Chris Stasse


Chris Stasse

Asia » China » Fujian » Fuzhou February 27th 2017

“Varanasi is older than history, older than tradition, older even than legend, and looks twice as old as all of them put together.” –Mark Twain When my plane landed back in Fuzhou two days ago, I was stricken with a few things. First, Fuzhou really pulls no punches during the winter, because damn, it was cold compared to the balmy Indian subcontinent. Second, wow, China is a very sober, very organized society, chugging along nicely towards modernity. India, by contrast, is still much encumbered by its poverty and its backwardness, though sometimes you have to wonder if it really cares. For the feeling India gives you is not of a country who is in a desperate race to catch up with the world and is dying to liberate itself of the shameful fetters of poverty ... read more
Streets of Varanasi
Cremation Ghats
Cremation Ghats

Asia » India » Uttar Pradesh » Varanasi February 19th 2017

No story, just pictures and poems. Read at your leisure, and don't forget to click "Additional Photos Below" at the bottom! Desert Balad What is this perilous attraction to your Rolling dunes and Barren horizons? What draws me to miles of unapologetic Nothingness? Oh desert, enfold me in your sandpaper pages, And whisper me silent dramas of wind and sand, The untold epic of the ages! Would that I could take roost On a stalwart desert tree A stoic desert bird Flying distances which no one shall measure Singing songs which shall sail through desert night To no ears' harbor. Oh desert, bump me onto your desert back And march me to the stretchless horizon March until I know not east or west But have arrived at your center, The hidden center of the world Where ... read more
Night in the fort city of Jaisalmer
Dog and Cow - Jaisalmer

Asia » India » Rajasthan » Jaisalmer February 12th 2017

New Delhi, 10:00 at night. I take my first step onto Indian streets and hordes of food carts and tuk-tuks (the infamous three-wheeled Indian rickshaws) are gathered at the metro station entrance. My foot hurts a bit and I figure it might not be best to find my way at night on streets—indeed in a country—I am completely unfamiliar with, so I wade tentatively into the sea of tuk-tuks. It is not long before I am approached. The man seems to recognize the name of my hostel and proceeds to hook me up with a tuk-tuk who is to bring me there—for the reasonable price of 30 rupees (the hostel website estimated it would be this much—about 4 RMB, or fifty cents). I agree. We drive through dark though still bustling streets as the driver banters ... read more
India Gate
Outskirts of Delhi

Asia » China » Beijing » Chaoyang district July 12th 2016

What was it that endeared me to “Chinese Bridge”? Was it the sparkling lights, the neon plastic chairs, the game-show ambience? Was it the giant globe and revolving stage built in a week for 72 unwitting “lao wai”’s to walk across? Or perhaps it was the promises of fame and glory poured into our ears as they worked us like dogs—big, cute, hairy foreign dogs—to fabricate a product (nothing other than our own image) that would sell on one of China’s main television stations—CCTV? Ah, these things were stirring enough, but what captured my heart in the end was something not even my inner cynic could have forecasted for this year’s “Chinese Bridge Chinese Proficiency Competition for Foreigners Across the Globe.” What won me over was that the so-called “competition” was a fake and a sham ... read more

Asia » China » Fujian » Fuzhou April 5th 2015

A couple of weeks ago, I was toying with different ways to start this blog, and I wrote this as a possible first sentence: "Things here in Fuzhou seemed to go from 0 to house-classes-job in about 10 days flat." Now I think I can write the second sentence: "Then, things here in Fuzhou got dangerously close to resuming houselessness, classlessness and joblessness in another 10 days flat." Dangerously close are the key words there: I was about one paperwork technicality away from a completely botched year abroad. Talk about toeing the edge. But thanks to some fortuitous intervention from powers on high, and a good deal of luck, the most recent bureaucratic oracle bones point in my favor: the life I had in Fuzhou looks like one I will be able to return to. Thank ... read more
Yard - From the Roof
Yard - Tea Table and Wall
On the Roof

Asia » China » Fujian » Fuzhou March 1st 2015

I take a glance out the window, and it feels like we are floating across the winter-worn countryside—defying space, but not too immodestly; this is one of China's slower trains after all. The snow, beaten hamlets and open land look like sliding pictures from our floating tunnel, where sore bottoms, chattering Mandarin, and hot, smoke-filled air make up the most immediate reality. It's so warm, in fact, that a man in front of me just rolled up half his T-shirt to cool off. A kid behind is complaining "it's too hot" over and over to the half-agreement, half-annoyance of those around him. Many, including me, are waiting for the next stop, not because we'll get off, but because the open doors will flush some this sweltering cramptness out, and bring some of that cool country in. ... read more

North America » United States » California » Santa Rosa April 9th 2012

"Chris Stasse: Official Ambassador of the Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwich" 100 years ago, the horses on this road would have carried a lot more—physically and symbolically—than the backs of eager tourists. 100 years ago, relations between China and Tibet were as shaky as today, but nonetheless had a major artifice of trade linking them together. This was the Tea and Horse Road, which formed a kind of second, southern "Silk Road" connecting China to Central Asia through the Himalayas. China wanted Tibetan horses. Tibet wanted Chinese tea, much of which was grown here in the middle of Yunnan Province. I drank a cup of the famous Pu'er tea this morning. There was no doubt that this was the road Eleanor and I stumbled upon, though it had been steadily disappearing for lack of use since ... read more

Asia » China » Yunnan » Lijiang March 23rd 2012

--Badminton Escapades-- I am sitting next to an Australian English teacher as he discusses the cultural plight suffered in the last half-century of China's history. Next to us is a young girl with bright eyes and dreadlocks; she is from Belarus and is studying to be a linguist at a local university. We three are among eight or nine others waiting and preparing for an annual home-cooked feast of salad, mashed potatoes and lasagna, made courtesy of Signore Fabrizio. I don't know exactly how many Italian hippies are roosting in the slums of various Chinese cities, but I've found at least one of them. What a pity I would get sick later that evening and most of his delicious meal would end up half-way down the concrete pit that is a traditional Chinese toilet. "After the ... read more

Asia February 18th 2012

"Hong Kong on the Cheap" The train ride is a long one and my first recommendation is to completely abstain from such a journey if you are even remotely claustrophobic. My second recommendation is that if you have any kind of unhealthy attachment to your material goods, best leave them at home, along with any of your neuroses, pet peeves or conceptions of personal space. The 18 hour excursion from Shanghai to Shenzhen, non-sleeper, is a meager 236 RMB, and I am certainly getting my money's worth. I manage this by simply not sleeping. It is one strategy among many, I have found. Others include negotiating an amiable position out of the cushioned but upright chairs, creatively assembling your luggage into makeshift sleeping quarters, sitting on the ground, lying on the ground, lying on other people ... read more

Asia » China » Shanghai » Yangpu January 17th 2012

City by Day, City by Night: 24 Hours in Shanghai (Do check out the photos! Located at: Dawn breaks over the city, though given this foggy morning the sun rays are barely perceptible. The cloudy gray mat enshrouds the city and suddenly I cannot see so far into the distance. Only the hazy of outline of remote buildings remains. It's a rainy Saturday morning, just nine days before the Spring Festival, and yet I, atop this 21 story balcony, can attest that the city by no means lies dormant. The streets are as alive as ever. The rain, the cold, the weekend, the upcoming holiday: these may put a brief damper on the turnings of this sprawling metropolis, but they'll never stamp 'em out. Each day is a feast for the senses in the city, ... read more

Tot: 0.247s; Tpl: 0.007s; cc: 16; qc: 90; dbt: 0.1045s; 1; m:domysql w:travelblog (; sld: 1; ; mem: 1.4mb