Neijiang is a mid sized city in Sichuan province with a population of about 550,000. Neijiang is not
much of a tourist city, but I thought I'd give it
an honorable mention on the site here, since it's
my hometown, and I'm attached to it in more ways than
I can count!
Neijiang city isn't large, and has
a mid sized population, but it has one of the highest
population density in the province. The Tuo river
runs through the city. I still remember more than
20 years ago, the Tuo river running through Neijiang
was wide and deep - now, it has receded and lost much
of its depth.
The city was an important salt producing
area, but in recent times, it has become a production
base for sugarcane, and is commonly referred to as
the sugar capital of Szechuan. During fall and winter,
everywhere you go, you will find sugarcane vendors
selling sugarcane for merely a few yuan.
A photo of Tuo river. You can see far in the back
ground, the cemented river banks that was errected
to prevent floods, which now is quite useless. In
the early 80's I had encountered a massive flooding
of the Tuo river in Neijiang city.
Neijiang Food and Lifestyle
Like I mentioned in the Sichuan
Mahjong article, Neijiang has a very relaxed lifestyle
like most other cities in Sichuan. The people here
enjoy daily community dances, mahjong, karaoke, teahouses,
and all types of other physical and outdoor activity.
A popular teahouse at DaZhou Park.
In all the parks, people of all
ages take part in community dances, fitness groups,
and drum dancing groups. It was rather strange for
me the first time I was able to visit Neijiang after
so many years, since this isn't something you see
everyday (or at all) in north america. Many
people, regardless of their age or gender, take part
in the community dances or "aerobics" sessions
outdoor. At DaZhou Plaza (a large park by the Tuo
river), there are usually several groups of different
styles of activity going: one group is dancing to
traditional Chinese music, another group is exercising
with a more upbeat music, and another group with big
and small drums hammering away. It's quite a sight
for the eyes and the ears!
A crowded back street market during day time. There
are vendors selling everything from shoes, to clothing,
to food, to pot repairs.
Neijiang like all other
cities in Sichuan, serves hot, spicy, and tongue numbing
food. But because Neijiang isn't much of a tourist
city, it's Sichuan cuisine has had very little outside
influence, and has remained very authentic. One thing
you will notice in almost every dish is the large
amounts and wide varieties of chili peppers
used. You can learn more about Sichuan
cuisine and cooking here.