Day 6: Late that night, I was awakened by the sound of vehicles under the shade structure. A bunch of folks had arrived with equipment, supplies, and the HOTD burn barrel. I fell back asleep. When I woke up about 7:30 local time Wednesday, September 1st, it was eerily quiet. There was no sound– no wind. The peace of the desert had descended on the camp, at least for a while. As part of the HOTD camp, I had access to the camp shower, and I was really looking forward to it. I'd brought plenty of water for cleaning. I filled up the tank, then went inside, stripped, and turned on the little pump. It was a cold water shower, but it got me cleaner– it was exhilarating, too.

I decided to wear the kilt I borrowed from my friend Jon that day. I found out it's not easy to put one on in the back of a van. Once I got it on, I quickly got used to wearing it. It was a unique feeling. "The boys" were free! I still felt bitter about the other camp thing, but I didn't hold anything against the main guy -- there seemed to be forces at work that were beyond his control. Walking around the bar, I saw that somebody finished the back wall of the bar unit, fencing in the storage room... however, the PVC arm of the shade structure in front of the bar had shattered in the night, battered by the uncaring winds. I cooked up a beef enchilada MRE and drank two cans of V8 for breakfast.

Riding a bike with a kilt was another unique experience. Getting on was a little complicated, and I felt like I had to adjust myself before I could take off. I rode out to the Man and took some pictures. There was a lovely naked girl strolling across the playa. A guy asked to take her picture, and she agreed, but as she was posing another guy rode by on his bicycle. When he saw the girl was having her picture taken, he tried to stop so that wouldn't be in the picture... and crashed his bike. Both the girl and the photographer rushed to the biker's aid. He was okay. (She let me take her picture, too.) I also rode out to the Temple of Stars, but it was still under construction. The structure was so huge they had to position it much further out from the campsite than in 2003. The scale was enormous.

I rode over to Center Camp, then cruised around for a while. One of the camps was doing "monster-oke," a version of karaoke where people dress up as monsters and then "sing" songs using only grunts and growls. That may have been the day a black guy stopped in the middle of one intersection, flung open his arms, and cried, "Somebody-- anybody!-- Can I get a hug?!?" About a dozen people dropped what they were doing and flocked around the guy in a big group hug. Walking further, I found the G-Spot! I didn't have any trouble at all finding the G-Spot that year. I stopped for a drink, and was promptly trapped in a white-out dust storm. The winds and the dust were relentless the first half of the week I was in the desert. I gave someone there one of my Burning Man bandannas.

Back at Hair of the Dog, everyone worked furiously to get the bar up and running. The PVC pipe in front of the bar was smashed, so I climbed up on the roof and tied the shade canvas down with rope. Since I was wearing a kilt, I felt like I had to warn the people below before I started back down the ladder. I cut braces for the walls and floorboards, since I knew how to make diagonal cuts with a circular saw. There was also an extra piece of plywood I used to cut a new countertop for the bar. That made me feel proud. I felt like I was really making a contribution. (In retrospect, operating power tools while wearing a kilt might not have been the smartest thing I've ever done...) Tigger supervised putting everything in, and in no time at all the Hair of the Dog was open for business! It didn't take five minutes for people to start showing up for drinks.

I must have introduced myself to dozens of people when I was in the bar that week. I met Rachelle and Duncan, a great couple from California. I talked with a girl called Eva, who came all the way from Ireland for Burning Man; she told me, "Nothing prepares you for this." I gave another bandanna to a girl named Robin, who came from Vancouver, British Columbia for her first Burn. It was a wonderful surprise to see Deidre, whom I met in 2003. She just stopped by for minute, but it was a joy to see her again. (She remembered me.) I was also delighted to see the effervescent Lisa return. She was wearing a glittery, blue blouse, and had a ring in her right nostril. We sat on one of the couches and talked for the longest time. She was from California, but now lived in Florida. While we were talking, a most remarkable thing happened: it began to rain! There were no clouds directly overhead, though, which meant the ever-present winds had blown that rain from somewhere else far away. Lisa was sensitive, funny, smart, exciting, and clever. When we said goodbye, she gave me a big hug and said she'd come back the next day. I never saw her again.

When I wandered my way back to camp, I found my bicycle right where I left it, but somebody had removed the red bandana from the frame. I found my van and went straight to sleep. The whole week I was at Burning Man, I never had any trouble going to sleep. I never even had to use my earplugs, either.
The Man
Bicycles near Center Camp
Chrissy, from Happy Camp, outside Hair of the Dog
Pouring drinks at the G-Spot
Lisa and Juice

  Prologue -- Day 1 -- Day 2 -- Day 3 -- Day 4 -- Day 5 -- Day 6 -- Day 7 -- Day 8 -- Day 9 -- Day 10 -- Day 11 -- Day 12 -- Day 13 -- Day 14 -- Epilogue
Previous Day   Next Day

All original content (c)opyright 2004 by Tim Frayser