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From The Field
Saturday, Feb. 4, 2006


By HAMIDA GHAFOUR
Thursday, Sep 9, 2004

You never quite realize how lucky you are to have the right to vote until you meet women who have been maimed because they are fighting for that same right.



Hamida Ghafour

 

Previous letters


By GEOFFREY YORK
Thursday, May 6, 2004

As soon as I stepped out of the opposition headquarters in Rangoon, the military intelligence agent jumped up from his table at the tea shop across the road.




Geoffrey York

 


By MARK MacKINNON
Thursday, Apr. 22, 2004

Getting Alexander Lukashenko to answer questions is as tough task as trying to understand the President of Belarus from afar.




Mark MacKinnon

 


By SHAWN McCARTHY
Wednesday, Mar. 31, 2004

The familiar entreaty of my upstairs neighbour, Pat, to Blackie, his aging black Lab, invades the apartment with a more plaintive than usual tone on a recent Saturday afternoon.



Shawn McCarthy

 


By GEOFFREY YORK
Thursday, Mar. 24, 2004

For a foreign correspondent, a transfer from the Moscow bureau to the Beijing bureau is a shift from a fallen Communist giant to a pseudo-Communist giant.




Geoffrey York

 


By PAUL KNOX
Thursday, Mar. 18, 2004

She had invited me for a take-out lunch at the National Palace while we waited for my interview with Haiti's president. But the presence of a dead rat was complicating matters.




Paul Knox

 


By ALAN FREEMAN
Thursday, Feb. 19, 2004

Washington — I knew that something was up when I wandered into the drugstore next door to The Globe and Mail's Washington office looking for a soft drink and realized that the smallest size available was a neat 20 ounces.



Alan Freeman

 


By STEPHANIE NOLEN
Thursday, Feb. 12, 2004

Gabarone — The realization crept up on me slowly. After a day or two in Botswana, the country began to remind me of somewhere.



Stephanie Nolen

 


By PAUL KNOX
Thursday, January 29, 2004

My life as an undocumented alien in Mexico began on Jan. 10. Assigned to cover the Special Summit of the Americas in Monterrey, I got myself a ticket that took me there from Toronto via Mexico City. I could have flown through Dallas, which would have been shorter, but in this era of nail-file paranoia and orange alerts I figure it's best to avoid U.S. transit points.




Paul Knox

 


By HAMIDA GHAFOUR
Thursday, Jan. 22, 2003

PAGHMAN, AFGHANISTAN — Sarwar makes his living each autumn from the harvest of walnuts, which he collects and sells to expatriates taking a day trip to the beautiful western province of Paghman.



Photo: Hamida Ghafour

 


By ALAN FREEMAN
Thursday, Jan. 15, 2003

Newcastle, England — Ever since Frank Gehry's brilliant, titanium-clad Guggenheim Museum thrust the previously-overlooked Spanish city of Bilbao to the top of tourist destinations, cities around the world have been looking to emulate that success.



Alan Freeman

 


By GEOFFREY YORK
Thursday, Jan. 8, 2004

Lushan, China — At first glance, it seemed authentic: a thatched cottage, more than a century old, marking the site where the Japanese military won control of a strategic port in northern China in 1905.




Geoffrey York

 


By SHAWN McCARTHY
Thursday, Dec. 18, 2003

New York — The Manhattan streets were gridlocked at 5:30 on the Friday two weeks before Christmas, as cars, buses and the ubiquitous yellow cabs competed with shoppers to cross midtown intersections.




Shawn McCarthy

 


By ALAN FREEMAN
Thursday, Nov. 27, 2003

For the world Anglican Communion, faced with dropping attendance in places like Canada and Australia, Nigeria's flourishing church is a blessing but it also represents a huge challenge.




Alan Freeman

 


By CHRISTIE BLATCHFORD
Thursday, Nov. 27, 2003

Chesapeake, Va. — By the dateline above, you might think that there is actually a place called Chesapeake. Well, there isn't.




Christie Blatchford

 


By MARK MacKINNON
Thursday, Nov 20, 2003

Moscow — Russia is the kind of place where it seems everybody has a story, often a sad one. But Roman's was the worst I'd heard so far.




Mark MacKinnon

 

Israel through the eyes of a child
By PAUL ADAMS
Wednesday, Nov. 5, 2003

When I told my five-and-a-half-year-old son Alexandre the other day that his favourite aunt and uncle were coming to visit in February, his response startled me.



Paul Adams

 

Baghdad returning to normal
By ORLY HALPERN
Thursday, Oct. 30, 2003

Baghdad — Returning to Baghdad after six weeks away was surprisingly wonderful. Surprising, I say, because the six weeks I had spent reporting here before were unbearably hot, very tense and extremely dangerous, but this time its different.



Orly Halpern

 

The lowly life on Capitol Hill
By DAVID AGREN
Thursday, Oct. 23, 2003

Washington — This summer, I crossed the border and joined a legion of college students from across the globe in a quintessential American right of passage, the Washington, D.C. internship.



David Agren

 


By ALAN FREEMAN
Wednesday, Oct. 15, 2003

London — It was another sad sign of the times. As I walked towards the Tube a couple of days ago, I noticed the poster on the window of my local post office.



Alan Freeman

 


By STEPHANIE NOLEN
Wednesday, Oct. 8, 2003

Johannesburg, South Africa — "Stop Being Afraid." A confident graffiti artist has gone after the Stop signs in my new neighbourhood in Johannesburg, adding in the "Being Afraid" for a neat command.



Stephanie Nolen

 


By HAMIDA GHAFOUR
Thursday, Oct. 2, 2003

The sky turns lavender, the mountains fade, and the kites, by now small black flecks, still soar.



Photo: Hamida Ghafour

 


By GEOFFREY YORK
Thursday, Sep. 25, 2003

Pyongyan, North Korea — His name was Mr. Kim, and for eight days he was my relentless shadow.



Geoffrey York

 


By MARK MacKINNON
Wednesday, Sep. 17, 2003

Kiev — The old woman looked like Yoda — shrunken, hairy and leaning heavily on a gnarled walking stick.




Mark MacKinnon

 


By SHAWN McCARTHY
Thursday, Sept. 11, 2003

New York — It's the 8th inning of the key game in a pennant race between perhaps the most storied rivals in all of professional sports. And from the upper decks in right field, my wife Karen, my daughter Elizabeth and I are taking in the game and the banter between Yankee fans and the large contingent of Bostonians present in the (relatively) cheap seats.




Shawn McCarthy

 


By GEOFFREY YORK
Friday, May 16, 2003

The taxi drivers at Yemen's main airport gave me a rowdy welcome. Ever since the murder of three Americans at a Yemeni hospital last December, virtually no tourists have dared to venture to this stunningly beautiful and impoverished Arab country, and the cabbies were excited by the prospect of a few dollars from a rare foreign visitor.




Geoffrey York

 


By ALAN FREEMAN
Friday, May 9, 2003

The Ishtar Sheraton must have been quite a place when it opened in the early 1980s, part of a hotel building boom that also gave Baghdad the neighbouring Palestine Hotel and the Al-Rashid. Unfortunately, a few wars have intervened and the hotel is looking a bit down-at-heel.



Alan Freeman

 


By PAUL ADAMS
Friday, April 11, 2003

"What's it like 'next door' these days?" asked the young Egyptian woman who was working with me during my time in Cairo earlier this month.

Gesturing to the taxi-driver, she added: "I don't want to say the name while we're in the taxi."



Paul Adams

 


By ALAN FREEMAN
Friday, April 4, 2003

LONDON - I went to dinner with my wife last week at a restaurant in Chelsea, a large airy café that's part of the chain of fashionable eateries run by Sir Terence Conran, the well-known designer, retailer and entrepreneur.



Alan Freeman

 


By KELLY PATRICK
Friday, March 28, 2003

When I flicked off the reading lamp above my bed in the tiny one-bedroom flat I share with two others, one of my roommates - dozing in the bunk below me - bolted straight up and yelped, "What happened to the electricity? Is everything OK?"




Kelly Patrick


By GEOFFREY YORK
Friday, March 14, 2003

KUWAIT CITY -- This may be the world's wealthiest and most relaxed war zone. I've covered wars around the world, but I'd never seen the kind of languid comfort that prevails in Kuwait on the eve of an expected invasion of Iraq by the 160,000 U.S. and British troops here.




Geoffrey York


By OLIVER MOORE
Friday, March 7, 2003

The attendant listens gravely as you explain what you want, asks a few questions and then disappears into a back room. Moments later a small procession makes its way to where you sit.




Oliver Moore


By STEPHANIE NOLEN
Friday, Febraury 28, 2003

The pink dominates his days and intrudes into his dreams at night. Handrin Adal cannot get free of it.




Stephanie Nolen


By PAUL KNOX
Friday, Febraury 21, 2003

Should Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez be supported because he's a legitimate elected leader seeking to carry out a program of social reform? Or should he be told to rein in his violent supporters, stop threatening his opponents, respect the institutions of democracy and submit to a constitutionally sanctioned vote on whether he should continue in office?




Paul Knox


By MARK MacKINNON
Friday, January 31, 2003

Major-General Anatoly Kriachkov was just warming to his topic when the first bomb went off.
Chechnya is becoming extremely normal, he was telling a group of foreign reporters assembled in his headquarters near the centre of downtown Grozny. So much so that local Chechens are lining up to join the Grozny police force. So much so that the Chechen war is effectively over.




Mark MacKinnon


By MIRO CERNETIG
Friday, January 24, 2003

It's 5 o'clock sharp and the speakers crackle to life. Eight thousand men and women suddenly freeze, spin on their heels to face the nearest speaker or flag, as the sound of the Star Spangled Banner wafts across these 34 squares miles of Louisiana. A few even stop in the middle of the road, presuming, one supposes, that the cars will be doing the same.




Miro Cernetig


By DOUG SAUNDERS
Friday, January 17, 2003

The faces on the lunch-hour crowd at Chappy's restaurant are overwhelmingly white, and the food is rich and spicy. Here, around the tables of this roadside institution, are gathered the lunching elite of this prosperous little town on the Gulf of Mexico coast, a sliver of wealth in America's poorest state.




Doug Saunders


By STEPHANIE NOLEN
Friday, January 10, 2003

I was determined to be in Mogadishu for Dec. 9, 2002, the 10th anniversary of the start of Operation Restore Hope, the ill-fated U.S.-led mission to bring peace and distribute food aid in Somalia. The civil war has raged ever since and yet we hear almost nothing of how 10 million Somalis live in near anarchy. I wanted to report on the once-nation a decade later.




Stephanie Nolen


By LEAH McLAREN
Friday, December 20, 2002

Welcome to the hippest, smuggest most shamelessly hypocritical urban village on the face of the earth. Christmas shopping in Notting Hill is a trying experience. The temptation to spend the equivalent of my monthly salary on a set of raw silk toss pillow covers for my mother is strong. Everything is so pretty and bohemian chic.




Leah McLaren


By ALAN FREEMAN
Friday, December 13, 2002

Alan Freeman takes a personal pilgrimage to Manchester, where his father was born 100 years ago, and discovers an industrial city transformed. I went on a personal pilgrimage to this old industrial city recently to mark a centenary that will never appear on a stamp or a bronze plaque.




Alan Freeman


By GEOFFREY YORK
Friday, December 6, 2002

Sishu Basang might have found the perfect Tibetan survival technique in the era of Communist occupation. Faced with a confusing clash of secular and religious deities, the 49-year-old yak herdsman has prudently opted to flatter all of the local gods.




Geoffrey York


By TIM APPLEBY
Friday, November 29, 2002

It's after midnight and you find yourself walking alone through the ancient stone streets of the old city. Better watch out, you might think. This is, after all, the Middle East, often regarded as volatile and hostile to foreigners. Tension in the region is high and Syria is a police state whose human-rights record is among the worst in the world.


Tim Appleby

Tim Appleby

By GRAEME SMITH
Friday, November 22, 2002

Tourists once flocked to Bali's Hard Rock Cafe, which dominates the beachfront like a stone temple to the god America.


Graeme Smith

Graeme Smith

By ALAN FREEMAN
Friday, November 15, 2002

Gibraltar - where the only road in and out crosses the airport's runway -- is not for the claustrophobic, Alan Freeman finds

GIBRALTAR - There's the most extraordinary sign as you head down Winston Churchill Ave. from the centre of Gibraltar to the border with Spain.


Alan Freeman

Alan Freeman

By JANE ARMSTRONG
Friday, November 8, 2002

The sidewalks are empty in car crazy Los Angeles, Jane Armstrong finds

The swimming pool at L.A.'s Westin Bonaventure Hotel beckons in the September heat. It's not yet noon and the temperature has crept to 90 degrees Fahrenheit. But there isn't a soul in the pool's still waters. Seems strange. This is L.A., there isn't a cloud in the autumn sky. Shouldn't this spot be ringed by beautiful people in little bathing suits?


By TIM APPLEBY
Friday, November 1, 2002

So you want to visit sunny Iraq? Here's a primer from Timothy Appleby on some of the quirks in the land of Saddam

So you want to visit sunny Iraq, never an easy experience but invariably a memorable one. Here's a primer.


Tim Appleby

Tim Appleby

By JIN DAVID KIM
Friday, October 25, 2002

Anthrax. The bombing of the Pentagon. And now the sniper.

Growing up in the Toronto suburb of Scarborough, I always looked forward to spending Christmases with my aunt in Washington. My family and I spent the 12 hour drives singing songs or listening to "A Chipmunk Christmas" several times over, laughing all the way. While we all enjoyed the adventures of eating American food, buying American clothes, and watching American cable television, we came to spend time with our relatives. At some point in our teens, my brother and I decided to spend Christmases with our friends in Toronto, and our annual trips came to an end. But the District had grown on me by then and I did miss being here.


Jin David Kim

Jin David Kim

By MARCUS GEE
Friday, October 11, 2002

When I saw a brochure about the Spam Museum in Minneapolis, I knew I had to get there, MARCUS GEE writes

Spam, Spam, Spam, Spam, Spam, Spam, Spam, Spam.

Sorry, but when am I ever going to get to write that again?


Marcus Gee

Marcus Gee

By PAUL KNOX
Friday, October 11, 2002

I beg the forgiveness of our vegetarian readers, but the buchada was delicious, as were the chicken and the goat steak, served with beans and rice and farinha -- the coarse manioc meal that tastes like sand to the uninitiated but is a staple of Brazilian cuisine. All of it was seasoned with election chatter from my lunch companions, who were mostly local politicos, PAUL KNOX writes

Garanhuns, a district in northeastern Brazil where I spent a couple of days this month, is a place where you would no sooner discard the edible parts of a goat than prance naked down the main street at high noon. Hence the dish known as buchada, which is a goat's stomach filled with diced liver, heart and assorted other bits -- well spiced, sewn shut and simmered until tender.


Paul Knox

Paul Knox

By PAUL ADAMS
Friday, October 4, 2002

Nuha is what we call in the trade my "fixer" - a word she dislikes, perhaps because it carries a slight flavour of corruption. She prefers "media assistant", which is what it says on her press card, or simply "translator", PAUL ADAMS writes

I was taking a break one Sunday when the Israelis pulled their troops back from the Muqata - the compound in Ramallah where Yasser Arafat has been held under siege on and off for ten months now.


Adams

Paul Adams

By MARK MacKINNON
Friday, September 27, 2002

The locals, famous for their hospitality, are quick to invite a stranger in for wine, conversation and khachapuri, the delectable local cheesebread. But a trip down Rustavelis Avenue, Tbilisi's main drag, quickly rights any misconceptions that Georgia is as well as the Georgians let on.

Climbing up a concrete watchtower, crouching in a tiny cement bunker, scrambling over a security ditch. They're not exactly the kinds of activities most people figure on doing during their holidays.


MacKinnon

Mark MacKinnon

By ALAN FREEMAN
Friday, September 20, 2002

Grenzland (literally Borderland) is not really a theme park nor is it designed for fun. It's a museum dedicated to the memory of the armed border that divided Germany for four decades, ALAN FREEMAN writes
Climbing up a concrete watchtower, crouching in a tiny cement bunker, scrambling over a security ditch. They're not exactly the kinds of activities most people figure on doing during their holidays.


Freeman

Alan Freeman



By GEOFFREY YORK
Friday, September 13, 2002

While beggars and refugees plod wearily through the dusty streets outside, visiting foreigners now have a selection of comfortable guesthouses and restaurants for their pleasure, GEOFFREY YORK writes

When I first visited Kabul last year, under the watchful eye of the Taliban regime, I was one of about three guests in the vast empty hallways of the Inter-Continental Hotel, perched on a hilltop at the edge of town.


York

Geoffery York

By LEAH McLAREN
Friday, September 6, 2002

Italians have never been very good at getting worked up over things they don't much care about, and the approaching Sept. 11 anniversary is no exception, LEAH McLAREN writes

The first anniversary of Sept. 11 approaches, but you'd never know it in the streets of Florence. The city is devoid of commemorative window displays, ominous adverts for TV specials and there are no terrorism-related headlines at my local newsstand near Piazza Santo Spirito.


McLaren

Leah McLaren

By SIMON HOUPT
Friday, August 30, 2002

New York City is tired of Sept. 11. It's dreading the anniversary, Simon Houpt writes

At the Barnes and Noble bookstore a few blocks from my apartment on the Upper West Side, September 11 is a dud.


Houpt

Simon Houpt

By PAUL KNOX
Friday, August 23, 2002

Pinch yourself hard here and eventually you'll remember you're in Cuba - despite the American flags, the golden arches of McDonald's and the beefy, drawling English spoken on the main street, PAUL KNOX writes

I was struck by the wording on the baseball caps and fridge magnets for sale on the base: "Guantanamo Bay, Cuba." The charitable view would be to see the inclusion of the country name as a mark of respect -- an acknowledgement that despite everything, this is still Cuban soil. But denizens of the Caribbean might consider it a not-too-subtle reminder that the United States was godfather and midwife to Cuba's independence, and still is capable of wielding the fabled big stick.




Paul Knox

Paul Knox


By MARK MacKINNON
Friday, August 16, 2002

Late-night research on local behaviour moves at top speed, MARK MACKINNON writes

There are many ways for foreigners to get themselves into trouble in this former capital of the Evil Empire. You can try and drink the locals under the table, and lose. You can believe the pretty girl staring at you from the corner doesn't care only about the size of your wallet. Or you can try and catch a ride home after dark.



MacKinnon

Mark MacKinnon


By MARK MacKINNON
Saturday, August 10, 2002

We, the International Media, arrive by the dozen, armed with notepads, cameras, rumpled shirts and deep, booming voices. They, the Recovering Afghans, trickle in two-by-two, bewildered at why anybody would want to watch them watching soccer.

It's soccer night in Kabul. Or so say the English-language bulletins posted throughout the city.



MacKinnon

Mark MacKinnon


By JAMES CHRISTIE
Friday, August 9, 2002

Manchester is, in its own quirky way cosmopolitan, James Christie writes from Manchester, where he was covering the Commonwealth Games

MANCHESTER - The Commonwealth Games always impress me with the qualities that make them not the Olympics - no barbed wire, no heavily armed soldiers at gates, no Russian Mafioso lurking to fix a match in lawn bowls or netball.



Christie

James Christie


By JOHN DOYLE
Friday, August 2, 2002

'When you're covering press tours that last two weeks in January and three weeks in July, comfort and familiarity matters. But I was still taken aback by the vehemence of the backlash against the change of hotel,' JOHN DOYLE writes

I arrived two weeks ago to discover that the big controversy among the 200 or so TV Critics gathered here had nothing to do with American network TV. The big issue at the annual meeting of the Television Critics Association was a change of venue for the twice-yearly press tour.


Doyle

John Doyle

By JEFF GRAY
Friday, July 26, 2002

The worst thing about having tea with a peer is not knowing what to call her, JEFF GRAY writes

The worst thing about having tea with a peer is not knowing what to call her.

I'm talking about the Baroness Rawlings, who -- after a hushed consultation with some fellow foreign journalists at the table -- we called Lady Rawlings, not really sure whether that was right or not.


Gray

Jeff Gray

By GEOFFREY YORK
Friday, July 19, 2002

Aside from Mao's famous tomb and giant portrait on Tiananmen Square, it's difficult to find a revolutionary statue or a flag or banner in this increasingly capitalist city, GEOFFREY YORK writes

In my first five months as the Globe's bureau chief in Beijing, I've been struck by the absence of Communist icons on the streets of the Chinese capital. Aside from Mao's famous tomb and giant portrait on Tiananmen Square, it's difficult to find a revolutionary statue or a flag or banner in this increasingly capitalist city.


York

Geoffrey York

By MIRO CERNETIG
Friday, July 12, 2002

Here in New York, the last line of homeland defense is now my doorman

Forget the FBI, the CIA, the code-crackers at the National Security Agency or even the National Guard. Here in New York, the last line of homeland defense is now my doorman.


Cernetig

Miro Cernetig

Letter from Zurich

By ALAN FREEMAN
Friday, July 5, 2002

The brochure for the world's first McDonald's hotel was unabashed in its enthusiasm. Staying at the Golden Arch Hotel was "a pleasure as inviting as a big plate of French fries," ALAN FREEMAN writes

I immediately imagined a tacky hotel room impregnated with that unmistakable deep-fry odour. It wasn't my idea of a restful night away from home. Then again, I'm not a snob and decided to try it out.

Freeman

Alan Freeman

Letter from Washington

By JOHN IBBITSON
Friday, June 28, 2002

I have been astonished by the revival of American downtowns, especially Washington. Formerly run-down neighbourhoods are burgeoning, JOHN IBBITSON writes

When I first arrived in Washington a year ago, I was nervous. Like many Canadians, I held a late-night-newscast image of American cities: of fires and shootings, of abandoned, burnt-out downtowns, of corrupt or incompetent local politicians, of angry ghettoes and gated enclaves.

Ibbitson

John Ibbitson

Letter from Israel

By PAUL ADAMS
Friday, June 21, 2002

Wherever you go in this small country, there are the echoes of war, often blended bizarrely into routines of daily life, PAUL ADAMS writes

I was sitting by the shore of the Mediterranean the other day, sipping a beer and sharing a plate of chicken nuggets and French fries with my four-year-old son, Alexandre.

Adams

Paul Adams

Letter from Islamabad

By MARK MacKINNON
Friday, June 14, 2002

Are we going to get nuked as we sip our drinks?

The UN Club in Islamabad is the last - some would say the only - refuge for the city's would-be scoundrels. In this dry Muslim country, there are few places one can safely slip away to for an evening of behaving like you're somewhere else. In Islamabad, if you want a drink - and the available box of mango juice won't scratch the itch - you're likely either here or shaking it with under-aged locals at a cheesy dance bar in the bowels of the Marriott Hotel. Given the option, most scoundrels of a certain dignity come here.


MacKinnon

Mark MacKinnon

Letter from Tokyo

By GEOFFREY YORK
Saturday, June 8, 2002

If you want to understand the fear and fascination that the World Cup has provoked in Japan, you have to start with the culture clash between the rowdy foreign fans and the extreme politesse of an ultra-orderly society.

I was reminded of the clashing cultures whenever I entered one of Tokyo's subway stations, where the authorities have been displaying a series of "manner posters" to correct the near-flawless behaviour of the Japanese commuter. The latest manner poster, Number Eight, seeks to perfect the umbrella-carrying style of the passengers in Tokyo's spotlessly gleaming subway system.

York

Geoffrey York

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