Nighttime Crowds

It’s dark out. As I climb out of the public taxi I am greeted by an immediate mass of people and taxis. I look back to see that Kyle is still behind me, we are at the Bole taxi stand. We move through the people and towards the taxis, asking where they are going, none are going in the direction we are headed; to the Amare’s. Soon we move off, crossing the busy road in front of cars and buses and moving along underneath a large concrete over pass. Underneath it is darker, and along the support walls stand Ethiopians selling clothes, shoes, belts, and various other things off of small tarps on the ground. We move out from under the overpass and across the next road. There are now scores of people selling off of small tarps along the roadside, and hundreds of people swarming past. I put my hands in my pockets to protect my phone and cash and shoulder my way through the crowds. I stop out of curiosity to see how much a pair of Puma shoes costs.
How much?” I ask the Ethiopian man who is eagerly beckoning to me, what he sees as the Feu-reunj with money.
“350 birr” he says, trying to get me to try it on.
“Ok thanks”
“How much you pay? How much you pay?” he continues earnestly.
“I don’t have money right now” I try to tell him.
“Ok 300 birr”
“No I don’t have money now”
“Ok ok 250”
I shake my head and wave my hand to say no, I tell him that maybe I will come back. He is disappointed.
I walk back up the street a ways to where Kyle is trying on a watch, Kyle tells the vendor he will come back and walks down the street a ways. Just as he walks towards another watch stand we are bombarded by the yelling of ‘YOU, FEU-REUNJ! FEU-REUNJ!’ from the previous watch seller, he wants to sell it for cheaper now.
We move across to the other side of the road. I shoulder my way through the crowds of people waiting for public taxis, each time one arrives a hoard of people swarm pushing and shoving each other, fighting for a seat. We walk further and further through the crowd, past taxi after taxi. We do not know where any of them are going.We stand amidst the dark sillohetted crowd, faintly illuminated by shop lights and passing cars. “I don’ think this is happening” says Kyle. A begger comes up to me. I actually don’t think I’m supposed to be giving them food either now, but I have some sort of pastry in the water bottle pocket of my backpack so I reach back, pull it out and hand it to him. Finally we decide to take contract taxi and are able to escape from the nighttime crowds.