyst for a construction firm! I keep cutting back days at the company and my family gets angry at me. ’ Khoa and a group of his friends had opened up a small office out by the West Lake where they gave feng shui readings and cast the I Ching for interested clients. Feng shui really has experienced a huge resurgence in interest in Vietnam; little neighbourhood feng shui shops have sprung up all over the country. The feng shui wizard is nothing new, and was always an integral part of traditional village life.
It was my way of creating a new self in this alien place. The separation from the written word while living in a foreign country is often hard to bear. Language shapes us and gives people all sorts of clues about who we are. The only way I can attempt this in Vietnam is to haunt the temple bookshops and buy cheap religious magazines, scanning them for familiar words and staring at the pictures for inordinately long periods of time. Back in the courtyard with my bag full of purchases I saw my little guide, his grimy hands popping the very last banana fritter into his mouth.
As there’s so much of it, it normally takes a few days to eat. So you regularly encounter a rotting hulk of durian festering half-open on a kitchen bench or dining table in Saigonese homes, everyone seeming quite pleased with the smell. It’s a favourite flavouring for cakes and sweets, which 16 D e s t i n at i o n S a i g o n is why caution needs to be exercised in selecting sweet deli cacies so that you don’t accidentally bite off a mouthful of, say, a sticky-rice cake only to discover it has been liberally dosed with artificial durian flavour, leaving you feeling anxious and desperate to spit.
Destination Saigon: Adventures in Vietnam by Walter Mason
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