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Istanbul

Officially my first day of holidays and the first thing I did today was wander down to Topkapi Palace and go in that damn archaeological museum. Well I say first, I mean after my breakfast of Efes and Pizza.

I made the long trek down to the palace in the heat, wondering what obstacle would prevent me from seeing the sarcophagus of Alexander the Great this time. Museum is now closed on Sundays, Museum is being renovated, Sarcophagus has been moved to the British Museum, Museum curator abducted by aliens and museum closed until further notice.

I was pleasantly surprised to find the museum open and waiting for my visit. I paid my ten lira to go in and went in the small museum of the orient first. In this museum were some of the wall reliefs of Babylon and the first treaty ever written, between Hatsusilis of the Hittite and Ramses II of Egypt. I had already seen the Egyptian version of course as it is plastered over almost every temple in Egypt. However, this was the other side of the story, written on a small clay tablet in Babylonian cuneiform.

I left the smaller museum and headed onto the main building which was huge and built in the neo classical style, somewhat reminding me of the British museum in London. The sarcophagus of Alexander the Great was among the first exhibits. I just stood and stared at the wildly ornate giant piece of stone for ages, pondering

how many failed attempts I had made to finally see this…three trip to Turkey it had taken me. To think this box once held the body of the great King Alexander. The man who had once said, Fortune favours the Bold, my favourite saying and the one I live my life by.

After my audience with what was left of the grave of Alexander, I set about seeing the rest of the museum, which unlike the British museum was not air conditioned. I would have liked to have spent more time in this place, but the heat actually drove me out. After I ha see the rest of the finds from the tombs of Sidon and the relics unearthed at Troy I hurried out into the blinding heat and went back to the hotel to do some work, main because I didn't want to spend my holiday doing any work for Tucan, as they are not paying me for my time.

After I finished my work I headed down to the Grand Bazaar, but alas it was closed. So I went to see Masoud and Kalim at the lamp shop with the few remaining minutes I had left before I was to get the bus to Kusadasi. I sat and chatted with them for a bit before saying goodbye and heading back to the hotel to collect my stuff and then wait at the designated spot for the transfer bus to the otogar.

Of course I arrived early and the bus arrived late, so I was left waiting for about an hour. When it finally arrived I was crowded onto the already full bus, that continued to collect people. We reached the otogar which is on the Asian side of the city and I boarded the bus and sat next to a nice girl from New Zealand named Casey.

We took off and the driver took three 20 minute breaks in two hours, memories of my time as a tour leader her flooded back, memories of Halil myb driver stopping for smoke and chai breaks between Konya and Goreme when we were pressed for time and me yelling at him. I cringed at the thought.

We crossed the Dardenelle straights at Bursa and after that I think I fell asleep.

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