Thursday, 1 October 2015

Sunday, More....

It took us probably an hour to get to gate and it was dusty.  Dusty and windy (and hot) and did I mention the dust?  Yeah.  That's the dustiest entry I've had, and it had Connor and I laughing.... here we were, in this awful, horrible dusty place and we couldn't have been happier.  Even if I was a ball of angst hoping things would work out.

I was hot too.  Connor used the newly purchased water spray fan and I think I fell in love right then and there.  People who invent things like that should be knighted.  Anything that makes/keeps me cool in the desert is frigging awesome.  For sure.

We had a super cool gal at gate (where they take your tickets and check your vehicle for stowaways and contraband and such) and then another half an hour or so to census and then the greeters.  Where we got stuck in a whiteout (dust storm) as soon as we'd been waved through.  Black Rock City at its finest... completely invisible!  So yeah, entry line was so dusty (and hot and windy) and, sad and strange and somewhat disappointing... we had cell service too.  I heard after that AT&T (or whoever) had put in a cell tower "nearby" and, well... the times they are a changing, eh?

There was something so perfect about my first year on playa not even being able to contact anyone, even if I'd wanted to.  Phone just stayed away.  Last year?  There was spotty service, and I found that handy when I was missing Jason and wanted to try to say hi but really... phone stayed away.  It was somewhat disheartening to know that I.... and anyone else... could use my phone the entire week if I wanted to.  Because I wanted to be away from all of that.  Away from life and work and contact and just all of it.  But anyway.... it would turn out to be rather handy, but at the time, it was bizarre and disappointing.

We entered the city and started to drive to where we'd hoped to be.  As we got closer to the area, I started to (in the words I wrote in my journal) freak out.  It was packed.

Not at ALL how we'd found it last year... packed.  And not by random camping people like 2014, packed with RVs and serious looking camps and major set ups and .... it.  Was.  Full.

The corner and neighbourhood we'd wanted to be in... had been in last year... had talked to all our neighbours and friends about going back to and re-uniting was totally, completely, utterly full.

There wasn't even the tequila bar fellows and I know they'd been given early entry so to not even see them?  I was really choked.

Because now what?

Our quaint little collection of long time burners and neighbours and friends was now an art car RV nation.  There was NO neighbourhood, and no one we knew or recognized was there.  How on earth were we supposed to find all these people we wanted to camp with and how on earth was Sarah going to find us???? Never mind Max.   He was the last thing on my mind at this point.  At this point, mid-hottest part of the day Sunday, I had no idea where we were even going to end up camping.  There was no room and we'd seen no spaces on our drive there either. 

I swore.  A lot.  Both inside my head and out loud in the truck.  This was kind of beyond my worst imagining.  I thought it might be busy and we'd have to move a block over... I didn't think it would be gone.  Utterly.

We'd stopped where we'd hoped to be and I was looking around when I saw the distinctive truck and teardrop trailer of our sweet, older neighbours from last year.

I felt like it was a small ray of hope and so we drove around the block to the street they were on, which happened to be the very last street of the city.  L street.

But there was space, and it was SO nice to see them and they were SO happy to see us and it was close...ish to where we'd hoped to be and we decided to stay there.

And it turns out that even that was space that had already been given to someone.  An art car collective, for lack of a better term, and that was also completely just... not adding to my mood and stress.

We started to unpack... kind of... when the space-holders came over to talk to us.  I felt like we should move and told them it was no problem, that was fine but he went and talked to someone and they said it was ok if we took the space we needed (which really wasn't much) and so that helped.  Kind of.

I still had a bad feeling about being there and the whole "what happened to our neighbourhood" thing and I was pretty stressed and upset.  But Connor just kept asking me what else I wanted to do and I had no answer.  This was the area Sarah was going to be trying to find us in and it was really really important to me that she could find us and to make that as easy on her as possible.  And, this was also the area near where Max would be camping, and where we'd be eating and I didn't want to go traipsing around the city trying to find another spot and maybe end up on the opposite side of the place so we started to set up.

And as we started to set up, the wind and dust kicked up again and I started to get really worried about our location.  Was it worth it to be with neighbours to put up with a week of unblocked wind and dust and (to quote myself) "this shit"?  I really didn't think so and I was very very unhappy.

(To maybe make it clearer to those who haven't been or who haven't a clear sense of what I mean when I say "L street" or "the city", Black Rock City is laid out in the shape of most of a circle, from 10:00 to 2:00 .... as on a clock.  The "streets" start from the inside of the circle and work out alphabetically, and L is the last street... which means there is nothing to block the incoming dust and wind.... no other streets of campers and trucks and RVs to perhaps take some of the brunt of the weather, L street gets it all, full blast... no break.)

The wind (and therefore dust) was so strong we had to stop setting up and we sat in the shade of Connor's truck, on our coolers, to talk it out.  We were both unsure, but neither of us knew what else we could/would/should try and I was very upset and unhappy and didn't know how we'd find people or be found by people if we did move.  I just didn't know. 

The lead guy of the art car space came over and talked to us and gave us the ok to be there and have the space and I guess that was the deciding moment of... well, I guess we're staying.  We have neighbours, we've been given the go ahead to take some space that isn't actually free to take so... let's just do this.  I guess I felt a bit better.  Both to have the ok from the fellow to be there, and, I suppose, to have just made a decision, even if I still wasn't sure it was the best one. 

At this point, I pulled out my phone, and texted both Sarah (who doesn't have a cell, but has an iPad she'd be checking for iMessages when she got wifi later that day or early Monday) and Max our location so that Sarah would hopefully be able to find us in our not quite the spot we'd thought and so that Max could find me.  Even though I hadn't heard from him since he left for playa and I was pretty sure he didn't have his phone on at all.

Oh!  And in what is possibly the most adorable co-incidence of all things ever, guess who is FaceTiming me right now?  (Squee, gotta go, sorry!  Leaving you at a grumpy spot!  But seriously... I was so unhappy and stressed and ugh!)


Anonymous Elliott said...

That did not sound like a good start to the week. I would be very frustrated, scared, nervous, and I'm sure other emotions too.

It must have been very harsh if writing it out causes obvious stress and discomfort.

I'm glad a Facetime call can get you out that spot so quickly. Yay!

Thursday, October 01, 2015 9:54:00 am  
Blogger Victoria said...

It was rough E, and the wind/dust conditions were pretty intense on top of all the rest!

But yes, yay for happy distractions ;)

Thursday, October 01, 2015 6:49:00 pm  

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