Reporters on the Job

Bicycle Built for CHESS: Didi Senfit (in red) built this bicycle for tourists. He poses in Bonn, Germany, at the site of the World Chess Championships.

The McCain Discount: Correspondent Paul Rimple in Tiblisi, Georgia, says that most taxi drivers don't know much about Sen. Barack Obama other than that he's African-American and is now running against Sen. John McCain, whom they consider a "friend of Georgia."

"When I tell them about how McCain says that he looks into Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin's eyes and sees the letters K-G-B, I invariably get a discount in my cab fare," says Paul (see story).

Houseboat Barometer: While reporting today's story on Kashmir's orphans, correspondent Mian Ridge stayed on a houseboat on Lake Dal, in Srinagar. The houseboat owner told her how his fortunes had risen and fallen with Kashmir's.

"When the British left India, he bought half a dozen houseboats from a departing Englishman and built up a successful business that attracted celebrities. George Harrison, of the Beatles, used to stay on one boat," says Mian. It was here that India's renowned musician, Ravi Shankar, taught Mr. Harrison to play the sitar.

But during the worst years of the Kashmir insurgency, the beautiful boats, with their delicately carved walnut wood walls, sat empty. After peace talks in 2004, they began to fill again and the owner decided to salvage Harrison's boat and refurbish it for visitors.

But since the summer, and a new wave of violent protests, the number of tourists visiting Kashmir has fallen again. "My husband and I were the only guests the night we stayed there. And the 'Harrison houseboat' has begun to sink back down into the lake again," says Mian.

Readers who wish to help a Kashmir orphanage, can contact the one mentioned in the story:

Jammu & Kashmir Yateem Khana

Chana Mohalla, Chhatabal, Srinagar,


David Clark Scott

World editor

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