SINGAPORE - The travel agent confirmed the flights and accommodation in Brazil. I was going to the World Cup.
As I read the e-mail, a sense of elation took hold until I came to a paragraph near the end.
I had to be vaccinated for yellow fever.
Clearly, the travel agent had mistaken me for Captain Jack Sparrow.
Yellow fever was something that pirates caught, wasn't it?
I wasn't sailing around the Horn with Fletcher Christian (which might mean something entirely different to readers not familiar with the mutiny on The Bounty).
I was just going to watch Roy Hodgson's England play at the World Cup. Admittedly, sailing on stormy seas around the Horn with a mutinous crew might be marginally less painful.
But yellow fever sounded like a disease that might strike down Long John Silver's parrot.
Maybe I should also suck on some limes to prevent scurvy, wear an eyepatch and learn the lyrics to salty sea shanties with titles like, "I put my finger in the woodpecker's hole".
Nothing was going to make me get a vaccination for yellow fever.
Then I read online that yellow fever's symptoms can include fever, nausea, abdominal pain, liver damage, internal bleeding and yellow skin.
Nothing was going to stop me from getting a vaccination for yellow fever.
I called the reception at my local doctor's surgery and chatted with Miss England-Not-So-Powerful. (I am not so much making fun of her English here as I am the irony. Her English was a hundred times more proficient than my Mandarin. But that is why I am not employed as a receptionist at a TCM clinic.)
"Hello, does your surgery have the vaccination for yellow fever?" I asked repeatedly.