Reporters on the Job

Winfried Rothermel/ap
The judges of Germany's high court ruled Wednesday that spying on individuals' personal computers violates their right to privacy.

Can I Come With You? As correspondent Danna Harman prepared for her trip to Burma (Myanmar), she was surprised by how many family members and friends wanted to go with her.

"I travel a lot and normally they don't pay much attention. But people see Burma in the same way they see Cuba and North Korea: one of the few places left in the world that is relatively unchanged by globalization," she says.

There are no Starbucks or McDonald's outlets, or even recognizable brand-name clothing stores. Even the touristy arts and crafts are unique.

"I find that the tchotchkes of Peru are not that different from those in Tanzania. In Mexico, some of the 'local crafts' are now made in China," says Danna.

What did she buy in Burma?

A bag made from watermelon seeds. "OK. So it's not the most attractive thing. But it's original," she says. She bought her dad a set of elephant-shaped weights once used for opium scales.

As for the ethics of tourism that supports a military junta, Danna now comes down on the side of the Burmese she interviewed. "People should see for themselves what a police state looks like. It reminded me of Cuba. As soon as you ask a question, people lower their voice to answer. Their eyes dart. Frankly, I found it tiring and wanted to leave earlier than I'd planned," she says.

Danna notes that some of the guidebooks outline how to travel in Burma without supporting businesses run by the military.

David Clark Scott

World editor

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