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Dublin

Arrived in Dublin after a short flight from London -- a hop, really. The approach to the airport was thrilling; I never knew how it feels to land on an island. Several students said it was the most difficult landing approach they had ever seen. I wouldn't know about that, but it seemed hard enough to me. The the pilot was skillful, the landing smooth.

I'm at the house of Bernie and Larry Clarke. He's a builder; she's a housewife. It's a very nice upper middle-class home. She boards students routinely, apparently. But I'm the only one here now. She seems very businesslike. Hasn't shown a lot of warmth so far, but I said I wanted to rest, so it might be just not wanting to disturb me.

I have two beds in the room, a small chest, a lavatory.

Had a short rain shower; it's windy and cool. We're not far from the Irish Sea. I saw kids walking home from school in the rain -- they seemed used to it.

Half an hour later, the sun shines bright.

Kid walking home, can't be more than 10, with a cellphone clasped to his ear.

I went down to the city center by bus and walked around. I found Victor Opaseki and Shawn Florence on the River Liffey, which runs east to west across the middle of the city. We went to an Internet cafe and checked e-mail. Victor's parents are Nigerian but he was born in Denton. Wonder what it must be like growing up as an immigrant child.

I made it "home" OK -- my first adventure in Dublin. At 11 p.m. it's still twilight.

The city reminds me of other older European cities -- a little gritty in places, even on the main drag. I'd like to see more in the daylight.

I must buy an umbrella. I hope I don't catch cold by walking in the rain. Need laundry soon. Clothes sweaty. Only two more clean pants. Maybe I'll buy some jeans over the weekend. Sure hate to cart them home, though. Luggage is already seriously overweight. I didn't know if I'd get the suitcase closed this morning for the trip from London to Dublin.