A collection of pieces written while he was the New Yorker's reporter at large in Asia and two later pieces on the Israel-Syrian border and the waters of Holland comprise the homecoming currency of an accomplished travel writer. The world has turned since his visit to China, Tibet, Malaya, Nepal, Kashmir, Afghanistan. Life in 1949 on a sampan (""really a sort of Chinese puzzle that can be taken apart and put together in different ways"") in Canton's Pearl River was not yet affected by Communism; nor were the Tibetans with their yaks, Mani piles and bandits. In the 1950's in Singapore the young Chinese tended to join the Reds like any other society; in Nepal, the Ranas' remove had left a vacuum of power; 1955 Kashmir was a water wonderland with no hint of political struggle for her liquid wealth. Jaipur in 1956 fascinated with its 111 foot wide streets and 15,000 gem cutters; Kabul, that Central Asian oasis, with its fruit. In another world, Christopher Rand visited the kibbutzim of Keryat Shemona, manned the observation posts looking out on the unquiet Huleh Valley. He traveled the polders in the Zuider Zee which will one day add one-tenth to Holland's land, and observed the Delta Plan, where the sea is to be contained and a fresh water reservoir created in the Southwest--answers to Holland's eternal quandary over land and water. Mr. Rand travels with a detachment that permits him to wonder and enjoy; his book must find its consequence in detailing character of place rather than analyzing the political ambience. Like a Chinese water color.