The sticks are different than what I expected. These are thick bamboo or reinforced bamboo, maybe shoulder-height in length, and 2.5 inches in thickness. Some use half-tubes though, sculpted out with shallows on which to hang a rope. There's usually a short rope harness at each end, maybe eight inches long after doubling and quadrupling. Through this is threaded the ropes which are attached to the load -- sometimes a four-point attachment to a woven basked, sometimes a burlap bag, sometimes ropes tied around applicance boxes.
I've seen lots of guys with sticks lounging around, but I haven't seen any of them handle the stick gracefully... it seems too thick, too heavy to manipulate effectively. I still suspect that these are used in streetfights, which I've had the good fortune not to have to witness... if gangs use tire-irons in melees than I'm sure the non-owners of automobiles use any portage rods they have handy. But so far I haven't found anyone simply having fun with having a stick in their hand.
Walking canes are common, split about 50/50 between knob-head or derby handles and crook-topped canes. Many of the latter are those "knobbed bamboo" type of canes you can see occasionally in SF's Chinatown. I'm not sure what type of wood it is. Most lack a rubber tip, which makes me wonder how useful it is on a wet hillside. Haven't seen anyone rip off even a simple twirl yet though.
The most common stick in Chongqing? Seems to be meat skewers. These are about twenty inches long, maybe 3/16th inch thick. Big satay here, folks! They accumulate everywhere on the food streets.
I've been hoping to find a unique perspective on daily life with a stick here. So far I haven't stumbled across one. Still got more miles to walk.... ;-)
Update: One more type of stick I've been seeing around Chongqing is a six-foot length of (what appears to be) hardwood, maybe an inch, inch-and-a-quarter diameter. It has a dual metal prong on the end of it. I've seen some people use it for moving portable electric wiring into position, and others for pulling trash paper off rock hillsides. At first I thought it might be for removing oranges and other fruit from trees (Sichuan's got significant agriculture). Don't know what it is mainly designed for, but they're often sold at streetside hardware stores.