Wednesday, June 24, Dublin, Eire

Why I Travel:

I’m sitting in Newark Airport waiting to check in for my 5:45 flight to Copenhagen, thence to Dublin. I would be checked in already except that, by lucky chance, I espied a foursome of electrical outlets over in a corner by the window. Someone else had one outlet occupied charging his phone, but that left me two for my computer and phone. So, rather than risk finding an open outlet in the boarding area I decided to sit here and get my gadgets fully packed with nourishing electricity.

Which leaves time to ruminate on my chosen topic.

1. To lose weight(and lower my blood pressure). Two months spent at home would surely have me adding pounds. My fridge would hold all the usual temptations. The TV would beckon. But on the road I have none of these temptations. My time will be spent—if previous trips are any forecast—walking and looking and walking and looking. My appetite will magically disappear. It has been typical for me to eat but once every 24 hours, and then only because custom demands it.

2. To read books. Away from the TV I’m forced to entertain myself other ways. I can usually get through two to three books per week. And trying to find anything to read in Dakar or Luang Prabang directs me to authors and subjects that I wouldn’t otherwise meet. To keep the weight of my backpack tolerable I limit my inventory to, at most, three tomes. That means I must prowl the streets for anywhere that might have an english language book. Often there are only a handful to choose from.

I began this trip with A More Perfect Heaven:  How Copernicus Revolutionized the Cosmos. And already I’ve learned one fascinating factoid. It seems that Copernicus was a medical student at the University of Padua. Left behind in his effects was his textbook, Brevarium practice by Arnaldus of Villanova, a thirteenth-century physician and alchemist. Arnaldus did surgeries apparently. As part of his work he anesthetized patients:  “To produce sleep so profound that the patient may be cut and will feel nothing, as though he were dead take of opium, mandragora bark, and henbane root equal parts, pound then together and mix with water. When you want to sew or cut a man, dip a rag in this and put it to his forehead and nostrils. He will soon sleep so deeply that you may do what you will. To wake him up, dip the rag in strong vinegar.” There’s no mention of what to do with women but I assume they weren’t eligible subjects.

3. To see the world and make myself a more broadminded fellow. I’ve been doing this touring for two decades and so far I can’t point to any evidence that this putative enlightenment has ever reached me, but I keep hoping that the effects are just delayed.

4. To meet people, which I have. Though I secretly dreamed of meeting the one female in the world who would want to pair up with me. That never happened but she might still be out there.

I spent the last week on the East Coast. In keeping with tradition Doug and I took in Shakespeare in the {Central} Park. This year was “The Tempest”.  To get the free tickets one must line up early in the morning for the noon ticket distribution. This year, due to inclement weather, our 6:15am arrival put us near the front of the line. Here’s a bad photo of the line.

the line for the tempest

On the flight to Copenhagen I was pleased to see that SAS gave us a few free films and TV programs. I opted for the first episode of a new Showtime series, “The Affair”. What I didn’t know is that the show featured graphic sex. All of a sudden there were two attractive naked actors engaging on the hood of a car. This wouldn’t be a problem, of course, except that the Danish family sitting next to me could see my screen. Fortunately dad was closest, and his pre-teen son was farthest. But still….it was tense.

More anon.



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Jerry Heverly

I'm a high school English teacher from San Leandro High School in California.

One thought on “Wednesday, June 24, Dublin, Eire”

  1. Hey Jerry, Thanks for sharing your travels! It’s always good to hear your voice, in this case through the written word. You’re among the broadest minded fellows I know, and I’m sure this trip will add still more knowledge and experience to your collection. I’ll look forward to more installments, including the funny awkward moments like the one on the plane! I’ll be in Belfast in mid-July, though not for very long, so let’s chat.


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