By Matt Pierce
The journey began early. I don't remember what time we left on Sunday, but I do know that 2 1/2 hours into the drive we had to turn around and go get the tickets from Keira's house. We drove back, got the tickets and then began the final journey to the alkali flats that are better known as the Black Rock Desert. We arrived at the gates at about 6:30 or so on Monday morning and waited in line for something like 2 hours. I had been in the car for entirely too long, and decided to go and get my ticket. One of the greeters, who I must say was terribly mistaken if he thought that he would deter me from getting my ticket, was trying to direct me back to the great white bull. So, I went to look for the great white bull, and it was fucking gone! I looked everywhere for signs of it, and could find none, so I made my way around to the will-call ticket booth, and got my ticket. After that I returned to the lines to go look for the great white beast, and instead of finding it immediately, I had some fun pushing cars along that people didn't want to start. Not to say that I was alone in this effort, everybody out there in the line was making the best of the waiting period, and we enjoyed what we did out there. I met several people waiting out in the line, and I must say, that was a captivating experience in itself. I found my associates after a good long while (it was still light, so it couldn't really have been that long,) and we made our way through the gate.
Myself and Captain Tuesday made Mr. Pete, James (bumper), and Keira (iPod) ring the virgin bell, despite their objections, and proceeded to find our spot in Black Rock City. Our original spot at 7:50 and C had been taken by what would later become our friends at Raise the Bar. So, rather than get bitter about it, we just went across the street and set up camp. As soon as we had parked the truck and opened the tail gate, I spotted Jeremy and KB from Coffee Camp. I ran over and gave them each a big hug, and there was much rejoicing. We finished setting up our camp, and then assisted them in setting up theirs. About an hour after everything was set up, the first dust storm hit. Normally dust storms last about 20 minutes and are over, but not this time. This was to be a white out of epic proportions, and it went on for about 7 hours without any kind of relenting. We had fun despite the dust though, I was not in a mood to let the desert rain on my parade, fuck that! So, I braved the storm out in the open with KB and Jeremy from Coffee Camp, and we had fun while we did it!
We relaxed out in the dust, caught up on events past, laughed, and assured my campmates that this was indeed a freak occurrence at burning man. I see this dust storm as a symbolic thing for all of us that were there though. It was like the desert itself was baptizing us in dust. Towards the time the sun went down, the wind and the dust finally stopped, and we were able to go out and explore the city freely. Not to say that we hadn't done that during the dust of the day either, my first priority was going to see the man at the center of the city, and needless to say, we made it to him. After the sun went down, we ventured over to the 9:00 plaza to go and visit the Moonshine Tavern. I felt a bit daring, so I took a shot of moonshine, and the most accurate description of what happened next can be described only as a loony toons fire breath. It burned so bad on the way down! And yet, it tasted like apple pie with cinnamon. Our group ended up bar hopping for a little bit that night, and I managed to run into 2 virgin burners (the term virgin meaning that it was their first time there.) I gifted them some incense, and we ended up talking about a myriad of different things, all related to the burn, and had fun while doing so. After a while, I couldn't sit around with my camp mates anymore, and went out to go and see the city.
I explored for a good long while before finally returning to camp and turning in for the night, I was so exhausted that I couldn't see straight. And that is only day 1, there will be more articles to follow this one, many of them with several pictures. But until then, remember to keep your hands on your guns, and not trust anyone (in case you don't catch it, that s another fear and Loathing in Las Vegas reference, but you'll need to watch the movie to find out where.)
Burn, Baby, Burn