Category Archives: Sherry Travels

The best kind of dead end: Freeman Alley

Dim street lights threw long shadows on graffitied walls, ghostly vapor veiled the alley… This is a perfect for a film noir, Hollywood crime drama popular in the 1940s and 1950s. Except, there was no crime, no detectives and no dead bodies. Instead, there was Freemans .

The low-profile Lower East Side restaurant scored high in terms of ambiance, service, food and WINE. The food was good, but the wine (a Merlot-Cab blend from Rome) was even better. Freemans’ charm, a great part of it, derived from the walk down the Freeman Alley — the journey to the end. I suspect other diners, like me, relish the thought that We, only we, are the privileged ones who know of Freemans’ existence.


“Not a lot of people knows this place. It’s great.”

“Yes, obviously only you, and me, and… well, all these other diners.”

Yayoi Kusama: Contemplate Heaven in One Minute

Obsessive (adj): thinking about someone or something too much or in a way that is not normal (

Yayoi Kusama (1929 – present), a Japanese artist in her 80s, identifies herself as an “obsessive artist.” Having suffered nervous disorders and hallucinations as a child, she derives her artistic vision from them. Her fascinations include repeating patterns of dots, lines and other figurative elements such as eyes, profile of faces. Kusama asserts that repetition helps her ease her anxieties.

I make them [dots] and make them and then keep on making them, until I bury myself in the process. I call this process “obliteration.”

Yayoi Kusama: Contemplate Heaven in One Minute

Yayoi Kusama: Contemplate Heaven in One Minute

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Taking a Bite of the Big Apple

New York and I, we are ready to fall in love! Or rather, I am ready to take a BITE of the Big Apple.

in NYC

Few cities have inspired as many dreamers to pursue their dreams, and even fewer have received as much great writing dedicated to them. New York City is definitely unique in that aspect. Nonetheless, I did not, however, immediately fall head-over-heels for the city. In fact, I had started off not liking the city. 

New York is not a city that will hand anything to you easy, you have to fight and prove that you are worthy of what it has to offer. When I was looking for my apartment, I was literally utilizing all known resources — brokers, craigslist, facebook, websites (read more about apartment-hunting tips HERE). It was crazy. I am so thankful that I have settled in and am ready for new challenges.

E. B. White, renowned American writer and reporter, writes in his 1948 essay “Here is New York,” that there are three New Yorks.

There is, first, the New York of the man or woman who was born there, who takes the city for granted and accepts its size, its turbulence as natural and inevitable. Second, there is the New York of the commuter — the city that is devoured by locusts each day and spat out each night. Third, there is New York of the person who was born somewhere else and came to New York in quest of something ….Commuters give the city its tidal restlessness, natives give it solidity and continuity, but the settlers give it passion. 

The natives, the commuters, and the settlers. I am of the last group. Thank you E. B. White, you have inspired me!

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Before making it in New York, you need to find an apartment

There is no place like New York — it promises mystery, beauty, surprises, possibilities, glamour, and endless diversions. Yet, the city is also downright unattractive; it is dirty and smelly and, at times, rude. New York is not a city that will hand you anything easy. American writer, E.B. White, writes in his book Here is New York (1949):

“… the city is uncomfortable and inconvenient; but New Yorkers temperamentally do not crave comfort and convenience — if they did they would live elsewhere.”

I cannot help but chuckle. Indeed, finding an apartment in New York is frustrating and ridiculous, what do you mean the there is a broker fee? 15% of my annual rent? That’s more than one month’s rent!

Web Img / Credit:

Web Img / Credit:

Being new to the city looking for an apartment is hard and frightening, but it can be done. Here are some tips to getting your started on becoming a true New Yorker!

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The Key is Deprivation: Kyaiktiyo, Myanmar (Burma)

Myanmar’s wet season, which lasts from May to September, is W.E.T. — with all letters capitalized.

I had read about the wet season in my guidebook and was prepared for (daily) heavy rain, but I didn’t expect this kind of rainstorm up in Mt Kyaiktiyo!

Kyaiktiyo, home of the sacred golden rock, is one of the most important religious pilgrimage sites in Myanmar. Legend has it that the large boulder is able to maintain its precarious balance because its stupa holds a strand of the Buddha hair. From Kinpun, the base camp, you have two options to get to the rock.

  1. Hike all the way (approx 7 miles) there, average time is between four to six hours.
  2. Ride a truck to the Yatetaung bus terminal, average time 45 minutes.
Paying pilgrimage at the sacred Golden Rock, in Kyaiktiyo, Myanmar (Burma)

Paying pilgrimage at the sacred Golden Rock, in Kyaiktiyo, Myanmar (Burma)

Most people choose the second option. The ride costs K1500/person one-way (roughly $1.50), but that price depends on whether or not there are enough passengers. If there are not enough passengers, you will have to pay more to make up the difference. The trucks, with wooden benches, sit 35 or so people and do not leave unless they are really packed.

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Taste of Vietnam: Best of Street Foods

Recalling my one-month journey in Southeast Asia, wandering through Malaysia, Thailand, Cambodia, and Vietnam, I note, with a degree of whimsical irony, that I began and ended my travel with a bowl of noodles. I kick started my eating foray with asam laksa, a spicy and sour tamarind based noodle soup with explosive flavors in Penang. Then, coming full circle, I concluded with a steaming hot bowl of pho in Ho Chi Minh City. In a Proustian-like occurrence where taste begets memory, the city will forever be intertwined with lime juice, hot peppers and aromatic herbs.

Vietnamese Street Foods

Vietnamese Cuisine

Vietnam’s cuisine reflects not only its geographical position, but also incorporates Chinese (stir-frying, widespread consumption of noodles) and French (freshly baked baguettes, pâté) influences. Furthermore, regional differences also divide Vietnamese cuisine. South and central Vietnam have better access to an abundant variety of fruits and vegetables, as well as fresh herbs; thus, food tend to be more flavorful and robust than that of the north.

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Local, Fresh, Delicious — “A Day at the Market”

In the food world, all right-minded eaters are supposed to eat locally, seasonally, and sustainably. The term locavore, which was added to the Oxford American Dictionary in 2007, has become part of mainstream vernacular for food discourse.

What does this mean for the movement? While eating local may not be a sensible option for everyone, you can start building your personal 100-mile food system right here, at your local farmers markets.

VIDEO: “A Day at Farmers Market”

FM 5

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40 mi/day bike ride, that’s not bad for Jejudo (right?)

Jejudo is Korea’s largest island, famous both as holiday and honeymoon island. The island has been compared to Hawaii, Disneyland, and even paradise. While I admit the island is most striking because of its volcanic landscape and beautiful sandy beaches, my trip, which included biking, camping, and packaged ramen, was less than idyllic.

For my one-week Chuseok holiday (barely a month since my arrival in Korea), I joined my friend Warren’s Jeju tour.
Jeju 10A group of 60 or so participants, we were to travel down south from Seoul via bus, then boat to Jejudo. Once arrived, we would follow highway 1132, which circulates the island, and bike the entire 225 km (140 miles) in six days. I did a little quick math and saw that we would be biking roughly 60 km (40 miles) a day, which, didn’t sound too terrible, so… I went.

Unfortunately, being so clueless about distance has its setback. I discovered, with the island’s up-and-down volcanic landscapes and blustery wind, I was pedaling but barely moving. My muscles were sore and my butt hurt. 

Lodging: Tents / Transportation: Bicycles / Food: Ramen / Facilities: Public Bathroom

Now, I can be tough and, in my own humble opinion, put up with a lot. But it is a trifle too much to not shower for 6 days! What have I signed myself up for?!

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