• No Frills Travel: Staff writer Jill Carroll says that her 36-hour, sleepless round trip between Cairo and the Rafah Crossing to Gaza was, well, memorable (see story). "Fifteen of us, including the driver, were squashed into this minibus for five hours. My knees were hitting the seat in front of me, and you couldn't even lean back to sleep. When we arrived early in the morning, hot and cramped, we were accosted by very aggressive young men who wanted to carry our bags. I told them we didn't have any as we were just there for the day."
Jill and her assistant did interviews for about an hour, at which point the security folks saw them and brought them into the processing center. That was OK, though, says Jill. "We got to see everything in there – a mass of humanity tired of hanging around, riot police manhandling people outside, a woman with two expensive Persian cats."
Finally, Jill and her assistant were assigned an escort, which complicated interviewing. But a taxi ride to a town an hour away compensated for that: "We were riding with others, and they were happy to share their rather extensive knowledge about smuggling," a significant problem that complicates border crossings, she says.
• A Changed Sweden: After living for nearly 20 years in the United States, Karin Rives returned to her native Sweden a year ago with her American husband and two small children. She noticed that the Sweden she once knew had changed considerably (see story). "Sweden looks a lot different now," she says. "At the day care, on the buses, in my office building, and at the mall, are people from all over the world."
Karin says she started noticing something else: Unlike in the United States, where employers happily hire foreigners, Swedish companies are still hesitant. "As in many other European countries," she says, "foreigners are still viewed more as a problem than an opportunity."
– Amelia Newcomb
Deputy World editor