Day 1: Pilgrimage
October 30th, 2012
Finally. The week of Burning Man is upon us. “Welcome home” spoken by many. A home I do not understand nor appreciate just yet, for I am a virgin burner. Nonetheless a home I yearn to become a part of.
Other burners can be seen soaring down interstate eighty with their blue painter’s tape in the formation of The Man plastered all over their vehicles. The majority of them already dressed in their Burning Man attire. Or perhaps they are the ones in this world who constantly stand out in a crowd. Forever dressed in their Burning Man garb, never to remove the core principles they have come to embrace which are displayed like badges of honor. I make a consorted effort to stop thinking that these are costumes one would wear in attendance to a Halloween party but rather a way of life.
We decide not to brave the predictably long line that will certainly exist during the first few hours of Burning Man. Gates were to open by 7pm and I was convinced, 40,000 people were all expecting to be among the first few vehicles to enter the premises. Instead we slept off our anticipation in Reno and proceeded towards the pearly orange construction gates the following morning. We later received confirmation how wise of a decision this was from some fellow burners who got to watch the sunrise while sitting in line waiting to gain admittance.
Once getting off I-80, a visible convoy of vehicles started northbound towards certain isolation, towards The Playa and towards The Man. Many were pulled off to the side of the road, some already celebrating and cheering at the line of vehicles all working their way Northward. Like a bunch of fertile salmon fighting their way back upstream to reach their old spawning grounds (sorry had to). Many of these
salmon people were being hassled by bears local law enforcement agencies as they sit on the side of the road, their hands cuffed behind their back, all the while teams of officers proceed to search the contents of their over-encumbered RVs. My heart went out to these burners. It seemed everyone was looking to benefit from our proliferation.
Our wait in line was overall, very short. Less than an hour, I would say. We did arrive during the middle of a whiteout, which just enhanced the realization of what we were getting ourselves into. Upon driving through the gate we promptly found a location to set up camp (5:30 and Jasmine). We will later decide that this is too far if one wants to travel to the (central) action on a regular basis yet far enough away to actually receive sleep if one desired it so.
Once we built our structure that we felt was suitable enough to protect us from the sun, wind, and dust (truly, there is NO protection from the dust). We ventured our way towards The Man. Bike-less and wide eyed. One of my very first sights was that of the most amazing scene of a half sunken pirate ship in the middle of the desert. Thinking about it now, brings tears to my eyes. The craftsmanship that went in to creating this masterpiece was top notch. It was as if they took pieces of wood from an actual sunken ship and reconstructed it here in the middle of nowhere. Even the interior was completely legit with a dash of pirate skeletons and a sprinkling of treasure chests. As you walked up and into this ship, the slant of the boat certainly played a factor in your mobility. The astonishment was shared equally by everyone who set foot on to and into this ship. Later I returned to this site to witness a dub-step party take place, as hundreds of pirates danced about. I still don’t believe half of what I saw during this week of Burning Man and I’m not entirely sure it all really happened.
The Man! I took so many pictures of The Man (or possible The Woman this year considering the theme was fertility 2.0). Everyday I awoke, and started my day out by biking to the Man to just to take it all in, all over again. From there we made our decisions on what we would try to accomplish for the day and what we would make an attempt to see. Inside the gazebo like structure that The Man stood so brilliantly on top of, there was a honeycomb jungle gym (beehive theme). This hive (all slot and tab construction mind you) allowed people to climb up and around on, lay and relax in and meditate upon. I took my turn and climbed to the highest point. This point being where you are closest to The Man. I felt at home.
The sights and sounds one would experience during the day were only amplified at night. I couldn’t take enough pictures as I just drifted around. Everything was so brilliantly illuminated that it was hard to just concentrate on not running in to something or someone else, who was equally distracted.
The art cars that maneuvered around at night added to the amazing spectacle that is Burning Man. One night I was biking towards The Man when I started hearing the ping of a sonar echo. This ping got louder and as I took a look over my left shoulder, a massive submarine floated on by. I stopped my bike to take in the delight of such a sight. After the sub passed me by, I was blown away as a giant squid, with its fluid tentacles gave chase to the submarine. The number of art cars that drove around increased each night, many of which shot enormous balls of fire in to the night sky. Briefly illuminating this strange desert landscape.
These photos don’t give justice to how everything really appeared. Nor do they show the utter chaos that is taking place at all times and for that I apologize. I urge each and every one of you, whom has yet to experience Burning Man to go and make the pilgrimage for yourself. Go see why so many people, including myself, call it home.
Category: Architecture, Art, Life, Miscellaneous, Night Wanderings