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: When Pico Iyer began his travels, he wanted to know how Rambo conquered Asia. Why did Dire Straits blast out over Hiroshima, Bruce Springsteen over Bali and Madonna over all? If he was eager to learn where East meets West, how pop culture and imperialism penetrated through the world's most ancient civilisations, then the truths he began to uncover were more startling, more subtle, more complex than he ever anticipated. Who was hustling whom? When did this pursuit of illusions and vested interests, with it's curious mix of innocence and calculation, turn from confrontation into the mating dance? Iyer travelled to Bali where despite tourism he realised that Paradise might not be lost after all. He checked on how Tibet was faring as the word's last secret to be revealed to full view. In Nepal, he saw how the Dharma path met Freak Street, and witnessed in China how doors locked to trade were thrown open with breathless courtesy. This is a world where the movie star has become a god and Rajiv Gandhi a celluloid hero, and to travel with Iyer is to experience the seductions and ironies of today's Asian cultures - and our own.