A lot of factors help us psyche up our upcoming travels. From movies, to novels, to travel articles, it all paint an image in our mind of how our trips will go down. Most of the time we end up experiencing a series of bumps on the road, sometimes the polar opposite of it, depending on which you expect, either such adventurous epic failure-filled wandering or a walk in the park stroll throughout the path you drew on your itinerary map. During my recent 25-day trip to India, I actually expected the worst, I bought along dozens of anti-diarrhea medicine and a mosquito repellent (my first time ever to buy one). You wonder how I came into that expectations? well, count the number of films, books and travel articles that depicted India as one big chaotic nation BUT with cultural, religious and gastronomical offerings to provide feasts to all senses. I got the last part right, the rest? I was surprised to experience no unnecessary trips to the bathroom even if I feasted on Indian food, almost nary of a mosquito bite and was never harassed nor scammed.
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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.