At my first Burning Man, I hadno idea then just how much this weekend would change my life. I was livingin San Francisco in a tiny studio with my friend, Dave. He came home oneday with a flyer for this crazy gathering in the desert in Nevada and 10minutes later we were both ready to be there. Since neither of us owneda car at the time, we called the Burning Man ride share and found a oneway ride in a Saab with some guy we didn't know. We figured that lots ofpeople would be going back to SF and we would hitch hike back. Dave andI packed small backpacks, one small tent, about $50 worth of food, 20 gallonsof water, a small bag of extra-curricular activities and off we went.
When we arrived it was huge,hot and the Man was the coolest thing I had ever seen. The whole weekendwas a blur. We wandered around from camp to camp. It seemed like therewere only three or four hundred people, it doesn't seem like that manypeople now but they filled the playa with art, sounds, and craziness.
That year a woman came and builtsix or so 10 foot wooden figures. She constructed them with steel apituresand brought a truckful of flexible tree branches which she used to formthese beautiful dancing people. She then put all the extra bits of branchesin center camp and helped anyone who wanted build little works of art tolight on fire. I made my first burning art there which was a 12 inch BurningMan that guarded our tent for two days and we light him on fire the lastnight. Her sculptures were set up three on each side of the Man and seton fire just before the Man. They were incredible on fire. It was easierto concentrate on the smaller pieces then because there were less people,less art and a little more space. ( Does anyone know this women's name?)
One of the best times I everhad was working the gate that year with Dave. First, someone gave us aride out to "the little silver trailer in the middle of nowhere"where we were to work for the next six hours. He was a local with an incredibleair conditioned 92' Suburban. At the time it felt like being on the Concordup on the moon. This guy gave us a few high speed turns that felt likenothing I had ever felt before because of how the Playa kind of grabs onto the wheel as you turn, your tires sinking into it four inches, feelinga little like you are glued to the earth but could fly off forever if youlet go. He eventually dropped us off at "the little silver trailerin the middle of nowhere" and we had really really memorable experience.
There we are, out there, justthe two of us and this camper. People would drive up, Dave and I wouldbecome completely animated and silly, I would do a little tumbling andwe would welcome them to Burning Man. We collected their tickets or moneyor whatever, gave them a flag for their car, directions to central camp,list of the day's events, then wait for the next car. This was so muchfun we really felt a part of it all. We were ambassadors, ticket takers,performers and doing it all, there in the middle of the playa, over andover again for each new arrival. We collected several hundred dollars,ate a yummy lunch, and met dozens of cool people. I recommend to everyoneto volunteer for a little work at least once at Burning Man. It was anexperience I shall never forget and is an important part of what BurningMan is all about.
After it was all over, we sworewe would return next year with more stuff, more friends, more Art and moresun screen. We cleaned up our little bit of playa, packed up our bags,gave away four gallons of unused water, walked out to the exit of camp,stuck out or thumbs and hitched hiked back home.
Charles A. Gadeken 6244 Write Street Felton, CA. 95018 (408)-firstname.lastname@example.org