This newsletter is quite different. It’s about my holiday! I hope my holiday was sufficiently different not to bore you. This didn’t start out as a newsletter.
Flew down, stayed with Nikki and Gina.
Monday morning, excited to see other burners on the road. Got dryer and more desolate. I didn’t realize they chose the purest desert.
The structures left me dumbfounded. I had no idea they were THAT huge. The thousands of man months worked on them is incredible. Even the Rands cost is staggering. Nikki was right, this is just my scene.
Nikki invited me, bought tickets, and then it clashed with an outing to Paulo’s farm to scatter Judy’s ashes. Nikki couldn’t get any more leave, already taken 28 days.
The costumes were way beyond my expectations. I felt naked being unadorned. I made a donkey hat, which was called an Aardvark and a mouse. I took a bit of Keraforce and stuff to make faerie wings, but didn’t use it apart from my hat.
I didn’t like the police presence. 95% of the “music” was rave. This was a huge disappointment. You couldn’t call Afrikaburn a hippie event.
The Mutant Vehicles were amazing, 81 of them, to carry you around the large area. About a third of the burners had their own bicycles. I latched onto a steam engine at its crew, including Conrad the blacksmith artist.
I didn’t know ANYBODY at Afrikaburn. However, your camp neighbors are all nice. Frank and ….. Afrikaners. Derek, Sharon, Dougie and Paula practically absorbed me into their camp. Can’t work out the relationships here. Ian behind me helped peg my tent.
Roland & Claire provided a landmark with lights on a mast on their Landrover. Most people were lost for hours, coming back at night.
First I camped where there was a lot of open space. Then I noticed on the map I was next to a “Loud Zone”. I packed up and moved on Tuesday morning. I was the first illegal at the end of Xanado rd. Every time I came back the camp had extended way past me and I had difficulty finding my tent. There were 11700 burners. That’s a hell of a big camp.
I was fascinated by the rocks. They are deeply fissured and hardened by iron oxides.
I wanted to bring a truckload back.
The desert gets very hot in the day and bitterly cold at night. I was up before dawn making my camp fire every morning. You may not make a fire on the ground, but I found a piece of galvanized iron which I placed on rocks.
I drank a fair amount but never got drunk. I think I have been there, done that. Ideally I would like to go back with a group of old toppies and our own music.
There was a lot of skin and bare breasts but no public snogging. All the principles of Afrikaburn were upheld. I didn’t see anyone drunk or disorderly, though a lot were very heavily stoned.
I met a guy from San Fransisco, part of a group of a dozen who built the lighthouses and teamed up with some Swiss who had a disco. He enthused about Afrikaburn, said you couldn’t do nearly as much at Burning Man. It is much too regulated.
The burns started slowly, then spread very rapidly, then collapsed and lay burning for a long time. The heat was intense.
My back hurt a lot and I had to sit down half the time.
One of the principles of Afrikaburn is that there is no money. You can’t buy or sell anything (Except ice). Camps provide services: Drinks, coffee, showers, counseling, music, acrobatics, fancy dress, food, healing, postal services, vehicle repairs, games, demonstrations, art, massage, movies, tennis, treasure hunts, body painting, pillow fights and many more activities.
The 11 principals of Afrikaburn are: Communal effort, participation, civic responsibility, immediacy, deco modification, gifting, leaving no trace, radical inclusion, radical self reliance, radical self expression, each one teach one. There is a guide book explaining everything.
The concept started in a USA desert, which grew annually. It is called “Burning Man”. Now there are burns in many countries worldwide.
Yesterday I got involved in penguin housing. I have a certificate which I got many years ago, to show that I have property on Dyer Island. The property is a fiberglass penguin nesting house. Before the discovery of guano on our offshore islands, penguins used to burrow into it to nest. When it was discovered that guano is an excellent fertilizer, the old wooden ships used to come to the islands and load up with guano. They used to fight over it. The guano in the bottom of a ships hold used to get wet and generate methane gas. If someone went down there into the pitch dark, carrying a lantern, the methane would explode and blow the ship to smithereens. Christine Jacobsohn drew my attention to an article which claimed that the bags of guano had to be kept out of the damp recesses of the ships, and were therefore marked “SHIT” for stow high in transit.
Now back to penguin houses. I want to make them out of Keraforce. The problem with the fiberglass ones was that they overheated. If you have a soft spot for penguins you can buy them a house. My dream of making thousands of Keraforce houses may soon become reality!