Friday, September 5, 2008

Burner back

Hiya =]

So, Maia and I made it to Burning Man and back again. We left friday evening, camped two nights on the way up, arrived in the line of cars at midnight as the event started, spent 6 hours waiting/sleeping before getting in, 6 days on the playa, left before dawn after the burn, and camped out one night on the way back.

We went straight up the 395. First night camped in Mojave. Next day, stopped by Lake Mono and dabbed our feet in this alkaline lake, it's a strange place, at lake's edge there is this carpet of flies, which range from buzzing near water, to corpses a couple feet inland. Seagulls would just walk along with their mouths open, taking in swarms of flies. Pillars of rock formation rise up to where the lake level was before the water that feeds the lake had been diverted for human use. Very strange place.

That night we detoured through monitor pass towards Lake Tahoe, we camped out at Grover hot springs. The next morning we went to the spring filled pools, but the hot pool was empty. They had found a dead bird in the water and had to sanitize the pool. We swam in the cold pool surrounded by mountains and pine trees, very nice. We drove to Lake Tahoe and walked in the lake for a while. Continuing to Reno for supplies, and finally arriving in sight of Black Rock City (our great city, built and burned in one week each year) at midnight when the gates opened.

We camped at burning man with some of Maia's fellow chemists from ucsd at Mad Flava. We were located right behind the pancake playhouse (sister camp) in the 9 o'clock plaza, a nice central location. The playa floor was very sandy this year, little rain through the year means no hard packed ground, which means very difficult to bike on. The city was laid out much larger this year too, so getting around was a trek. With almost no moon all week it was almost like some sort of Star Trek.

This was Maia's first burn, and my fourth. On the first day we arrived, Monday, there was a gnarly dust storm. Intense wind blowing dust so fast it seems to penetrate your skin. Everyone goggled and dust masked up like the apocalypse was upon us, which it was. I got a bad headache that day. Tuesday through Friday were all beautiful days, no dust, not too hot at day or cold at night. We explored the art projects, climbed the 4 story tower that held the Man and the 8 story steel tower of babylon farther out. The temple was a steampunk paradise of recycled scrap. We did yoga 4 afternoons, including a faux man chu'd kung fu yoga class before the burn. Each night someone from camp made dinner for everyone, Tuesday was our night, and we had Taco Tuesday, with glasses of our Ombrew organic pale ale for our campmates. It was superb. The burn was not the best part as it has been in years past for me. We were planning to leave pre-dawn so I wasn't going all out as usual. There was the marching band that I usually followed in circles around the man for the hours after the burn, but it seemed somehow more crowded and we weren't marching. The procession of music and fire spiraling ever closer to a shrinking flame has been the most purifying aspect to mark the end of another year. It was still fun though, I enjoyed myself all week (except the headache), so I've gotta say, best burningman ever!

Departing at 4am, the sun just beginning to cast hope over the horizon, we exodized without the usual line, a boon I would not exchange for a better burn in future years. We travelled to Lake June for some showers, and camped free at a nearby rest stop. Drove all the next day through the eastern sierra valley, sighting Mt Whitney, and finally arriving back in San Diego.

I wish I could share pictures now, as we took many pictures and videos, but it seems that we lost the camera. =[ It may yet turn up somewhere in the van, or on the lost & found forums. We'll just have to use our imagination!

So the day after arriving back from the burn I was right back to busy. Tuesday began the second week of classes, I missed the first, after some changes, I'm now taking: Physics 195: Mechanics, Math 151: Calculus 2, and Economics 120. These are all key classes for my plan to get into the UC Santa Cruz Computer Science/Game Design program next year. Physics is going to be fun, yesterday we were using fan powered cars with motion sensors and laptops to make lots of pretty graphs. The teacher and students are all excited to be here. Calc 2 isn't quite as exciting so far, but finding new ways to work with numbers is always interesting.

Speaking of which, I've got lots of homework to catch up on this weekend, so I'll just be getting back to it. Seeya soon =]

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