Tag Archives: roam the planet
June 27, 2012

PV021: Salar de Uyuni (part 2)

This video, of course, continues where our first Salar de Uyuni video left off.

With everything I’ve got on my to-do list while we’re living in Australia, I haven’t had as much time as I’d like for editing more travel videos. The biggest hurdle has been recording new voice-overs.  Oksana is usually off working for 40+ hours a week, so there’s not much time for us to collaborate on the next big show-and-tell.  I realized, however, that I had a set of voice-overs still on my hard drive — the ones we recorded last year during our Bolivian salt flat tour.  ‘Bout time I followed up with the second part of that fantastic tour…!

It wasn’t until I started editing that I realized how little footage I shot during day two and day three of that tour.  Lots of great photos, very little video.  I suspect it was because we didn’t have a reliable power source until the tour was over and I was worried about draining my batteries.  Made the edit a little harder to pull off, but thankfully, I was able to supplement it with extra photos (as well as some of Wendy and Dusty’s videos.)  I trust the beauty of the landscape still comes through.

Show Notes:


February 3, 2012

PVX: McDonald’s in Thailand

We waited over a month to do our McDonald’s video for Thailand, knowing that if we did, we’d be able to wrangle our friends into trying it with us after they arrived.  That was a long time to wait to try a Samuari Pork Burger, let me tell you!  Was it worth the wait?  You’ll have to watch the video to find out…

Not much to say about Thai McDonald’s that we don’t already say in the video.  I will say that it’s darn difficult to find cover footage for editing when you’re shooting five people with one camera.  See if you can may spot any editing tricks I might have used to avoid a jump cut!

Thanks again to Wendy, Dusty, and Sarah for helping out (we certainly wouldn’t have tried so many things without them!)  We’ll eventually see them one more time when I put together a video about our shared experience at a Thai cooking school.  In the meantime, be sure to read about their take on Thailand on their blog, Roam the Planet!

February 1, 2012

Thoughts on Thailand

Out of all the countries we visited on our trip around the world, Thailand was the one in which we spent the most time. 61 days, over two visits.  It has since gone down on our list of places we want to return to someday, but when we first arrived, we were not impressed.

We had been traveling fairly quickly ever since Africa and by October we were both ready for a break.  While we were still in Russia, we planned out the last three months of our trip.  In order to conserve money – we had just officially gone over our travel budget – we wanted to find a place to sit down and rest for a while.  I sent out a request on Facebook and Twitter and asked our friends and followers for their recommendations in Thailand.

We received a lot of good advice, but ultimately had a hard time taking advantage of it because we were set on a month-long rental.  We checked Craigslist and various vacation rental websites, but the vast majority of listings were only available in the largest cities or most touristy areas.  We debated traveling out to the remote islands until we found a place to our liking, but ultimately took the easy way out.  We spent just a couple days in Bangkok, recuperating from our jet lag, before flying to Phuket and following up on some leads there.

The first place we stopped was in party central, Patong.  I can’t even remember why we chose that town, because foam-party nightclubs, seedy massage parlors, and plentiful weed are not on our list of travel necessities.  Nevertheless, Oksana found us a cheap hotel away from the beach, and we stayed there a week.

Prices were low, as October is still officially the off-season.  And no wonder – it rained hard just about every day we were in Patong.  That didn’t bother me especially much because I had just come down with my first cold since leaving home almost a year and a half before.  For the next week, all I wanted to do was lie in bed and sleep.  Easier to do during the day – night were miserable… at least until I visited the pharmacist, a real life anime character, who prescribed me some heavy sleeping pills.

Unfortunately, just as I was about to get over my cold, Oksana picked it up.  Most of our month off was spent battling head and chest colds.

Eventually, we left the Starbucks and McDonald’s behind by moving just four kilometers down the island to Karon Beach.  The oceanfront was prettier, the tourists more family oriented, and both of those things suited us just fine.  For about $19 per night, we stayed in a huge hotel room, venturing out once a day to the pool or to place an order at the on-site restaurant.  We caught up on some internet stuff, rested our travel-worn feet, and worked on our tans.

Prices went up on November 1st with the official start of the high season, but we didn’t mind.  Our friends from Roam the Planet were due to arrive any day and, with our batteries recharged, we were ready to hit the road again.

Because of the record flooding that was going on in central Thailand during our stay, we didn’t get to see as much of the country as I’d hoped.  Most of the things I noticed about Thailand came from the few places we did spend some time: Bangkok, Phuket, the Phi Phi islands, Chiang Mai, and Koh Mak.


January 30, 2012

PVX: Thai Drinking Game

View the same video in high-definition (720p) on Youtube.

The first time I walked into a 7/11 in Thailand, the sheer number of drinks in the coolers blew my mind.  There were dozens of brands and flavors and I because couldn’t make heads or tails of their swirly writing, I had no idea what most of them were.  I wanted to try them all…! but with my luck, I knew I’d end up with something like “Shrimp-Mussel Juice.”  Sampling a random drink in Thailand would be like Russian Roulette, only my taste buds would be at stake.

Knowing that our friends were on the way, Oksana and I decided to wait for them before playing “Thai Roulette.”  I mentioned the idea to Wendy and Dusty (from Roam the Planet) and their friend Sarah.  They were game!

We decided to film the whole thing, because it seemed like it might be entertaining for you to watch us taste all these mystery drinks and because  Wendy and Dusty had just brought us a new point-and-shoot camera (to replace our ailing Panasonic Lumix.)  It was a Sony TX10, which boasts 1080p video.  Since they had the exact same model, we shot with both cameras to see if the footage would match well in editing.  It was also a good test for me, to find out if our new camera could double as a camcorder in a pinch.  (Answer: No. You can read my thoughts on that after the jump.)

During one of our first meals together, I laid out the ground rules for the little drinking game I’d created in my head.   Then we hit the stores, buying our drinks in secret, and then revealed them to each other later that evening.  Unfortunately, when we did, it was raining outside our hotel and the cameras picked up a lot of street noise while we were recording.

This video turned out much longer than I expected — close to half an hour!  Now, I could spend many more hours whittling it down to just the funniest parts, but that goes against my self-imposed guidelines for these “Postcard Valet Extra” videos.  (Also, it sounds like a lot of work!)  So I left pretty much everything in, including some awkward jump cuts and blurry video.  On the plus side, if you stick it out, you’ll get to see every little grimace as we sample 10 crazy Thai drinks.  If half an hour is too much of a commitment, feel free to use the time markers above to jump to the section that sounds most interesting.


September 5, 2011

True Fan Boost 2011

Having been on the road a good 14 months now, I haven’t had as many opportunities to support my favorite artists this year.  But that’s why I came up with this whole True Fan Boost idea in the first place, isn’t it?  To use Labor Day as a reminder to do just that!

So even though I’m unemployed and living off savings, I’m going to make sure to give at least a little something to the people’s whose work I enjoy.

Jonathan Coulton

Jonathan Coulton, who made headlines this year with his interview on NPR, has just released a new album — perfectly timed to coincide with my Labor Day purchase!  I just picked up the $10 digital download version of Artifical Heart, but I’ve yet to listen to it (I’ll wait until I have the time to give the first listen my full attention.)  JoCo’s put a lot of his music out there already, but this album is different.  It’s his first studio-produced outing and also his first major album with a theme.  I also see he’s got Suzanne Vega on there!  I’m looking forward to this.

But I’ll confess one thing.  I haven’t played Portal 2 yet, so I removed one song from my playlist until I first listen to it at the end of the game.  Spoilers!

Roam The Planet

If you’ve been following along on our travel site, Postcard Valet, you’ve probably heard me mention a couple new friends.  We met Wendy and Dusty in Ecuador, hooked up with them again in Peru, Bolivia, and Argentina, and even lived in the same building for a time in Buenos Aires.  We expect to see them again in Thailand in a couple months, too.


March 23, 2011

PV014: Salar de Uyuni

The Salar de Uyuni is the most amazing natural wonder I have ever seen in my life.  During our two trips through the world’s largest salt flats, Oksana and I got so many good photos and videos that editing them into a single podcast episode was more challenging than editing the ones where I don’t have enough footage.  I worried that I wouldn’t do this amazing landscape justice.

This video is almost fifteen minutes long and that’s even after I decided to eliminate day two and three of our tour (I may make that into a shorter episode later.)  I had the great fortune to be able to interview not just Oksana and myself, but also our guide and every one of the new friends we met on these tour.  This isn’t just “Arlo and Oksana’s Experience on the Salar,” it’s “Arlo and Oksana’s (Alaska), Rémy and Aurélie’s (France), Wendy and Dusty’s (Ohio), Soledad and Joaquin’s (Buenos Aires), and Oscar’s (La Paz) Experience on the Salar!”

Not everyone is as comfortable as we are in front of a camera — and we’re far from comfortable talking into a lens, ourselves! — so I want to thank everyone who contributed to this video, especially Soledad and Joaquin who struggled with an unfamiliar language on camera.  For what it’s worth, I think that having a 2-to-1 ratio for English-as-a-second (or third!) -language to native English speakers in this video is pretty cool!

Fifteen minutes may be asking too much of some internet viewers.  If you find yourself bored by the setup, might I suggest you jump to the 9 minute, 45 second mark?  Spoiler warning: It’s awesome!

Finally, there are more stories and photos of our Uyuni trips on:

Rémy and Aurélie’s travel blog: NEWZ FROM THE WORLD
Wendy and Dusty’s travel blog: roamthepla.net