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Saturday, April 5, 2014

The Mosque Beneath the Ground of Taman Sari, Yogyakarta


Tucked underneath the Taman Sari Water Castle and hidden behind rows of houses and art cafes is this mosque used to be accessible only by a maze of underwater passageways. I just heard of it's existence from my friend Gaye Emami a few days before I left for Jakarta. The place wasn't easy to find as there are no signs that says "Underground Mosque this way --->". I just followed a group of young Indonesian students who seems to be on a field trip, at the back alleyways of Taman Sari. I saw them debating which direction to take, so I reckon they were also trying to find the mosque. I tried asking a local but unfortunately, she couldn't understand English, so I chased the group of students as they entered a small arched hallway. Inside, we had to duck our heads so as not to hit the ceiling and after a short series of strides we were led to a dead-end.

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Friday, March 28, 2014

Murmurs of Awe at Borobudur


Anytime you find your way to the world's largest and one of the acclaimed Buddhist temples in the world, you feel like toasting your kismet for bringing you there. Anytime you step foot on a structure built with such creativity and workmanship as far back the 9th century, it certainly rub additional semblance of history in the moment. Borobudur was the primary goal why I ventured into the city of Yogyakarta, to which at the time  I experienced my longest train ride from Jakarta, it has since been on my mind as something I shall see and scratch off the list of must-see places.

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Friday, February 28, 2014

Growing a Three-Day Moustache at Lake Apo


Time is like frozen ice in this tranquil place overran by green grass that fronts a small lake surrounded by heaps of towering trees. We must have stayed here for a couple of hours tops, but it seems like long enough to clear my mind of big city worries. I only heard and read about Lake Apo prior to our trip here, I expect it to be this large mass of water where you won't hear the shouts of kids from the other end. But I did heard the kids playing from the other side where small pockets of villagers' houses stands by the lake, homes that could pass up as retirement abode for the workaholics everywhere. I could retire here, I thought to myself, living in a small wooden cabin, I just love the peaceful atmosphere of the place. Granted there is internet connection though.

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Tuesday, February 25, 2014

A Walk in the Cold Around Hanoi’s Hoan Kiem Lake


During the four mornings I spent in the city of Hanoi in-between my jaunts to Halong Bay and Sapa, my favorite part was walking around the Hoan Kiem Lake. Being under sunny skies, feeling the winter wind and being embraced by the 12 degree Celsius cold is the perfect condition to romp and stomp and get to know a new city. The occasional showers which shows up at an interlude of a couple of hours had me sheltering under the tall trees that surround the lake. Otherwise, I would have gone round and round and round the lake. Sometimes I would walk towards a random street ending up another side of the Old French Quarters, but each time I would always follow a path back to Hoan Kiem Lake.

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the Turtle Tower or Thap Rua