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Saturday, August 30
Day 10 - early next morning (i.e. really really late)
4:00 and Jeep
Black Rock City

Burn day started like any other day. While sipping a cool lemonade at Center Camp Cafe, I was thinking that the one thing I'll miss most at Burning Man is being surrounded by half (and three-quarters) naked ladies dressed in skimpy costumes at all hours of the day (and night). There was a metal duet (guitarist and drummer) playing on stage at the cafe, and they were actually pretty groovy, so I stayed and listened for a while. The wind/dust really started picking up in the afternoon, and I got stuck in a brief whiteout hauling a bag of ice back across the open playa. It was awesome. Conditions only got worse from there though. Since the storm that temporarily shut the gates on Monday, the weather hasn't been too violent (aside from the expected heat), but by sunset today, it was so bad that the dust blocked out the sun, making the sunset somewhat ambiguous. I went back into the pseudo-deep playa for part of the storm to get a kick-ass perspective. The wind was awesome - it really put our rebar to the test, but those bars are solid.

After dark, the storm cleared up a bit, much like on Monday, and we eventually made our way across the open playa to the Man, to see the Burn. There was already a crowd, but we nudged into decent position, and it wasn't long before the ceremony began. There was a lot of fireworks once the Man raised his arms )^(, combined with a slow and glorious burn, aided by a few explosions. At one point, one of the Man's arms dropped (fell off), and with the remaining arm raised, it looked (to me) like the Man was hailing Hitler!

The crowd cheered when the Man/Tower combo finally toppled, and, most of the Burn having burned, then left to party on through the night. Some of us pushed in towards the middle to get closer to the fire. The inner circle was constantly moving round and around for one reason or another. In the spirit of the Burn, I stripped naked and danced around the fire. I never would have forgiven myself if I hadn't done it, though I paid a hefty price. Relocating my clothes, after spinning round the fire disoriented, I noticed my camera was gone. I'm pretty sure I slipped it into my jacket pocket, so it must have fell out. I looked all over with no luck. I have to check Lost & Found tomorrow and hope for the best. I won't go into the drama of having lost my camera (and the pictures I took of this once in a lifetime experience!!!), until I've exhausted my hope that it'll still turn up.

If it wasn't for the dread of losing my camera, I'd say it was a great Burn. I kind of wanted to stick around till the fire died down and people left and I could do a better search for my cam, but staying as long as I did, I already got back at 4am... Tomorrow, in the light of day, if it's not at the Lost & Found... At any rate, the crowd thinned and quieted, and I stripped again to sit by the fire with the other naked people - there were even a few girls naked for once! It was pretty groovy and mellow. But I stayed too long. I'm exhausted, it's too late, I'm filthy, my bed/tent/everything is covered in dust from the dust storm, and I don't know where my camera is!!!