Where else, other than Black Rock City, would you find a goat with purple hair wearing a rosy pink tutu.
Going on walkabout was a rite of passage for Australian Aboriginals. Young men would journey through the Australian Bush for up to six months while contemplating their navels and pondering the wonders of the universe. At least I assume that is what they did. Native Americans had a similar practice where young people would go out on vision quests to discover their totem animals and earn such names as Bear Who Throws Bone in Air.
So, if you were on a vision quest and came across a huge brown bear throwing a moose bone in an air, would you name yourself after the event? Or would you just run? (I took this photo last year in Alaska.)
My parents used to send me outside as well, although I expect their motives were different. I was more than happy to wander off into the woods during such exiles. I even found my own totems: Robin Hood, Tarzan and the Lone Ranger. The woods were full of outlaws, man-eating tigers and one illusive 20-foot boa. I was, of course, able to defeat them all. The names of my heroes were already taken, however. I had to settle for Boy Who Peed on the Poison Oak. Like how much more daring could I get?
Peggy and I love to go on walk-abouts and bike-abouts at Burning Man. I’ve already introduced you to some of the creatures we met this year including a rhinoceros and a giant octopus. You’ve journeyed with us to Center Camp, watched the Man and Embrace burn, and checked out the art on the Playa.
This is what the rhino looked like up close and personal.
I was charged by a rhino once when I was in Ngorongoro Crater, Tanzania, Africa. It was a while ago. I took this photo with my Kodak Instamatic just before he charged. I didn’t get any close-ups.
Today you are invited to join us as we explore the back roads of Black Rock City. The thing about this one week, temporary home for 65,000 people is it doesn’t matter which way you go, there are bound to be interesting sights. We found a goat with purple hair wearing a pink tutu, Elvis, a home for little people, and a woman falling off a tight rope… not to mention a 20-foot tall sculpture known as, umm, the Divine Masculine. I’ll let your imagination tackle that one for a bit.
We came across this crazy hose with buck teeth. “Is that supposed to be a joint in its mouth?” I asked Peg. “That would explain a lot,” she replied.
I’ve never really believed the tales of Elvis sightings around the world. But if he is alive, I am convinced he goes to Burning Man.
Peggy came across a series of little houses and crawled into this one. It was set up for a chess game.
While Peggy was checking out the little house, my horse was checking out a port-a-pot and found a surprise.
We watched a woman fall off a tight rope, or maybe she was being launched. Fortunately the rope was only a foot off the ground. I thought her exit was rather graceful.
One of the fun things to do on a walkabout is to check out the various camps. Many are quite elaborate.
And they can be elegant. (Photo by Peggy Mekemson.)
Most large camps are unique, once again reflecting the creativity at Burning Man. In small print, under the skull and crossbones, this camp declared “I am quite famous at Burning Man.” (Photo by Peggy Mekemson.)
This pastel dome flew the US flag under a zebra and a wart hog. Flags are common in Black Rock City, but you don’t see many zebras and wart hogs.
Judging by the flags, there are lots of pirates at Burning Man.
The flags at this camp represented the growing international presence in Black Rock City.
It seems appropriate to wrap up this blog with a photo of the Divine Masculine. A pair of Burners enjoy the view from the top. This may be irrelevant and possibly irreverent, but I am reminded of the 1950’s hit, “He was a one-eyed, one horned flying purple people eater.”
NEXT BLOG: Who goes to Burning Man? It may be your next door neighbor.