Day 8:  ...Boy, was I glad I closed those windows. The desert wind howled through camp that night, shaking the van back and forth. The temperature also dropped to what felt like down in the 40's. I was snug and warm in my sleeping bag, even through the mattress had deflated again. I woke right after dawn  Friday, September 3rd. Layers of dust were everywhere. I felt like an Egyptian mummy waking up after a thousand-year snooze. The wind made sure playa dust permeated even the most secure areas.

At the portable toilets, a giddy girl in green was skipping up to friends in line, giving them big hugs. She seemed really glad to see them. (The friends, not the toilets.) I found a port-a-potty with toilet paper! In 2003, I brought toilet paper, but someone kept all the potties stocked the whole week. Not so for 2004. Toilet paper was worth it's weight in gold that year. Back at the bar, I met a girl called Ann, a pink, flowery girl on a bicycle. She was all excited. "I met the love of my life in your bar!" She was wearing a badge that (I think) said Love Police, and said when she saw him, she was singing "Stop, in the name of love!" She admitted it was "playa love" and that she might never see him again... but she was wearing the same outfit she had on when she met him, just in case. Playa love...

I couldn't believe it was already Friday! Boy, time flies when you're drunk and can't see. I had gone for 4 days without any caffeine. I went for a walk around the campsite. I passed a car with dozens of bumper stickers stuck all over it. One said: "All men are animals– Some just make better pets." At 9:30 that morning, like they'd done every morning at 9:30, the Animal Control Camp down the street turned up their stereo and started playing "Morning Train" by Sheena Easton. Why every morning? Why that song?  Everyone else was still asleep, so I had the whole bar to myself. Onstage, I played with the drums a little. While I was picking stuff up, Spoon and his friends Kevin and Newt rode up on their bikes. The basket of one of the bikes was stuffed with bottles of booze. They came by to give it all to the bar: cold duck, Chardonnay, champagne and various other spirits... So there we were, sitting in an open bar under a desert sun drinking Chardonnay. Just then, a couple rode by on an intriguing little vehicle. They'd taken a teeter-totter and put huge wheels on the axle, resulting in a teeter-totter you could ride down the street by pushing off every time you went down. It was built by a guy named Peter, so he called it the Peter-totter. The brunette girl riding it was really pretty.

I found a chopstick in the road. When the rest of the camp got up, Mark whipped up some breakfast for everyone. I can only call it Mexican hash, because it seemed to have all the ingredients of a burrito, but cooked up and served in a bowl. It was delicious. I went for a walk. The wind had died down, and the skies were a beautiful clear blue. Friday was just about the first really nice day all week, so I went walking around, taking pictures. At the ConGLOMerate Camp, they had fresh vegetables cut up and set out for people to munch on. The Golden Café was giving out little necklaces for people who brought by stuff they could use. I tried taking them some cans of V8 Juice, but that wasn't what they were really looking for. However, they appreciated me trying, and made me just about the best screwdriver I've ever had. That was where I met a charming blonde girl named Tricia– her playa name was Gorly. She was traveling around the country getting people to register to vote. She struck up a conversation with a thin guy named Matt.

I happened to pass by the camp I was supposed to be with that year. In the space where my car had been, where they said I had to move because they didn't have room for cars, there were... cars. Back at Hair of the Dog, I met a delightful girl named Annette. She was from New York, and wore a very stylish black top. A guy wearing a propeller beanie hung around the bar all week. That afternoon, he was there with his friend Chris and a sweet, little blonde girl named Nanette. A girl in a hat was drawing tattoos on people with a big felt-tip pen. The girl in the hat wrote a special temporary tattoo across Nanette's backside, and added a picture of a rose for good measure. Her boyfriend was pleased. The girl in the hat then drew a Burning Man on my arm for me. I walked around with the sleeves pulled up, hoping my skin would sunburn like that.

That afternoon, I went looking for my friend Anabel's camp. I knew she was crashing with the Smite Camp, in the area called Wheesville, near 4:00 and Venus. I asked around, and found Smite Camp nestled in behind the Barbie Death Camp. That's where I met a very nice blonde girl called Vita. She knew Anabel, and even went looking for her, but couldn't find her. She said she'd tell her I stopped by. Back at the G-Spot, the lady bartender remembered me and gave me a kiss. That's where I met a funny guy called Iceman. He laughed at my jokes. I gave him a bandanna. I rode out to the Man, because it was time for one of the most popular traditions of Burning Man: the annual Critical Tits parade. The wind was blowing hard and the dust was dangerous for equipment like cameras, but I couldn't miss it. By then, there were well over 30,000 people in Black Rock City. Assuming just a fraction of them went on the ride, maybe only 20%, that still made for five thousand topless women. On bicycles. There had to have been at least ten thousand breasts out there. It was truly a lovely sight.

I went back to camp, where I met a beautiful woman called Chemistry, and a stunning redhead called DRS#2. (I'm not sure about the number.) They were camping with Anomaly, in an Asylum Village camp called the Whiskey & Whores Saloon. Teri and I decided to follow them back to their camp. It gave us a chance to talk, too. At the saloon, I had a shot of whiskey, and Teri helped me sneak away one of their signature shot glasses. That's when Anomaly arrived, dressed in a long, black coat. She recognized me right away, and gave me a big hug. She was happy to see me, and said I was "sweet." It turns out she had just come from Hair of the Dog! I was glad I got to see her.

Later that evening, after dark, I went looking for Anabel's camp again. I was walking down one darkened street when someone came out from between some vehicles and said, "Hey, would you like a burrito?" Any offer of food sounded good, so I said sure. Back in their camp, there was a little grill in their kitchen, and they were cooking up meat, beans, and other ingredients. They asked me how many peppers I wanted in it, and I told them to pile ‘em on. The burrito was hot, tasty, and delicious. Then, they asked me if I wanted something to "wash it down with." I said sure, and they brought me a cup of Merlot. I'm not sure I would have ever imagined drinking Merlot with a burrito, but at the time they seemed to go well together. I thanked them and resumed my search.

Smite Camp had their own open bar, hidden by the surrounding camps. I walked up to the people at the bar and asked if Anabel was there. A brunette girl's eyes suddenly widened. "Tapestry?" she asked. I nodded, and she gave a squeal and practically jumped on me, giving me a big hug. It was Anabel. Her hair was darker, and much longer. She seemed delighted to see me. We sat and got caught up with each other. I told her where Anomaly was camping, and she thought about going by to say hi. I hung out there for about an hour. Anabel got me a strong drink of tequila, which snuck up on me later. I sat with her and listened to her argue with one guy over a topic that escapes me. Anabel asked precise questions, reasoned out her responses, and put up a convincing argument. She was very impressive. I went with her and her friends walking around the Esplanade, and we ended up at the Irish pub way over near 3:00. That's where I finished off the tequila and had a glass of Guinness. There was music, and dancing, and I was having a great time... when , suddenly, I realized I had to go to the bathroom more than I ever had in my entire life. It was like the hand of God had reached down and squeezed the life out of my bladder. I excused myself and went outside to find someplace to go. By the time I got back, Anabel and her friends had gone– which was probably just as well, since that's when the tequila kicked in, and everything got all stroby and funny-sounding. I stumbled back to my van and collapsed in a drunken stupor. It was really nice to see Anabel and Anomaly again.
Black Rock City, Friday...
The critical parade....
Gathering at the Man
The Peter-Totter

 Jamming at the Hair of the Dog stage
Senor Spanky

  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
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All original content (c)opyright 2004 by Tim Frayser