When you go through villages, even touristy ones, you become a star as soon as you turn into backyards. Kids practice their “hello” (hey, I didn’t know that much Chinese until I was 29) and their parents, as you pass by, tease their offsprings “do you want to say hello to a foreigner”? Yes, whether you carry a big-ass DSLR in your hand or wear a bamboo hat, you’ll always be a foreigner, there’s no way out. I’m fine with that and fine with attention – it has never been negative.
Visiting a local bar, probably the best one in that 3rd tier (as Beijingers say) town, makes you a target of attention. Gawking? Check. Bar PR manager (cutest girl in a bar) coming to your table to kiss you hello (Chinese never kiss when they meet unless they’re close relatives) and asking what the bar can do for you? Check.
When I troll Beijing’s tourist places by myself, at least once per attraction do I get either openly photographed or asked to be photographed with. Mostly by Asian girls. They’re probably tourists too. Still, if I was a panda, I would’ve gotten more attention. Not that I care anyway.