Jan. 14 – Watertown, Mass., U.S.A 

Yesterday, I added the Republic of Ireland to the list of countries I have sort-of been to on this journey.

South Korea: did not set foot on land, or get passport stamped, but I was dockside for long enough to smell two ports.

Mongolia: 24 hours on a train passing through, including a half-hour on the train platform in Ulan Bator, and eating in the Mongolian dining car.

Czech Republic, Austria, Belgium, France: loitering at train stations waiting for connections, and/or watching the countryside pass for two hours or less

Now I have a green stamp in my passport. Dublin airport was like all other western airports; antiseptic-smelling and metallic, efficient in theory, a security theatre. Its only concessions to Irishness were its subtle green decor, and the east European Aer Lingus staff.

No one wanted to go to Boston, it seemed, as I looked around the two-thirds-empty Airbus. I settled into “On Request” viewing of a Showtime TV series, which reduced the flight’s tedium. The Massachusetts coast finally appeared, lake-speckled, and the plane touched down buffeted by strong headwinds. I collected my suitcase from the luggage carousel and stepped out into the cold night.

There is no snow here, but it is frigid nonetheless. Despite the brilliant sunshine today, theBeantowners have stayed inside. A few exceptions, actually –  hardy runners along the Charles, and Patriots fans getting supplies for tonight’s all-important football game.

I leave Boston tomorrow afternoon, on my way to Ontario in a roundabout way.