Tag Archives: facebook
February 21, 2012

Thoughts on Vietnam

It was just before 6am when the tuk tuk we’d arranged the night before arrived.  We’d been waiting in the lobby with our bags.  I tossed them in and asked him to take us to the bus station.

We didn’t expect Phonsavanh to be so cold in the morning.  It must have been close to freezing and we were wearing shorts and sandals.  We never went over 30kph, but the tuk tuk was open to the elements and our teeth were chattering when we arrived at the bus station on the outskirts of town.

We showed our tickets and shoved our bags underneath the bus.  Oksana climbed aboard to claim our seats while I looked over the snacks at the station kiosks.  I started up a conversation with the only other tourists in sight.  Derek and Paulien were from the Netherlands and had just traveled through all the same places we’d been, going all the way back to Phuket, in Thailand.  When I asked them if they were going to Vietnam, too, they looked relieved.  It always feels good when you get independent verification about the bus you’re about to get on.

Shortly we were underway, but our driver took us on a tour of Phonsavanh before pointing us in the direction of Vietnam.  By the time we’d arrived at the border, I’d read a few chapters of my dog-eared copy of Kitchen Confidential and watched a movie on my iPhone.

The Laotian side was nothing more than a concrete corridor with a row of windows along one side.  Unaware of the protocol, Derek, Paulien, Oksana and I neglected to add our passports to the stack from our bus, so we were the last to get our exit stamps.  Bringing up the rear, we hefted our bags and hiked across the border.

The immigration office on the Vietnamese side was a different beast altogether.  High-ceilinged and full of echoes, we gawked a bit when we entered.  Instead of the loops and swirls of Laotian, the signage was written in a Roman-derived alphabet. The plentiful and peculiar accent marks were the only clue that one should not pronounce them without first learning more about the language.

Beyond the tall glass doors, a long counter sat in the sunlight.  As we entered, an official behind the desk pointed to a waiting area with rows of airport-style plastic chairs.  I set my bags down in front of one, turned back, and raised my eyebrows.  Here? (more…)

December 24, 2010

A Christmas wish

Postcard Valet iTunes logo
I have a favor to ask.  A Christmas wish, if you like.

As you probably know, we have a video podcast on iTunes.  One of the best ways to advertise a podcast is to get it to “float to the top” in the iTunes directory.  In order for that to happen for Postcard Valet, we need to have a few ratings (more than 25, I think.)  Now, we have no illusions that Postcard Valet will top the charts or anything, but it sure would be nice if it were to show up on the first page of search results in the travel podcast section!

So, if you’d like to give Oksana and me a wonderful – and super simple! – Christmas preset, head on over to our iTunes page, click “View in iTunes,” and rate our podcast for us!  I’ll bet it’ll take you under a minute (maybe five if you want to leave us some constructive criticism, too)…

For those that take the time to do this for us, I would love to send you a South American thank you postcard in return; just email me your address afterwards and I’ll get right on it!

A couple notes:

If you don’t have iTunes installed, it’s a free download from Apple.

After installing iTunes, you’ll have everything you need to subscribe to our podcast.  New episodes will be delivered to iTunes as soon as we post them – you don’t even need to have an iPod or anything like that!

After iTunes is installed, subscribing to our podcast is as simple as clicking the following link: http://itunes.apple.com/WebObjects/MZStore.woa/wa/viewPodcast?id=380887692

( If, for some reason, that doesn’t work, follow these directions:
1) Open iTunes
2) Click on the Advanced menu and select “Subscribe to Podcast…”
3) Copy and paste the same link into the box: http://itunes.apple.com/WebObjects/MZStore.woa/wa/viewPodcast?id=380887692
4) Enjoy! )

And finally, you may have noticed a new Facebook widget in the sidebar over there on the right.  The Postcard Valet Facebook page is Oksana’s new project and if we can 6 more people to “Like” the page – we’re at 19 now – it’ll unlock a few features (such as a custom URL) that she’s eager to implement.  A click there would also be much appreciated!