Burning Man 2014

Or how I learned to love Burning Man.

2014 was the worst year to attend Burning Man. Not only the tickets were hard to find but also a lot of scalpers sold the tickets at a very high price.

I admit, like most folks from my native country, I always leave things until the last moment. So even three weeks before the event I did not have a ticket.

To my defense, this year I had a good reason to procrastinate. February, the month when all Burning Man fans try to refresh the ticketing site 20 times a second was also the month when my grandma passed away and the second longest relationship of my life shattered into pieces. I was sad, stressed out, and I blamed myself for everything that went wrong so attending Burning Man was out of question.

Even at the end of July I had no desire to go to Burning Man. I was present at the festival in 2011 and 2013 and had no reason to be there in 2014. Yes, I was “present” there. I am coming from a very conservative and somewhat traditional family so an event like Burning Man where hippies and drug dealers from all over the world unite was not something I have ever planned to be part of. In 2011 and 2013, my soon to be ex-girlfriend, literally forced me to go to Burning Man. For the better or for worse, while 2011 Burning Man have caused the first rift in our relationship , 2013 Burning Man simply killed it.

We make plans but god laughs. A month before the festival my friend and I visited Henry Miller Memorial Library and saw this mutant vehicle ready to sail for Burning Man.

Next day I was on craigslist trying to find a ticket. In fact, I was on craigslist every single evening for the next two weeks. As soon as a ticket was posted for sale I would email and text trying to get it but the demand was insane. I rarely received a response and even when someone nice bothered to reply the message was always the same. “So sorry, I received 300+ emails and you were not the first one to reply to this ad.” Surprise! Even though the organizers of Burning Man explicitly forbid to sell tickets above the face value many people still did it. Some guy emailed me that the current highest bet was $1200 and he would sell it to me for $1400. I really don’t like scalpers and while I understand that some life circumstances might force someone to become one I hope it will never happen to me.

When I was almost ready to give up a guy replied to my email. Yes! He had two tickets for sale. The only problem is that he was located in Nevada. To make the story short, I got scammed and while I payed the guy for the tickets I have never received them.

It was already Tuesday morning and Burning Man started 2 days ago. I felt stupid, helpless, and exhausted so I decided to drive to Vancouver instead. But “true friends esteem you of greater worth than you feel deserving” and Tuesday evening I got a call from my friend. They raised money a got me a ticket. Miracles do happen…

Driving to Burning Man at night is no fun but I wanted to be there before the sunset. So around midnight I was already passed Gerlach, NV.

Extreme self expression, promiscuity, drugs, electronic music that is what many people associate Burning Man with. Too bad most of them have never been and will never be to Burning Man. Black Rock City is just like any big city. One can find there whatever he is looking for. I am not into drugs and I am not a big drinker. I would rather read a sci-fi book than go to a club. I don’t particularly enjoy pubs or strip-clubs and yet I found at the Burning Man what I was looking for.

I made it for the first sunrise. In fact, I made it to every single sunset and sunrise and I got so much energy from it that I did not even need to sleep more than 2–3 hours a night.

Is there any difference between Vietnam era anti-war hippies and 2014 burners? I don’t have an answer but I wonder if the authro of this piece of art does.

I got to meet the lady who created LOVE and she explained why this year in addition to the big “LOVE” she had many small “loves”. It was hard for some folks to climb the big LOVE so she decided to make some small ones so that anyone can take a picture standing there.

The first two days at Burning Man I feel a real physical pain. A desire to open a laptop or to turn on my iPhone (even though I am pretty sure T-Mobile has no reception here). But on the third day a miracle occurs and time stops existing. I start following the sun. I know exactly what time it is by just raising my head up and it feels so strange that just 48 hours ago I was so depended on my electronic devices.

The embrace was definitely the most famous art this year.

One could enter “inside” of the two heads by climbing stairs. I guess it is open to interpretation whether the heads are of female and male or left and right part of the brain.

A tunnel between the two heads.

Not many burners found this outpost and very few climbed it. I personally loved sitting at the top of this outpost and thinking about what the end of the world might look like.

I am almost amazed at the work that goes into building the temple.

So true…

At the end it is all flat.

Inside of this cabinet one could find many different parts for a bicycle and cycling in general, including helmets. All free!

Embrace burn was scheduled for 7am! Still many people made it and it was totally worth it.

Some fact about the Burning Man.

This “outpost” was one of my favorites. The concept was that after a WWIII or something a group of brave burners guard the last remnants of human race. A medicine cabinet inside of the outpost contained many bottles of MDMA (alas empty).

The storm came unexpectedly. I lost my mask and did not have goggles. At some point I just could not bike anymore. And then from nowhere appeared a guy and offered me his spare mask. After a few minutes a girl offered me her spare goggles. I love the spirit of Burning Man. Also after a couple of sleepless nights I just fell asleep in the middle of Playa. Not smart of course because that is where mutant vehicle sail. But I did not sleep for too long. Someone woke me up and graciously moved to a safe spot.

Inside of the temple.

A special place for Baba Yaga.

Inside of a mutant vehicle — very much hi-tech.

Taking a shower at Burning Man is a luxury very few can afford.

A tea house in the middle of desert. The tea was exceptional (most likely organic).

Rangers are humans too. This guy was taking a picture of the scorpion.

Only few hours to burn.

Still not sure how this thing stands.

A view from the highest art piece at this Burning Man.

The architect of this thing was smart. At the point were falling while climbing would be lethal there was a staircase!

I love Indian Tacos that one can get on the way to or from Burning Man. We were told that a lot of work goes into preparing them — just 6 hours for the beans.

Ready for unemployment.

Back to the real life. I should just stop reading news.

I have never heard about cronuts before this trip. The craze started by Dominique Ansel Bakery in New York City and finally reached our coast a year ago. A cronut is mix of a doughnut and a croissant and after trying it once I am absolutely hooked.

While I am not sure if I am able to attend Burning Man next year, 2014 is the first year when with a certainty and a whole heart I can say I hope I am coming back.

Almost all the pictures here were made on iPhone and were never edited.

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