I can only suggest that you be careful around "the ugly american", the deluge of american tourist stories from friends abroad is a constant source of embarrassment.

A related issue, as we get deeper into the twilight of western civilization, I have found when shooting my street scenes (usually buildings) that the "knuckle-draggers" tend to react with deep suspicion and distaste if I admit it's a purely creative or artistic endeavor.

I have learned to suggest that I am taking photos for the city (government) in some unspecified capacity. Since the 4x5 is often confused with surveying gear, this seems to satisfy them.