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While Calvin is going back to the hotel to grab our bags for the bus back to Istanbul, let me describe my surroundings. I’m typing this with a wireless connection in Panorama Cafe. There are clay pots which hang from the ceiling with backpacker’s signatures. “Germany 12/14/10 (an arrow pointing roughly north)” is the one I can see clearest. Someone had written the flavors of hookah available on the window with marker, but its pretty faded at this point. One window is obscured by empty cigarette boxes (“smoking kills” stickers facing out).

I type this from the outdoor section of the cafe which has embroidered pillows scattered along the walls. I’m sitting on one of these next to a narghile which smells of mint and rose. There’s a guitar to my left, which I was playing around with before I broke one of the strings. oops. A young spanish couple are the only other people in this place. They’re enjoying some beers as it is drizzling out and no one seems to have the will to do any serious hiking/atv riding. Despite not being able to go hot air ballooning (my student Mary told me it was one of the coolest things she’s ever done), all is okay. Its peaceful right now.

–steph