Monday, May 23, 2011

Travel Etiquette on Today Show

This happened:

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Not everyday you get to share a Today Show stage with two former Okies (Hoda Kotb was born in Norman; Kathie Lee Gifford went to Oral Roberts University in Tulsa) -- then run smack into Ann Curry in the halls, and she apologizing for my error. Everyone seemed nice.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Talking Abbottabad on ABC's 20/20

Following the news of Osama Bin Laden's death in Abbottabad, Pakistan last week, I had the chance to talk about the tourist appeal of the region's Karakoram Highway. I also learned that the city of 900,000 -- set in cool mountains a few hours north of Islamabad -- has a funny history.

Founded in mid 19th century (young for the region), Abbottabad got its unusual name from its founder Sir James Abbott, who was an effective British advisor during the Sikh Wars of the mid 19th-century -- and far far less so as a poet.

After leaving the city in 1853, he tributed it with a poem called, simply, 'Abbottabad.' Oxford poetry professor Stephen Moss wrote, in the Guardian in 2005, that was 'one of the worst poems ever written.' He claims it takes a genius to come up with 'non-sequitors' like that.

It's certainly the only one I've read that ends with the word 'thwart.'

"What is a Sandwich?"

Last month a dream came true: I spoke about sandwiches for Adult Education. Here's two videos of the event. The above 'excerpt' version features the stirring conclusion that makes the (justifiable) claim that 'no one knows what a sandwich is.'

Or watch the presentation in full:

Meanwhile, see you -- as always -- on Twitter for #sandwichwednesday!

Monday, May 9, 2011

Talking Mexico on Fox News

Appeared on Live this morning to discuss my pick for Lonely Planet's eight safe Mexico destinations to consider. Didn't get Puebla in. And I want to go to Puebla. See the segment here.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Go to Mexico

Nothing punctures misperception like actual travel. We saw it in the '90s for Vietnam, when Americans (in particular) worried they'd get detained or deported, then discovered a budding new ally of Southeast Asia; we see it when Middle Eastern nations shame us with their warmth and kindness. And there's ones closer at hand, like Mexico.

Despite a rise in drug violence, the news stories only tell part of the picture. And I wrote a piece for on 'Why you should go to Mexico.' Fascinating seeing how ugly some of the reader's comments have gotten so quickly.

I also put together eight places to visit in Mexico now (safely) for Lonely Planet, all picked from the 17 of Mexico's 31 states that are excluded from any name-dropping in the US State Department's travel warning for Mexico.

Mexico, see you later this year.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Random Photo: "Yakutsk"

If Yakutsk, Russia, ever gets a pro basketball team, can I suggest the name Yakutsk Cats?