I naturally tend to want to acknowledge the presence of anyone around me guy or girl , so if i ever pass someone walking in the mall or drive up next to them at a light, i will usally look over and do a small "whatsup" nod and smile if we make eye contact. People don't like that here in general!
I don't think you are expected to make eye contact with strangers.
When i usally look around in my car when i come to a red light, most people here seem to just look forward.
When i do acknowledge strangers here, people's body language or response usually says:
"What do you want?"
"What are you looking at?" or
"Who do you think you are?" lol
When i was in the US it seemed accepted as more normal or just being cordial, but here i have cars trying to race me, guys staring me down, and girls thinking i am a creep!
I need to work on that.
It's weird when i believe in who i am, and the pure intent behind my actions
but i have to withhold natural responses at times because they will be accepted differently by a different culture.
It is not a matter of being untrue to myself, but sacrificing for the better good...
Helping people here...
and not getting beat up!!!