Reporters on the Job

• Not in Mexico Anymore: When reporter Howard LaFranchi recently arrived in Baghdad and heard three loud booms through his hotel window the other night, the noise was strangely nostalgic, sending him back to his time as a correspondent in Mexico City.

"It sounded a lot like the cherry bombs the kids used to play with there, especially on holiday nights. So I was imagining a Mexican festival, with lots of colors and lights, when it came over the TV news that three mortars had just been fired in central Baghdad. That melted away the mental picture of merriment and mariachis."

• Gone Climbing: What do Moscow-based reporters do after another long day of reporting on the Yukos oil scandal (this page)? Scott Peterson unwinds by going climbing. "I went out today with a Russian banker. But we don't talk shop. We climb," says Scott. In this case, they went to a local playground to practice techniques for climbing on ice. "We've had some snow, but it's not cold enough yet for ice," he says. When it is, Scott practices on a 15-meter-high artificial climbing wall - made of metal beams and wire mesh - that gets sprayed with water.

David Clark Scott
World editor

Cultural snapshot
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