TALIBAN TICKETS: Travel around Afghanistan is always potluck, but the five-day delay in Scott Peterson's flight from Herat to Kabul was enough to try even his patience (page 1). First, the Muslim Eid holiday meant no flights, no taxis, and no translators. Scott kept walking back and forth to the Ariana Airlines office. "No, not today," he was told by a former pilot hunched over a radio used to communicate with Kabul. The next day, a rain storm over the capital delayed the flight yet again - by a day.
Finally, the former pilot was all smiles. "Yes, now you can go to the airport, inshallah, the plane has just left Kabul." Scott left the office and glanced down at his ticket. It was obviously from the Taliban era. It had a picture on the back of the Bamiyan stone Buddha (the statue destroyed by the Taliban last year) being observed by tourists. In line with the Taliban prohibition on showing the human form, the face of the statue - and all the tiny tourists - were blacked out with indelible ink.
MUDDY IN MOZAMBIQUE: Reporter Nicole Itano and photographer Melanie Stetson Freeman gained a firsthand taste of the problems Mozambique's farmers face in getting their produce to market. On their way to interview the Evans family for their story on Zimbabwe farmers moving to Mozambique (page 1), Nicole and Melanie's rental car - a brand-new, white Toyota - got hopelessly stuck in the mud. With the help of a group of Mozambicans, whose truck was also stuck just up the road, they were eventually able to get their car out, but went the rest of the way to the farm on foot.
They arrived for their interview covered in red mud and were kindly offered an outdoor tap with which to clean off. "Thankfully, on this trip we were visiting one of the few families in the area with running water," says Nicole.
David Clark Scott