9.20.2007

Robin's Adventures at Burning Man, Part II

(This is the second part of a multi-part series about the Burning Man Festival. To see Part I, please go here.)

by Robin Forman
Special to iVoryTowerz

Preparing to Burn

Ten days before I leave.
17 days before the Man burns.

So, this whole adventure really began three years ago when one of my best friends told me she was going to Burning Man. The name rang a bell.

Burning Man….Buuurning Man….Buuurning Maaan!

You see, if you run in the arts and/or performing arts circles long enough, you’ve probably heard of or will hear of the great wonder that is Burning Man.

About three weeks after I officially graduated, one fine summer evening — and by “evening” I mean “3:00 AM” — I wisely decided — and by “wisely” I mean “a few drinks shy of comatose” — that this was the year. $280 later, I had a ticket to Burning Man….

Sometime after buying the event ticket I purchased a plane ticket to Oakland, CA figuring that because the majority of burners are from the Bay Area I could find a ride. I searched the Burning Man website’s “ride share” section.

JACKPOT!

There was a group of people driving from Oakland to Burning Man in a painted 1967 Dodge school bus. I mean, who doesn’t want to ride to Burning Man in a painted school bus?

But then, I didn't hear anything. Around the time I was really starting to panic about how I was going to get from Oakland to Burning Man, Chris from the “Voodoo Space Patrol” called me to tell me there was room on the bus for me. (Cue The Who’s “Magic Bus” playing on a loop in my head.)

I was so excited I was practically squealing into the phone while doing a version of the “Maniac” dance from Flashdance. “Chris,” I said, “I am so glad this worked out. I am sooooo excited.”

Chris replied in what was a voice clearly shaped by years of marijuana use and a generally laid-back attitude, “You shoooould be excited. You’re going to Buuuurning Maaaan. Your whole liiife is gonna change.”

I was in love. Close to 3,000 miles away my hippie guide and his school bus were awaiting my arrival for Burning Man.

I had also found and confirmed a camping site called “Gypsy Nomads.” It’s a theme camp devoted to helping women who were headed to Burning Man for their first time, all by themselves. That’s me! So I sent an e-mail to the person in charge and got a phone call back from a man who sounded like he was in in late 30’s to early 40’s. My first thought: “My god, this man is a genius. He’s creating a desert harem for himself with this camp.” That was not the case at all. But come on, that was an easy first impression to make.

The camp was going to provide me with a bike — which I couldn’t easily ship across the country and which I promptly lost three days into the event. Gypsy Nomads also provided water, a prepared meal every evening and most importantly the camp came with a group of friends who were similar to me — a group of friends I will never forget.

(To read this series from the beginning, please go here. To read the next part please go here.)

(Photo courtesy of Robin Forman. To see a PG-rated video on Burning Man from 2002, please check below.)






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