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Reviewed by Jon Michael Miller for Readers' Favorite
In Postcards Home 2 by W.D. Mast, a sociologist and anthropologist, we are fortunate to take two trips around the world, documented by actual postcards—with their writings—as well as Mr. Mast’s flowing commentary. So, let’s take a quick tour of his travels in this amazing book. In the first circumnavigation, we learn to ski with him and his friends in Switzerland. Next, it’s Calcutta where besides visiting the Taj Mahal, he learns to eat with his hands. In Malaysia’s Temple of the Azure Cloud, he’s attacked by a toothless king cobra, and in China, he wows kids with the magic of Polaroid photography. In Australia, a kangaroo with a joey in its pouch helps him par a golf hole, and in Bali he spends almost a whole day bargaining for a woodcarving of a goddess. Kabul teaches him about Afghanistan scouting and to watch out for antique carpet salesmen, and in Dharan he learns about watch vendors. We find him swimming with porpoises and toying with piranhas in the Brazilian Amazon. He’s nearly kidnapped in Karachi, and in Taiwan he receives a hotel massage from a blind woman. After a break, his lust for travel takes him around the globe once more, to Australia again where he’s frightened by wild dingoes, in Algeria he meets the “blue people” of Tamanrasset, in New Zealand he’s doused in beer, and in Iran, he’s almost caught up in the Revolution. Finally, at the outset of his North American tour, he becomes acquainted with the “crazy” drivers of Boston.
But this book, with W.D. Mast’s wonderful stories and the accompanying photos and actual cards, is much more than a world tour. After reading it, you will feel as if you met a new friend. Mr. Mast is a marvelous role model for all travelers. He tells us that as much as he learned from the multifarious friendships he makes, he has learned more about himself. As we do, right along with him. His curiosity and his love of mankind move him not only to see the sights but to make friends, to appreciate other cultures. And his writing is downright splendid, direct, and to the point so that we learn about him as a person not from what he says but from what he does. He’s funny, observant, sharing, curious, and caring. His genuine goodwill is infectious. When asked about his favorite place, he at first mentions the “immense scenic beauty” and the “generous, good-spirited people” of New Zealand, but then comes back to the unparalleled beauty of the good old U.S.A. Postcards Home 2 is a superb manual for any world traveler, not only for what to see but for how to be.