One of the things I LOVE about Burning Man is that the unexpected happens.
Of course, that can be a double edged sword when your RV breaks down in Gerlach a mere 10 miles from the event.
Or, it can work in your favor when you’re gifting chapstick and come upon a group of people in desperate need of chapstick.
While I was venturing out to the trash fence in deep playa with my friend and her kid, we noticed a bunch of lights off in the distance.
And since we are a curious bunch, we decided to go there to see what it was about.
And we stumbled on an OASIS!
A guy in a fuzzy yellow wig had built himself a little BICYCLE BAR.
He had a bar around his bike and he pedaled out into deep playa, set up speakers, played some wonderful tunes – and sure enough – people flocked to him.
He was serving chilled beer or a tiki drink made with pineapple juice.
Oh, so delicious!
Isn’t it lovely?!
You can be just exploring a new area, expecting absolutely nothing to come of it, when all of a sudden something lovely drops into your lap!
So here’s to the Dusty Pineapple bicycle bar in deep playa.
I salute you in all my pineapple finery!
May the sun always shine on you and your endeavors!
I always sum up my Burning Man experience each year with one quick phrase:
- 2015 was the year I got dumped. I also got ditched but when you get dumped, that sort of eclipses everything else, don’t you think? Still, it stung.
- 2016 was my abstinent year (I know, I know, how UNLIKE me!).
- 2017 was the year I lived through my vagina.
- And 2018 was the year of art.
I saw TONS of art.
I’m not sure I would have seen as much art had my dear friend and her kid not taken me under their wing and led me right to the art.
For a woman with an ADVENTURE BLOG, I should be more adventurous, right?
Then again, I’ve run with the bulls.
Raced stock cars.
And eaten Korean silkworm larvae (only if spitting counts).
So I’ll forgive myself for not feeling motivated on my own.
With the help of my friends, I actually made it to the TRASH FENCE.
And I snapped a picture to prove it:
And just because I’m in a sharing mood, here are some of my favorite Burning Man 2018 pictures:
And a few more pics which I’m sure I didn’t take but they’re on my phone, all credit to the photographers (LMK if it’s you):
Two replica trains were built out of wood for Burning Man.
They were placed on a track facing each other and filled with explosives.
Then, after a fireworks show, the trains were pushed on the track to one another and KABOOM!
The trains blew up in a massive fireball.
I’m telling you this not because I saw it, but because I heard about it as I was trying to peek over people’s heads on my tippy toes.
I saw NONE of it.
There were so many people surrounding The Great Train Wreck’s perimeter it was IMPOSSIBLE to see anything.
Still, it sounded AMAZING.
And I did managed to hold my camera up over my head and snap a few pictures.
The irony out of all this is that the explosions occurred BEFORE the collision.
Timing is everything.
I love bartending.
I have an ex-boyfriend who is a bartender and he taught be everything I know (which granted, isn’t that much but it’s more than most).
For Burning Man, my friend and her kid decided that we’d like to offer Oktoberfest fixings to thirsty burners.
Believe you me, it is not easy at all to chill 6 mini kegs of Oktoberfest beer when you are on the playa.
We must’ve gone through 20 bags of ice, chilling the beer over the course of 2 days.
In the end, we were successful though and we had TONS of ice cold beer to serve to guests.
The best part of all this was that my friends got to serve beer in authentic drindl and leiderhosen. AND we had authentic German music playing over the loudspeakers, thanks to some quick thinking by the incomparable Stu.
Me, I was in my typical St. Pauli Girl costume.
Well, if you must know the Oktoberfest Happy Hour went REALLY well.
My friend’s kids was a great barker and got people off their bikes and into the bar for drinks.
My only complaint?
My feet hurt.
Two hours of standing on the playa will make your tootsies hurt SO BAD.
I finally managed to get to the man on Friday night right before it closed to visitors to prepare it for the burn the next night.
It was stunning.
Inside the structure were large wraparound movie screens playing animation which finally ended in a tribute to Larry Harvey, the recently deceased founder of Burning Man.
Here is a picture of the man during the day (not sure who to credit the photo to, so if it’s yours, lmk):
After wandering around the man for a bit, we headed over to temple.
Temple was serene and reverent and I took the time to leave my tribute for my children and my pets in the temple (see blue fabric on wooden beam, below).
The temple smelled amazing with incense burning everywhere.
Everywhere you looked there were tributes to everyone.
I felt emotional.
I’m pretty sure at some point I’m going to breakdown and have a good cry.
It’s been a good burn but so much has happened I feel like I’m behind in processing my feelings.
I may just cry when I leave the playa.
And it will be cathartic.
While chasing after a drunk Tejas on his scooter, I managed to give myself heat rash (damn short shorts and chub rub).
So I was happy to accept a ride on the Party Snail art car to go see the Worm Watch burn at midnight on Friday.
I have this TREMENDOUS fear of being left behind on the playa at night.
It’s so easy for me to get turned around and lost.
So I stayed close to the Party Snail when we made stops at Planet Earth and Sextant.
And then again, when we parked out among a field of art out on the playa.
The Worm Watch (created by the South Bay Art Collective) burn was fun to see – it was a GIANT wooden earthworm, poking out through the playa with an observation tower next to it to get a good look at the worm.
Here’s a nice picture of what it looked like (since my pic is rather shabby and I never saw it during the day):
It all started with fireworks (naturally) and culminated in the slow collapse of the structure
The drone show we were supposed to see never materialized (damn high winds) and so that was an uneventful end to the evening.
Here’s drone footage from the night before:
I’d like to dedicate my 2018 burning to the principle of TEAMWORK.
We all arrive on the playa, as prepared as we can be, only to discover we need things we don’t have.
That’s where our camp mates come in.
Whether it’s providing lotion for dry hands, clamps for a shade canopy too big for its frame, or a spatula to flip eggs with, your team mates come through for you.
Personally, I love it!
It’s great to fill a need that exists.
Whether it’s a camp mate, a neighbor, or just a random burner on the playa.
And truthfully, it’s remarkable how quickly needs get fulfilled on the playa.
They say “the playa provides” and this year it feels so true.
Only it’s not the playa.
It’s the magical people who inhabit the playa.
So if you were to ask me, two day in, what I feel is a developing theme at this burn, without hesitation I’d tell you TEAMWORK!
Here’s my “TEAM” on the playa <3:
Copyright Tripod (Kevin Price)
Every Monday night, a group of enterprising burners band together to trick to treat the nearby camps and Center Camp.
It’s a 2+ hour event where we wander all over asking for treats.
If we visit a camp that doesn’t have treats, we play a trick.
I dressed up as the St. Pauli Girl.
We also had a devil/angel, a Power Ranger, a zebra, two bees, a witch, a Minecraft robot and much much more.
We managed to procure: stickers, caramel corn, lollipops, quesadillas (made by flame thrower – see pic, below), etc.
We happened upon a camp and yelled, “TRICK OR TREAT!”
They opened up the door of a closet and it led to a chamber where we could walk into a cuddle puddle / chill space.
It was like opening a door to Narnia.
All that walking did me in and I was in bed at midnight, resting peacefully.
I know, I know.
Next time I will stay out longer.
The day started with a dust storm to end all dust storms.
It was so dusty that they closed Gate and were turning people around at Nixon because no more cars were allowed on the playa.
And back at camp, my camp mates and I were trying to set up a 20 foot by 20 foot shade structure during the worst of the dust storm.
You try it and see how far you get.
Nevertheless, chores were completed.
Naps were attained.
And I even took a “shower” with baby wipes before getting out of camp for the first time.
My first stop?
Ali Bar Bar!
I went to find friends and say hello.
After Ali Bar Bar, Tejas and I rode out to Planet Earth where it was 80s night.
I was served a very small margarita by a very flirtatious bartender.
She held my hand.
Gazed in my eyes.
We had a moment.
Then Tejas got lost and we wound up at Hardly’s Saloon where I partook in a SHOTSKI (a row of shot glasses affixed to a “ski” or board which makes everyone take a shot at the same time).
Mine was apple schnapps, I think.
Finally, on to HomeBrew Camp where we chatted up the bartender and drank beers.
And finally, we went home. . .
. . .where we were met by a dear friend enjoying his first burn.
He shared an ENTIRE bottle of Oban single malt with us before I finally crawled into my bed and slept.
Burning Man, I love you!
It’s a well known fact that I have a hard time seeing at night.
As I’ve gotten older, it’s gotten worse.
So night time on the playa is particularly challenging for me.
You’d think with all the bright lights, navigation would be a snap.
But in reality, all the lights make it challenging for me to navigate.
And THE ONE PLACE WHERE LIGHTS ARE NEEDED – the street signs – there are NO LIGHTS!
So I literally have to bike up to the sign and squint at it in the dark in order to read it.
This is why I travel with friends.
It’s much easier to just follow a friend with good spatial awareness than it is to get lost for hours trying to find your way home on the playa.
Then again, not all who wander are lost.
There is something to be said for charting new territory.
Here are some night shots from my Burning Man adventure: