In 2020 we were there: the year’s 13 most popular shipments

As in more typical years, in 2020 our correspondents sent shipments to some of the world’s most remote, inaccessible and downright dangerous places – from the deep cold in Siberia to the scorching heat of the Australian overseas; from the nature of a jaguar reserve in Argentina to the inside of an armored personnel carrier full of French troops of the foreign legion in Mali.

But 2020 was no ordinary year.

As travel restrictions around the pandemic were introduced almost everywhere, our correspondents had to be more resourceful. Instead of boarding a plane – or taking a boat to a drowning island – they regularly embark on more local journeys to intensely tell in person how the countries, cities and neighborhoods they call home experience a devastating health crisis. .

We were there at the beginning of the outbreak, with a shipment in early February from Wuhan, China, the original epicenter, and the first city stood in the anxious monotony of a blockade that could endure billions soon. Covering the virus so carefully meant he had to be quarantined regularly – four times in three months for Amy Qin.

As the disease spread around the world, our reports also spread, with transmissions about the effects of the coronavirus on six continents, from a subdued Bogotá to Ottawa, where Canada’s voice of the nation ‘continued to resound; from a shortage of sheep in Senegal to a silent football match in Tokyo to a private island in Greece.

In Sydney, Damien Cave dived underwater to report on the attractiveness of spearfishing in Australia during a pandemic.

Book stalls were threatened in Paris, pubs in Beirut were closed, baseball stands in Taiwan were emptied and taxis were banished to a cemetery in London. In Indonesia, the global slowdown has further intimidated thousands of junk sellers.

As the world has taken the first preliminary steps to reopen this spring, we have documented the return to a strange, and temporary, kind of semi-normality, with a journey of 3700 kilometers across Europe, from a drive-in disco to one-on-one classical concerts.

The year has mercifully not just been about the virus. There were militant spectacles on the border between India and Pakistan, protest art in Baghdad and Paris and love of communism at a Chinese lake.

There was mudslinging to try in London, gold to expect in Scotland, a road race to run in Somaliland, a female lion to meet in Egypt, Lebanese cannabis fields to walk around and a Berlin airport to finally (long!) To open.

Was it the social distance embedded in Thai culture – the habit of greeting others with a wave, a prayer-like movement, rather than a full embrace – that could have prevented the coronavirus’ runaway transmission? Did Thailand’s early adoption of face masks stop the impact of the virus? Is there a genetic component?

Or was it alchemy of all these factors? We investigated the reasons for Thailand’s low infection rate in the most read shipment of 2020.

– By Hannah Beech; photos by Adam Dean

The economic collapse of Venezuela has caused a proud fishing village to stumble. Then jewelry began to appear on the beach in a mysterious way.

“I started shaking, I was crying with joy,” said Yolman Lares, a 25-year-old fisherman who initially came across the treasure. “It was the first time something special had happened to me.”

– By Anatoly Kurmanaev and Isayen Herrera; photos by Adriana Loureiro Fernande

A couple of international lovers, 89 and 85 in the spring, found a romantic way to keep in touch (almost) during a year of divorces, and met them every day at the closed German-Danish border to chat, jokes to make and drink snaps.

“We are here because of love,” said Karsten Tüchsen Hansen, a retired German farmer. “Love is the best thing in the world.”

– By Patrick Kingsley; photos by Emile Ducke

In front of the audience of 11- to 13-year-old students and the TV cameras, five adults stood completely naked, like statues, with their arms behind their backs.

“OK kids, does anyone have a question?” asks the presenter of the program.

– By Thomas Erdbrink and Martin Selsoe Sorensen; photos by Betina Garcia

Canada’s largest city has politely adhered to a strict closure of the coronavirus. But when a family of foxes set up a pit in a leading Toronto location, all bets were off.

“The fox is a little flash of beauty and ingenuity,” said Al Moritz, a Toronto laureate. “It’s a refugee and it’s delicious.”

– By Catherine Porter; photos by Brett Gundlock

They did not have an oven. Their apartment looks like Santa Claus set up in a dorm room. But two rookie bakers thrive in Mexico City.

Their success, a rare bit of good news in a country plunged by the coronavirus, is a testament to the power of cooking as a survival strategy in Mexico’s food-obsessed capital.

– By Natalie Kitroeff; photos by Meghan Dhaliwal

Victoria is peppered with Tudor Revival architecture, pubs with names like ‘the Churchill’ and specialty shops selling marmalade jam. Until 1950, his police officers wore bobby-style helmets.

And if Prince Harry ever gets lonely for the royal life while in Canada, he can always visit his great-great-great-grandmother, sit at a dining room table over a glass of sherry, lovingly shampooed her hair and by one of her most devoted subjects.

– By Dan Bilefsky; photos by Jackie dives

Like the family in the Oscar-winning film, many in Seoul’s so-called filthy class live in cellars far below the rich.

“Those who live there,” said a 63-year-old taxi driver, “should look down on people like me like pigs.”

– By Choe Sang-Hun; photos by Lam Yik Fei

In 1633, the inhabitants of a Bavarian village plagued by a pandemic that killed one in four people promised God that if he spared the rest, they would carry out the Passion Play – which was Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection. would determine – every 10 years forever thereafter.

Another pandemic, 387 years later, forced villagers to abandon the promise.

– By Katrin Bennhold; photos by Laetitia Vancon

Trapped in an Armenian rocket attack, a New York Times reporter team caught the pain of a dirty war.

A burnt out car still smoldering. Blood smeared on the sidewalk. Gil. And a sad mother rocking her head from her dead son: “He came to tell us that something was happening, and he died.”

– By Carlotta Gall; photos by Ivor Prickett

While the crowd was away, Paris belonged to Parisians again this spring.

And of course to ‘les microbes’.

– By Adam Nossiter; photos by Andrea Mantovani and Dmitry Kostyukov

In Russia, elections are usually theatrical matters with the predetermined results. Sometimes, however, they go off the script.

No one was more surprised to win an election in a Russian town than Marina Udgodskaya, the new mayor, who did not campaign, has no interest in politics and said she agreed to just go to her to help boss. “I like farming,” she said.

– By Andrew E. Kramer; photos by Emile Ducke

The Vatican’s birth scene this year drew a lot of criticism, headaches and a lot of welcome laughter.

The three wise men, life-size and cylindrical, looked as if they were made of ceramic oil drums. Joseph and Mary looked like huge, biblically themed weebles. And who wore the helmet of an astronaut?

– By Jason Horowitz; photos by Nadia Shira Cohen