We got out to the playa pretty early and DB got to work. I helped a teeny bit in unloading the van, but it was hard with the huge post-op boot I had on my foot to protest my toe from further injury pre-surgery. DB put up our dome (with the help of lots of our BM neighbors), our tent, solar panels, etc. and finished just in time for dark. I did girly stuff -- decorated the interior of the dome with our rugs, chairs, etc. and made our bed (this year we were so excited to have a double-high air bed -- luxury!). We had dinner and were headed to bed to sleep until the eclipse that night (we set an alarm to wake up), but then our campmates arrived so we had to have some drinks and celebrate seeing each other again. We headed out to the playa to see some lights and art and hit the hay about midnight for a quick nap before the eclipse. Here's a view of the city at night from high on the platform of the art piece called Crude Awakening (the second photo):
We got up and watched the eclipse which was totally amazing out there in the desert and headed back to bed by 2:30 (it was also COLD out there in the desert at night!). You may have seen news of what happened soon after that, but here's my account: I started to hear people outside the tent saying things like "holy shit, the Man is burning". This being Burning Man where people tend to joke about all kinds of things, I turned over to head back to sleep thinking people were just kidding. Nope. Soon after, a friend of ours came running into our camp to say that the Man was really on fire (for those of you who don't know, they usually burn him on Saturday night -- it's a huge ritual and he's a huge Man -- at least 6 stories high I'd estimate). And he was! We were close enough to see him burning and the huge fire hoses trying to put him out. Remember this is in the middle of NOWHERE. I guess I'm glad to know they have huge fire extinguishing capabilities! It was wild. The guy who did it said it was either a performance piece (a lot of that going on out there!) or a political statement or just anarchy. Who knows? We didn't have any real news about the incident until we got home (no internet and no cell phones out there). Anyway, we headed back to sleep when the Man was put out.
Tuesday we spent a lot of time helping our campmates set up their dome, tents, etc. Our friend Aaron even brought a compost toilet this year -- the ultimate in luxury not having to use the porta-potties all week! And he and his girlfriend brought another friend who is a fine-dining chef -- we ate well: duck, buffalo, salmon, shrimp. It was crazy how delish he could cook on a little propane camp stove! Here's our kitchen and our chef:
The week went from there. I did a really fun Greeters shift on Wednesday (Greeters welcome people "home" to the city at the gate -- usually wearing wacky clothes -- or no clothes! I wear my Minnie Mouse ears and a belly dance outfit). I learned to get around pretty well on my bike with the post-op boot, but by Friday had blown out my opposite knee from over-compensating. I spent a lot of time in camp, reading and hanging out. This wasn't too bad because people would come by and play music (DB is a drummer and had set up a whole music "stage" in one of our domes) and I got to do a lot of reading which I don't get to do too much anymore. Friday we had a huge duststorm and everyone in the neighborhood had to work to keep things from blowing away. After that, there was a little sprinkle of rain and then a huge double rainbow!! Wow. Here are some photos from the rest of the week:
By Friday I was SO ready to go -- it was really hard not being able to get around due to my knee and I sat in camp reading, drinking and EATING. Not good. But, having said that, we did have more fun before we left on Monday -- the Temple burn on Sunday night was really beautiful. More photos below:
We left early Monday morning (about 6:45 am)...it took us three hours to go less than 2 miles to the road. But that's why they call it Exodus. We got to our hotel in the Eastern Sierras about 3 in the afternoon...showered, took naps, looked at a lovely lake, gambled a little, then sleep by 9 pm. We drove home the next day...lovely drive down the Eastern Sierras.
And I had surgery the next day...more on that next time...