On Wednesday afternoon, President Obama gave his speech at 90+ F temperatures to a selection of invited guests on the east side of the Brandenburg gate. Afterwards, Germans wondered a little bit about just how imprisoning people without judicial cause in Guantanamo, killing civilians in Afghanistan with drone strikes, and collecting data on citizens’ internet and cell phone use went together with his oft-repeated theme of “Freedom with Justice”. But then the heat made it all one big blur in Berliners’ brains as they headed to the next lake to cool off.
Also on Wednesday, as freedom and justice fighter Nelson Mandela himself was struggling with his failing health in far South Africa, Ruby sailed through her entrance exam at Berlin’s Nelson Mandela High School:
Charlie and I escaped the heat of Berlin by heading to Dublin and then the beautiful Boyne Valley. Mild sun, tempered by cool sea breezes and today’s gentle rain made me appreciate the fact that we don’t have to endure the heat and smoke-tainted air of New Mexico right now. We had a great pub lunch in Dublin and a nice train ride to Drogheda. I swear our cab driver taking us to the hotel from downtown tonight is paid for by the local cultural preservation council – his name was Patrick Collins and he made lovely Irish small talk about the weather. Unlike Americans, the Irish use no superlatives – the untoppable “awesome” becomes “fairly good”, or “not too bad”. Tomorrow we’ll look at some ancient ruins in Newgrange, older than the pyramids and Stonehenge.