Postcards: Seas stymie snail mail

How long does it take a postcard to get from Vietnam to anywhere in the US? Two weeks or longer; maybe not at all! Unless you live in Hong Kong, Sweden or Taiwan – theirs took 3, 4 and 9 days respectively. For some reason, it took 18 days to get to South Korea.

About half are still MIA, including the test postcard I mailed to Austin, TX on December 26th (so 3 weeks and counting.) I mailed the others on January 2nd. Here they all are:


I had this idea in Singapore where postcards are $1 apiece, if you’re lucky. Decided to wait till I got here to Vietnam where they’re 20¢ apiece. My unexpected employment put me a few weeks behind schedule and also came in the way of me actually visiting some of the places pictured. (Like Nha Trang, Halong Bay, SaPa, Dalat and others.)

Sliding stamp scale. Interestingly, how much postcard postage costs depends on the quantity. Mine cost 14,500 VND for one, 13,500 VND for a few and just 13,000 for a bunch. (So 62¢–70¢, depending.)

Get your tongue out. Self-adhesive stamps are the greatest thing ever. Unfortunately, they don’t have them here. Licking all those rectangles got me wondering what the glue’s made of. Remember how George’s fiancée, Susan, died on the hit series, Seinfeld? Toxic glue! Just look at one of these stamps! This bear looks like he licked his own stamp.


So did you get yours yet?! How long after January 2nd did it take to arrive?

46 thoughts on “Postcards: Seas stymie snail mail

  1. Greetings from Los Angeles, I just got mine today (1/12), right after coming home from a brunch celebrating two friends’ upcoming wedding. (KayDee Kersten and Scotch Wichmann, remember them?)

    I’m glad to have gotten one of those bear stamps!

  2. Just got your postcard. Thanks so much. And if you REALLY want to know what I was doing right before I got it…I was cleaning tinkle off my carpet from my 3 year old that I’m currently potty training. She has been doing great with it, but we are not quite there yet

  3. Oy! Haru and I just got our postcard. Thanks missy. Right before we saw this postcard I was looking at some homeless people cross the street while haru was killing another cactus.

  4. Hey Susan, thanks for the card. It got here in 5 days I think, not bad. Right before I got the card I made my daily stop at Starbucks on the way home. I also added to my Starbucks mug collection as a new Hong Kong mug came out last week. As I was buying it I thought about Starbucks opening in VN soon and how I suspect they’ll struggle. Then I came home to your card from VN.

  5. Hello Susan,
    Thank you for the thoughtful connection (and the Yucky Bear stamp). Seems mine took almost two weeks to arrive, but I’m glad it did. I was coming home from the Safeway in the rain since I had to get another eggplant for the recipe I was inadequately prepared for before I stopped to get the mail. Fondly, Allan

  6. Hi Susan,
    I just got your postcard. Just before I found it I was making my morning coffee, at 3:30 PM. This is because I was at work until after 6:00 this morning. The thought is much appreciated, I love getting post cards from far off lands.
    Best, Curtis

  7. Thanks for the postcard! Hope you are enjoying your adventures. We got ours on the 11th. I was getting ready to celebrate with the in-laws our belated Christmas.

  8. Hey Susan, your postcard arrived at last yesterday afternoon. I was returning from Cafe Martorano across the street with takeout dinner. When I opened my mailbox, your postcard was awaiting. Such are the thrills of life in South Florida.

  9. Hey Susan, at the store now and just received your postcard 10 minutes ago while eBaying a Chanel purse. Thanks again for the postcard and we hope you have a wonderful time in Vietnam. We miss seeing you in the store.

  10. Hi Susan! We got your postcard today. Jason took the day off, so he got the postcard while Owen was riding his scooter and they were waiting for Macon’s bus to arrive. I saw it when I got home from working at good old SECU!

  11. Hi Susan!! Mine arrived yesterday (Jan 16th). So fun! So, the girls and I got it out of the mailbox on our way home from school. You asked what we were doing right before: We were listening to classroom chatter that F had secretly recorded on her itouch (tucked away in her boot) at school yesterday. So funny!

  12. Hey Susan,
    Just got my card today (1/17). Was revieing notes for an upcoming meeting and saw a piece of mail that did not look like my typical financial documents. Thank you so much for sending. Hope you are enjoying all of your adventures.

    Take care and send me some money!!!

    • Good lord, you may be outta luck, little one. Seriously. 3 weeks sounds like dead-in-the-water. Still, I’ve read online that it can take up to 6 weeks. We’ll see if it beats me to your place.

  13. I just got mine, it might have arrived yesterday. I just got home from a biz trip to Chesapeake, VA. So, prior to getting this (in reverse order), i was driving, sitting on an airplane, and sleeping in a hotel due to my flight out being cancelled last night.

    Keep up the blog, it usually the most interesting part of my week.

  14. I love my postcard, thank you, Susan. So many ducks, so little time. Mine arrived on the 17th, so just over 2 weeks. Probably the same amount of time it took the guy on the scooter to deliver those ducks from the farm to the city. Unfortunately, just before I received my card, I was at school conferences realizing how poor a job of parenting I’m doing.

  15. Thanks Sue
    For the amazing postcard, it came today (1/17) around 2 in the afternoon. Kaila brought it in on her way home from school she was like “oooo, whats this…finally someone spell my name right”. That totally made her day. I had just put Baby Chris down for a nap…pretty mundane if you ask me. We hung it on the refrigerator right next to our Abe Lincoln magnet. Thanks Ladypant…we miss you!

    • Spelling someone’s name right shows you care. Just like spelling a name wrong shows you DON’T CARE. Remember that, Kaila. People who spell your name wrong don’t care!!!

  16. I got my postcard today when I arrived for work at the NC Boring Rock Department. Directly prior to walking in and seeing it all curled up in my mailbox, I was commuting. My commute takes about an hour and today I spent a good portion of that time talking the Rocky Mount Police Department about the report I filed last night when someone broke into my truck. They stole some knives. I am not sure what for. There will be no investigation unless th epolice calling me to get my name, address, social and vehicle color counts as investigation. Directly prior to getting my postcard, i was practicing at being upset by all this.

    • But Mr. Curly Card made it all better, didn’t it? So sorry your truck got broken into. Not to point out the obvious, but Dexter would have never left his knives in his truck…

  17. Got mine today after a morning at UT writing, followed by a trip to HEB for umpteen groceries. Found the card–but didn’t read it–when I raced home to dump the groceries before going off to get my daughter from school. Read it when I got home from that. Do want to get to Viet Nam–sooner rather than later.

  18. Hey Susan! It’s Friday, 1/18. I got home from happy hour/dinner around 9 pm, realized I forgot to pick up my prescription, headed back out to Walgreens, and stopped at my mailbox on the way in. Not sure how long your postcard’s been in there, as I only check my mail once or twice a week these days. But I have it now, and I thank you!

  19. Just got mine! It’s Sunday, 20 January. (You’d think that it would have arrived sooner seeing how we’re not that far away but alas…) I just got back home after an amazing weekend in Seoul. A good friend of mine from NY secretly came to Seoul to propose to his long distance girlfriend. We celebrated and did ridiculous Korean things all weekend. Such a good time. I’m the only person in the world who knows they’re engaged!

    Thanks for the postcard. Really fun idea 🙂

  20. Just got mine in Boulder Colorado! My roommate was going through the mail when she said, “this is random, you just got a postcard of ducks in a motorcycle from Vietnam.” I thought she was joking.

  21. Went into work today and Tiffany told me to look on her clipboard. So what I was doing was eating potato soup at massage envy when I got your card. Miss seeing you on Mondays. Did you know I had a baby in November?

    • WHAT?! So you were 4-or-so months pregnant when I saw you and you didn’t tell me? Congratulations! I hope you’re training him/her well in the art and practice of muscle relaxation. Miss you & Tiffany!!!

  22. Hey Susan! Willow brought in your postcard Saturday the 19th as we were making spinach & prosciutto lasagna rolls! She was very excited to read it and find you were coming back soon. The lasagna turned out great! She is becoming quite the cook. See you soon!

  23. I got mine from the mailbox today, but no idea how long it had been there (truth be told, I only check my mail every 2 or 3 weeks for bills that aren’t otherwise sent electronically). It’s postmarked 02-01-2013 if that helps with your postal experiment at all.

  24. Hi…I only check my mail once a week, usually on Thursdays/Fridays. Last week on Thursday (1.17) it was there. I was on my way home from work for a 4-day weekend. Thanks!

  25. I received my postcard (Lima, Peru) on Jan. 22nd. However, in all fairness, given my diplomatic postal address, the post card had to go to Miami, FL first, then on down to Peru. We´ve got an extra guestroom waiting if you ever get tired of Asia!!


  26. I GOT MY POSTCARD!!! I just finished making a tofu scramble and was reviewing my recipe for Vegan sausage to make later today. Then I wrote an email taunting a coworker who HATES vegan food. Just then Chelsea walked in with the mail!

  27. You are SO cool! What a great idea!! Well, I got the postcard, misplaced it and finally found it again while pre-cleaning for our housekeeper (which I just let go after nearly 7 years). I stay at home –there is no reason that I can’t clean my own house –except that I want to workout, plan coffee dates, shop, get lost in good books, catch up on fashion magazines, go to Bible study,take naps, volunteer, etc! Anyway, I digress.
    When I got your postcard I had JUST returned from an afternoon at Sam’s club –it was time to stock up on all the necessities like gum, corndogs, cereal, tp, bagel bites snack foods and dog treats. You know, all the stuff you need when you have multiple kids and a dog! I was sitting at the end of the driveway in my van awaiting the school bus to drop off the kids and decided to check the mail. I read it to them and they were super excited to hear from you. They say “can Susan please come back to babysit us the next time you and dad go on a date” —-all the time! I WISH! Even Gertrude misses you –I know it!
    Now that I’m here, it’s time to catch up on your blog.
    Love it! Thanks for staying in touch.

    • Oh good! Yours was one of the ones I had down for MIA still. Girl, you have a BIG house. That sounds like a full-time job to clean. I miss you guys and thanks for stopping by! Hopefully it won’t be too terribly long before I make it back for a visit.

  28. i got my postard! unfortunately, because i was out of the office for two weeks straight, i don’t know exactly when it arrived. also, because i’m in advertising i almost threw it away ha ha. i assumed it was a photographer pandering for work, but something told me to flip it over and bam, a message from you. how funny. i was simply cleaning up my office when i found it and it was a nice surprise. thanks for reaching out. 🙂

    – C

  29. Hi Susan! I got my postcard! You may not remember sending one to me because you sent it in December 2012 and I’m only just now getting online to tell you what I was doing (it’s been a lovely addition to my kitchen bulletin board for the past 10 months. I remember exactly what I was doing when I got it because I was getting home from a trip myself and I thought how nice it was to come from somewhere that felt far away from home (I think I was in LA or Portalnd), and receive a postcard from somewhere even farther. A nice reminder that the world is a hell of a lot bigger than you often realize. Hope you’re doing great and so sorry it took me so long to post!! – K

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