When embarking on my yearly trips overseas, one of the things I truly look forward to is my first few days of jet lag. For me, jet lag doesn't include nausea, irritability or fatigue - it merely means sleeping and waking at unusual hours. Jet lag has given me the opportunity to experience the liveliness at London's Smithfield Market at sunrise, and witness the mayhem in a Bucharest cafe full of students at 3 am.
My first few hours in Istanbul involved sleeping at 6 pm and leaving the hotel on foot at 3 am. Walking the still, dark streets at that hour provided a gentle introduction to the unfamiliar city. At sunrise I found myself at Galata bridge to witness the tranquility of the local fishermen silently casting their lines into the Bosphorus. As I sat to watch the sun rise over Asia, I began to hear the electric murmur of the call to prayer emanating from the city's mosques. These gentle tones prepared me for the forthcoming energy I would soon experience as the city began to wake.