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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

Enjoying Your Shiny New SUV? (My Junk Heap Will Bury It)

(0) Comments | Posted September 8, 2014 | 8:33 PM

Traffic and parked cars have their seasons. Well, at least in a college town like the one I live in, they do. What during summer was a rich, tropical mix of rusted junk heaps similar to my 1988 Chevy Nova is now suddenly Germanic: October cold and clean.


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Extra! Extra! Famous Travel Writers Spill Trade Secrets (And Dish Some Dirt)

(1) Comments | Posted August 27, 2014 | 5:07 PM

In the starry, spiraling universe of tell-all books, the biggest sellers tend to be those that sneak the reader behind the scenes and into the secret alleyways of presidential politics, corporate jockeying, and pro sports. But I'm glad to report that the travel world has a few pot-boiling exposes of...

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When New York Ruled the Universe: 50 Years Later, Revisiting the Dreamscape of the 1964-65 World's Fair

(0) Comments | Posted August 18, 2014 | 1:43 PM

"That chair you're seated in is moving...Moving into the future." -- Ad for the General Motors Futurama Ride


If you're like me, I'll bet there are bits of history that stop you short. In my case it's images, TV footage, even text from...

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In Bangkok: Fitting Right In

(28) Comments | Posted August 4, 2014 | 8:03 PM

Bangkok, listen. Bangkok, no. I say, no. I do not want a suit that's specially made. I rarely tie a tie. My wife may gawk at fitted Chinese dresses, she may touch their magically thick twill. She will not buy.

When we travel, a few years back, to...

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Walking to Wuthering Heights: The Brontës' Yorkshire

(1) Comments | Posted July 21, 2014 | 4:36 PM

The pan-fried pigeon with black pudding I will say no to. No, on that. But as for pheasant -- pheasant in port wine sauce -- possibly yes.

I am wasting my waiter's time here at a restaurant called The Grouse Inn in Keighley, Yorkshire. Just as I am about...

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Getting Up to Speed: A NASCAR Skeptic Burns Some Rubber in a Rookie Course

(0) Comments | Posted July 8, 2014 | 2:06 PM

How do the hungry drivers of NASCAR fuel up? With Ragu Rich & Meaty Spaghetti Sauce.

I snap off the TV. I flip past the magazine ads screaming about speed and about the men in helmets who achieve it.

I am sure that America's top drivers burn...

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The Unbearable Lightness of Prague

(5) Comments | Posted June 20, 2014 | 9:09 AM

If Prague were a planet, circling and spinning past the sun, it would be one that sends back light to those who take the time to look. A Mercury or Mars, let's say. Rich and purple and alert for steps upon its soil.

During my first trip here, in...

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The Envelope, Please! Announcing The First Annual 'Blurbie' Awards for Truly Ridiculous PR

(0) Comments | Posted June 5, 2014 | 2:29 PM

These days, every industry boasts its very own, highly-coveted slate of annual honors and awards. This is as it should be. The few exceptions to this rule include the more shadowy, behind-the-scenes fields. Oh, you know the ones I mean. Industrial espionage, for example. Impersonation. Secret shopping. Bodyguard work. And,...

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Glasgow: From Pubs to Parks In Scotland's 'Second City'

(0) Comments | Posted May 21, 2014 | 12:51 PM

If you're a fan of edgy, Scottish-made movies, you might imagine that traveling here is like jumping through the screen into the bleak, urban landscapes of Trainspotting or Shallow Grave. And as far as Scotland's biggest city, Glasgow, is concerned, even the peat-smoky sound of the word evokes images of...

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The Cricket in Times Square: A Manhattan Children's Book Tour

(0) Comments | Posted May 7, 2014 | 6:07 PM

Manhattan can seem exotic just as it is. But try adding a drop of the imaginary and see what you get.

Maybe it's because the authors lived here, but dozens of classic books for kids are set in the center of New York. Crickets in their pages hang out,...

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Hookahs and Hamams in Istanbul

(0) Comments | Posted April 21, 2014 | 5:55 PM

There are Turkish stories, I'm told, that start and end like this: "Maybe it happened, maybe it didn't."

So maybe I was in Istanbul.

I remember rain turning the city's alleys into wild rivers. That must have been real. Why would you make it up? And I remember this: my...

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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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