• Journey into Old Russia : As staff writer Scott Peterson arrived last week to report on a rehabilitation program for alcoholics south of Moscow (this page), it began to snow. "The ground was so wet and muddy underneath the snow that our host suggested that we weren't going to be able to travel by car to the nearby village," says Scott. So, he invited Scott and his interpreter to take a horse-drawn cart.
"We had to cross a deep stream and muddy fields to get to the village. The tires on the car would have filled with mud and lost traction," says Scott. "At one point, two of us had to get out of the cart so the horse could get the cart out of a rut, but otherwise it was the perfect form of transportation. My interpreter, Olga, was amused to find herself back in 'Old Russia.' "
• Accordion Blues: Correspondent Lisa Abend has a front-row seat to Madrid's noise pollution (page 7). "My apartment overlooks one of these zones that are packed with bars," she says. Sunday afternoons, she explains, seem to be a big day for the botellónes, in which locals gather outdoors until the wee hours to chat, drink, and occasionally burst into song. "I have to push people off my front stoop just to get in the door," she says. "But the worst are the accordion players. They start about noon and go until midnight. And they only know four or five songs, which they all play in the exact same succession."
David Clark Scott