2011 First Timers Experiences

Share your pictures and video. Tell us about the sights, sounds, and scents, as well as the rumors and truths found at Burning Man.

Re: 2011 First Timers Experiences

Postby theCryptofishist » Thu Sep 15, 2011 3:54 pm

waxpraxis wrote:Similarly I brought with us a bunch of small color changing LED buttons. Originally they came with magnets to attach them to things, but I figured they would come apart way to easily, so I purchased a bunch of tack pin backs, glued them to the lights, and gave them out randomly as we walked around at night.

Yes, the magnets are notoriously fickle.
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Re: 2011 First Timers Experiences

Postby AntiM » Thu Sep 15, 2011 4:10 pm

We knew little to nothing about Burning Man when I bought tickets in 2001. I'd seen a bit of the art online, decided we'd go, handed MyLarry the survival guide and off we went. Sure, I was on the Dioxine list for a while, and read an article in Via (AA magazine), certainly was not on eplaya then (eplaya used to suck ass). The event had the potential to suck, my back went out early and I couldn't bike ... at the fucking trash fence!!!! But I connected to the people immediately, and have always loved the art. Always preferred the back street camps to the Esplanade.

Favorite first year memory, our stone soup breakfast. A car camping neighbor was struggling with her tiny stove on the ground, we had a grill. Another neighbor had bacon, we had a skillet, another had veggies, we had the chopping board. Someone else had tortillas. On and on until we had a feast.
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Re: 2011 First Timers Experiences

Postby mdmf007 » Thu Sep 15, 2011 5:08 pm

Mileage varies from person to person.

Some years I feel it way more than others. Some I have left before the man burns, (I know Blasphemy) but thats the way it is. Dont make BM a burden, you definitely get from it what you put in.
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Re: 2011 First Timers Experiences

Postby deutlich » Fri Sep 16, 2011 7:06 am

waxpraxis wrote:Aw, thanks! :D

Right now I'm in the "fuck... will this even work..." phase. Once things are going though I'll certainly hit you up. The 1024 reflectors I'll need to make and attach aren't going to just hop into existence on their own! If you're into electronics at all let me know as well, there's probably going to need to be a weekend or two of soldering at some point.


Sweet! Sounds good on all counts. Haven't soldered in a while! So this'd be great.
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Re: 2011 First Timers Experiences

Postby True North » Fri Sep 16, 2011 5:31 pm

There is so much to say that there are simply no words for. The biggest surprise for me was waking up so early everyday, even after late nights. No lingering in bed, no five more minutes, just wake up, get up, get on with the day.

Also, I thought I was doing okay being back but, halfway through this thread I just started crying my eyes out.

For those of you that had a bad, or even less-than-magical experience, I don't know what to say, or what I can say. Maybe Burning Man isn't for you? Maybe you just aren't ready for Burning Man? Maybe Burning Man's not ready for you? ;) All I know is my experience, and for me, there were people I came with who made me feel unwelcome. I could have had a miserable time because of it (and had to remind myself to forget about it a couple times) but... they were the only ones on the whole playa who made me feel that way all week. Maybe it's a simple thing but, I have never experienced that before in my life, that feeling of just being welcome in that space. Every day I woke up, picked a direction, and went. It didn't take long before my senses were being overwhelmed by amazing art, friendly people, great music, taste sensations like Tequila Snowcones, Bacon Bloody Mary's, Kahula in a blender with tangerines (omg that was good!). It didn't take long before I was talking to others having similar experiences, or heading somewhere and open to company, or sitting in the closest shade, or... Was I lucky? Yes, of course, absolutely. Beyond that I can't say what I did right, or how or why or if I deserved it. All I know is, during the day, I did not have one moment where I didn't get to experience something cool with someone. It could have lasted a month and I'm sure I wouldn't have run out of days like that.

Which brings me to my next point... Can Burning Man 2012 be four weeks? pretty please?
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Re: 2011 First Timers Experiences

Postby Sham » Fri Sep 16, 2011 5:49 pm

That's the beauty True North. You get one week to take in that entire place and time, and poof, it's gone from the earth without a trace. I was able to get to the playa a month after the event, and it was eerie to be on that hallowed ground. I could see the outline where Center Camp was, and the lines from the streets, but could not really get the grasp that I was in the spot of the former active city.
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Re: 2011 First Timers Experiences

Postby graidawg » Sat Sep 17, 2011 3:34 am

True North wrote:
Also, I thought I was doing okay being back but, halfway through this thread I just started crying my eyes out.



Happens to me just about everyday. I really miss the people i met out there, and because i came from here on my own I have nobody to share it with over here that can say OMG i saw that too! or othere similar stories, I expected to have more trouble oever there with getting weepy, but only twice, once when i was at the B.E.D. thing about communication and one of my campmates should of been there and i knew i wouldnt be able to explain to her why.
The other was at retrofrolic when i tried to explain why Burning Man is for the greatest place on earth.

I try to live my life how we live at burning man and have for many years, i make everyone welcome try as much aspossible to decommodify my life and make that balancing act of self reliance and acceptance. how often do you let others help you in defaultia? seriously this is a thing i have noticed poeple that give generously of themselves so often have a real difficult time accepting what they give so generously from others. but anyway, i was trying to explain how wonderful it feels to be somewhere my life makes sense and how its almost enough to know at least once a year i have a real home filled with friends who love me, don'y lie to me and have no problem telling me whats really on there mind. where the thing i love most, frank and honest communication, is everywhere.

oh gods i am going to miss that so much this coming year and all of you.
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Re: 2011 First Timers Experiences

Postby solace » Wed Nov 09, 2011 4:54 pm

This is my first post, it's about my first experience, and it's likely to make me my first enemies - I have mixed feelings about it, very powerful ones, but I'll be back for at least another year to try to fix how I approach it.

Coming to Burning Man was always a far-off dream of mine that I knew I'd one day have to experience, and I guess I built it up way too much while at the same time having no concrete expectations whatsoever. I came with a friend from college, a fellow virgin, and it was just the two of us.

As I was on my way to my friend's place to pack his car to hit the road to BM, he called me to say that his car had stalled out and no longer worked. I didn't have a car of my own at the time (had been living overseas), so needless to say we were in a bit of a bind. I asked around, I wheedled, I cajoled, and I borrowed my brother's car about 12 hours later. We hit the road on little sleep and made the drive from Colorado starting at midnight, getting in line at sunset Monday.

The scene getting into ticketing was great - I loved the whole atmosphere and everything involved with it. Because the traffic was so stop and go, we just turned off the car, put it in neutral, and pushed it along instead of wearing it out. We chatted with other people in line, got a few helping hands pushing from incredibly friendly folks, and turned down several offers to fix our "broken" car. Great times!

After a pretty quick welcome, it was time to find a camp site. I had vaguely chosen the 8:00 spoke as a general compromise, but my plans to go around and scout out a location during daylight were foiled by our 12-hour delay. After a few not-so-fruitful attempts to go around asking people in various camps if there was any space nearby, nerves were running thin and my travel partner just wanted to sleep. I wanted to resume the search in the morning, he was afraid everything would fill up. And so we went out to Kindergarten, which seemed fairly appropriate for virgins, and which clearly had room. After we set up the tent, he went immediately to bed while I went out exploring.

The long walk in the darkness with my paltry few feet of EL wire set the stage for a lot of wandering the whole week. I made it all the way to the temple, traveling in no certain straight lines, and was on my way home before anyone said anything to me (thank you, random man biking through the sandstorms!). Most of the experience, I felt a bit shy and had a hard time striking up conversation, even though when I managed to get talking to people they were nearly always friendly.

Went to the naming booth on Tuesday, where my description of the night before and its feelings of separation and watching others have incredible experiences led to my name. Had some great experiences meeting people at a few events, wandered in the whiteouts and found some amazing art. Spent inordinate amounts of time walking everywhere, as I lived at K and didn't have a bike (had to leave them at home because my friend's bike rack didn't fit my brother's car).

High points were meeting people in line, getting named, tracking down an old friend from the real world as he lead a discussion held in his amazing theme camp's common space, running into him again later by accident at the sound camps, getting a free half-melted otter pop randomly on the road, singing in the 90's singalong, the amazing bartending 101 class, reading the walls of the temple, hearing the music of the temple, and wandering around all the art in the wilderness. Low points were accidentally walking to 4:00 and K instead of 8:00 and K when I needed to get home (and the walk times in general to ANYWHERE from K), getting bled on by a nonsensical naked bleeding geriatric who had fallen off his bike as I helped him home, having a girl open and end a conversation by asking how old I am and walking away when she didn't like the answer (I can't age any faster! And what's it matter, on the playa? is that really the most important thing about someone?), the initial suspicion with which people seemed to regard me as a lone male walking around, and especially not being able to break out of my shell as much as I wanted to.

I still have no good answer for when people ask me "what's it like at Burning Man?", but I've learned a lot about what it takes to survive there and what not to do. I've learned that I need to try more to be less shy, and that I should join a bigger camp to help with this. I've learned that I need to be closer to the center. I've learned that I really, really need a bike. I've learned that I need to bring more and varied things to share. I've learned that cooking on the playa for only a couple of people isn't really worth it, just because it takes up more time than it works. I've learned that I need at most half of the water that I brought. I've confirmed that full showers are unnecessary if you have no-rinse shampoo and the right kinds of wet-wipes (Gatsby Ice, you make me tingly and fresh!), though a little rinsing with a wet rag is nice. I've confirmed that tents get way too hot in the sun, that rebar covered in pool noodles works excellently to hold them in place, and that shade structures are heavenly. I've confirmed that homemade peanut butter rice krispies treats are incredible on the playa.

Lots of experiences, good and bad. Frequently in the moment I felt pretty miserable. But looking back I'm glad I went, and I'll be working to make the next one ten times better.
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Re: 2011 First Timers Experiences

Postby Boijoy » Wed Nov 09, 2011 5:46 pm

solace wrote:.

High points were meeting people in line, getting named, tracking down an old friend from the real world as he lead a discussion held in his amazing theme camp's common space, running into him again later by accident at the sound camps, getting a free half-melted otter pop randomly on the road, singing in the 90's singalong, the amazing bartending 101 class, reading the walls of the temple, hearing the music of the temple, and wandering around all the art in the wilderness. Low points were accidentally walking to 4:00 and K instead of 8:00 and K when I needed to get home (and the walk times in general to ANYWHERE from K), getting bled on by a nonsensical naked bleeding geriatric who had fallen off his bike as I helped him home, having a girl open and end a conversation by asking how old I am and walking away when she didn't like the answer (I can't age any faster! And what's it matter, on the playa? is that really the most important thing about someone?), the initial suspicion with which people seemed to regard me as a lone male walking around, and especially not being able to break out of my shell as much as I wanted to.

Lots of experiences, good and bad. Frequently in the moment I felt pretty miserable. But looking back I'm glad I went, and I'll be working to make the next one ten times better.


Sounds like you had an AWESOME time to me!! :D
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Re: 2011 First Timers Experiences

Postby Savannah » Wed Nov 09, 2011 5:48 pm

Hi Solace. Good first post. I hate to disappoint you, but I don't feel any animosity towards you.

I was shy and subject to various indignities and discomforts during my first Burn, too. It's okay now--you survived the adventure. And now you know much. :) Glad you'll be coming back.

You're welcome to start a thread in the "Introduce Yourself" forum if you like, although you don't have to.

And here's a thread for you. Lots of us are shy, & employ little tricks to get past it.

Tips for Shy People at Burning Man
viewtopic.php?f=3&t=45094

having a girl open and end a conversation by asking how old I am and walking away when she didn't like the answer (I can't age any faster! And what's it matter, on the playa? is that really the most important thing about someone?)


She was probably intoxicated or wanted god-knows-what. Bullet dodged. You can't take credit for her social maladjustment, sorry. :D
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Re: 2011 First Timers Experiences

Postby knowmad » Wed Nov 09, 2011 6:00 pm

solace wrote:This is my first post, it's about my first experience, and it's likely to make me my first enemies - I have mixed feelings about it, very powerful ones, but I'll be back for at least another year to try to fix how I approach it....

Welcom to a very good place to process the whole whatever it is that it is. <-- after 3 burns I still don't know what it realy is!
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Re: 2011 First Timers Experiences

Postby theCryptofishist » Wed Nov 09, 2011 8:04 pm

What Savannah said.
And you don't have to join a camp because you're shy. If that's what you want to do, then find one that appeals to you as more than a social secretary/cruise director. I"m sure there's something you'll click with.
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Re: 2011 First Timers Experiences

Postby motskyroonmatick » Thu Nov 10, 2011 2:48 pm

theCryptofishist wrote:What Savannah said.
And you don't have to join a camp because you're shy. If that's what you want to do, then find one that appeals to you as more than a social secretary/cruise director. I"m sure there's something you'll click with.


Stag Camp might work. :) :wink:
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Re: 2011 First Timers Experiences

Postby theCryptofishist » Thu Nov 10, 2011 3:38 pm

Stag Camp is a loose conglomeration of campers who agree pre-event to camp together with the first group to get there grabbing land in a pre-arranged area. The don't have a lot of infra-structure and they don't have a "theme" that they arrange to present to the city. Perhaps one of the Staggers could tell up where they usually end up, since being close to inner city was one of the criteria mentioned.
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Re: 2011 First Timers Experiences

Postby deutlich » Thu Nov 10, 2011 4:01 pm

I didn't see anything in your post that would cause enemies. Glad you dropped by to share your experience, though. :) I haven't been, so I can't chime in much re: being there.
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Re: 2011 First Timers Experiences

Postby Savannah » Thu Nov 10, 2011 4:11 pm

Stag Camp usually ends up somewhere between 7:30 and 8:30 between, oh . . . D and G (i.e. neither super close, nor super far away from Center Camp) with the first folks to arrive picking a site from the Open Camping area, then posting signs at 7:00 on the outer street, and then one more sign urging a left or right turn. Pretty informal, but pre-registration is necessary.

The emphasis is on social togetherness, but personal responsibility and autonomy. For that reason, friendly independent types fare the best. Amenities: kickass shade, kickass funk music. Both are gifts of the Original Gangsters, and could technically vary from year to year. The point is to be able to do what you like, but have someone to tell your stories to when you come back to camp at 2am. :)
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Re: 2011 First Timers Experiences

Postby motskyroonmatick » Thu Nov 10, 2011 6:25 pm

And there is always someone in group shade at 2AM. This year they could be regularly spotted staring at the Fucken YAY! sign mouthing the words Oh My God over and over again.
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Re: 2011 First Timers Experiences

Postby theCryptofishist » Thu Nov 10, 2011 9:26 pm

motskyroonmatick wrote:And there is always someone in group shade at 2AM.

Wall of Wrong.
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Re: 2011 First Timers Experiences

Postby Savannah » Thu Nov 10, 2011 9:30 pm

It's usually a couple of trippin' cops.
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Re: 2011 First Timers Experiences

Postby theCryptofishist » Thu Nov 10, 2011 9:37 pm

Wall of Wronger?
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Re: 2011 First Timers Experiences

Postby motskyroonmatick » Thu Nov 10, 2011 10:04 pm

theCryptofishist wrote:
motskyroonmatick wrote:And there is always someone in group shade at 2AM.

Wall of Wrong.


That Star Light is vicious in the dessert. It's nearly 4thousand feet of elevation you know. :wink:
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Re: 2011 First Timers Experiences

Postby ygmir » Thu Nov 10, 2011 10:18 pm

motskyroonmatick wrote:
theCryptofishist wrote:
motskyroonmatick wrote:And there is always someone in group shade at 2AM.

Wall of Wrong.


That Star Light is vicious in the dessert. It's nearly 4thousand feet of elevation you know. :wink:


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Re: 2011 First Timers Experiences

Postby wh..sh » Thu Nov 10, 2011 10:39 pm

solace wrote:Lots of experiences, good and bad. Frequently in the moment I felt pretty miserable. But looking back I'm glad I went, and I'll be working to make the next one ten times better.


As a first timer myself, I loved reading your experience. That miserable feeling is all too familiar for me. I am glad I am over my PPD. Being part of a bigger group definitely helps when you are in need of instant entertainment. Otherwise, it really doesn't matter.
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Re: 2011 First Timers Experiences

Postby solace » Sun Nov 13, 2011 10:32 am

Thanks for all the responses!

See you on the playa 8)
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