• A Different World: On her recent reporting trip to Algeria, staff writer Jill Carroll says she was impressed with how peaceful the country was (see story).
"The civil-war era [of the 1990s] was so awful, and there are all these new threats, with Al Qaeda coming in and a recent bombing," says Jill. "But in fact, it was very peaceful."
While Jill didn't find the war-torn country she was expecting, she did find widespread concern about other security issues, like robbery.
The Algerian government, which organized the visit for foreign journalists, assigned Jill a plainclothes secret police officer for her "protection," making it a little tricky to conduct interviews, Jill says.
Nonetheless, Jill says that she found Algiers amazingly beautiful, a contrast with the country's often-violent history.
"It looks like San Francisco with French architecture. I thought I'd see pockmarked buildings left from the civil war," she notes, "but that's not the case." Jill says that the city is filled with tiny, winding streets and buildings that have balconies and French doors. Older women move about in traditional coverings that are made up of yards of white fabric.
The city also commands eye-catching views, Jill says. "Everywhere you look, you see beautiful white buildings and the Mediterranean Sea all around that.
And, of course, history is all around. "I stayed in the same hotel where Eisenhower had stayed when he ran the North African campaign during World War II," Jill says. "Churchill had also been there."
– Amelia Newcomb
Deputy World editor