Reporters on the Job

GLOBALIZED CANCÚN: Reporter Gretchen Peter, who flew in from Pakistan a day after the WTO summit began (this page), didn't have any time to enjoy splash in the azure waters off Cancún, Mexico. But she did find the summit awash in irony.

"WTO delegates mixed with tourists slathered in sunblock at a resort that is truly a poster child for globalization: the beaches are lined with gargantuan Hyatts, Hiltons and Marriotts," she says. "Waiters here seem to prefer to speak English - even to their Mexican customers, and even the buses accept US dollars."

Heavy security prevented thousands of protesters from getting near the conference venue, and also meant thousands of waiters, dishwashers, and hotel staff had to trudge up to 15 miles to get to work. Police guarded every Burger King and McDonalds in the tourist zone, but there was little security in the city center, where the protesters ended up. "One shopkeeper told me he lost five days of business before the talks broke down. 'Were not victims of globalization here,' he said. 'We are victims of the globophobes.' "

STUCK IN THE EMBASSY: Foreign coresondents find that diplomats are usually good people to go to for some perspective and analysis of countries with which they are not fully familiar. But Iraq is a case apart, the Monitor's Peter Ford found on Monday, as he drove around Baghdad knocking on embassy doors (most land-line phones are still out and satellite phones are patchy). "They were delighted by my visit, but knew next to nothing about Iraqi politics (page 1) because their security details will not allow them out of their embassies without four armed guards and an armored car." Peter was left to rely on his own legwork and primary sources.

David Clark Scott
World editor

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