There is an intersection in Changzhou’s northern Xinbei district sharing a map line with Jiangyin. The B1 bus turns here to pass the Trina International School and end its route at the Changzhou’s northern rail station. Make a wrong turn at this stop light, and you end up in Wuxi. Jiangyin, while an independent city, is actually part of Wuxi. There are a few times I have crossed this red light border intentionally to see what was there. One time, it was to see the town of Huangtu.
This is a very small town between Changzhou’s Xinbei district and Jiangyin’s dowtown “proper.” The intercity bus from Changzhou North Station makes local stops here. The bus from the downtown / Tianning station does not. That’s more of an express, and frankly, if you are going to downtown Jiangyin, it’s always better to take the express and not a local. It’s a faster ride. So what does Huangtu have to offer?
Not much, actually. However, that is more of a “city” point of view. And, it’s not meant to be condescending. It’s more of a statement that you can’t find a lot to be a “foreign tourist” about here.
The local temples are actually places of worship — not places that charge admission and give you commemorative ticket. But, again, that’s the point in a way. “Real” is a relative term. What applies to cities doesn’t apply to towns. “Real” also means “people live here” and “local.” It’s also an interesting contrast. Appreciating and understanding urban China means also appreciating and understanding “small town” China. Maybe that’s just the key to understanding China in general? Maybe that’s the key to understanding the complicated dynamics of any country?
This post originally appeared on www.realjiangsu.com.