I am in Istanbul. There will be two bigger entries on Istanbul when I come back (one about my general observations, and another about the very good Turkish friend my family lost this year), but for now I can only say that Istanbul is amazing! There are the little things like the fact that I love Turkish spelling (taxi is spelt taksi, amazing!), but then also the bigger stuff like the hulking architectural remnants of the Roman and Ottoman Empires. The Bosphorus is certainly a beautiful backdrop for it all, but the most intriguing part of the city and the country are the Turkish people themselves. As a Westerner it seems almost obligatory to ask the question whether Turkey is European or Asian? The truth as far as I can see is that it is both. Just here on the street you see woman dressed just liked women in most fashionable parts of New York or Paris, or as covered as women on the streets of Tehran or Cairo. It is a complicated picture.