It was a cool, breezy summer day; as I wandered among the dead and the dying I thought how it had been years since I had been able to love life this much. I went into the mosque courtyards, wrote down the number of coffins on a piece of paper, and walking through the various neighbourhoods, tried to establish a relationship between what I saw and the death-count: it was not easy to find a meaning in all the houses, the people, the crowds, the gaiety and sorrow and joy. And oddly enough my eyes hungered only for the details, the lives of others, the happiness, helplessness, indifference of people living in their own homes with their own families and friends.
Toward noon I crossed over to the other shore of the Golden Horn, to the European quarter of Galata, and intoxicated by the crowds and the corpses I wandered through poor coffee-houses, around the dockyards, shyly smoked tobacco, ate in a humble cookshop simply out of a desire to understand, strolled in bazaars and stores. I wanted to engrave every single detail on my mind so I could reach some sort of conclusion.
Orhan Pamuk, The White Castle
(Poems, prose and comics that remind me of archaeology, pt 9)