Note* This post is part of a series detailing my recent participation in Burning Man 2016. I'd like to warn the reader that I'm writing these for personal use and the details noted are likely biased, inaccurate, and increasingly full of profanity as the days go by. Names may have been changed.
Tuesday. Tu-tu tuesday. I woke up at 4am and removed an ear plug. Bass music was thumping from an art car driving around. it sounded great. I put the ear plug back in and slept a little more. By 7am it was heading for heat again. There was a small patch of sunlight that would hit my tent and by 8am i needed to be out of there. I dressed, rinsed my nose with saline, and got out. I had some breakfast.
The last night, i had noticed that my bicycle was getting hard to peddle and was making odd noises. Its not a very complicated bike. No gearing system and you peddle backwards to brake. Still, I resolved to take it to one of the bike repair camps before it broke. So I looked up a bike repair location and started walking my bicycle towards it.
As I was walking, I came up along side a couple. The man looked at me and said "would you like some coffee?". Why not I figured, so I said "yes". "Well, you can help me make it then!"
The woman rolled her eyes, I figured this sort of thing must happen a lot. So I found myself at Hamster Camp 'Millions of fuckin' hamsters' for the morning. And it was an interesting morning. Jay-man made some coffee while one of his camp mates strolled around in the buff. I sat down with him and his wife; we discussed gender roles and Hurricane Katrina. It turned out to be a really pleasant chat - the coffee was great! Eventually, I decided to move along and made my good-byes. Another one of their camp mates gave me directions to another bike repair in case I needed it. and I set off again.
I'm really not doing these walks justice. Anytime you walk around there are a million amazing things to see. There was the "What would you do for a pickle camp", there was the DiscoFish art car down the street, VampCamp, all these things and a thousand more that I am sure I missed. Eventually, I made it to the bicycle repair. but no one was there. This wasn't unexpected. Things never really happened like you thought they would out there.
So after a few minutes, i walked back to the camp for another round of sunblock and electrolytes. I decided to park my bike for the day and worry about it later. Maybe it would magically ungunk itself? Besides, it was a bar day!
On Tuesday we had a bloody mary bar where we gave away free bloody marys. So I learned how to do that. Wow - what an experience. I met so many people, and on this day i remember the guys across the street from us, the 'pounders'. They were metal workers who were running a workshop right at the base of the Man where you could make bike tags or dog tags or just stamp things into a bit of metal. They were telling us that the Burning Man organizers had kicked them out of the workshop due to issues with the Man. Evidently the design for this year wasn't coming along and they needed to do some work. Which made sense, when i last peddled past the Man, he was upside down.
After awhile, I got tired of the bar and talking to people. I took a nap in the hug dungeon. What sweet bliss, to sack out in an air-conditioned yurt with your fellow camp mates.
After a couple of hours, i figured i should head out again. I felt like I wasn't taking advantage of what was on offer at Burning Man, so i decided to head to a shibari workshop. I started peddling out, and it was hot. my bike was still giving me problems and the dust was kicking up. So i put on my goggle and dust mask, and kept looking for the workshop. I got there 5 minutes late, i couldn't find it at all. I was starting to feel pretty terrible. I started walking my bike. I needed a place to rest.
I came up along side Camp Steep and a man standing outside looks at me. He gives me a hug, and asks me where I am headed. I tell him "here. I think I'm headed here". He introduces himself and tells me to go inside, they are serving tea. It sounds like exactly what i need.
While i'm in line i start speaking with the two men in line behind me. One of them has been having issues with the playa dust and is hoping for something acidic to combat it. I try some iced tea. The other man wanders off to go color at a table, and i sit down with the other and we have a great chat. Before we part, he says "wait a minute" and starts digging through his bag. He gives me a necklace with an image of the man on it. Its my first gift. I'm unexpectedly touched by the gesture. I head back to camp.
On my way back to camp, I run into two of my camp mates who are returning from the Com'meow'nist Revolution camp. They are having a good time, and as we talk we notice that Camp Nacho-Daddy is serving nachos.
Let no one tell you that I do not love processed cheese food. We headed in and got our nachos. I opted to get the free tattoo as well and headed for the line where a man was applying the tattoos with a wet rag. As i wait my turn the gentleman wearing only a tu-tu beside me announces "I want the tattoo on my foreskin" and he starts stimulating himself.
Now, i am not a man. I am not exactly sure how things are going to go with this plan, so I tell him "Hey, I'm going next. So don't get too excited." To which he responds, "that's the idea!" ok - so long as I'm going next, which i do. I get my tattoo and spend the next minute talking to the man holding it to my ribs, a first time burner from Berlin. Then i head back to camp and take a break.
That night, we go out dancing. The music is amazing.