• The Best for $15 a Night: For her story about a canal across Nicaragua, staff writer Sara Miller Llana decided to interview some folks along the proposed route. She found an isolated spot on Lake Nicaragua.
"After a week of covering the presidential elections, this was a slice of heaven. It was a lovely remote location, absolutely beautiful. Very natural and untouched by development. If I'd had the time, I'd have gone hiking," says Sara.
She spent the night at the nearest "hotel," where she got an open-air room, complete with bathroom for $15. "I could have rented just a hammock for $1 a night, but I decided to splurge," she laughs.
• Metallica on the Nile? Staff writer Dan Murphy found that while Egypt's traditional Sufi saint's festivals are resisting the efforts of modernist Islamic clerics to stop them, another aspect of modernity is creeping in: Electricity.
Over the past decade, powerful but low-quality amplifiers have become de rigueur for these musically driven religious festivals, and are generally turned up so high that it's almost impossible to enjoy some of the virtuoso music that's being played for the worshipers.
"An Egyptian colleague and a friend from the States, who is a serious musician, went with me. Both were eager to hear the lute-like like oud, the flute-like nay, and the tablah drums. It's not often that one can hear traditional music in Egypt today," says Dan. "Our plan was to stay all night, but the buzz and crackle and volume of the amplifiers eventually drove us away."
David Clark Scott