I think part of the reason that it feels like people are staring at me is because they are. It’s a funny cultural difference where it doesn’t seem to be considered rude to unabashadly stare at someone odd. I don’t think this happens as much in the US, as we’re the purported racial “melting pot”… which, in comparison to much of Asia, is true.
I also think part of the reason that it feels like people are staring at me is because I’m paranoid and self-conscious. For whatever reason, I seem to be overly concerned with not being conspicuous (as if it matters), like the few other Westerners I’ve seen (only in the hotel, though… which is my usual experience). They are too big, They move to quickly and without grace, They look loud and for some reason always southern. I wonder if I look the same, or if I’m just kidding myself into thinking I’m doing a slightly better job of fitting in.
I’m not sure what my ultimate goal in gaining the trust and confidence of these really-by-definition-total-strangers-which-I-will-never-ever-see-again is. It’s as if I think the locals will all look around, someone will say, “All clear?”, and then a huge party will break out or something.