Burning Man 2009 – Part VI – Crescendo

I’ve saved a few of my favorite night time events for last.

We had a limited amount of time for walking about the playa with Michele because her ankle was injured, but at some point we ran across an artwork that looked like… well something. Sort of a tree, or maybe a creature, or whatever it was, there it was, all beautiful and strange.

At the time Michele correctly pegged it as a work of art by the Lotus Girls, whoever they are, but our speculation was wild about what the thing we were looking upon was. At night it became more clear.

The thing was a huge nerve cell. Each end of it had fire spitting out and with flames all up and down the body. Amazingly the flames would change colors slowly back and forth. As though the nerve itself was perhaps mimicking moods. It also had some flames whirling around in parts of it. It was truly amazing.

At some point in the week Dani and I achieved our best mutant vehicle ride of the trip. We were spending the night wandering about BRC away from the deep playa and just checking out theme camps when we stumbled upon this thing… It was a house, or a train or something. Whatever it was, it was beautifully intricate. Whoever had created it did so with lots of love.

It was sort of a cross between a Victorian house and a locomotive engine. And we wondered around it tracing it with our fingers. Apparently the crew took a liking too us and let us aboard. Then while exploring the thing (the second floor is like an old western saloon, and the third an observation deck) they announced it was time to go! They threw a lot of people off since it only hold so many safely but Dani and I were allowed to stay. So we had scored a brilliant MV ride! It drove us to the rocket ship I showed you all earlier.

During the ride we looked out the window and off in the far distance, hundreds of balloons were lifting off with some sort of light source (lanterns I suppose or candles) in the distance. A really magical time.

At the rocket ship we took our leave and gave up our seats so someone else might get to experience this thing. I took some time before writing this to research what it was. Pat and Sherrie had told us it was called the “Neverwas” but it is called the “Neverwas Haul”.

If you look closely you can see a lot of little details paid to it. For instance one of the back windows was made from a light house lenses.

The crew of the thing was a bunch of chaps that were dressed like real English gentleman from various imperialistic times. One of them even had a Zulu pith helmet! It was the only one of the trip I saw other than mine.

One night when coming home at like 2am, I found that the bartender at my camp was the same guy that was bar tending at 6pm when we left. So I took over for him. Michele eventually strolled in around 3am. And I bar tended until around 5-6am. It was great fun. I didn’t get any photos of it but I’m telling you, you can get a person to do a hell of a lot for a dixie cup when wine is involved and they’ve got no glass.

One night I also became the Spank-0-Matic operator. This job was somewhat scary. And that is all I’ll say of it.

And finally… There was the night they burned the Man. The man symbolic end to the event that was and will be again next year. Its sort of like a Phoenix in that way I suppose.

Dani and I were told by Pat and Sherrie (our Ranger friends from NOLA) that the burn normally goes down at around 9pm. So we get ready to head out at 8pm. And guess what, we walked right smack into a giant dust storm. Probably the worst one we’d experienced since we got there.

These were taken before it got really bad. That isn’t rain, its the flash reflecting off the dust.

And no I’m not high. I’m squinting into that damned flash.

On our way, to the man burn, about a half mile off the man, there was this, for no reason…

So drumming our way we made it up to the outside perimeter that the Rangers had set up around the man.

It was so dusty that almost no one was there yet. So we waited and waited and waited, for like 2 hours. The dust storm was so bad at times it whited everything out and we couldn’t see the light of the man anymore. We could see almost nothing. But eventually this subsided.

The area filled and filled and filled with people. But we had more waiting yet! Fire spinners came out to entertain the crowds while the Mutant Vehicles circled far back. EVERY MV in the whole place was out there for this.

We watched the fire spinners but terrible they were. One of them let go of flaming spinning ball at one point called a “poi” and it went soaring into the crowd. Another about lit his hair on fire. I have some friends into fire spinning and I know a bit of what it is about. I was disappointed by these wannabes.

But perhaps it was good I was underwhelmed by these mockeries. What came next was amazing. All the more so for it.

Being on the second row, we felt every explosion as the man burned. One three part explosion actually sent out a shockwave that knocked us backwards! After theman burned they started to light the really massive base. Dani and I decided to leave. We had to wade through a monster crowd to get out.

At about a half mile, almost back to our camp, it looked like this…

Just wow.

Oh and btw, there is the golden gate bridge I was talking about earlier.

Only one more entry coming on burning man. Aren’t you glad!