• Back to School: Reporter Andrew Downie was left with two overriding impressions after he made three separate visits to Brazilian schools for Tuesday's story (page 7). First, the chaos. "It's been a long time since I've attended primary school [in Edinburgh, Scotland]. But I remember sitting in rows of desks and being allowed to leave only for a milk break or lunch," he says.
The second observation: the prevalence of dance. Andrew knows that Brazilians love to dance, but it was underscored again when he visited the schools. "Disco, samba, hip hop, you name it. Ask any kid what he does with his free time or on weekends and he or she will say dance, nine out of 10 times. They dance in class and they were line dancing to a top-10 tune when they were out on the playground for recess."
• Entering Gaza: While waiting at a checkpoint heading into Gaza last week, staff writer Ilene Prusher witnessed the following exchange. A prominent reporter from one of the main Israeli television stations was having his passport checked by the Palestinian side. The Palestinian officer in charge recognized him and greeted him in Arabic, which the Israeli journalist understood.
"Welcome, Shlomo," the Palestinian officer said as he took down the Israeli correspondent's passport details. "You know, this our land, Shlomo. This is our Palestinian land. Our land."
Shlomo took his passport, walked the last few feet of the tunnel toward Gaza, turned back to the officer and said, "Take it. Really, take it."
To me, the simplicity of this exchange seemed to sum up the state of feelings among the majority on both sides.
David Clark Scott