Besides the city glass walls and carpark gates, bridges and
temples are the most ‘eye-catching’ structures. Streams run through and around this
‘little Chengdu’, making bridges both important traffic bearers and prominent landmarks.
Bridge access points become regular gathering places for peddlers, merchants,
seasonal workers, and folk performers. Some bridges boast a long history of
match-making as identified by the red ribbons. The temple fronts are popular spots
for itinerant peddlers and folk performers, who attracted many customers and
spectators. The street is the most basic public shared space, but its
appearance and functions varied. This ‘Little Chengdu’ has more than 10 streets
and alleys that are laid in grid form, with streets running north-south and
east-west. The narrow streets typically are cluttered with pedestrians and
peddlers, and are usually shaded by awnings or mattings. On the main street,
the Chenduese adapt the street as their regular markets. Merchants and petty
peddlers sold their goods on the street. Most vendors peddle their goods out of
stalls, either mobile, with-seating or grounded stalls. The streets become
workshops as well. At street corners and on sidewalks, artisan made products to
be sold on the spot. Residential streets behind the busy commercial areas
become places for production due to easy access. If one felt bored, one could
simply go outdoors to have a conversation with their neighbors. Privacy is non-existent.
Doors that faced the street were always kept open to allow sunlight and fresh
air into the simple rooms, as well as the glances of curious passersby. Children’s
playgrounds are just at their door step. Boys will gather at the parade ground to
compete with their kites, dancing gracefully for the adults viewing from balconies
of tea houses. As soon as night begin to fall and traffic became lighter, some
streets become locations for bustling ‘night markets’. Children flock to shows
with leather puppets that are as tall as them, depicting themes of love,
adventure, supernatural, and mythical heroes.