And so we landed - Istanbul airport will forever be etched in my mind as the transit stop where I auditioned for the 1000 meter dash to catch the connecting flight to Karachi and failed to qualify. Arriving at the departure gate we jumped through the next flaming hoop of security and in my haste I left passport and jacket in the x-ray (or did the guard hold it for a minute longer than was really necessary) and sprinted back to retrieve them leaving one of our group with my laptop and camera and having got everything finally headed down the gangway with seconds to spare before the hatch closed.
For a brief moment I did think that a heart attack in seat No. 25C just before takeoff would be so uncool. We had briefly met up with Ösgür and Jane and Mark and chatted over the next half hour while our luggage caught up with us.
In a few minutes we will descend into the balmy warmth of Karachi in the early hours of the morning and get a few hours of sleep while the rest of the city goes about its morning routine.
It is now 6.09 am and they are calling for prayers outside my room - it has to be one of the most hauntingly beautiful sounds I have ever heard.