Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Playa de Fuego ( English; spanish below)

I had read about the burningman festival so, when I heard that Playa de Fuego was a bruningman event taking place in a reachable place from New York, I decided to get there somehow.

I didn’t have a tent or anythingt and I can’t drive. I tried getting a lift, but didn’t seem to work. Eventually, the arrangement I got was taking a cheap chinatown bus to Willmington ( what is Willmington? I did not have a clue either) and somebody would pick me up from there.

I was there one day late, on Friday. On Thursday I bought a small tent, a big bag and lots of tuna tins, and bread; nothing can't be sold or bought where I was going. Then, I decided to start my way to PDF.

Friday afternoon. School is over. I take a taxi justo in time to get to Chinatown, with my bag full with what I had bought plus a borrowed sleeping bag, a torch, and my flute. I also took my cajón with a case which was almost as expensive as the cajon itself.
After the releif of getting on the bus, it is late. My lift calls, I tell him I’ll be late, and never answers back any more. So I get to Willmington Chinatown bus stop at 9:00 pm. Nobody there. Nobody answering. Me somewhere in a Chinatown in DE, waiting for somebody to go somewhere. After panicking a few times, a pick my phone up and call Puri in Spain, 3:00 am there.
“Puri, please, I need the number for Willmington taxi services and the address of PDF”
So she wakes up and checks it out for me and I get a taxi to the place, 20 miles and 75$ away. It was that or…. Or….One of those moment where there is no or ;)
The taxi leaves the highway and goes to secondary roads and ways, turns right and the corn… dead end…comes back, turns left at the corn field, and then another field comes alive. People going around carrying torches, real fire torches, at some gates “ Is this PDF?” “ Yes” Finally…I made it

I get my wrist band, drag my big bag through the gates and am directed to contact Camp.
5 minutes down the path, and there appears a smiling face “ Are you Ana? You made it” somebody waiting. How nice. I certainly did.

So I start building up the tent. They have changed a lot since the Canadian Style we had when I was little. This tent was 25$. With some help, I set it up, have a drink, a short stroll and go to bed. I have an air mattress, but I can’t find the plug. So I put my bag and my cajón in the tent and go to bed exhausted, since I left my flat in Harlem to go to school at 6:00 and it is 4:oo am. The things take half the tent, and it is cold, so I sleep with my coat.

7 am. It is freezing. I wake up looking for a fire. Sit next to it. This guy comes along eventually. 54..Nice. I talk to people for a while. A few peoplea around the fire, some have not slept, some are waking up. I look for a coffee to put in the boottle I am using to drink because I forgot a mug. We find some. We drink. He shows me round. We sit at Sexy Camp, he massages my back, says he plays the guitar, talks about music. I leave him to go to sleep. He never comes back to play with me, as he said he wanted to do. I get to my camp and go to sleep for a bit.
I find the plug to my mattress and blow it up. My mattress is bigger than my tent.
Somebody cooks brunch. Nice eating with the people of the camp. I trade mattresses with a couple who have a smaller one.
Now that I fit the mattress in the tent, my cajón and my bag can´t stay there, and I leave them aoutside.
We clean the dome and do some dancing. When my back hurts I take out the flute and play for them to dance. Class is over.
People walk around naked, half naked, dressed up, dressed. Everybody as they feel. Freedom
There is the foam slide contest. Naked people slide down a huge plastic on the floor, having fun enjoying, nice weather, nice music. Good fun. Sexy camp is holding a wedding.
Afther that I go to sleep. I wake up. It is going cold. I go for a shower. People practicing juggling, fire spinning, pole dancing…I join, I leave.
The showers consist of two cubibles with curtains. No door. Do not wash my hair.
The temperature drops down. Somebody else cooks dinner. Tonight, the pony is going to get burnt. I walk a bit. Drummers are setting up. I get the cajón and join them Peole still naked, or half naked, or not naked, or dressed up... fire spinners dance around the huge wooden pony at the sound of our drumming. Wonderful spinning and dancing- People cheers.
We go quiet. Didgeridoos move forward a start playing in the silence of the crowd. A flute plays. Then five people come to the centre of the circle with torches. They surround the pony and lift the torches People burst into cheers and shoutimg. The pony starts burning didgeridoos and shouting in the cool breeze that dances with the fire in the night We all watch the pony collapse and the flames raise higher. The drums start again and everybody runs to dance in circles around the fire.
I join them for a bit, and go back to drumming until, after a long long period of time the music ceases and people spread all over PDF again. Some stay watching the sparkles flying up from the fire into the darkness, creating it’s own dance with the distant music.
Somebody holds me. We lay next to the fire.I’ts barely 11 pm, but it seems deep into the night. The heat from the fire is nice. The temperature keeps dropping.
“Would you like to go and snuggle in my tent. We can look for a blanket”. I look around. It’s too early. Definitely, I have not taken all that hard work to get here, to go to bed this early…and without a blanket. I say goodbye and go from camp to camp, from fire to fire, from dance to dance… Spin the wheel at Whiskey and Whores, have to leg dance somebody for a whiskey shot. Keep dancing
At some point the cold is so nintense that all ther layer I have are not enough. I sit next to a fire, shivering. Eventually, City Bitch comes to me, half naked, and offers me a spare sleeping bag. How will she do it? I warm up and decided to go to sleep.

I get in my tent, four layers including a coat, and the air mattress, and two sleeping bags. It has not rained, but everything is wet.It's freezing cold.I swear I am bauying a frikking extra cold temperature sleeping bag.

I manage to get through a few hours at night. Twilight outside. I get up in the same clothes I went to bed, craving cofee and the warmth of a fire. There is water dripping inside the tent, like if it had rained for hours. I find the coffee. It warms my hands up. I find the fire. I sit down and listen to all type of conversations: Davind Lynch, the crisis, economy, music, people... The sun starts rising, the warm morning lights get thorugh the layers into my body: a zip of coffee, fire,sun...Some people leave, I stay. A morning DJ starts playing good music. I can't help myself and I start dancing, warming up, taking layers off.I dance for an hour until the sun is way up in the sky following me with the distant clouds, some people takes pictures, song after song, dancing on the grass in the morning sun until I feel sotired I want to go to sleep again.

I go back to contact Capm and clean the dome to nap in it, but then I see a yoga class starting. I join them. Some people are naked, some are not.

After yoga I get a a drink with the people at the camp. The class starts. Again, i have to stop because of my back. Then I am asked to play. Another flutist passes by and joins us. We improvise togetehr while they dance.
This is it. Time to sleep. I wake up, go for a walk, find a little dome. They are playing and singing. I get a rattle and join them. somebody singing says " Al PDF you don't loose your girlfriend, you just miss your turn". They something about me, they remember me playing the night before near teh fire. I play for a while. i say goodbye and leave to go for a shower. It is getting dark again, and cold.

I don't wear that many layers tonight. Put some tul around two pigtails. Very eighties. I have a drink at the camp. Somebody is offering dinner somewhere. I have some food and then go dancing around. Back an Whiskey and Whores. Looking for a ride back, i think I have one.

somebody calls me " Hey". He was in the morning fire. and offers me some strange sweet wine from a bottle. He tells me the pirate ship that was the symbol of one camp is getting burnt. We go there. There is playing and dancing. this time I dance around and around the fire. until i am tired. He gives me more wine. heh as a blankett. Lies to me about his age, he says he is older than he is. He has a blankett. We go to sleep. It is not as cold tonight.

i wake up and leave. Forget my scarf. They have a fire near the tent. People talking. I stay until the sun rises. Everybody leaves but one man. Eventually, we go searching for a coffe.
This time it gets more difficult. People are waking up and packing. finally we smell it. Two nice people in a tent. She is a wiccan. He tells us about his art projects.

Time to pack. I help to put the dome down. I put the tent up, packing everything. Time to leave
my scarf is brought to me. Somebody takes me to the bus with two more people.

i get home just in time for Jose to call me, my radio coneection with spain in "La Sábana", in Canal Extremadura Radio.
On my way back I hear people talking about somebody dead, probably youngsters. Back in New York. It is difficult to adjust to life again. Like if eerything was a dream

But life is there. It does notgive me a chance to rest and keeps tossing me around. And I keep dancing on.


for anothe short video with fire gogos and some music, click here

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