This is the first instalment.
Uchronia is the official name of this thing - after a Belgian art movement centred on a world without the concept of time. The builders say it's a message from the future, and it's made out of 2x1 pieces about 5 feet long, nailed together. It stands about 20m high and you can walk inside it like a huge cave. beagl, kimeros and me were in it on Monday morning at sunrise:
The general consensus was it felt like being inside a cathedral. Awesome. Then someone said "Wow, there's a DJ booth in here." *huge grin*
By night it's a dance venue that holds up to 300 people inside and more outside, lit up like a giant green beacon and pumping. Sadly, the music it's pumping isn't particularly inspiring, but the feeling of dancing in a cave/cathedral and the fact that it's sitting in the middle of a flat desert in the middle of nowhere is enough to make it worth the trip.
That thing on the outside at the left is a guy in a bat costume dancing against the light. Just to give you an idea of the size of this thing, that photo was taken from about 350m away and those little dots in front of it are people.
By Tuesday everyone in the place is calling it the Belgian Waffle (personally I think it looks more like a croissant but anyway). It's the most populated venue on the playa at night and the temperature downwind from it is noticeably warmer from all the bodies in there. The plan was always to burn it. Anticipation built - "That's gonna be the biggest fire I've ever seen!" etc..
So fast forward to Sunday night. Sunday night is traditionally the night they burn the Temple, and the Waffle was to burn immediately after. I'll talk about the Temple burn some other time except to mention that way more people stayed for the Temple burn than would normally because of the Waffle burn - let's face it, people like shiny things and big noisy things and this was promising to be both.
The moon wasn't quite full on Sunday night. This series of photos was taken from at least 200m away, which was still too hot to hold your face to. It took around 10 minutes.
That thing in the front is a fire devil - a small tornado caused by the heat of the fire. They come off the fire and radiate outwards, slowing and picking up dust as they go.
So that's the Waffle. It was the biggest thing ever to be burnt on the playa, and probably the biggest fire I thought I'd ever see. I was wrong, but I wouldn't find that out till later on in the week. Doop de dooo...
OK what else? The Bus. Somebody put a bus in the desert, just for me. *nods* There it was, a shiny thing on the horizon, beckoning to us. "What's that big triangle? Let's go look." Halfway between the Waffle and the mysterious triangle, we started to hear music. Better music. Louder music. And a green laser light. They appeared to be coming from the triangle. Closer inspection showed a bus, parked in the middle of nowhere, with nobody on it, pumping music and playing laser lights on the clouds. How very cool.
So the next night I dragged somebody else back there, and the guy whose bus it is was there. Turns out he was denied status as an art car because the best sound system on the playa wasn't arty enough, so he was parked up, doing his thing, waiting for people to come to him. I went, and he played his patterned lasers on the ground for me to dance in them. So I'm in the desert, dressed in a green fur cloak and stompy boots, getting my own private laser light show and dancing around an old bus. Just like Kathy said, dancing in the light..
The bus was one of my favourite magical places at Burning Man.
And a couple of short ones - here's what you look like when you start to go native:
And here's one of the inherent problems with my name when I say it to American baristas. This is how Dr Windy came about, last year
And this photo is of some people you may know who found a flag while wandering Saturday night:
Take note we are all looking very serious*, because Burning Man is a serious business, you know. *nods*
*Nobody was grinding their teeth in this shot. Nope.
Back to work tomorrow. *trepidation and excitement*