It's 10:30 PM. Thankfully a quiet evening, unlike several nights ago when thumbing music and the crazed shouts of soccer fans filled the night air until dawn, when the raucous sounds were soothed by the calming voice of the muezzin from a nearby mosque. Soccer, or rather football mania. Yesterday, tired after a full day of walking around the city and exploring the Archeology Museum (more worthwhile in my opinion that the Topkapi Palace which was so crammed with tourists I wanted to leave as soon as I entered). I sat on a low fence in Taksim Square and watched a slim man arrange bright red Turkish football team tee shirts on his folding stand not far from a flatbed truck blaring music and selling all sorts of football memorabilia.
I hear the call to prayer again now through John's sixth story window. Zubeyir, the landlord of this expensive ($311 per week) but pleasant 3 bedroom flat, and his father finish a late night dinner with tea. I have to pack as in less than seven hours I'll walk to the stop in front of the McDonalds to catch an early morning bus to the airport. I'll fly west, to Sofia, following the route lentils and barley took thousands of years ago. I look forward to exploring new lands but I feel sad to leave, feel that in a week I've barely scratched the surface of this pulsating, vibrant city.