Hello again early Burning Man fans; look what time it is already!
Your tent might still be dusty, your headlamp batteries might need changing, and your playa bike probably needs a good going-over.
But I can confidently report to you that the couple hundred or so folks who have gathered here in Gerlach to get Black Rock City built in time for the big party at the end of the month have got things well underway.
Folks have been arriving for … oh, a week or so, and in some cases even longer than that. But a big contingent of willing and able hands arrived Sunday night.
Dozens of people were walking down the main street of Gerlach with their dreads and their boots and their bandanas and their yoga bodies and their piercings and their faces happy happy in the beautiful evening light. And lots of folks who hadn’t seen each other in a year were having many happy returns at the Saloon.
There were drinks and hugs and lots of laughs at the bar, and then the parade continued a few doors down to Bruno’s, where a major dinner was served. You could feel the energy in the air; people were gearing up, ready to go, ready to tackle the Fence in the morning.
Ah, the Fence.
You know about the fence already, right? It’s seven miles around the outside of the Burning Man grounds. And it goes up in a day. And they pound metal stakes into the ground by hand. … Oh, sure, you could get a machine to do that, but that isn’t the way of the Department of Public Works. It’s a point of pride to do it all yourself. And so they do. And this year they pounded seven miles of stakes in … wait for it … just over four hours. Amazing.
It’ll take another day to get all the plastic mesh and string attached to the stakes [UPDATE: Cobra Commander reports: "Fence tied and complete by 4:26pm. Done in ONE DAY for the first time ever. 8+ miles."], and after now that the fence is up people will gradually migrate from town out onto the desert. (The BLM requires the fence be up before people can go out and camp.)
But there’s lots of other stuff happening, too. Flatbed trucks full of electrical generators
were pulling in, lumber was being dropped off, and stuff was being hauled from the Ranch out to the Playa.
It sounds like a lot of work, doesn’t it?
Well, it is. But don’t let anyone fool you, either.
I overheard a phone conversation last night. (I really wasn’t eavesdropping … there are some awfully close quarters at this stage of the operation.) … And that I could hear a phone conversation is worthy of note, as well. There is CELLPHONE service in Gerlach now. Isn’t that weird? You can check your email; you can get calls, you can send texts. … Hey, that’s not why we came here, is it?
So anyway, I’m listening to the conversation (or being subjected to it), and the young man was complaining to the young woman on the other end of the line about how HARD it all was. What, did she think he was out here just having FUN??
Yeah, it’s hot. Yeah, there’s lots to do. But dude. You’re in the desert. You’re with the cool kids. No one’s going to believe a word you say if you expect them to believe you’re not having any fun.
And hang up that phone.
ps: more photos over here.