Highbrow hawker

On our travels, I’ve gotten used to people trying to sell me all manner of things I usually don’t want: transport, massage, tickets, tours, dinner, cold drinks, cigarettes, lighters, marijuana, jewelry, Chinese fans, t-shirts, crafts, sunglasses, belts…

But I have to admit I was taken aback on my first night in Saigon when I saw women (mostly women), often in pajamas, going from restaurant to restaurant with improbably high stacks of books balanced gingerly on their hips. Books! I could hardly believe it. It was like we’d stumbled upon some alternate universe of highbrow hawkers.

Woman in Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon) with a stack of counterfeit books for sale

And the selection of books is not half bad either. An array of Lonely Planets, your standard travel reading fare, a few classics, and some local history options. It was only later that I discovered they’re all counterfeit! The covers are glossy and look genuine from a distance, but inside they’re photocopies. We wanted to pick one up, more as a souvenir than anything else. And maybe to read. So we got Life of Pi for $3. Sorry Yann, we owe ya $15.

A look inside a clearly photocopied copy of 'Life of Pi' purchased Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon)

Care to Comment?

Or if you'd prefer to get in touch privately, please send me an email.


Email (optional)

Blog (optional)