Shopping is a great way to get noticed in Istanbul. Cynics would say that shopkeepers see you as walking moneybags while optimists would say that shopkeepers just want to say hi. Whatever it is, a wander through a place like the Grand Bazaar requires that you partake in the social, whether you want to or not. As an introvert, this was a bit difficult for me but it was made somewhat amusing by the different types of hellos that abounded.
Some were just rude:
Man: Excuse me!!!!!! Bosphorus tour??
Us: No, thank you.
Man: Your hair is real?
Us: Yes, it is.
Man: Looks like nest.
Others were curious:
Lady, is your hair original?
Some made interesting connections:
I love Rastafari!
Yet others gave us new names:
Hi, Spice Girls!
Hello, Janet Jackson!
Good afternoon, Lady Obama.
My favourite shopkeeper interaction had nothing to do with what we looked like (I hope, anyway):
Shopkeeper: Where are you from? China?
One who definitely was commenting on what we looked like:
Random Smiling Man: Melez!*
Us: looked over our shoulders in puzzlement and kept on walking
*(depending on the dictionary, it means mongrel, half-breed, hybrid, or cross-over…as you can probably guess, I’m not sure how I feel about the word…)
Question: Have you had any interesting hellos in your travels?