• A DIFFERENT RHYTHM: The Monitor's Nicole Gaouette says that people in Jerusalem observe that you don't realize how stressful living in Israel can be until you go away for a vacation. All it took for her was a one-day trip to Balance Village, a retreat dedicated to helping traumatized Israeli soldiers (this page).
"At first glance, it wasn't much to look at - paint on some of the 20-year-old bungalows was peeling, most of the furniture was plastic or dog-eared - but within minutes it was clear that the place was special," says Nicole. "Perhaps it was proximity to the sea's soothing rhythms or the community's commitment to healing and wholeness, but the village has an air of peace and calm that is exceptionally rare here. "I probably worked more slowly that day than I ever have - why rush to leave? Before I left, I asked the counselors if they took in stressed journalists. That got a good laugh."
• JUMPING THROUGH HOOPS: The Monitor's Scott Peterson's logistical prowess is legendary. But filing today's story about US pacifists in Iraq (page 1) tested even his skills. The reporting was done over several days, but Scott had to catch a flight on Sunday for another story.
Scott arrived late in Basra on Sunday after an initial Iraqi Airways Boeing 727 plane turned back to Baghdad, because the front end of the plane developed an sway in flight. The rest of the day was spent reporting a story in Basra. Back at his hotel Sunday night, he worked until 3:45 a.m. to write the first draft of the pacifist piece. He left at 7:30 a.m. for the Iraqi desert, working on yet another story. On the drive back, computer-on-knees, he finished the pacifist story. He returned to the hotel and satellite phone to file the final version, and three photographs.
David Clark Scott