Things have been so busy since we got back that this is the first I've had a chance to write ANYTHING. Photos will take longer...we took a lot...and lots of video too! DB is culling through it all right now (we spent the past two nights at home just watching them) so I'll post some photos at some point. We both took cameras this time so more photos!
In the meantime, I'm very pleased to say that I gained WAY less on this vacation than on our trip to St. John! 6 pounds and 4 of those are already gone. :-) I love how getting back on the Crack/Macro wagon really mitigates the damage quickly. :-) We ate and drank a lot less than we have in prior years -- I also made sure that we took a lot more protein and a lot less carbs to eat. That worked. Every morning DB made me a yummy big proteiny breakfast -- usually bacon, egg substitute, some feta cheese and sometimes some veggies in the scramble. It was a hearty breakfast and I noticed that I really didn't get hungry the whole rest of the day! We snacked on nuts (small quantities) and canned veggies rather than a lot of chips (we did take tortilla chips, but ate about half of what we took). Anyway, I am proud of us...DB gained only 5 pounds too. :-)
Sooo...here's the narrative of our fun trip:
We dyed our hair on Saturday night before we left with Manic Panic product (semi-permanent). We had no idea how it would come out or how long it would last -- they say it lasts longer if you pre-process your hair (bleach) and neither of us wanted to do that -- way too permanent! DB dyed his hair (and his half-beard -- you'll have to see photos to appreciate this!) bright purple; I dyed my hair bright red. It was fun, but very messy! My bathroom looked like a major bloodbath...but I got it all out...mostly... ;-) DB's color washed out as soon as he used shampoo on Tuesday night (and he had gotten a special "protect your color" shampoo)...mine lasted all week because I didn't use shampoo until Friday night (I would rinse my hair with water, no shampoo). When I did use shampoo, it was the "no-rinse" kind that I take to Burning Man and it seemed to be less harsh with washing out the color. I still have a few streaks today after a full week of washing with regular shampoo...and it looks really good with my natural color. BUT I don't think I'll do this regularly -- no way would I not shampoo for a week in "real" life!! ;-)
We left town about 7:30 am on Sunday morning -- in our trusty Burner van, Vera, and pulling a small U-Haul trailer (we rented that this year because it was WAY easier to pack with more space -- usually takes us a long time to cram everything into Vera -- this was GREAT). We had to go a little slower than usual so it took us about 12 hours to get to our hotel in Reno (including stopping for groceries). It was a long day and DB (who did all the driving) was pretty cranky. I was so excited that I tried to maintain a happy mood the whole day...despite the fact I still had a cold (which I had gotten the Wednesday before we left...and which I STILL HAVE).
Monday morning (August 31) we got up early and headed out of Reno around 7 am. Stopped for breakfast and gas and we were on our way! Got to the playa about 10 am and got to our spot in our village (Alternative Energy Zone) by 11 am. This is the earliest we've ever gotten there so this was great! I was feeling pretty sick -- runny nose, cough, etc. -- but we had a lot of work to do! While hugging and saying hi to all our friends who were already there, we figured out how to configure our camp, put Vera and the trailer as wind blocks, set up our dome, tent (dressing room) and hexayurt (sleeping pod). I think we finished around 7 pm...hard working day in hot sun, but it looked really good when we finished and we were HOME. :-)
Monday night we didn't have hot water for shower (hadn't set up the solar shower yet), so we washed off with baby wipes, changed clothes and headed out on our bikes to see if we could find a friend who had invited us to a party. It was very windy and dusty and hard to see much so we didn't stay out long...we both crawled into our bed by 10:30 that night...
Tuesday (and every day for the rest of the week through Saturday), we got up around 9 and did our usual routine: iced mochas at the Center Camp Cafe (they only sell coffee and ice there), breakfast cooked by DB, I get water out of the cooler to put in our solar shower, then it's time for me to be the Tour Guide! When I was a little girl, I dreamed of being a tour guide...and at Burning Man my dream comes true! This year I took the laboring oar and organized the tours of our village -- at 11 am each day, I took people around to see all the great alternative energy projects that everyone in our village brought. This is so fun and inspiring!!! We had tons of solar energy, wind energy, etc. People run lights, swamp coolers, ovens and so much more on renewable resources and we also work hard to conserve (using both passive and active means) - it's amazing how well you can live while using less. We even had a villager who ground his own wheat and baked bread using solar energy!! So very much fun!!
Since I was feeling under the weather all week, after the tours each day (they lasted until noon or 12:30), I would grab a drink and lie back in my lounge chair and READ for hours. It was wonderful. I got through 2 books. Sometimes DB and I would head out to the playa to see art projects for an hour or two. Sometimes not. DB played several times with the Burning Band (marching band) and I went to see him a couple of times, but mostly he just banged his drums with them and had a ball. It felt really good not to push myself too hard.
After dinner each night, DB and I would go out for a few hours...then I would come home around 10 or 10:30, sit on our "playa bench" (like a park bench), have a beer, look at the lights and stars (one night I saw a shooting star SO bright!), then go to bed. I literally did not go to bed later than 11 pm any night except one until Saturday night!! DB would usually go back out until 2 or 3...that's much more his thing than mine. We both were happy!! In our fifth year there, I think we finally found the balance where we were taking care of ourselves and each other in just the right way. Yay! :-)
I had fantastic outfits this year -- several tutus, some beautiful bustiers and DB surprised me with a lighted-up white fake fur boa!!! This was worn EVERY night, needless to say! ;-)
The art was not the best ever, but there were fun things: the base of the Man was huge (great fire the night he burned), the temple was the most beautiful ever (looked like a lotus -- it's amazing when they burn it the night after The Man -- Man Burn Night is a loud and crazy part -- temple burn night is quiet -- thousands of people sit in silence while it burns -- this is my favorite thing), there was a big silver rocket and (best of all) there was a huge slide that was about 4 stories high made from Astroturf. On Thursday night (after we had a really fun and delicious potluck dinner in our camp -- DB and I made a gingerbread house!), I was so excited to try it! We went out after dark and I crawled up and slid down on a garbage can lid -- sooooo fun, but...I got a huge Astroturf burn on my back. OUCHY. Major ouchy. (It's still healing...I have a huge bandage on my back and antibiotic cream at all times.) I couldn't wait to go back though...with more protective clothes on! ;-)
Temple Burn Night (Sunday) was when I got back to The Slide -- completely covered up. ;-) After the temple burn, DB and I headed to The Slide and went down it together on our sleeping bag -- SO FUN!! Then we headed far out on the playa where it was quiet and laid there looking at the stars and cuddling. It was a perfect night. We had worked hard all that day breaking down camp so we were ready for bed a little after midnight...and had to get up at 4:30 am to get on the road (leaving the city, Exodus, is rough -- 45,000 people leaving at close to the same time -- sometimes it takes 3 hours to go 2 miles).
We got up at 4:30, broke down the hexayurt (the last thing to do), got it and our mattress and sleeping bag into the trailer and were on the road by 5:30. We were very pleased to get to the pavement (2-3 miles) in about 1/2 hour. We were in Reno by 8:30 for breakfast. Stopped at a Walmart for some supplies to help my ouchy back, then were to our hotel in the Eastern Sierras by 11 am. We took an hour-long shower, and were down for a nap by 2 pm. Ahhhhhhh! Got up at about 4:30, gambled a little in the casino, had a yummy dinner, then were asleep by 9 pm. Ahhhhhh...
On Tuesday, we got up early and, after a hearty breakfast, were on the road by 9:45. We got home about 6 pm...unpacked the trailer, parked it and Vera on the street, went out to dinner and did a little computer work before bed.
I'm still recovering but it was the Best. Burning Man. EVER. :-)
P.S. I'm sure I'm forgetting things...will amplify when I post photos.