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:
It’s my LEAST favorite kind of weather at Burning Man.
And all that wind kicks up the dust.
White out conditions?
We got ’em!
Enough dust in the sky so we can’t see the sun?
Getting every molecule of your body covered in dust?
I’m hunkering down in Tejas’ RV right now.
Avoiding the outdoors.
My hair feels like straw
There’s a fine coating of dust over my entire body.
All I’m dreaming of is my sister’s waterfall shower.
How good will it feel to get clean again?
Just so you know, here’s a clip of the weather when Tejas and I waited at Gate for 4 hours for entry the Saturday BEFORE Burning Man started.
It takes less then 24 hours for the playa to destroy your brand new gel manicure.
I’m not kidding.
My nails are destroyed.
My perfectly blown out hair is a hot mess.
Playa dust sticks to everything, including your hair, making it sticky and hyper-texturized so much so that you can barely run a brush through your hair.
If you shower, you need to IMMEDIATELY dry your hair or risk absorbing all the dust in the air into your freshly washed hair.
I learned this the hard way when I went on a bike ride into deep playa during a dust storm in 2015 right after I washed my hair in camp.
My dust storm this week happened while I was riding home with a friend from 9:00 and A to 6:00 and E (the long way, not the Esplanade way).
We rode our bikes to Tejas’ RV.
In a dust storm.
Riding into the wind.
When I arrived at the RV, My eyebrows and my formerly jet black lashes were “playa dust white.”
And yet, despite the elements, playa women look magically sexy and beautiful.
And I’m not talking about the ones who look like they’re fresh from the default world.
No, I’m talking about the ones who look like they’ve been up all night dancing in a dust storm at Opulent Temple.
I’m talking about the ones who look a little “rode hard and put away wet” but also wear a smile that could power a million light bulbs.
That’s where true beauty lies.
First Saturday night on the playa.
I envisioned myself sitting in camp, socializing with friends into the wee hours of the morning.
Or perhaps hopping on my bike and taking a little tour of our growing city.
I DEFINITELY didn’t picture what happened.
I drank TOO MUCH gin TOO QUICKLY and had to go to bed.
Tejas, on the other hand, stayed out all night and didn’t return until the sun was coming up.