December 11, 2005 |
IN Switzerland, the land of watches, trains really do run like clockwork. "If I'm 30 seconds late, the train is gone," said Michelle Kranz, who commutes daily into Lucerne, where she works for the tourist board. Step across the border, and you're in a different universe. Italy has two rail schedules: the one printed in the brochure and another, flashing updates, on a board in the station. The first may be a fantasy; the second, reality.
September 12, 2005 |
While doctors acknowledge that communicating clearly with patients is a key factor in clinical decision-making, many resident physicians report being unprepared to adequately communicate with people who are culturally different from themselves. Residents -- up-and-coming doctors who treat tens of thousands of patients in the nation's teaching hospitals -- say they are not being adequately trained to cope with the increasingly diverse populations requiring medical treatment.
September 11, 2005 |
Hassan Lami was herding some sheep to a garbage-strewn city lot to graze when six masked men, using guns with silencers, shot him more than 30 times. As far as anyone can determine, the just-married 20-year-old was killed that July morning because he was a Shiite Muslim. One week later, another 20-year-old was gunned down, this time by men who didn't bother to wear masks.
April 14, 2005 |
It wasn't so long ago that aromatherapy was associated with extreme New Age practitioners, and "massage" conjured thoughts of illicit activity and visits from the vice squad. Today, aromatherapy, massage and a host of formerly esoteric body and skin care practices are so mainstream, it's hard to remember their beginnings.
December 11, 2004 |
As a crack interpreter for anti-terrorism investigators, "Wadad" fights the war of the words. She deciphers North African dialects, Middle Eastern accents and the French Arabic slang of jail yards and housing projects. She braves the crossfire during marathon interrogations of suspected terrorists who snarl at the presence of a female interpreter or recite Koranic verses.
February 1, 2004 |
In Japan it's rude to remove splinters from your wooden chopsticks by rubbing them together. In Belgium, air kisses, a common greeting, come in threes, so you shouldn't turn away before the last is bestowed. And imagine the trouble you could get into in Bulgaria, where nodding your head up and down means no. The small gaffes travelers make often pass unnoticed -- or uncommented upon -- because people everywhere are increasingly aware of the strange habits of foreigners.