Ages Out of Jo’burg
Again, in typical Jai fashion, I packed my bag on the morning of our trip. As a result, I left behind my sunglasses and jacket, which I only realised when I needed them while already in the combi. Grabbing some last minute supplies, I lifted with Elouise to Dani’s place.
My single backpack, Spongebob and the crates of fruits, together with Dani’s bags and costumes already half filled the combi. And we still had to fit in five more people! So, yes, great start.
With Dani at the con, we headed off to pick up everyone else. Peter, Zaid and, self-proclaimed, Evil John were first to be picked up. Thanks to Peter’s Tetris skills, everything was repacked so that we could all snuggly fit in, albeit crosslegged in the back and with minuscule space for the poor sod who sat in the middle seat. With the packing, picking up Sheena, getting petrol and some padkos supplies, we only hit the open road at around 16:00.
The crew consisted of myself, Dani the designated driver and virgin Burner; Peter, veteran Burner at both Afrikaburn and Burning Man; Zaid, another veteran Burner who would be donning a Klu-Klux Clan outfit sometime in the week; and Sheena and John, both virgins. It is also worth noting that of the seven of us, at least three were vegan / vegetarian and the combi was well packed with non-animal derived produce.
Too Many Bananas
The drive was at least smooth up until we passed a lone town in the Northern Cape just after midnight. I was driving at the time and very close to relinquishing control of the wheel, my eyes starting to droop, when we were pulled over by a police car. Three officers approached the combi, citing a random stop and search. They checked the combi’s license and my own, and all seemed to be on the level, until one of them commented on the large amount of fruit in the back. Being the only person outside the combi at this stage, engaging with the officer, I explained that we were on our way to camp in the desert for about a week and that was our supplies.
Despite this, the police demanded to see a receipt. We had no receipt at the ready, primarily since the majority of this fruit was purchased at a farmer’s market and, secondly, because who in their right mind keeps a food receipt on hand during a road trip?
The cops would not be deterred, however. Claiming to be following the letter of the law, they declared that we were obligated to prove that we had, in fact, bought this fruit and that failure to do so could result in confiscation of the fruit and detaining us for a week. Really? There’s a law against eating copious amounts of fruit?
Apparently so, if these cops are to be believed. I heard say later that there was a problem with the fruit theft in the Ceres valley which could lend some credit to these officers’ behaviour. From our perspective, however, after being on the road for eight hours, tired and really not in the mood for peacocking shenanigans, their behaviour was very annoying. Of course, the last thing we wanted to do was give them a reason to flaunt their so-called authority, so with much nodding and agreeing to whatever arbitrary statement they vomited at us, we placated them with repeated ignorance of this law and promises that we will hold on to our fruit-based receipts with dear life from this day onwards. We were soon back on the road, our shipment of offending bananas still safe within our grasp.
Out of Gas
After that, I was released of my driving obligation and promptly fell asleep in the back seat only to awaken not an hour later to the sounds of a dying engine. We’d run out of petrol. My immediate reaction was of shock and disbelief. The tank indicated half-full during the banana debacle. Surely we couldn’t have driven it all out so quickly. It turns out, I was later to learn, that the fuel gauge was not as reliable as it should be.
Regardless of the why, we were still stranded in the middle of nowhere roughly 20 kilometres from the next town and 50 or so ahead of the previous one. Very little traffic filled the road. The only solution was for a couple of us to walk. Two people – one male, one female – was chosen as the ideal partnership. Cars and trucks were more likely to pick up a female, and was more likely to have space for at least two people.
Zaid and Sheena opted for the task and headed out. We were to learn later that they came upon a truck stopped to fix its engine. The drive initially denied them a lift but hovering nearby like homeless hobos finally engaged his pity gland and they rode to the next town. They messaged us as soon as they were on board, putting us at ease enough to get some sleep in the combi. Up until that point, we were also trying to flag down passerbys to no avail.
After getting some petrol, the two lone adventurers walked back for nigh on an hour before another truck stopped for them. The good Samaritan scolded Zaid for even allowing a female to accompany him on such a long walk this late at night as he brought our heroes back to us. The small amount of petrol they were able to acquire got us to the next town where we filled up for the last leg of our adventure. The time was now close to 5am.
The Final Stretch
Riding into the sunrise, we passed several quiet villages before hitting Calvinia close to midday, the last town before the dirt road that would lead us to Tankwa Town. We stocked up on water, I found a decent jacket at a street-side vendor, food was had, and random friends were met, all of whom were also on their way to the Burn.
We spent an hour or two in the town, and, refreshed, hopped back into the combi. It wasn’t long before our next problem unveiled itself on the dirt road; the engine overheated.
The radiator fan had given up and the water was bubbling over. The combi engine is below the boot which meant we had to unpack the entire load of fruit in order to check out what was going on. In the unpacking, we discovered that a box full of papayas isn’t the best road trip item. The weight of the fruit crushed in on themselves leaving a soft mash of papaya. Dani and Sheena made good of the situation, eating as much of the fruit as possible while we assessed the engine situation.
By this time, midway through the first day of Burn, the road was relatively busy. It was a good feeling to have virtually everybody stop and offer assistance, in stark contrast to the previous night when nobody stopped once. But with noone being very effective mechanic types (Hello, arty people!), the best that could be done was to refill the water tank and continue on our journey, taking it easy and keeping an eye on the temperature gauge.
We made it a good way further before needing to stop once again to allow the engine to cool. This time, Peter and John scanned the combi to figure out why the fan was no longer working after virtually 20 hours of travel. John discovered a loose plug dangling at the front of the vehicle. Reattaching that and swapping a few fuses seemed to fix the problem and we were home free, crossing over into the real world by 16:00, pretty much 24 hours since the start of our journey.
We stopped at the area that the combi guys were suppose to be camping. Dani and Sheena headed off to the toilets and returned wearing nothing but their boots, happily embracing the Tankwa spirit. They lopped off with John to ring the virgin bell, no doubt effectively making their mark in their naked awesomeness.
I, in turn, headed of to find Catalina and my own camping area. I’d been in communication with Rosa and Catalina during the trip; I would be sharing a tent with Catalina, and she and Rosa were convoying in with their respective drivers.
It was Rosa, on bike back, that spotted me and guided me to the camp site. After establishing where we would set up tent, I headed back to the combi with Rosa to gather my stuff, only to find a gapping empty space where the combi and its occupants were. The adventures just keep coming, don’t they?
Camping neighbours pointed us in the direction the combi had headed, stating that the boys had carried their tent off with it. They wouldn’t carry a tent very far, we figured, expecting we’d find them soon enough, but after much walking and fruitless searching in and around the dense camping area, we gave up. I resigned myself to being cold this night, clothe and sleepbag-less, and returned to camp with Rosa.
We figured that there’d be somebody to loan me something for the night, when, surprise, surprise, we passed the combi not four tents away from our camp. Fortunately! Bags and supplies reclaimed, we returned and set up our tent.
Given that Catalina and myself were in a seven-man tent, we offered Rosa the option of staying with us which she accepted. We had a mixed veg and chicken briyani supper (thanks to my trusty supply of canned fare), washed, dressed warm and the three of us went out to explore Tanwa.
We didn’t walk too far and for too long, just briefly checking out what tents and art installations were up. The girls retired early while I chose to go dancing at the Heart Space tent. Peter, John and Zaid made a brief appearance, Zaid sporting his glow in the dark penis attachment, which looked quite rad actually.
After they disappeared, I decided to check out some of the other party spaces, briefly dancing at another venue (can’t remember which one) and then watching some fire dancing performances. Here I met Jeff briefly. We barely said much to each other, commenting mainly on the danger of kids on bicycles and the cool fire dancers, but he does feature in later entries and requires some introduction.
Tiredness from the long journey demanded I gather myself toward myself and return to camp for some quality sleep. Catalina and Rosa were still awake engaged in conversation. I remember briefly joining the conversation but was very soon, very fast asleep, awakened only occasionally by the heavy rustling of the tent in the evening desert wind.
Day 2 to follow shortly
I’ve prepared to travel to Burn from last year when we acquired our tickets. Beyond that, and in true Jai style, no further planning was done until a couple of weeks before Burn. Elouise was suppose to come through but work obligations forced her to sell off her ticket to Catalina, a visitor from Argentina. I would wind up sharing El’s tent with Catalina.
With no idea how I’d actually get to and back from the Burn, notices for transport were placed and scanned on the Facebook and Forum pages. At one point, I had three options available, settling with my friend Dani and her group of friends riding in a combi.
If you haven’t heard of Afrikaburn, I recommend visiting the website at www.afrikaburn.com and reading my take on last year’s Burn in Middle of Nowhere. This year’s theme was Archetypes. Theoretically, I should have chosen costumes and fitted in around this theme but I’m far too lazy to do such preparation. Heck, I barely confirmed transport a week before!
My adventures of Burn are chronicled on a day-by-day basis in the articles that follow with the occasional collection of photos attached or linked to. Naturally, I welcome comments, especially if you were there. And if you weren’t, read on to find out why, next year, you should be.
This past month, I’ve had a definite resistance to sitting down and writing something. I haven’t missed it. These phases have become standard in my life. I go through spurts of wanting to write everything down followed by periods of keeping it all in me and to myself.
A few months back, I had a conversation with a writer friend who said that she needed to write everyday. Her passion sought consistent expression through the writing process. I, on the other hand, while considering myself a writer of sorts, have never had that compulsion. My primary phase of writing occurred over my schooling years, when I already felt an outcast and could at least lose and express myself through stories and poetry. The only other times in my life when the need existed was when I had strong emotions to expel; heartbreak, depression, angst, and the like.
These days, most of my life is pretty sorted. I write when I feel like sharing or when something in my experience elicits an emotional response. The trend exists in both my blogging and social media interactions. There are days when I’d update my status or Tweet about what’s happening around me quite regularly. More often, however, I simply reblog some interesting or humourous post gleaned off the intrawebs.
Perhaps, this isn’t indicative of a resistance to writing so much as simply not having the need for it. I enjoy writing. I enjoy expressing myself through words. But, like a good, moist chocolate cake, I don’t have to indulge in it everyday. Just on those meaningful and spirited occasions.
This has been a big lesson for me. I’ve always set an unrealistic deadline for my achievements since I was in highschool. And I don’t mean the school and subsequent work projects. While I never quite made those deadlines, the projects weren’t too far from finished.
I mean my goals. In general, I’ve overset my goal deadlines, wanting big things in a short time. Not achieving the goals in time depressed me and made me think I was not good enough. But they served another purpose. The goals that were really important remained on my to-do list well after their deadlines had passed. This was a valuable realisation.
Over the years, the achievements that were closer to my heart continued to receive an extension. They would happen, someday if not today.
Which leads me to ask you, what are your big dreams?
Big, in this context, doesn’t refer to size. It refers to importance. And a dream’s importance is specific to the dreamer.
One of my dreams that never died was to be an entertainer. It’s something that flitted through my mind when I was a teen but it wasn’t taken serious enough nor given much attention in the long run. When I got to choose my matric subjects, it raised its head a little and suggested I take Speech & Drama. All good and well. I sucked at performance in my highschool years though, and so that dream went back to sleep for a while. Eventually, eight years later, it sat up again and said hey. I took brief notice and took up amateur theatre, a decent enough hobby. This eventually led to me taking classes, workshops and doing a year of Musical Theatre at a very reputable arts university. And so began my more serious pursuit of being a world-class entertainer. It would be another eight or so years before my career would truly launch. That’s two decades since taking my first Speech & Drama class. And a few years more since I’d actually had the first desire to open state that I wanted to be an entertainer.
That’s a long, long time for a goal to exist, right?
No, not really. A goal that’s important to you will always be there. And it’s your duty to continually pursue it. Ultimately, there is no alternative. If you want to feel fulfilled, you will do what you can to achieve that dream regardless of how long it will take you.
And as I kind of stated earlier in this post, this is also a very useful measuring stick as to whether or not your goal really is all that important to you. See what you’re doing in your life to achieve it. If you wanted to be a millionaire, you would be taking the actions and learning what you can to get you there. You wouldn’t be sitting back hoping it happens. Simply hoping is a sign that you aren’t serious about your goal.
Also, this isn’t to advocate that you shouldn’t have some sort of deadline. An action plan with milestone deadlines is important to drive you. What I am saying is if you fail to hit your deadlines, it’s not the end of the world. Just keep at it.
I would have loved to be an internationally recognised film star by now but I’m not there yet. I’ve had a lot of learning that still needed to happen. A lot of confidence that still needed to be instilled. I don’t know when I’ll achieve this particular goal. I’m on my way there, though. That much I know for sure.
Making Lemons began as a memoire of my dismally disappointments with life and served as a cathartic tool that, combined with a variety of influences, raised me out of my depression and gave me a focus outside of my career pursuits. It evolved into a kind of self-help booklet, at first mostly for myself, and then as an audience directed book of advice. Making Lemons in a big way was the part of me that has it together and actually remembers the lessons of the last two decades talking to the part of me that’s still struggling to make it happen.
I had started writing a few self-help themed titles since 2011 with the aim to have them published but that didn’t quite pan out. The various works were left on the side line, most incomplete and still requiring editing and re-arranging. Toward the end of that same year, I came up with the concept of Making Lemons. The idea was to evolve my HealthyFortune brand, which by then was not getting the attention it needed, into a more fun and positive website, providing inspiration and some advice on the side. Thus spawned LemonLife.
In the year that followed, I began putting together the content that would become the book Making Lemons, the intended flagship product for LemonLife. After a while, however, LemonLife fell away as a brand on its own and Making Lemons became the title that I wanted more publicity for. As a web presence, it would be the space for inspiration, motivation and advice, tying in to the book which would hold its own as the flagship product, while LemonLife remained the overall series title for all my self-help works.
Making Lemons essentially grew from my entry into network marketing and subsequently into affiliate marketing, chronicling and evolving with my own learnings and experience within these industries. The book itself is about finding and following ones passion, and creating a financial pipeline to fund said passion instead of the other way around. One’s passion doesn’t always cater for the financial rigours of our western existence. On the other hand, having a source of income independent of our career can help us better ourselves within our chosen vocation.
Visit the Making Lemons website for your dose of inspirational matter. And be sure to sign up for some extra goodies
Elouise and myself drove through from Cape Town to Johannesburg over the last two days. It was a very pleasant drive yesterday even though we only managed to leave the Mother City around 3pm. Today, however, was a bit more chaotic. Ordinarily, we would have avoided driving back any time in the first week of the new year but I figured, quite incorrectly it turns out, that the traffic would be fairly slim this close to the new year.
Heavy traffic, however, isn’t the problem. Both myself and El drive fairly conservatively preferring to enjoy the ride rather than be the first person to reach Johannesburg as seemed to be the mentality of pretty much everyone else on the road. Which totally befundles me. You’re on the last stretch of your holiday. Relax, take it easy, enjoy those final hours.
At least, that’s my take on it. But I didn’t leave my oven on and needed rush back to take in the last smoking embers of my abode.
It is a typically Johannesburg mentality though. I noticed it when I was on my way to work in the mornings. Heck, I even fell into that trap. We have an insane need to be in the office at an exact time and go forbid if we’re a few minutes late. A few minutes early goes unnoticed but being late, then the poo must fly or else there will be anarchy.
It’s difficult to convey to people stuck in that mentality that life will continue regardless. Formalised time (as in hours and minutes) was created for convenience and it has turned into an enslaving entity, upheld by the various bosses of the world. So much so that even when people are on holiday they have a schedule to keep.
And I get it. I’m guilty of it. I also can get frustrated by no keeping to a schedule that I’ve committed myself to. My trick is that I don’t often commit to a schedule. I understand that the world will not end if a delay occurs. Nor will it change if I am early. Not by a few minutes or hours, at any rate. Those time periods are only really important to stock tradesmen.
In the real world, whether I arrive in Johannesburg at 12pm or 5pm after a two-day drive is only relevant if I’d foolishly setup an important appointment on the day of my return. Whether I arrive at the office at 8:15am or 8:45am is largely irrelevant if I’m getting the work done. People in Johannesburg seem to forget this. Instead, they rush to overtake a chain of cars on a single lane road at 160kph to make up some precious seconds on a fourteen hour journey, endangering themselves, their families and the fellow road-users.
It’s ridiculous. There was no Tsunami chasing us. I checked. Johannesburg was still going to be in exactly the same geographical location that we left it. There really was no logical need for the vast majority of people to rush and get impatient and stressed out about returning home. Granted, I’m sure there were personal exceptions but even so, driving recklessly at speeds that aren’t always manageable isn’t a good idea. Rather leave early, either in the day or the week. Simple solution.
Anyway, that’s my rant. It needed to be said. We passed a few collisions and were freaked out by potential collisions near us and just want people to grow up a bit and be more responsible and relaxed in their travellings.
Élouise has a bit of a tradition involving the viewing of a favourite children’s animation on Christmas Day. The tradition has evolved to include any animation movie and, so, this year we thought we’d watch Finding Nemo. I own one of the DVD versions of this movie but since it is sitting up in Johannesburg we had to seek out a rental place in Simon’s Town.
The only place that was open by the time we tackled this particular task was a dispensing machine at one of the BP service stations. I’d not used the video rental vending machine before and I must say I’m rather impressed with its efficiency. All one needs is a credit card or vendor-specific movie card (which can be conveniently attained from the BP cashier) to rent a video as opposed to the copy of ID, proof of residence, and pint of blood needed to open an a account at a standard video rental place.
Aah, but I do digress. To cut short this tale, it turned out that the vending machine was not large enough to house titles beyond 2011 and instead of Finding Nemo, we went home with the suitable replacement, Disney/Pixar’s Brave, and a plentiful supply of snacks.
Thus began the night of discovery into the obsoleted-ness of the DVD.
Now I reckon I can attest to the fact that DVDs and Blu-Rays still have a strong and firm place in modern society. One has only to look around at the number of home entertainment systems on the market, the wide range of titles available in stores both online and irl, not forgetting the aforementioned vending rental unit which would only exist if the demand did. Our society still keeps this form of movie and series distribution a fairly lucrative prospect, I feel.
At least, that’s the case in South Africa. Perhaps, it’s a different reality in the States; I haven’t done the research.
Because, as it turns out, US-based software behemoth Microsoft has decided that it makes more sense to NOT include DVD / Blu-ray capabilities in their operating systems anymore!
I jumped on the Windows 8 bandwagon sometime in mid November. Maybe it’s saying a lot that I haven’t watched a DVD video since the upgrade. I have been rather busy work-wise and been gallivanting across the country for most of December so I do have some excuse.
Still, I never even fathomed that I would insert a DVD into my external drive and have no way to actually play it.
Some short Googling moments later, I learned the cold hard fact that Microsoft has determined that most new PCs and laptops coming out now are minus optical drives and, with the focus moving from disc media to streaming, there really isn’t any reason to pay the odd $2 per Windows copy for the licensing required to playback DVD and Blu-ray discs. Hence Windows 8 has absolutely no, none, nada support for DVD / Blu-ray playback. The built-in players will still read discs and even have the options to look for optical discs but will only read video files such as AVIs and WMVs.
Hope wasn’t entirely lost tho. According to the various articles, I could download Windows Media Centre for free (until January; it’s about $13 or so thereafter) or use the freely available VLC Player.
I would like to take a moment to point out that VLC is free software. That will play DVDs.
Microsoft is a billion dollar company. Windows 8 cost me R500 on the upgrade. It ships standard for around R2000. It DOESN’T play DVDs because of the licensing costs.
Think about that for a second.
Okay. Moving back to our little drama. It turned out that I can’t just download Media Centre. A key is required first. It’s still free but it will be only sent to me within the next
72 hours 2 weeks!
And VLC, which was already installed, kept crashing. Investigations revealed that VLC has an issue with the copy protection found on Disney discs. Brave was mentioned specifically in most of the forums.
By this time, the snacks were eaten and El had fallen asleep and movie viewing was still far from the horizon.
Eventually, I installed the trial of AnyDVD, an app that bypasses various copy protection methods as well as zone restrictions on DVDs, HD-DVDs and Blu-ray media. It’s quite a fantastic little utility if DVDs / Blu-rays are a prime source of entertainment on your PC.
Once this little app was running, Brave acted like a standard DVD and VLC could read it without crashing.
Needless to say, our Christmas movie watching became a Boxing Day activity instead. Brave was quite nice. Then again, I generally enjoy the Pixar fare.
Over the years, I’ve become accustomed to getting quiet and having the internal conversation with my knowing self and going “Wow! Why aren’t you the one controlling this body?”
Because, truth be told, my all-knowing self is really quite knowledgeable and pretty advanced for his age. It’s a wonder that he only shows up when I, the part of me that’s still floundering, requests some help. This could be what talking to God is like. Multiple personality order. Not a disorder. If I didn’t have that personality that I could approach as my guru, I swear my life would be far more chaotic than it already is.
I wonder if we all have this side of ourselves. I know a few friends who have admitted to being able to access this aspect within their own lives. Is this a natural talent of ours or something only a special few of us possess?
I’ve watched my Guru-Self grow and mature over the years as I have. He’s just always been ahead of my Regular-Everyday-Self. Always. Ten years ago, he would have been at the same level that my Everyday-Self is now. Which means we’re growing in tandem. How I interact with my life in 10 years would be how my Guru-Self is now. Something to look forward to.
Well, Windows 8 released toward the end of October. I finally got my copy shipped a week ago thanks to limited supplies. I’ve taken my time installing it simply because I wanted to make sure that there was absolutely no reason for me to go back.
Why, you may ask, have I not already determined whether I’m done with Windows 7, given that I actually now own a copy of Windows 8?
In a word, cost. The upgrade version cost me R500 if the order was placed before mid November. A new copy costs roughly R2000 depending on where you get it. No brainer.
Incidentally, I see that the upgrade price deadline has since shifted so that deal is still on if you’re still in the market.
I’ve been using a hybrid laptop / tablet computer for the last year and haven’t been fully able to realise that tablet feel since there hasn’t been a cross platform OS since Windows 8. Without sacrificing the processing power of the operating system, the new Windows adds a much needed (at least for me) touch friendly interface.
Having now installed Windows 8 and using for a few days, I can say that there’s really not much to getting used to it. At the moment, I’m still mostly dropping into the Desktop app and using my programs in much the same way that I was on Windows 7. The major change in the Desktop is the lack of a Start button. It is a bit jarring jumping back and forth to the Start screen when opening new programs but I’ll probably get used to that. Or install a third party menu system; there seem to be some quite good ones out there but I’ve yet to try any.
The standard Windows 8 apps (otherwise called Metro apps by most people) are fairly straightforward, integrating social networking and chat, checking the weather, news, gaming and allowing media playback. I’m still wading through the fare in the Windows store determining what else, if anything, I may want to install.
It will take time shifting over from Desktop mode to the Metro mode which is more touch friendly but lacks any sort of multiple windows that I’ve grown accustomed to in the Desktop. Also, app support is still behind some what. There are equivalent Metro apps for the various things I do on the Desktop but most of them lack the functionality. Windows 8′s aim is to simplify everything and most apps are following suit.
One commendable Metro App that I would like to mention is OneNote. Interesting this product is from Microsoft. It is an advanced piece of software that mimics paper-based note taking to the nth degree. It works fantastically using only touch while offering as much functionality with the keyboard and mouse active. I feel more Metro Apps should offer the advanced abilities that OneNote does.
So far so good with the new OS. I am loving the fact that my tablet PC finally has an OS to fully utilise its hybrid nature.
(This post is also on the official Afrikaburn Binnekring blog. Check it out here.)
I woke up in the middle of nowhere. The grey morning skies greeted me. While everything was still, a few people passed by me barely giving a glance. Music thumped from across the way, signifying last night’s party still going strong.
I crawled out of my sleeping bag and rolled it up. My mattress had been two bean bags pulled together. My bedroom had been the open desert. My backpack lay nearby sheltered by the bedoin of the group I had only met the day before.
Pulling out a bottle of water, I drank and splashed my face, before setting off in search of the nearest toilet. The make-shift loos were a few hundred metres away, outside of the ring that would be my home for the next week. I had no idea what the time was but it was early. Dawn. And, yet, people were alive, some early risers, some who hadn’t yet found their bed. I walked up to one woman stretching on a yoga mat and engaged in conversation.
People are so easy to talk to. I reminisce on last night, walking by myself in the darkness of the desert to the only party tent that was active. In the dark, I bumped into a girl. She smiled at me and said, “Hey!”
I “heyed” back, we slipped our arms into each others and skipped along, together, to the party, where we parted ways and, it turned out, did not again meet for the duration of the Burn.
The Burn. That’s what I have come to experience. A Burn in Africa. An Afrikaburn experience. In the middle of nowhere.
At the end of this week and several times during, I would wonder why it is that I’ve not known, not been aware, of this festival that has been regularly held six years running. Especially since so many of my friends have been attending for years, some of whom I did not even fathom that I’d bump into in the middle of the Karoo.
I have been here for a day and already I have traveled with total strangers, made new friends, danced my heart out, and duck dived in the rain. In a desert!
Now, on my way to the toilet, I chat to a girl doing yoga in the open. Later, I will, out in public, swap pants with another girl whose name I will not know. Later still, I will pose naked for photos, wearing only my camera/recorder strapped to my wrist. I will meet new people, party into the night, drink cherry brandy, sleep under stars, walk around without clothes on, randomly perform for passerbys, express my artistic side, and have a ball of a time.
I had no idea what to expect from Afrika Burn. I knew that we would be secluded in the desert. I’m a traveler, backpacker, and camper. I was relatively prepared to survive the elements. I had food and water, arranging friends to bring me stock since I travel light, I had my shock-proof, dust-proof, water-proof camera-phone on hand. My headlamp was charged and working. My tiny travel towels, emergency heat blanket and fold-away crockery were packed securely into my backpack. I was perfectly equipped.
I thought I would get bored just being out in the desert. I mean, I fell in love with the concept, reading the website, hearing what little I could glean from friends, but, seriously, what does one do for a week in the desert without ready electricity available?
I was to discover that so much happens. Too much to explore and experience in one week, that’s for sure.
The number of concept- and theme-tents, combined with the art works, the events, the amazing people that I was to engage in and with simply blew my mind. Even now as I write this, I struggle to put everything into a coherent linear line. There was just too much. Too much excitement, too much enjoyment, too much awesomeness.
I was told before heading to the Karoo that one cannot explain what Afrika Burn is. I concur. I could tell you that it’s a collection of people, 5000 strong, that are there to explore, collaborate and express. I could tell you that it’s a community of hippies and artists and performers and party-goers and adventurers who do not judge you, who are open to expression, who are there to have fun and be free. I could tell you that there are sculptures and live performances and art works and photos and food and amazing dresses and costumes and firedancing and so much more. I could tell you that it’s like a family camp-out with the most accepting, most fun, most creative family you could imagine.
But I cannot tell you how you will feel. I cannot tell you the experience of being there. I cannot tell you how much I long to return.
I long to dance in the cold rain that visited the desert. I long to duck dive in the puddles that surrounded our camp. I long to party through the night and well into the morning, dancing by myself because I lost my friends amid the darkness and phone-less-ness.
I long to relive the freedom. To meet new and interesting folk. To make life-long connections. To just stand in the middle of nowhere, naked as the day I was born, crying out to nobody and nothing that this is the happiest I have been in a long time.