Al Hirshen Comes of Age in The Catskills

August 31st, 2016

MediaThey SaidUnited States

As a young boy I would run home from school every day to turn on the TV and drink in whatever show or movie was playing. It turned out all my favorite performers were veterans of the Catskills, Borscht Belt comedians, mostly Eastern European Ashkenazi Jews, who cut their teeth in the Catskills at resorts … Continued

It is fady to kill a lemur. The punishment is ill health, and five years in jail. Madagascar, the planet’s fourth-largest island, floats 250 miles off the east coast of Mozambique in the southwest Indian Ocean. The Afro-Indonesian people govern their lives with a series of social taboos, or fadies. And a long-time fady, rooted … Continued

Some years ago I put together a book, Paths Less Traveled, for which I dispatched well-known authors to adventure destinations and asked them to write of their experience. Tom Robbins reported from Tanzania; Bobbie Ann Mason from New Zealand; Edward Hoagland from Yemen; Roy Blount, Jr. from the Amazon, and on. For the Galapagos I … Continued

  It feels like we’re driving to the edge of the world where the water falls off. Infinity is just ahead. To the right are mountains that arc up from the basement of time. On the left, a dry lakebed now glassed with salt. This is the driest state in the country, not so surprising, … Continued

By Richard Bangs  The covering has the disconcerting effect of obnubilating as well as illuminating the woman behind it. Local tourists overlooking Al Ragasat Canyon. #SaudiArabia A photo posted by Richard Bangs (@richardjbangs) on Mar 21, 2016 at 12:21pm PDT Shrouded in black niqab and ankle-length abaya, she floats towards me. Behind, her friends are … Continued

By Richard Bangs In the early days of Expedia.com, our business strategy was based on the agency model; taking a small commission on every hotel booking. Problem was, it usually cost more to process a booking than the commission brought in, so what we lost in margin we made up for in volume. Then a … Continued

Puerto Rico is a portmanteaux of geographic personalities, an overstuffed valise of seductive charismas and tropic endowments. If geography is destiny, then Puerto Rico atones for the ill-tempers of other parts of the world, and instead is blessed with an island-wide jocund, incited, in part, by its natural features…its mountains, forests, beaches, rivers, lakes, cliffs, … Continued

By Richard Bangs There is no place on the planet with such a nimiety of magic. Every stage, every song, every bite and brew, every light is so sufficiently perfected as to be indistinguishable from sorcery. So, what goes on behind the curtains here? How do they do it? I decided to find out, and … Continued

“Placed on this planet since yesterday, and only for a day, we can only hope to glimpse the knowledge that we will probably never attain.” -Horace-Bénédict de Saussure, 1796 Dateline: Mount Pilates, Switzerland I’ve penned a few books that have been placed in the category of “wilderness travel.” But perhaps the first to stock this … Continued

Richard Bangs is a judge in our We Said Go Travel Writing Contest. The Gratitude contest will close December 10, 2015. Please share your story of gratitude! When our rafts were bitten by crocodiles or hippos, complications presented we hadn’t imagined. We were in Ethiopia making a series of first descents down big rivers that fall … Continued