Unsurprisingly after the festivities the night before we felt super rough when getting up. Thankfully not for long once getting our chocolate fix, alas, it wasn’t meant to last long as we had let our excitement (and my incorrect assumption that it would melt) turn to gluttony and ate twice what we should have. A not-so-smart move that lead to my throwing up in the ocean during the hours we spent bobbing around soon after. What turned out to be an all-day excursion that also lead to the not-so-fun experience of my being so burnt that I was to have water blisters all over my body within a day or two. That I saw coming, and made mention of, but let myself be all-too-easily swayed (shocker) when my part Syrian pals exclaimed that we should stick together. A good thought in general but there isn’t enough sunblock in the world for my kind of glow-in-the-dark.
Once finally heading back into the back entrance of the festival through a dirt walkway between the beach and rain forest that was lined with vendors, I grabbed some pineapple that was so sweet juicy that it soon made a welcomed mess all over me. They some veggie burgers that were destined to go uneaten, as I started to feel better but they weren’t quite there yet. Wandering off on my own to lay down in a drum circle underneath the huge tropical trees of deep green right in the heart of the festival, I continued to feel better and better until ready to head out for more food. Following the delicious aroma of grilling chicken among the local merchants on that path between the festival exit and beach, I squeezed onto a rickety old wooden bench table for that delicious meat, candied plantains and not-so-exciting white rice and black beans that seemed to come with just about everything (grumble). After filling my belly for the night, I made it to a fun and interactive self-affirming workshop (yay workshops!) that included, among other things, a circle of us participants holding hands and sharing about ourselves. From there I made a failed attempt at cleaning my smelly tent but found a different kind of sweet success soon after with a makeshift bucket shower that proved to provide more than a few nods and raised eyebrows of longing approval from the fellow festies who took notice. For those of you unfamiliar, the ability to cool off and freshen up in that kind of world is a form of hippy ecstasy.
Hobbling around thanks to bare feet I hadn’t realized were no longer calloused enough for an un-souled romp, I shared distracted smiled with those I passed while we tried to navigate our way around the muddy paths and I hunted for more workshops as well as exploring the yoga neighborhood closer to the main entrance (the main camping area we were in was closer to the middle). Returning to camp around 9 PM V was already asleep in her tent and the fellas planted on a make-shift area of a tarp hangout area between our tents. Joining them for only an hour or so of conversation, it didn’t take long for the rest of us soon followed suit.
Surprised to actually get a wee bit of sleep despite constantly waking up from the stifling smell of mold, a stinging sunburn and to change positions on the hard sodden ground only separated by the thin material of the tent, I woke up around 7 AM when the sun began to blaze down. After quickly rinsing off in the same manner as the evening before, I took off before my compadres had awoken with the need to hit the port-a-potties (I had lost my Go Girl at the SF Woman’s March) and to find some breakfast. After a quick stop back at the tent, to which I found the crew had already gone, I headed back to the yoga neighborhood to spread the communal white clay mud mask that I had noticed the day before over my entire sunburned body (with help from other participants) and then headed out to the ocean for a super quick rinse off (get away from me sun!) and some food. Determined to get some yoga in, I made my way right back to that neighborhood for vinyasa, though I only made it half way through the hour and a half. If those people are really partying, camping, getting no sleep and still managing to contort for hours…I’m convinced they’re yoga aliens. The way I participated the second half was a corpse pose next door in a camp that had been set up for such with its large trees, pillows, outdoor beds and different types of hammocks. Take that, yoga aliens.
Finally managing to find V & P when roaming back toward our camp, the day continued with hanging in that main area where I had been enjoying the drum circle the day before. An afternoon that included the amusement of being about twenty feet from famous life coach and internet comedian, JP Sears, who we had actually first spotted the day before on the beach. An entertaining and unexpected sighting to which V had encouraged my going to say hi and take a picture with for all of you. Alas, considering how much I assumed he was likely to already be being bombarded, I didn’t want to bother him. So instead I have these couple pictures of him from a few feet away that he was unaware of. A lot less invasive and creepy, right?
Even without chatting him up, just the idea that he was there and the memories of his funny videos added a positivity to the festival that was to stick with me throughout the rest of the festival.
After what had become our routine early evening hang in our own little center-camp we wandered around for an hour to check out art and cool camps and then proved ourselves to once again opt out of the joining the all-nigher crowd after an hour of separating to do our own thing before bed. Me wandering off with one of the boys to check out a really cool stage with fire dancers.
The next day started out as a repeat of experiences with another clay body mask on my crazy sunburn, quick dip in the ocean, empanadas that reminded me of American tamales, delicious meat skewers (my fave) and succulent pineapple. A couple new welcomed additions to the palate were a Coke (something I only like when hung over or in hot and humid conditions) and a heavenly double scoop of vegan coffee ice cream. The best ice cream I believed in the moment that I had ever tasted, though I chuckled at the idea that it was probably more the environment than anything.
Noting a few days in that I had gotten better at dealing with a constant state of being worn out and sleep deprived (something that comes from being a traveler, burner and recovering insomniac) I brought the thought from the back of my mind to the front about needing to start enjoying that festival more for its positives before I missed it. To that point I had seen more fault in it than good thanks to the unfortunate circumstance of feeling mislead by the admin of the festival when reaching out before buying my ticket to ensure there would be a variety of music (not just EDM, techno, etc), something that had proven to be false (minus Xavier Rudd), commercialism I wasn’t used to and the inevitable disappointment of the love and community of Burning Man being impossible to parallel. It made it hard to not be let down, though I could still see that it would have been amazing to me if I didn’t have those things blocking me. It was on the beach in the rain forest in Costa Rica for God sake. It was time I started appreciating it.
I actually did start recognizing the beauty and enjoyment of it more from there. Ironically, though, the wear of the weekend was starting to seep into our little group with disconnects such as when P once again insisted we stick together when I flat-out said I didn’t want to go on a trip the liquor store. An outing that caused us to unknowingly miss Xavier’s first performance. Something I was super bummed to find out about the next day considering that he had been the one musician I was into there. More than that because the performance had turned into the experience I had been most looking for when the spellbinding show had lead the people watching to join hands in a circle, singing his songs while he played. Magic.
“Woke up” the next morning (maybe slept an hour) to a friend climbing out of her tent understandably confused and hysterical about her boyfriend waking her up in the middle of the night livid and breaking up with her about a less-than-sober misunderstanding regarding a conversation the night before that had lead to his believing there was a conspiracy against him. Trying to comfort and help them work it out on and off throughout the day based on insight-though-experience that included guidance about how the situation was not real/due to intoxicants, exhaustion and over-stimulation, along with how they would think the situation silly later (but to be careful because the way they came at each other is what would last), I juggled it with my own financial frustration of only having a few bucks of available money left thanks to the fraud that had been flagged in my account right before I had flown out. Something I was to find out later was thanks to an error on UBER’s part. Not even a little surprising.
After paying $24 for a simple breakfast for that bud I had been walking around trying to talk down for an hour, $60 for an Airbnb to go to that night (once shit hit the fan and I had decided to leave early to support my gal pal) and $60 I had Venmoed to V toward the party a few days before, I was sweating it. The total amount was quite a bit more than my poor-ass would have spent on my own and well above what I had budgeted. Friendship sure can be expensive. Especially when you’re living like a twenty year old pauper while all your friends are living like real adults. Pick-pocketing, fraud, pick your poison. I always manage to find the hot mess when it comes to finances, regardless of whether it’s my fault of not.
It was a crazy day and I was bummed about leaving the festival a day early, especially once finding out that I would be missing Xavier Rudd AGAIN, but soon started to have the best day of the event when running into my long-time bud, Clif. Giving him shit right away about being there on his own and not for my b-day when I had invited him, we soon continued as if we had come together, the other bud taking off after a chuckle when hearing Clif’s nickname for me of Slobinon Malotsatits. I headed off on my own not too long later to make it to that same sound meditation workshop that had been my first great experience of the festival. It being too hot, and me too sunburned, to enjoy it the same as I had before, I soon found my way back to Clif. Once meeting up again, we went to a didgeridoo workshop where he introduced me to a cool musician and fellow local of Ocean Beach (from back home in San Diego) that he had met earlier in the festival. Very cool.
Probably not the best workshop for my fat burned lips but great fun and an awesome grand finale before packing up and heading out with a quick and chaotic goodbye to my Envision experience.
Packing up and surviving our bud fighting to stay awake at the wheel, we made it to the Airbnb a few hours later. Our time at the festival was over and soon the next leg of my Costa Rican adventure about to begin. Well, after the next unexpected 24 that was about to take place…