Movies and Lawang Sewu (Semarang, Indonesia)

I’m as sick as a dog. I barely slept last night and spend the morning “enjoying” an intimate relationship with the toilet. But at some point we just have to go out.

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We take a taxi to Paragon Mall where there is a XXI cinema. The Man from U.N.C.L.E. is showing and is starting now so we buy tickets, popcorn and a drink. The movie is rubbish but the seats comfortable and popcorn is the first food I’ve been able to stomach in about 30 hours so that’s a good thing. 

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The movie ends and we know we should eat but I can only face Western food. The thought and smell of local food is making me gag after having caught a bug yesterday. I decide McDonalds, thinking there is one close by. It’s not healthy or glamorous but when I am sick it’s familiar and comfortable. But McDonalds isn’t close by at all and there is a political demonstration of sorts going on outside. It is peaceful with music and dancing so we carefully walk past it away from the shopping mall towards where I believe McDonalds is located. We have little other choice because the demonstration blocks the entire road. 

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There is no McDonalds but we do come to Lawang Sewu (Place with 1000 Doors). While I don’t feel up to going in we are here so I suck it up. We pay for a guide and set off to hear all about this place that was once the headquarters of the Indonesian railway company. The guide tells good stories and takes us through to look at the stained glass window,any doors and attic. Unfortunately, the scary basement with its prison ghosts is being renovated and off-limits. Maybe next time it will be open. 

The demonstration is over when we leave but it proved challenging to find a taxi who will stop for us. They are also not stopping for locals so must be pre-booked or ending their shift. By now I have overdone it in the heat and am feeling feint. I am so glad when a taxi finally does stop and take us back to the hotel. 

At night my cousins take me to a clinic. The doctor diagnosed bacterial gastroenteritis and prescribes a concoction of antibiotics, anti nausea medicine, anti reflux education and something else that I’ve forgotten. I take the medicine with food at my uncle’s house and feel a lot better. It allows me to enjoy the time with my family. 

The trouble starts when I get back to the hotel. I endure a horrendous night of extremely watery stools and I even have a disgusting accident in my sleep … That is how sick I am. Dr Google tells me that it is probably a side effect of the antibiotics. They can kill good bacteria indiscriminately, causing worse problems than they are intended to cure. All I know is that I spend rest of the night alternating between the toilet and lying in the foetal position under a warm shower trying to find relief. It’s grim. 

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