Reporters on the Job

Genuine Fake: During his years in Beijing, the Monitor's Robert Marquand has paid more than a few visits to the city's Silk Alley (page 5), which is home to great bargains on slick brand-name clothing of dubious authenticity as well as typical Chinese-style knick-knacks. Bob - who states that "my wardrobe is entirely not from Silk Alley" - has picked up gifts there from time to time, including martial-arts pajamas that have proved a big hit with friends back home.

The bargaining that comes with the Silk Alley experience is not a familiar practice for most Americans. But Bob isn't cowed. "I'm a veteran of the carpet shops of Pakistan, so I've done my share of dickering," he says. "The standard rule here is that they'll give you a price, and then you start at about a quarter of that."

The Roads Not Traveled: When staff writer Dan Murphy set up an appointment with a Baghdad City Council official (page 1), he penciled in about 20 minutes to travel the three or so miles from his hotel to the municipal building. When Dan was last in Iraq, in early May, that would have been sufficient.

As it turned out, the trip took an hour. "Since I left, many more roads have been closed to protect Americans on the ground," Dan says. "So rather than drive north on the same side of the river, we had to cross the river, circle the Green Zone (where coalition authorities live and work) in the city center, go back over a bridge, and head south to the building. My host joked that a sign of true sovereignty would be whether Iraqis can remove the current barriers. But he doubted that would happen."

The story, "Chechen rebels' deadly return" (June 23, 2004 issue, p. 6), located the Carnegie Moscow Center in Berlin. The center is, as its name suggests, in Moscow.

Amelia Newcomb
Deputy world editor

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