Reporters on the Job

GROOVY BUT NOT GREAt: Not long after seeing the ruins of Machu Picchu with his family (page 7), the Monitor's Howard LaFranchi returned to Mexico and went to see Disney's animated movie "The Emperor's New Groove." It's about a South American emperor (aka Incan) turned into a llama. "We all enjoyed the film," says Howard. But having just climbed the ancient Incan city, his children were not your average critics. "The river canyon wasn't deep enough," said 10-year-old Trey. "Yeah. I really doubt that the Incan guards wore purple and blue uniforms," said Kate, age 8. And 5-year-old Gabriel was the toughest of all. He wasn't buying the basic precept of a talking llama. "I had my picture taken with the llama at Machu Picchu. He couldn't talk."

MIGRANT WORKERS: Reporter Janaki Kremmer read about the legions of high-tech workers returning home to India in the local media. But getting the ex-Silicon Valley programmers to talk to her for today's story (page 7) proved difficult. "I called Bangalore, which is India's cybercity, to interview some of these guys. But stories about them had already appeared in a local magazine, and the experience was not good. Cousins, aunts, and uncles called and said, 'What a shame, and what an embarrassment to the family that you're unemployed.' They didn't see the larger economic picture, or understand the immigration rules, that resulted in them being sent home," says Janaki. She finally found some people in Delhi willing to discuss their situation.

GERMANY'S NEW WASHER: Berliners have a tendency to give nicknames to the city's architectural landmarks. There's "the pregnant oyster," "the hollow tooth," and "the egg." The new federal Chancery just opened this week (this page), but locals are already calling the huge white box "the washing machine." Reporter Lucian Kim, who watched as the gargantuan structure took shape, says the building reminds him more of an entire laundromat.

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(c) Copyright 2001. The Christian Science Monitor

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