Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Trying Out for TV!

Writing this blog has yielded a number of unexpected bonuses. I've heard from people around the world, been visited by readers traveling through Vietnam, been reprinted (with permission) on a Vietnamese travel site, and formed a handful of lovely friendships I hope to maintain over the years.

Few things could have been less anticipated, however, than a response I received a few weeks ago to my post on finding a new apartment. Somehow, a casting agent for a well-known US travel show got a hold of my blog, and asked me how I'd feel about being on the show! Now, there's no certainty that I'm going to be on the show, but I've been taking the necessary next steps to make it happen, and enjoying the fantasy that I may finally attain the 15 minutes of fame Andy Warhol promised me.

The program, which airs on the cable channel HGTV in the United States, is called House Hunters International. It chronicles the exploits of American expatriates as they search for new homes overseas. I actually saw the show several times before leaving the states, so I'm familiar with its format: a prospective buyer looks at three properties, the audience is left hanging over which property the person's going to choose, there's a commercial break, and then the buyer/renter's choice is revealed. Some fudging of the facts would be necessary to make my home search fit the show's format, but I think it would be a fun way to chronicle my current life in Hanoi, and introduce American TV audiences to the whirlwind that is Vietnam's capital city.

At any rate, as part of the process of trying out for this show, I was asked to submit a casting video. Since my friend Hương played such a central role in finding this apartment, I was asked to include her in the video. The result you see below: three short clips featuring Hương and me in my apartment, in front of the Hanoi Opera House, and at the entrance to my building.

I have no idea if this is going to lead to anything, but Hương and I had a lot of fun making our casting videos, and I thought they would provide an entertaining diversion for my readers. The videos are rough, shot with Hương's digital camera, and as you can see, we are decidedly not professionals! But aside from satisfying my vanity, they give a little taste of my version of expatriate living in Vietnam.

So herewith I present: Hal & Hương in Hanoi!

Casting Video #1: Hal's Apartment

Casting Video #2: The Hanoi Opera House

Casting Video #3: Building Courtyard


  1. Oh, I am so jealous, you are going to be on TV! Actually I'm not, well maybe a little....but it sounds like it should be a lot of fun. Will stay tuned!

  2. Oye, hermano! You are already una estrella! They would be lucky to have you on their show. I enjoyed seeing your lovely apartment and 'hood. You seem so energized by living in Hanoi. I hope we get you back eventually. Besotes desde Seattle, Nassim

  3. :-) brought a smile to my face

  4. That couch looks comfy...Surfs up!

  5. This is what they mean by 'built it, and people will follow'. And example of putting up quality work, in this case blogs, out there and people will naturally come and visit.

    Keep up the good work Hal, and continue to have fun with it :-)

  6. May you eat take out fido in the cozy kitchen and achieve expat paradise - something no New Yorker could do in such a small time. Great job, wonderful girlfriend and job satisfaction. All these are impossible in NYC, at least at the same time.

  7. I watch House Hunters occasionally. Keep me posted on whether you get on the show. I loved watching the video by the opera house, with all the noise and chaos.

  8. how much does an apartment like this rent out for in vietnam ?

  9. It really depends on whether you go through Vietnamese or Western channels. I'm paying US $360/month for my apartment. If you were to rent it through the New Hanoian or a realtor that specializes in working with foreigners, the same apartment would probably cost around US $600.