Shillings in Senegal

Cast of characters:

  • Female Senegalese shopkeeper
  • Me

Historical context:

  • Constantly dreaming of Africa these days.  I’ve never been to Senegal or Burkina Faso… or Burundi.  Though I’ve been close to Burundi.
  • I have a relatively good sense of African geography.
  • I used Shillings in Austria in 1999.  Maybe elsewhere, too?  Britain?
  • Otherwise, no real context.

Saturday night’s dream:

I was in the middle of nowhere in Africa.  Geographically speaking, I was in Burkina Faso in western Africa.  However, in my dream, I was in “Senegal.”  I was out in the middle of the desert, and I wandered into a free-standing store made of stucco.  It was painted on the outside in bright aqua.  The inside was painted a dull light blue, and it was brightly lit in fluorescent lighting.  The woman standing at the counter was in her 50s or 60s and was wearing a red kerchief on her head.  She was wearing a light blue dress with cream-colored ruffles around the scoop neckline.  I don’t remember what I wanted to buy, but I put it on the counter to pay and offered her some Senegalese money.  She said that that wouldn’t work and that she needed Shillings from Burkina Faso.  But in my dream, “Burkina Faso” was actually Burundi, geographically speaking.  I begged her to take my Senegalese money, and she kept telling me she could only accept Shillings from Burkina Faso.  I was stuck; I wanted and needed my goods, but couldn’t pay for them.  I had to get going, but there was nothing I could do.  The woman was friendly, but she couldn’t help me.


Oh, hell no!

Cast of characters:

  • Ticket guy on a boat
  • Unknown “friends”
  • Me

Historical context:

  • We drove all of my worldly possessions from Chicago to DC in a white Penske truck in January… towed my car, too!
  • I seem to only dream of Africa these days.
  • I am more petrified of dying in a sinking boat than of anything else on Earth.  I get paralyzing anxiety when in a boat under the water level.  I first realized this phobia when I was 6 years old.  My family and I were visiting my grandparents in Houston, and we visited the Battleship Texas.  I loved the visit and had fun running around on deck playing with the guns and such.  Then we toured the inside.  When we went downstairs to the boiler room (under the water level), I started screaming bloody murder.  My mom took me back to the deck, and I have been afraid to be under the water level in a boat ever since.
  • 11 is my lucky number. 🙂

Friday night’s dream:

So this was a tiniest flash of a scene: I was filling up my white Penske truck.  I then watched myself driving my truck across West Africa from the sky.  I could see my white Penske truck driving across the map of Africa from Northwest to Southeast.

Then I was in a gray metal boat, similar to a battleship of some sort.  I don’t know where I was, other than in a boat.  I walked down a thin flight a stairs into a room with a card table.  A few of my friends were milling around the room.  I sat down at the table in a folding chair.  The table had a maroon vinyl top with a few tears in it.  There was a guy with a buzz cut sitting across the table from me.  I don’t remember what he looked like, but he was probably about 40.  He gave me a square piece of paper, which turned out to be my cabin ticket.  I was going to be traveling on the boat.  I realized that my cabin was going to be under the water level and thought, “Oh, hell no!”  I told him that that wasn’t going to work and that he had to find another solution.  He said that there was nothing he could do and that I had to deal with it.  When I looked at the ticket again, I realized that it had a big “11” written on it in black marker.  So my cabin number was 11.  All of a sudden, everything was fine, because 11 was my lucky number.

Tanzania Calling

Cast of characters:

  • Jessica S. – A current coworker.
  • Albert – My head guide while on safari in Tanzania last year.
  • Mom

Historical context:

  • I went to Tanzania on safari for the first and only time in October 2012.
  • I borrowed a really nice work camera for the safari, and the battery melted inside the camera, so that I couldn’t recharge it.  I was devastated that I couldn’t use the good camera for the entire safari, but thankfully, I had a little point-and-shoot back up.
  • I have seen the wildebeest migration in the Serengeti and have been to the Mara River, but I was not fortunate to have seen the wildebeest crossing the croc-infested Mara.  We waited… it didn’t happen.
  • On Wednesday night, I saw a Nature documentary on PBS showing the wildebeest crossing the Mara, and crocodiles having a feast!
  • Seeing this documentary made me long to return to Tanzania and reach out to Albert to say, “hello.”
  • I just put together my 2014 budget at work and made it a priority to outfit all of my guides in the field with new branded t-shirts.
  • I’m not sure that Mom ever wants to go on a safari.  I know that Dad does…
  • Jessica S. is a sweet coworker who really has nothing to do with operating my Africa trips.
  • I was at a fabulous hookah lounge in Georgetown Friday night, where there was just one tiny bathroom with nothing but toilet paper with which to dry your hands.
  • In 2001, I squatted in an apartment in Amsterdam for about two weeks with my friend, Mara, her host brother, and his friend.  We had to step up into the bathroom, and I remember the bathroom being green.

Last night’s dream:

I have really been missing Africa, a sentiment that was manifested in last night’s dream.

I was in a modest, but colorful, apartment, somewhere in Africa.  It was dark outside, and the curtains were open.  Jessica S. was sitting on the couch, reading a book by lamplight.  I then realized that it was her apartment.  I asked where the bathroom was, and Jessica pointed to a little room around the corner in the hallway.  I opened the door and took a step up into the bathroom.  It was a dirty little bathroom with mint green paint on the walls, lit by one bare light bulb above the small mirror above the sink.   The sink was straight ahead of the door, and the toilet was to my right.  After washing my hands, I wiped them off with toilet paper from an almost-empty roll.  When I walked out of the bathroom, I saw Albert standing in another dark room to my left, and Jessica was still in the lit room to my right.  He had the face of Albert, but he was shorter and had a big belly (in reality, Albert is tall and lean).  He was wearing a properly branded, white t-shirt and khaki pants.  I told him that I missed him.

Flash to me being in a safari vehicle with Mom.  We were in the middle of the Serengeti on the banks of the Mara, surrounded by wildebeest.  We could see the hungry crocodiles in the river, just waiting for the wildebeest to cross the river.  I was fumbling with my camera and couldn’t get it to work.  Mom didn’t care about taking pictures.  All of a sudden, the first wildebeest jumped into the Mara, and then thousands followed him in.  We wondered if we’d see a croc kill a wildebeest, and just then, a croc jumped out and bit a wildebeest on his snout, dragging him underwater.  I couldn’t get my camera to work, but it turns out that I had accidentally shot a slow-motion video of the kill in hot-pink technicolor.

The end.