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Friday, August 29
Day 9 - night
4:00 and Jeep
Black Rock City

I now know how to succinctly describe Burning Man. Burning Man is the largest party in the world. Standing out on the central playa circle at night, you can turn a full 360 degree circle and see all kinds of flashing, glowing, blinking, moving, colored lights, tongues of flame, bizarre and surreal mutant vehicles, and tons and tons of people moving about, from one party in one camp to another party in the next. It's a truly amazing spectacle.

I was watching two simultaneous fireworks displays from two different spots on the playa, and I noticed a large fire burning at the source of one of them. Naturally, I took a closer look. Somebody must have decided to burn their [fairly large] art piece tonight. It was a bit of a turning point for me about this trip, standing there watching the art go up in flames. A reminder of the transience of the whole city/experience, and it finally solidified in my mind the idea that the Man burns tomorrow - an idea I've been mulling over noncommittally all day.

The desert conditions are indeed starting to take their toll on me. Or maybe it's all the constant daily biking I've been doing. Either way, I'm getting exhausted. I woke up for the sunrise, though I almost missed it. Either my watch alarm didn't go off, or I just slept through it. Still, I stirred as the sky was just beginning to lighten up, and instinctively knew to get up, as much as I didn't want to - it was freezing. It helped, though, that some unidentified camp nearby was blasting a Led Zeppelin medley (at dawn!) including Since I've Been Loving You. Oh yeah.

Took it relatively easy the rest of the day. No Center Camp lemonade for me today...although I did get free Otter Pops (freeze pops) just before getting in line for a bag of ice. The Critical Tits parade was today, so Doug and I (and everyone else in Black Rock City, it seemed) went to check it out. I was amazed not only at how popular the parade was (which is understandable), but also at how many women participated in the parade. How come so many women are eager to bare their tits, but so few wanna get completely naked? What gives?

I took some more pictures at sunset, which turned out to be gorgeous, with a beautiful hazing effect. It looked incredible from out on the pseudo-deep playa (basically, the walk-in camping area, which is really close to our camp, yet big enough and barren enough to give the perspective effect of the deep playa). As I was sitting out there watching the sun go down, a girl walked past me, heading a bit deeper, and said "hi". I was caught by surprise, and managed only a belated "hello". But on her way back in toward civilization, she walked by me again, and I wished her a lovely evening, which she reciprocated. There was nothing more to it than that, and the girl disappeared back into the throng of the city, but I felt good about it. Sitting out there with an amazing view around me, that's my place, not this glowing party stuff, as exciting as that is.

As night began to fall Doug and I walked up to the Glitter Camp to catch a band do a live performance of the full Fleetwood Mac album Rumours, plus Rhiannon and one more song I didn't recognize. No Peter Green, but it was still fun. I dunno if the real Stevie Nicks has ever played topless. Maybe she has. After the show, I wandered the open playa - the central circle - taking in the sights and sounds of the city. I gotta wait till midnight, but I want to grab a grilled cheese at the Black Rock Diner before bed. Tomorrow, the Man burns. I wonder where Doug got to, and if he managed to bang one of the chicks in the band like he said he was going to do...

P.S. I re-checked the booklet to find that the grilled cheese was only being offered up through Wednesday...