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Today's Story Line

August 23, 2000



It's August - peak vacation season - and everyone seems to have travel on their minds. But whatever getaway you're planning, it may be hard to get away from hassles. You'll want to read the piece about the clogged international air-traffic systems. If it's revolutionary tour you seek, see our Chiapas piece. Or, if you're into Mediterranean isles, read how tourists have brought mixed blessings to a once sleepy fishing village .

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Faye Bowers Deputy world editor

REPORTERS ON THE JOB..

* BARBIE WITH A BALLOT? The Monitor's Howard LaFranchi says his family's already copious collection of Zapatista dolls had him shooing away vendors during his most recent visit to Mexico's Chiapas. But finding his frustration mounting with one particularly insistent saleswoman, Howard changed tactics. "I told her I thought the dolls were a little pass in this year of big elections in Mexico, because they all hold little wooden rifles. I promised to buy every doll she could make holding a ballot, but she just giggled."

*AIRING GRIEVANCES: Ask European correspondent Peter Ford what he thinks about air travel, and his answer is swift: "Thank God for trains."

Twice this summer Peter has had to fall back on terrestrial transport when airlines let him down. Once his plane was already taxiing for take off when it suddenly slowed down and stopped. The pilot had heard that the British air-traffic-control computer had broken down, and no airplanes were being allowed into, out of, or over British airspace. With no indication of when the plane would leave, Peter went back into Paris and took the Eurostar train to London, under the Channel.

Two weeks later, French air-traffic controllers chose the day of Peter's flight to Bern for a total strike. A 10-hour train journey later, he reached his destination. But the Swiss countryside was beautiful.

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