Updated: Jan 13
I was finally wrapping up my stay in Toronto and began packing for South Africa when a new security detail came on. The two agents couldn’t have been any different; the young man was handsome, slender and friendly; and the woman—who must have been close to seven feet tall—was cold, very direct and scrutinized my every move. When we first met in my suite, the woman noticed I had the last of my clothes and toiletries laid out on the bed and made a wry comment about my taking so many toiletries from the hotel that I needed a separate travel bag just for them. We finally arrived in South Africa and I settled into my suite. The female agent came into my room and set down the bag with my toiletries down on my bed with a sassy little grin. I told her I hoped she didn’t mind my saying that I felt very safe in the care of her team and that I was quite surprised by how tall she was; then I made a comment about the long, satiny, rose colored dress she wore and said something about her wearing high heels. Then, not meaning to cause an awkward moment, I mentioned that I thought she was beautiful, but after I said it I realized it was inappropriate. Her partner, a good-looking, young, tall, thin man with blond hair came in to ask me if I needed anything and I asked him where my family was. He said my wife was doing a crossword puzzle at the dining room table and that the nanny had already left with children, which I thought was a bit odd. I asked if I could go for a walk and he said he thought it wasn’t a good idea, but I changed my clothes and went out anyway, making sure the agents didn't see me leaving the suite. Once outside, I was surprised by the scenery which was nothing like I imagined. It was bluish-grey and there seemed to have been the remnants of a sand storm with particles floating in the air which caused very poor visibility. People were walking around in a daze, unfriendly and deliberately rude. I arrived at the end of a long boulevard and looked to my left and noticed a small, black animal that appeared to have a bandage wrapped around its small elongated snoot walking toward the crosswalk; I found it strange and unnerving never remembering having seen an animal like that before. Then remembered I was, after all, in Africa and became uneasy about the prospect of encountering dangerous, wild animals, even in the city. Looking to the right—where it seemed many of the pedestrians were walking—there was a harbor off to the left and when I scanned the area to the right it appeared to be the sea, which was barely visible through the thick haze. Even so, I felt quite satisfied that I had finally seen the Indian Ocean. Just then, a group of tourists walked by and I decided to follow them. They arrived at a bus terminal and began boarding these large, double-decker touring cars so I decided to board with them. It appeared the tour was sponsored by a company that produced cannabinol products and a vaping device that used small round pods—similar to those used for Nespresso machines—which could be inserted into the device or opened up to sprinkle on food. Noticing I didn't have a device on the table in front of me, the coach driver took one from a box and inserted a pod into it to make sure it worked probably and gave it to me. Just then, attendants began serving a meal as the coach pulled out of the terminal. I observed the man next to me emptying the contents of his pod onto his salad and not wanting to seem out of place, I followed along. I then found myself walking around at night in what seemed to be a seedy part of town and was looking for somewhere to get something to eat but noticed everything was closed except for a few street food places that were either too filthy or whose food looked unappealing.
After walking around for a while I noticed an attractive young Black woman walking down the street eating something out of a paper cone that looked appetizing. I wanted to approach her to ask where she got the food she was eating, but didn’t want to startle her or give her the impression that I was making a sexual advance. As she turned a corner disappearing down a narrow street, I came upon a food stall I had passed earlier and decided to order something from the slovenly but friendly, olive-skinned, Spanish-speaking cook who wore a dirty white t-shirt and greasy white cap. Then I woke up.