Black Rock City, Nevada (Sep 01/14) – Yes that time has rolled by again… Burning Man 2014 (BM). Last year was the first time for both N&J attending BM (as friends)… this time they are more than that, waaaay more than that, they are married!!!
Preparations well under way, Hobbes has been readied for the journey, all systems go… BM clothing & costumes, tents, playa survival gear such as vinegar, eye drops, dust masks, and cases of baby wipes are stuffed into every nook & cranny. Thank goodness they have the small trailer (Calvin) to take on the extra load. The last trip to Black Rock City in Nevada was filled with excitement & anticipation, and Gizmo (N’s dearly departed van) was filled with ’stuff’ (lots of stuff!!!) to the rooftop. This time they will have the luxury of space.
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The first stop was Eugene, Oregon; where Erik the ‘Reverbia Camp’ chef lives. It is there where the massive food preparations of feeding 200+ camp participants take form. Every aspect of the food process is included. Erik takes his role very seriously, from the harvesting of the vegetables to the processing of sauces and condiments. Just about all the veggies and herbs are grown in Erik’s gardens in Eugene (J never ever plucked a carrot, turnip or beets out of the ground before this). N spent an entire day (10 hours) slicing meat and cheese on one of those industrial slicing machines, a very tedious task indeed all the while pondering the idea of becoming a vegetarian again.
After 5 intense days of prep, they headed off to the Playa with the whole N&J team in tow (Snugzz, Cookie Monster, Crystal, Yukan).
N&J driving Hobbes to Summer Lake, OR where they meet the rest of the crew, J then shared the driving of the 6 ton truck with Derek (a local Eugenian) carrying all the supplies (food, kitchen equipment & sound gear) needed for the event. The journey was long, hot, with lots of waiting for the slower vehicles (who were eating, drinking, talking, sleeping, eating, shopping, and shopping again, geeez!!!) to catch up… like 8-9 hours of waiting, and waiting, and waiting! The art of patience was the lesson of the day.
Now a few days after the official opening of Burning Man 2014, the anticipation of what to expect has been fulfilled. Although the initial start was plagued by a major rain & electrical storm on Sunday. The Playa is an old lake bed which turns into a mud mess, making vehicle travel impossible, never mind the difficulty of walking in it (you end up being a couple inches taller from the gumbo that attaches itself to your footwear). The ensuing rain forced the organizers to close Black Rock City for 24 hours from any vehicle traffic, thus forcing thousand waiting outside the entrance to endure 20-30 hour waits before being allowed to proceed. Our friends L&K from Vancouver finally arrived after a very long wait just outside of the gates, we met them with beer in hand to welcome them to BM… their first burn!!!
The Playa is filled with art-cars, performers, incredible architecture & masses of people with bicycles adorned in all sorts of costume and lighting. A record 70,000+ participants have flooded the Black Rock Desert. The ten principles of BM guide the ‘Burners’, but each embracing their own burn in very different ways. The dichotomy of extremes can be confusing… for example, the clash of radical self expression through electronica music booming at ear deafening levels, contrast that with the surrreal intense serenity of the ‘Temple’. A sanctuary where there is an out pouring of love and pain for loved ones lost, as well as those wanting to let go of the past and allowing transformation. Black Rock City encompasses all extremes, and you can venture into any realm that you choose…
The week was momentous with the event cresting with the burn of ‘The Man’ on Saturday & ‘The Temple’ on Sunday. The burn signifying the separation of man and the material possessions, wants and past pains. Then the task of tearing down this metropolis begins. An entire city was constructed in a week, to be removed in a few days… leaving no trace… none.