Wednesday, November 08, 2006


Burning Blog Two....

The last..3? k heading into the Gate had little signs all the way along it. This was a boring sign. There was a stretch of about 60 signs that related to the theme "Hope and Fear" either with a full quote on a single sign, or a story stretched over many signs. Good incentive to go slow, even if there wasn't a huge lineup of traffic. Other sign content included "no firearms or fireworks" and "no pictures without permission, no video without registering with Media Mecca". That was only somewhat successful (as my later posts of video will show, oopsie! I'm so bad...)

Gate story #1: the single snaky line branched into five or six lines to go through the actual Gate.. and while sitting in one of these lines, I noticed the stilts strapped to the car beside us, and was about to comment "Hey! Nice Stilts!" when I realized the driver was my friend Todd, and his passenger was my friend Natalie, both who have been students of mine in my Vancouver hoop classes. SCREAM! LAUGH! HUG! They'd already gotten started on.. tequila, I think? So.. pretty extra happy :)

Gate story #2: The Gate crew were dressed like pirates, and had actual pirate-y tshirts made, which mentioned plundering... their job was to make sure that we weren't sneaking people in.. and the poor woman who got us was pretty adamant that we somehow unstrap and unpack everything so she could stick her arm into the middle of the pile and make sure there weren't any bodies. After showing her the tie-down job (through the window, over the pile ' o ' stuff on the roof, in the other window) and that the back hatch wasn't gonna open without undoing that, she allowed us through anyway.

Gate story #3: now through the unfriendly-but-neccessary gate (they also check to see that you have the means to survive for a week, like water, and that you're not being stupid and trying to bring in pets).. we pulled up to the actual Greeters. "Have you been here before?" asked a lovely man in a floor length fake fur coat and fabulous fuzzy hat.. "No!" we cried with glee... and then were hauled out of the car, given wonderful warm full-body hugs from said lovely man, made to ring a gong and scream, which got much applause from those around us, and told "Welcome Home!"... there was pretty consistent gonging happening, but no one seemed to tire of cheering... He gave us each an info package, checked to see if we had a theme camp with a preset location to go to, and gave us directions to get there.

Gate story #4: as I was about to get back in the car, a woman from the vehicle behind me said "Are you Xta?" ... and it was Cin, one of the Virgins with Vaginas I'd met online when I was trying to organize that as a camping option, before getting hooked into the Eplaya Bar Camp... she recognized me by the hoops on the back of the car, BC plates, and the pictures I'd posted online. Putting this in regular world perspective: imagine driving into a city of 40, 000, and the person who is directly behind you turns out to be your roommate.

Gate story #5: After pulling away from Greeters, a scantily clad woman (also lovely) waved us down, leaned her head into my window, and tells us that today is MakeOut Monday, and our jobs are to make out with as many people as we can. A few other pieces of advice, mostly lewd, and then we were off... at a roaring 5mph.

We knew that our camp was located at Anxious (the first ring road back from the main Esplanade) and 2:45 (Black Rock City is laid out like a clock, with the entrance at 6:00 and the Man at 12:00).. so we started heading to the right... with a potty stop at the first potty bank we saw, where I immediately realized that having my head lamp out would have been a Good Thing. We also knew that our camp would have a big white star tent, and that the setup crew had promised that there would be some sort of a light show to make them easy to find. We were late getting into the city, about 1:30am when I'd said "Midnight!" in my naivite, so I was worried that they would have all gone to bed... but no. I spotted the star tent from several blocks away, "I wonder if that's it!" as I saw a white point with lots of colourful lights dancing around it... and then we were there.

Lots of greetings and hugs from people that I'd only met online, eventual setting up of areas and tents (the pre-planned camp layout had been toasted almost immediately), the first meeting of my back-door neighbour, DJ BigE, who has one of those deep dark growly voices that just sounds so... deep dark and growly, but he was really sweet and helpful... and then eventually an attempt to sleep.

Star tent, as seen from Anxious and 2:50. Note the stripper pole and hoop-friendly platform (and I DID hoop on it...)... feedback on the pole from people who knew how to pole dance was that it was too short, so they couldn't jump up high and twirl gracefully down on it...

Star tent in action, as "ePlaya Bar Camp". Yes, even though I'm a relative non-drinker, and generally dislike drunks, I was camping at a Bar. Next year, this will be different.. but it was fun. The few times I made it behind the bar and attemped to serve, I was generally pretty clumsy, but had fun anyway. This is also a picture of my boring day-time uniform: bikini top and shorts. Note for next year: create better day-time costuming so as not to feel like a boring spectator.

Someone actually managed to take a picture during one of my rare moments behind the bar... The guy in the flowered skirt is my CostCo Soul Mate, Chris. I love men in skirts :)

This was the view from 3:00 and Anxious. This is the home of Radio Free Burning Man, DJ Big E's project, and my first homing beacon (the second were the flags flying from the top of the shipping container Those Damn Texans had next door at 2:40.. yes, that was their camp name). This was also one of the loveliest pieces of finished construction that I saw on the playa.

The other important homing beacon I used was from the keyhole plaza at 3:00 between Anxious and Brave... 'cause the nearest porta potty bank was at 3:00 and Destiny, so I learned to use the Rangers (police-types) at Brave, and the bright neon cross of Medical at Chance to find my way there... and then coming back into the keyhole, a lovely rune-inspired chill dome had bright blue neon lighting across the top.. and I could walk right beside them into the gap between our camps to find my tent. Took me about three days to figure out what was at 3:00 and Esplanade, the main strip, so for a while I just relied on the actual street signs they had posted all over the city.

Time to go get ready for Circle Craft Christmas Market, woooo! Uh, for just research purposes. I swear. Honest. I have no idea how that lovely crafted piece of jewelry/fibre art/metal art/pottery got in my bag. :)

And then?
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