Off the Map Week 11: Burning the night away

The gorilla and his bride-to-be stood at the end of the pier, hand-in-hand, as the presiding official put the megaphone to his lips and began the ceremony. “Do you, Tuffy, take this gorilla to be your lawfully-wedded husband… ‘til death do you part?” “I do,” said the blushing bride, with white feathers in her dreadlocks matching her immaculate dress. The priest continued. “Do you, gorilla, take this woman to be your lawfully-wedded wife… ‘til death do you part?” “UUNNNGH!” grunted Rymo through the slits in the gorilla mask, as the wedding party broke apart in fits of laughter. I’d say we were in for an entertaining night on the playa.

The setting for the night’s activities was the Burning Man Festival, which was held annually in the arid Black Rock Desert of northwest Nevada. 50,000 people unleashing mayhem in a temporary city designed by artists and anarchists. Imagine if thousands of men and women, instead of running off to join the circus, had persuaded all the circuses of the world to run off and join them. That’s Burning Man. A few large structures had been commissioned, but the rest were labors of love, built to satisfy the creative aspirations of feverish minds.

My camp had built a three-story structure to the specifications of our own feverish architect, and the tower featured a trampoline on the top floor. Like many creations at Burning Man, our structure doubled as both a bar and a DJ booth. But tonight we were not hosting any parties. We were out in search of other sources of electronic music, and thankfully we had brought with us a vehicle worthy of a trip across Black Rock City: the Pyrobar.

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