Open Buddha

Open Source Buddhism, Technology, and Geekery
Bay Area, California

I Survived Burning Man 2008

The Man
The Man

R and I made it back this afternoon from Burning Man. Lucky me, I get to go back to work tomorrow. I’ve been up for most of 24 hours now because, as it turns out, the serial killer van tends to overheat when it is in stop and go traffic in 90+ degree weather. (This fact was noticed as we made our way onto the playa at Burning Man with the needle nearly red-lined the whole way…). We left at 3:00 AM this morning in order to avoid the two to four hour lines that commonly happen during exodus on Sunday and Monday, which would have blown the van in the heat. Unfortunately, our headlights turn out to have a switch that likes to randomly turn them off after the van has been running a while, so we had to wait until dawn after we got out in order to drive down the two lane rural highway in the middle of Nevada in order to leave.

The above kind of sets the tone for Burning Man for me on one end this year. We had a great time with our friends at the Kingdom of Loafington this year. These were some of the same people that we had camped with in 2001 and it is a good crew of folks. Pretty much everything to do with our Burning Man experience on the playa was great. We missed the seven hour whiteout dust storm on Monday (but not the five hour one on Saturday) by coming on Wednesday. The heat was only really heavy on a couple of days. For the first time, I actually brought a bike, which allowed me to get out to see the Man and the Temple much more easily than previous years. Because of the move of Black Rock City to a new site and this year’s weather, we found that biking was actually quite difficult in many places due to giant dust drifts, up to a foot deep in places, which would bog you down or dump you but this was actually pretty minor.

R and I wandered quite a bit and had some decent fun watching the recruits to the Kingdom being put through their paces in order to be initiated as loyal subjects of Loafington. It was definitely worth it to not leave on Sunday and to see the Temple burn. Unlike the burning of the Man, which is a pretty loud and frenzied event, the crowd at the Temple burn (which was much smaller), mostly sat down and was completely silent while it burned. There was even a bit of singing and chanting, in a solemn manner, was we spent most of an hour watching it come down.

The Temple
The Temple

The Temple Burns
The Temple Burns

Getting into and out of the playa with our can (and the travel from California) was a bit nervewracking, from things like the aforementioned overheating to the leaky transmission seal or even the massive over-acceleration in park if the engine was flooded wrong while trying to start it (acting like a stuck peddle). I was ready to kiss the ground when we pulled up in front of our house and I’m definitely not taking this van on any more interstate trips.

I’m feeling a bit sleep deprived so I’ll leave it at that. We’re really glad that we went and the experience is rather hard to describe if you’ve never been. I have put up a very large photo set on Flickr though.

Teeter Totter of Death
Teeter Totter of Death (yes, it spins...)