Decompression

Usually, I go to Burning Man and spend 7 days in the alpine desert known as The Playa.

It’s dust-filled and wind-blown and basically one of the most inhospitable environments I know.

And this is where I vacation.

After seven days of playa, I’m usually more than ready to go home.

This year, I left the playa a few hours early on a Burner Express bus which took me to Reno.

My sister promised me a nice dinner if I could get there before dinnertime and who am I to reject such an offer?

My middle name is “Food.”

Usually after my burn, it takes a good two to three months for me to start getting into Burning Man again.

In fact, I usually swear that “I’ll never go back” because I’m so overflowing with experiences and community that I get overwhelmed and want to just stop the madness for a while.

Not so, this burn.

No.

This burn, I’m ready to go back.

And I’ve been super nostalgic about my burn in the first place.

Of course, I have FOMO – the fear that I missed out on some essential experiences at Burning Man, but overall I’m pretty happy with my burn.

I relaxed.

I made drinks for people.

I ate freeze-dried food.

And I lived in community with 40 AMAZING individuals for a week in the desert with whom I had all sorts of adventures.

Friends of mine held a Dust Off – a decompression party after Burning Man where you bring your unused food and adult beverages and share their dusty goodness with other partygoers decompressing with you.

I wasn’t able to make the Dust Off this year on account of I had an overnight date with Stargazer in Pacifica.

Yes, I said OVERNIGHT!

It’s like I’m an adult or something living my life and having all sorts of fun.

I am missing my burn.

Missing Nadine and her kid.

Missing all my campmates who are unbelievably beautiful and radiant human beings.

For the first time since I started burning in 2015, I ACTUALLY MISS BURNING MAN even in my refractory phase.

NEXT!

Oktoberfest

Last year, my friend Nadine and I hosted Oktoberfest at the local bar on Thursday afternoon Happy Hour at Burning Man.

It was a total riot!

We played German music and served ice cold (well, compared to PLAYA temperatures) German beer to thirsty guests.

We had such a good time, we decided to do it AGAIN!

Nadine took care of the beer and bought several pony kegs of light and dark German beer for us to serve.

I took care of the music.

I was careful to download SEVERAL Oktoberfest playlists from Spotify, since last year’s fiasco of a super short playlist of German oompa music played on repeat until my head was pounding  from horns and drums.

This year I used “Oktoberfest Hits 2019” by Megaparty, and BOY! was it a hit!!!

It included very basic Oktoberfest music along with a bunch of German pop music (like Johnny Däpp).

Honestly, you should listen to Johnny Däpp.

The whole song sounds like an homage to Johnny Depp.

Which, if you think about it, is a very good thing.

Of course we went through beer like water and before we knew it, we were back to serving COCKTAILS to guests who stayed to enjoy the music.

In particular, there was a couple who dressed up in traditional German costumes and who danced the whole afternoon away listening to the music.

I was pleased to bring a little German beer and music to them, they seemed to genuinely miss their home country.

And in the end, I got a lovely postcard from one half of the couple, thanking Nadine and I for “serving real German beer” and playing an amazing playlist of songs for them to enjoy.

My magic moment on the playa?

Watching them dance their asses off to “Sweet Caroline” by Weisenrocker.

Check it out on Spotify!

Quinceañera

The quinceañera party for the 15 year anniversary of the Village took place on Monday afternoon on the playa at the local bar, aka the bar I worked at from 10 pm to 12 am serving drinks to thirsty guests.

I got dressed up in all my quinceañera finery:

It was fun to celebrate with other villagers and even though only ONE OTHER PERSON got dressed up in theme (thank you, Moonbeam), I had a great time drinking spiked horhata and eating churros.

Of course, as I was bartending, I had to card everyone before pouring them a drink.

In my quinceañera dress.

A couple of young kids, barely legal (but legal, nonetheless) came by and asked for drinks.

I carded them – they looked YOUNG – and noted that they were all 23 or younger.

They asked me why I was so dressed up.

“It’s my quinceañera!” I told them.

One snarky young lady said to me, “Now I need to see YOUR ID!”

They all laughed heartily at her joke.

Rude!

But true.

A 45-year old woman in a pink frilly dress and a tiara is not something you see everyday.

Unless you’re at BURNING MAN!

Getting wet

Burning Man is a Leave No Trace event.

That means whatever you bring in with you, you take out with you.

If it doesn’t go in the portos, then you collect it and haul it out when you leave.

This means all the water you use for dishes must be collected.

What you spit out when you brush your teeth must go in a container.

And when you shower, all your water must be collected in a graywater container, removed and disposed of properly.

My camp had three showers for 41 campers (although RV campers used their RV showers).

Two of those showers had privacy shelters.

The third on was scenic.

And by ‘scenic’ I mean that it had no privacy shelter, it was JUST OUT IN THE OPEN FOR EVERYONE TO SEE.

So pretty much everyone made do with the two privacy shelter showers.

I never even considered using the scenic shower.

Who wants to be watched while they shower by 40 pairs of prying eyes?

Not me, thank you.

I’ve heard of camps however, where there’s nothing but scenic showers.

But lo and behold, nearing the end of the burn, I saw a couple go in and use the shower.

Together.

It was no big deal.

So that shower eventually got a little use.

But be prepared if you go to Burning Man in a tent and you need to shower, you might want to inquire after the facilities.

Ours was decent, even with my lukewarm solar shower.

I took a shower on Thursday.

And then again on Sunday in my sister’s waterfall shower after I left Burning Man to visit her in Reno.

But the experience of showering at Burning Man had me so conscientious of water usage, I merely jumped into her shower, lathered up, and jumped out.

Burning Man does funny things to your perception of waste and excess.

And I’m pretty sure that’s a good thing.

Running on Empty

I left for Burning Man Saturday afternoon with Nadine and her kid, riding in Nadine’s RV.

We left around 6 pm.

We finally pulled off onto the playa at 4:12 am, nearly 12 hours later.

As luck would have it, we pulled into our parking space at our camp at 6:15 am, meaning it took us a mere 2 hours to get through Gate.

OMG!

The universe was working with us.

But I’m not surprised.

Nadine and I seem graced with good luck and serendipity.

I managed to catch a brief one and a half hour nap in the RV but overall, that was all the sleep I got in a 36 hour period.

I was ready to sleep Sunday night.

The first day at Burning Man is always a blur of setting up camp, day drinking, and reuniting with the camp community.

I cracked open a cold one once my tent was set up and enjoyed my Corona Premier (so named because apparently it’s lite beer, not REAL beer) while watching the city spring up around me.

I ate a can of little weenies fully expecting that would be the extent of my sausage experiences at Burning Man [HINT: it was].

burning man 2019My food bin, filled to the brim with snacks and booze, managed to make it to the playa with zero casualties.

As hot as it was (it was in the 90s the entire time we were there), I managed to stay cool in the shade and before I knew it, I was going for a ride with Nadine and scoping out some of the awesome art and cars out on playa:

Not shabby at all for my first day at Burning Man, running off of 90 minutes of sleep!