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Descending the Dragon: My Journey Down the…
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Descending the Dragon: My Journey Down the Coast of Vietnam

by Jon Bowermaster

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This is the journey of traveler Jon Bowermaster. He is used to traversing the globe solo, on assignment for National Geographic and The New York Times (to name a few). The adventure in Descending the Dragon is unlike any other. Bowermaster and a small team of four take to kayaking down Vietnam's northern coastline. Seeing Vietnam from the water was a completely different experience for Bowermaster. He gained a much different perspective of the fishing communities and beach dwellers than if he had approached them from land. As much as he would have liked to have traveled the entire coast by water government restrictions forced him and his crew to travel by land on occasion. Probably the most poignant moment in the book was when Bowermaster was visiting a pagoda and met a monk who desperately wanted to tell him something but couldn't out of fear of betraying the government. Later Bowermaster is told, "Be careful what you use of our words, our faces - because, if the government gets wind of even a small complaint made by us, you will be gone from here and you will have no idea what happens to us" (p 129). It is a land of beautiful contradictions. ( )
  SeriousGrace | Jan 29, 2013 |
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Vietnam's history is constructed atop the myths of dragons.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Sometimes the longest journey begins with great patience. When Jon Bowermaster proposed an 800-mile kayak expedition along Vietnam's northern coastline, the country's government initially responded, "That will be quite impossible." Negotiation saved the day, and Jon Bowermaster and his team of five - including a Vietnamese-American woman who had fled Saigon as a child on the final day of war in 1975 - completed an unprecedented voyage, seeing Vietnam and its people in a brand new light.

One-third of Vietnam's 80 million citizens live on or near the coastline, and Bowermaster met thousands of them - rich and poor, fishermen and entrepreneurs, almost all beach dwellers who live and depend on the sea. For many, he was the first American they had ever encountered. In chapters flowing from north to south, Bowermaster's highly personal story and Rob Howard's compelling images bring to life Vietnam's vibrant edge.

This fascinating volume, offering a fresh perspective on the land and its people, will captivate real-life explorers and armchair travelers alike with its intriguing take on Vietnam from the sea.
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Photographer and journalist travel together to Vietnam's coastline to capture life there.

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