Since I have lived in Shanghai, especially where I am living – 20 minutes south of city center, the Chinese people tend to stare and if they do engage in speaking, they tend to say “hell-o” in such a way that sounds like they are mocking us. You hear this “hell-o” many times. If you reply, the Chinese people typically say “Hell-o” again.
The other morning as I was waiting for my breakfast burrito. A man who was dressed in construction clothes turned to me and said the silly sounding “Hell-o”. I turned and said “hello” back. The man started laughing, so I turned away to wait for my breakfast burrito. I could hear him talking in Mandarin to his friends and then he says “hell-o” again and starts speaking some broken English to me. He asked where I was from and what I do. The kindness of strangers can make you smile especially when it is a surprise.