The wind blew most of the day and night on Saturday, and the Burn was put on hold for hours. But in an eerie replay to last year, the dust storms stopped just in time for Burning Man 2009 to reach its appropriately fire-y conclusion.
The day of the Burn was packed with people and activities. The city’s population reached its peak somewhere north of 42,000, and you have to be impressed that the number stayed so strong in such an economically challenging year.
Center Camp was mobbed all day, with folks seeking shelter from the blowing dust. … But it wasn’t the kind of dust storm that blanketed the city last year and turned daytime into evening. The sun was still shining, and it was a really really pretty day on the playa.
We had a fairly representative Burn day. It started with maybe the most perfect iced mocha ever served in Center Camp. No, really. It was spectacular. Just perfect. … When you’ve come to kind of depend on the camp coffee situation to take care of itself, and then it doesn’t, well, you get a little desperate. But in this case our desperation was happily resolved at the cafe.
Then we were off for a last look around before things began to burn up.
We headed out to the Depot and the start of the DPW parade. Even though the wind and dust was howling, we could hear them coming from blocks away. “F– your day!” they’d shout. “F– what you know!” we’d shout back. “No pictures!” they’d yell. “F– your day!” we’d shout back.
It sounds nasty and hard core, but you know what? I’ll tell you a secret. It’s an act. Oh, they won’t admit it, of course. And yeah, they’ll act like they would bite your head off most of the time. And they actually might, at least some of the time. But nobody comes out and volunteers to build a city in the dirt and heat who doesn’t have a lot of heart. And that’s your average DPW crew member right there. Dirty and crusty and loud on the outside, kinda squishy and real on the inside. But don’t tell them I told you.