Audio Story: Ukulele Diplomacy

Travel Stories: Nothing makes Pam Mandel feel less like a lonely traveler than her four-stringed diplomatic tool

10.23.09 | 10:36 AM ET

Photo by UJ Sommer

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Ukulele Diplomacy

Related: How to Get Your Uke on in Hawaii

Pam Mandel is a freelance writer and photographer from Seattle, Washington. Her work has appeared in a variety of print, radio, and web publications and she's contributed to two guidebooks, one on British Columbia and one on Hawaii. She plays the ukulele, has an internal beacon that is surprisingly capable of locating the best baked goods in town, almost any town, and speaks German with a Styrian accent. Learn more on her personal blog at Nerd's Eye View.

10 Comments for Audio Story: Ukulele Diplomacy

Rob Verger 10.23.09 | 12:33 PM ET

I loved this story! During my six months in the Pacific, in Micronesia, I heard that “ukulele” came from a native word meaning “jumping flee”—but never did find out if that was true or not. Regardless, love the sound of a uke, and loved this narration.

pam 10.23.09 | 1:13 PM ET

That’s right, Rob, it’s “Jumping Flea.” There are a few theories on why, but perhaps that’s a story for another day?

Rob 10.23.09 | 1:54 PM ET

Ah yes—flee / flea—an important distinction. Thanks! And would love to hear those theories someday…

David Porter 10.23.09 | 4:37 PM ET

I had the opportunity to meet Pam at the BlogWord Expo.  She was speaking on the travel panel.  I found her to be intelligent, with just a small hint of mysteriousness.  The kind of mystery that pulls you in, and leaves you wanting more.

Congrats Pam!  I look forward to getting to know you more as we begin to build our travel blog:  Roaming Boomers.

Thanks to Worldhum for sharing this.

Ric Garrido 10.24.09 | 12:22 PM ET

Music is a global denominator. Great story to hear Pam.

Nancy D. Brown 10.24.09 | 5:48 PM ET

Very fun, my island girl from Seattle!

Kelsey 10.26.09 | 10:57 AM ET

I love how through our quirky interests we can form automatic bonds with anyone around the world.  The uke just makes me smile. Keep rockin’ it!

Marilyn_Res 10.28.09 | 11:24 AM ET

Pam is my favorite West Coast, quirky, non-religious, Jewish vegetarian ukelele player!

Alex, the neighbour kid 10.28.09 | 12:35 PM ET

i’m still playing!!!!!!

PP 11.02.09 | 12:18 PM ET

I have read (and saw a documentary) that “jumping flea” comes from the Portuguese who arrived there and started playing cavaquinho (have a look When you see someone playing cavaquinho from it looks like he is scratching fleas.

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