Reporters on the Job

PRAGUE UNPLUGGED: Reporter Arie Farnam reports today on Prague's recovery from last August's floods through the eyes of a marionette maker (page 7).

But her own personal reminder of what the floods have wrought walks in the door each night, some times after 8 p.m., and flops in a chair exhausted.

"My husband, Dusan, is a technical surveyor for the local phone and gas companies. His job is to map out exactly where old cables or pipes lie. Many of the damaged cables were buried in ancient streets by one of the haphazard regimes that ruled this country in the past century, meaning that records are often incorrect, in a foreign language, or declared secret by now long-extinct communist military units. It falls to my Dusan and a handful of other men to find out where they run and map them exactly, so that workers can return phones, electricity, heating, and water to the people of Prague."

NORTH KOREA WITHOUT A VISA: When one enters T-2, one of the neutral huts inside the Korean demilitarized zone (DMZ), one finds oneself entering the bizarre world between these two countries (page 9). T-2 is effectively a conference room with a large table that straddles the border between North and South. "When you walk past it, you're in the North," says the Monitor's Robert Marquand.

Bob was surprised by the behavior of the two South Korean guards who stand in front of the hut door leading to the North side. "They stand as far from the door as they can, but close enough so that they can reach it to lock it. When they do this, one guard grabs the other's arm, and the other guy reaches out to lock the door. The move is done out of fears that someone from the North might grab the soldier and take him hostage."

Despite the tensions, Bob enjoyed the visit. "It was my first visit to North Korea," Bob noted. "And without a visa, I might add."

David Clark Scott
World editor

Cultural snapshot
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