The last half a day from Moa to Gimpu was, unfortunately, rather depressing, with little to recommend it. After the archaeologically interesting Bada Valley and the beautiful tropical rainforest along the Lariang, the final stretch to Gimpu showed signs of being pretty much destroyed by man, with plenty of logging, farming and environmental destruction littering a flat, boring road that insisted on staying at a slight incline that wore me down, bit by bit.
The rain didn't help either, and as we arrived in Gimpu after the three-day slog, the tropical sky exploded in a torrent of rain that soaked us to the skin and made the little losmen down the road look doubly inviting; thankfully the rain held off until we arrived, or we'd have been thoroughly miserable, it came down so heavily. As it was we found some beds and greedily launched into supper, drank loads of tea, and settled into a good night's sleep, extremely happy to have discovered the elusive megaliths of the Bada Valley.
I thought it was all over, but it was not to be. A couple of hours after retiring at the ridiculously early hour of 6pm, I was back up again, rushing to the toilet for my first bout of Indonesian food poisoning. I threw up every couple of hours until about 6am, and I won't debase this travelogue by talking about my other orifices. There was no way I was going anywhere when Friday finally arrived; not only was I suffering from the intestinal equivalent of the levee breaking, but I had the associated total lack of energy and interest. I wasn't going anywhere.
Peter, however, had to head off as his itinerary was far less flexible than mine, and Gimpu isn't exactly an interesting place to spend your holiday, so I bade him goodbye through a haze of illness, promising to keep in touch and let him know how the rest of my trip went. All of a sudden I was on my own, frighteningly ill, and alternating between the toilet, my bed and the little shop down the road where they sold bottled water, as I didn't even have enough energy to operate my water filter.
By lunchtime on Friday I was no better, so the concerned losmen owner took me along the main road to visit the doctor, who worked from a basic-looking room that I wouldn't have identified as a doctor's surgery if it hadn't been for the discoloured white coat she was wearing. After filling in the paperwork and explaining the problem, I had myself weighed, had my blood pressure taken, and after refusing an injection – just as much to do with my needle phobia as for fear of contaminated needles – I was given a selection of pills, tipped by the nurse from a collection of bottles that looked extensive enough to cater for every illness from malaria to mumps. I had to take the little white one, the big white one and the big black one three times a day, and that was that.
Goodness only knows what the pills were, but they worked. Within an hour I was bunged up, able to keep my rehydration mixture down, and although I still felt bloody awful, I was no longer exploding quite so badly. My temperature, which had fleetingly gone up, came back down and stayed down, and I managed a few bananas to start the digestive process working again. I had survived my first case of Asian food poisoning, though quite what had caused it remains a mystery. Suffice to say it was pretty unpleasant, but inevitable too. It hasn't stop me trying the food, though; the best meals are often to be found in the dodgy warung stalls in the city roads, and some of the snacks are simply great – almost worth the risk. The result? This is almost certainly not going to be my last batch of food poisoning in Asia...