That night my health worsened to the extent that I really did begin to convince myself that I had picked up some wonderful tropical delight as an impromptu souvenir, and help now became an urgent necessity. With my phlegmy cough, chronic headache and inflamed gums now maturing to add sore eyes and throat for good measure, the whole gamut of tropical nasties now became an uncomfortable reality. Failing to sleep was just one more unlikely symptom which left me too much time to ponder the likely onset of malaria, the worlds biggest killer, Dengue Fever, protracted and untreatable, and other such delights as Rabies, AIDS or a myriad of other death sentences. And yet though it was difficult to be sure under such clammy climes, I still didnt present a discernible fever which was very odd. I was on the point of seriously considering repatriation home courtesy of my travel insurance should it persist, and I waited impatiently for the sun to come up before fuelling myself up with a lardarse brekkie for the traipse out to a hospital a kilometre hence. It wasnt exactly where the guidebook promised it to be, a more serious shortcoming than most, but my by now Bahasa primed bulging bloodshot eyes eventually spied a largely obscured "Rumah Sakit" (Sick House) sign. Just as well it wasnt a heart attack! There was prompt efficient service in a small squeaky clean consultancy, with the motherly doctor being impressed with my Bahasa in spite of my mispronounciation of "kelapa", instead of head I said coconut. Same thing really. After a cursory examination disappointingly not finding justification for a blood or urine check, she wanted to give me an overload of unnecessary indulgences for what she deemed to be just a common systemic infection. Ever skeptical, though obviously I had zero inbuilt resistance to local bugs, if this was just another inconsequential temporary bacteriological storm in a tea cup, it was certainly the worst I had ever had. No NHS here hence the lack of a queue, I promptly paid my 6 quid to the fantastically alluring business suited honeys at the cash desk, thankfully learning that the extra zero on the till was just a typically Indonesian abberation. My Mastercard got away unscathed. It was another problem for me to be saddled with undefined antibiotics of questionable tolerance, but that was the deal, I took a pill and ran.
Dismayed at my lack of progress I must have walked another 15Ks that day in spite of my compromise, enduring more horrendous traffic, pollution and a constant nauseating procession of pavement hogging foodstalls which forced you onto the maniac road. Pinpointing from the absurdly non-English speaking tourist office miraculously helped me in tracking down a sign for the Air Force Museum after a mammoth trek, only for the partially intelligible sentries to excruciatingly explain it closed. They promised it for tommorrow but that was no compensation in contemplating the return marathon. Complicated by a gargantuan one way system and an inexplicable dearth of public transport, even the straight line trundle back to the city centre proved a let down in getting me thoroughly lost in a meandering loop, before jumping off the bus in frustration little farther from my start point. Sleep and beer were the only solution upon eventually slogging it back, really beginning to pain now at the incredible persistence of Becak touts, they slumbered in droves everywhere in this town. Though Yogya had initially proved to be a boon, with an amenable travellers ghetto larger than Jakarta's not a stones throw from the train station, the ensuing realisation of a town supercharged on tourism like no other finally left me grumpy in the preponderance of the "Hello misters" being replaced by cries of "Becak, becak" every 10 metres, also an unfitting begging scene of eyerollingly undeserving spoon rattling chancers. It was incredible to consider Jakarta of all places friendly and relaxed by comparison. I secured more inexorable hours on the net to chip away at my diary but it was slow in being whittled down such was its magnitude. The Asia Cup thankfully redeemed some sense of normality in Iraq deliciously beating South Korea to the final on penalties, then a superb game with excellent goals where Saudi Arabia pushed out new favourites Japan 3-2. An all Arab final then, a first I would hazard.
There was also the small matter of an email somehow apparently inadvertantly coming through from Helen dated 8 days previous, in which she pestered her supposedly dead fiancee Alexei for money, which was more a surprise in how I hade received it than its telltale nature. Having already hit and run in explanation that it simply wasnt practical for me to be her next squeeze, there was merely a sense of disappointment rather than hurt, and I was quietly both grateful and dismayed for the re-affirmation that my original cynicism had proved to be justified. You couldnt trust a single Asian woman as far as you could shag them. It very conveniently knocked that legacy on the head then, perhaps Helen had intentionally done it to deem it so, but it now left the very interesting avenue of playing mum and just seeing where the partisan princess would try to take it. How long would it be until little Jeffrey became desperately in need of an operation and I just had to help? In deliciously deeper contemplation, I perversely found perhaps at least a modestly renewed respect for guys who played their game. If you understood the undercurrents then by rights a man should just fuck every last one of them he could get his hands on and then scarper, never to be heard from again. They might have been good at their game, but were they street enough to understand that men could play that game too? Probably, but it was the only game in town.