In those late days anyone could go to Saigon who was rash enough to try. A few months before the Tet offensive, there were already hundreds of Vietcong hiding in the suburbs, and foreign travellers were reduced to a trickle of irresponsible intruders like myself.
I arrived with an unfocused idea of discovering something about war. I sweated along the streets in a threadbare tweed jacket which wouldn’t fit into my rucksack (every photograph of myself at this time, whether in Burma, Japan or Cambodia, includes this ludicrous piece of clothing). The leather from my boots was shedding itself in dust-clogged slivers, but I barely noticed. I had grown into my clothes the way travellers do who haven’t looked in a mirror for weeks.
I had little more than twenty-four hours in Vietnam. But I was refused transport to the surrounding country and I walked out into flatlands of such desolate similitude that I turned back after a few hours and explored Saigon instead.