It’s two in the morning here in Addis, except for the odd but distinctive baritone honks form the donkey eating garbage right outside my window, it’s an all around quiet evening.
Why am I awake?
I think part of it is due to jet leg. Another part is I have a taxi picking me up at 4:15am to drive me to the local bus station where I will begin a two day excursion to Shire (1344 km) a town in the far north close to Aksum, my intended destination.
But, truthfully the reason I’m awake is the dream I just had.
It was like most dreams, deceptively authentic.
I was on my best friends patio in Vancouver, the three of us were all talking about travel, specifically my trip, the trip I’m currently on, when Bea looked at Dylan and said “should we tell him!?” My first instinct was they were going to tell me they were planning on getting married. But Dylan recoiled in protest and shook his head no. Bea absorbed this and seemed to agree because she changed the subject to something less controversial.
More travel talk, world views and life reflections followed then Bea looked at me again with a long forlorn focus then with a manic resolve she looked at Dylan again, this time he seemed more open to telling me whatever it was Bea was fighting to keep secret.
All the while I thought it had something to do with the envelope they had given me before I left – in real life. The one I’m not supposed to open until I arrive in Africa.
Which again, I thought was marriage related or knowing them, a multi media cache outlining our everlasting love for one another through a series of pictures, songs and impeccably designed animated stock cards.
Dylan after some resignation seemed to slump in his chair in resignation, the body language equivalent to – ok, let’s tell him.
In my dream, I’m at the edge of my seat. Conscience of how my body language might convey a truthful, albeit not necessarily positive position, depending on what news I’m about to hear. Usually people telling me they’re having unexpected children with strangers or diagnosed with a serious illness, are both examples of where my mind goes when a somber friend asks for my full attention.
Then Bea says. “Remember the two guys who were injured abroad and had to be flown back to Canada for medial attention”
“yes” I said. –in my fucking dream.
In my peripheral I could see Dylan slump in his chair. ‘They weren’t injured, they were infected. She said. They’re patient zero”
She actually said “patient zero” in my dream!
She said the infection was spreading and that the news of it was going to break any day. That our civilization was on the cusp of a monumental shift in population. I was speechless except to say, lets buy tickets to Congo now!, Surly we could live longer there than in a massive Chinese city like Vancouver!?
Dylan seemed to fight me, and himself at my suggestion, “no no no he said quietly, we cant go to Congo, it’s too late”
Thats roughly when I woke up.
About an hour ago.
For those of you dream detectives interested to know, no, I’m not taking an antimalarial -yet.
I’ve been laying here in the dark thinking about what the fuck that was all about. The best most rational explanation I can come up with is that it was a fear dream. I mean, obviously it was. But I’m assuming it’s rooted in some of the fears I experienced earlier today.
When I was looking for the Salem bus station here in Addis I decided to walk from my hostel, but before I could buy a bus ticket, I had to first go to one of the countless sketchy banks to withdraw money. Because I get charged so much to withdraw, I usually get the maximum limit for ATM’S. In this case, the limit was 6,000 birr (285$ roughly) after putting the money in my bag I decided to take a mini bus taxi (3 birr –for context) to the bus station.
Once I arrived I decided to walk for a couple kilometres in the direction several various people pointed me in. Eventually a man with a deep voice called out to me in near perfect english as he walked casually toward me. He asked if I was buying a bus ticket and to where? I told him I was looking for the Selam bus station. He told me the main office was closed but they set up another, temporary office and he wanted to show me the way.
I agreed but was highly aware.
He walked me down a cement ramp that was in complete ruin, because of the chunks of concreate missing from multiple sections the ramp was rendered un drivable for anything with wheels. Maybe not, this is Africa, the land of nothings impossible. I then noticed four other younger men walking behind us. Once we arrived at the bottom of the ramp I stopped because I didn’t see any office, just a distant white plastic canopy for who knows what, certainly not the main office for Ethiopias largest commercial bus service!?
I stopped walking, and turned around. Meanwhile, the man realized my sudden shift in compliancy and began yelling out behind me that I can’t be suspicious of people.
In my mind I was thinking, thats what a dude who’s about to rob me in a secluded concrete pit would say.
Turns out tho, after interrupting two older men talking on a near by patio to ask them where the ticket office was, It was in the pit.
So I reluctantly walked back to where the man, Negasi was waiting. “You shouldn’t be so suspicious of people” he said again.
I apologized, but told him how it looked and why I was nervous then apologized for acting that way.
Then he robbed me.
No, he didn’t. He was a good dude. How was he able to offer 40 Birr for 1$ instead of normal 21 Birr to 1 CAD exchange, is anyone’s guess?
So why the dream? Where’s the link?
I think my brain is adapting to the new environment. It’s strange here for my brain, it’s dirty and busy and to top it off I’m white and young, relatively. There aren’t that many white people here, today I saw four two of which had white hair. So when I walk around I get lots of attention. Mostly smiles, thumbs up and random fragments of English hurled at me from across the streets, but attention never the less.
I’m adapting to life here in africa. It is nothing at all like where I from, but I love it.
This fear has to be delt with. The best way I know is to delve deeper into the the pits of my own heart and examine my sensitivities, brush them until they are no longer soft, no longer delicate. Until they become raw. So raw that the petty fear I felt earlier today and the manifestation of it in my dreams are distant harkings to a more vivid confront based reality.
I’m determined to get there, even if it takes everything from me.