For the last few days I’ve had a sore, inflamed throat, probably caused by the dry air of an air-conditioned room. Yesterday it also became a really nasty hacking cough, and started with all the symptoms of a cold. So I went to a pharmacy (easy to spot in Malaysia, where they’re called Farmaci!), and got given this horrible syrup to take (“Chinese medicine sir, very good for you“). It’s only when I got home that I discovered that its made with birds nest.

The Chinese tend to want to chuck Birds Nest into anything they can – food, soup and obviously medicine. We’ve walked past shops selling Birds Nests in the raw – they’re like one of those intricate melted sugar nets that fancy restaurants put onto a desert. So I haven’t got bits of twig and feather floating in the medicine, because the swallows that make these nests make it with their spit. So to cure a sore throat I’m now taking (three times a day) this disgusting black liquid made of bird spit. I think I’m going to get better really quickly, so I can stop taking it!