Turns out Turkish men have the cheesiest pick-up lines ever and they use them all the time. A favorite question of all the hawkers is "Where are you from?" just to draw you into conversation so they can then pitch their wares to you. So today while we were walking through the Grand Bazaar in Istanbul I didn't really pay much attention when some random guy at the spice section asked the now familar question. But when I answered "From the U.S.", his response was "Oh, because you look like you are from paradise." Nice one buddy. Less then two minutes later, while Paul was trying to take a photo at another spice booth and I was checking out the various tea concoctions that smelled amazing, another store owner tells Paul that the picture "will not be beautiful unless she is in it," motioning to me. And on our first night here, a Turkish guy on the bus we were riding tapped Paul on the shoulder and asked if I was his sister or girlfriend. When Paul got across that we are married, the guy gave him a pat and a big thumbs up.
I probably wouldn't mention this except for the fascinating gender discrepancies I have been noticing throughout Turkey, which is actually extremely liberal for a country that is something like 99% Islamic. But there have been hardly any female workers anywhere. In fact, lots of the time you don't see any women at all except for tourists. When we do see women, their heads are almost always covered, and we have even seen a number of women in full burkas. Today I even browsed through a quite fashionable shop that caters to muslim women by carrying only shirts that go to the wrists and skirts that go to the ankles. And yet I went in because the clothes in the store windows were so beautiful. I didn't realize until I was already walking through the store that I was the only person in there with my head uncovered.
So I don't think that it is so much my appearance that gets all the attention here, but the mere fact that I am a woman and bold enough to walk around with my head uncovered that makes guys think that I am scandalous or something. Turkey has been an incredibly eye-opening country - more so than a lot of the other places we have traveled.