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Peter Mandel
Peter Mandel is a travel journalist and the author of eleven books for kids including Jackhammer Sam (Macmillan), Zoo Ah-Choooo (Holiday House), Bun, Onion, Burger (Simon & Schuster), Planes at the Airport (Scholastic), and Say Hey! A Song of Willie Mays (Hyperion). A regular contributor to the travel sections of The Washington Post and The Boston Globe, he often writes about the misadventures he's gotten stuck in--including experiencing a coup in Ecuador, trying to hike a suburban strip mall, suiting up as a theme park character, seeing America by metered cab, and kayaking to the Statue of Liberty. Originally from Manhattan's Chelsea neighborhood, Mandel finds himself living in Providence these days with his wife, Kathy, and cats, Betty, Emily and Cecil. He's written cranky essays and op-eds for Reader's Digest, The Los Angeles Times, The International Herald Tribune, and The Wall Street Journal, and has won a few Lowell Thomas awards from the Society of American Travel Writers, including a 2005 gold for adventure travel article of the year. Check him out at or:

Entries by Peter Mandel

World's Strictest Airport Security? Forget Tel Aviv. Think Kashmir.

(1) Comments | Posted April 8, 2014 | 4:50 PM

The soldier and airport security guy are pointing, pointing. What do they want? Not my camera. Not my car clicker.

It's my pen. A Paper Mate soft grip. See-through plastic, flattened cap. Also -- I have no clue why -- my wallet. They ignore the I.D. and get to...

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Boston and Melbourne: Separated at Birth?

(0) Comments | Posted March 20, 2014 | 12:03 PM

Sydney, Australia, and New York are superman destinations, wrestling for attention and flying onto the world's front page. Boston and Melbourne? They're more like spectacled Clark Kents. And each is secretly glad.

On a recent trip to Melbourne, Australia's second city and the capital of Victoria in...

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Flying Like the Rich and Famous: City-to-City On a Private Jet

(0) Comments | Posted March 4, 2014 | 11:25 AM

I'll bet that flying -- to you -- means roughly what it does to me. Battling seat-pockets that eat knee-space. Emptying your inner life into plastic trays.

Far above the clouds another better world exists: It's a paradise of infinite legroom and no one around to pat you down...

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A Black Sea Cruise Picks Up Where the Olympics Leave Off

(0) Comments | Posted February 18, 2014 | 5:11 PM

You can keep your inland towns that rise up over farms or crouch beside a busy river. Give me a city that turns its face to the sea.

I like looking out at urban skylines from the deck of a ship. From here, at penthouse height, and out of the...

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Snow Safari: Seeing Polar Bears in the Wild

(0) Comments | Posted February 4, 2014 | 2:46 PM

Polar bears are everywhere these days -- peering at you from cans of Coke, eating ice cream in ads, and padding around in cartoon arctics with penguins (who belong at the other pole).

Polar bears are everywhere. Everywhere, that is, but where they should be: on ice floes in the...

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A Basset Hound Gets the Scent of Life in Manhattan

(0) Comments | Posted January 21, 2014 | 3:18 PM

It's hard for me to remember now why my mom brought George home. Why she chose a dog cut out for hunting--a Basset hound--to live a life of carpets and furniture in our Manhattan apartment.

It may have been the fact that George was stocky and stayed close to...

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Going Undercover With a Top-Secret Hotel Inspector From AAA

(0) Comments | Posted January 13, 2014 | 5:11 PM

A real secret agent is supposed to strap on a gun. The guy I met a few years ago -- let's call him Ted -- had his suit pockets bulging with forms. Instead of a "License to Kill," Ted whipped out his AAA card.

It may sound weird, but this...

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Did Someone Say 'Classic'? Dr. Seuss's The Cat in the Hat Could Not Be Published Today

(1) Comments | Posted December 19, 2013 | 9:04 AM

Unless you live in Whoville, which is tucked in the mountains and doesn't get much news, you know that Dr. Seuss's The Cat in the Hat is a best-selling classic. First published in December, 1957, the book is a whisker more than a half-century old. By now, it's an icon...

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Icebreaker Cruise: Instead of a Sunburn, Think Swimming Polar Bears and a Stopover in Greenland

(0) Comments | Posted December 10, 2013 | 4:24 PM

You can keep them: Cruises that add up to tropical cocktails, gift-shop islands, sun-and-deckchair afternoons. When I'm at sea, I want adventure. Cresting waves, puffs of wind, the works.

This is why, a few years back, I found myself onboard a Russian icebreaker that was hardened to cut through...

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A Tour of the Future in Hong Kong

(0) Comments | Posted November 25, 2013 | 12:11 PM

Names of cities are not just collections of letters. When you read "Rome" or hear "Hanoi" you get a firecracker flash. A row of mental lightbulbs pops on, you see a private marquee picture of the place, and then, when you think of something else, it's gone.

Your image...

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Boomer Loses It, Goes Ballistic On Generation 'Y'

(9) Comments | Posted October 30, 2013 | 3:22 PM

Anyone out there remember the whole Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus thing? Maybe not. It's been a while.

According to John Gray's mega-bestseller from the 1990s, each gender is comfy with its own norms and customs but completely clueless about the other's. What does...

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The World's Five Weirdest Travel Pitches

(1) Comments | Posted October 15, 2013 | 5:19 PM

One of the sometimes useful, often annoying, and almost-always amusing things about being a journalist is that people have stuff to tell you. They are chock full of ideas. Especially people who work in public relations. These professionals, in particular, are bubbling over with tips for what we writers should...

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Madrid vs. Lisbon: Which Is Iberia's Top Pick?

(0) Comments | Posted October 2, 2013 | 10:34 AM

You know your Europe. You're about to unfold your map.

If someone cut out Portugal, erased only Spain, you would complain. Admit it: You expect Iberia to show up as a single shape. Take one of the peninsula's two parts away and what you expect would deflate.

Something strange would...

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Welcome to Today's Totally Modern Library: No 'Shushing' Allowed!

(3) Comments | Posted September 18, 2013 | 5:52 PM

Cards in pockets. Bookmarks keeping pages. The sound of date stamps: Clunk. Ka-chunk.

Shhhhhhhhhh! This is the library.

Or, well, so I thought. Thanks to a newly-published children's book of mine, I've been spending more time in libraries, both school and public, than I have in years. I do...

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New England's Ultimate Road Trip: Rolling Along Route 7

(0) Comments | Posted September 3, 2013 | 8:28 PM

On the old highway maps of America, the main routes were red and the back roads blue. Now even the colors are changing. -- William Least Heat Moon

Route 7 used to be red. An old red road.

If you unfold a map it may be hard to see...

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'Paris Style, Arabic Spice': Finding France in Morocco

(0) Comments | Posted August 7, 2013 | 11:33 AM

The first night I am in Morocco there is a moon. It floats like a balloon from turret to turret, mosque to mosque. It would prefer to disappear. But my wife and I are lost. We need its yellow glow to see our way through alleys. We won't allow it...

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Experiencing a Coup On Vacation: Adventure Travel Runs Smack Into Real Life

(0) Comments | Posted July 25, 2013 | 2:49 PM

The army's recent intervention in Egypt, and the turmoil there, have brought memories surging back of a time in 2005 when I was on my way to a vacation in Ecuador and the Galapagos islands. World events chose that moment to intervene in my carefully made plans. Here is my...

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Anyone Remember Self-Reliance? We Used To Be 'Strongly Silent': Now All We Do Is Talk, Talk, Talk.

(0) Comments | Posted July 10, 2013 | 10:56 AM

"Speak softly, carry a big stick." "Children should be seen and not heard." It is hard to remember since we are now as noisy as birds, but being quiet used to be a sort of goal.

An American, we thought, was strongly silent. Listening and watching, he would cut...

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Small Boat, Big City: Kayaking from Manhattan to the Statue of Liberty

(1) Comments | Posted June 26, 2013 | 4:00 PM

Warm, and full of puffing sailboats, and washing-machine clean. I am having a hard time believing this is New York harbor -- and that I am kayaking it.

The water is as transparent as my bathtub at home, but a lot more challenging and choppy. And unlike my tub,...

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Cuban Cool: In Havana's Retro Universe, Classic Cars Are Just For Starters

(4) Comments | Posted June 13, 2013 | 7:06 AM

Sometimes I am a voyager in time. I do not need a hotel for this, or a bag that's full of miniature mouthwash and shampoo. Memory is a landscape I can run to fairly easily -- and since we are talking travel, I will admit it: I go and go.

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