Monthly Archives: September 2012

Vancouver!!

Reporting in from Vancouver, Canada. I love this city! How does one city have mountains AND the sea AND, well, a city?

Lady Luck was with me for finding a bus all the way from Seattle to Vancouver for 10 dollars. She mysteriously left my side when it came to actually finding that bus. I’d bought a ticket for last Wednesday morning and left the house with plenty of time to spare. Now, as tempting, interesting and desirable as it may sound, getting lost in the Suburbs of north Seattle is not all its cracked up to be. Seattle is actually a very good example of what happens when team work fails epically. Apparently 3 guys were put in charge of the street grid of the city. All of these respectable gentlemen had their own ideas as to how the grid should look, and, instead of taking the burden of democracy, they decided to use ALL of the ideas. Their creativity may have had no boundaries considering the original grid, it was completely burnt out when it came down to inventing street names. This leads to a street system that has a 5th Avenue N, a 5th Avenue NE, and a 5th Avenue W.

All of this caused me to miss my first bus. I caught the following one up to Vancouver, where the first thing I saw was a guy get hit by a bus and die. And no, I am not making this up. Apparently it was on the news that night and everything!

All the same Vancouver immediately felt comfortable and friendly. I am staying with some people I met at Pacific Fire in their juggling studio. Its a beautiful space full of motivation and energy! From here I’ve been exploring the city. I spent an awesomely fun weekend with Brian, who came up here for a few days. Went running around 2 forest/park things, found Vancouver’s hippies at their annual Earth Dance, spent more than an hour building little leaf playground for a caterpillar we found, went to a really good juggling show… it just goes on and on. I don’t even want to leave at all, and Ive been here for a week now. I’m comfortable, with awesome people to hang out with and in a great city. Next stop: Calgary… but not YET! Right now its Juggle Jam time at Sideshow Studios!

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Up and up further up north

Up and up and up north I go! Burning Man was followed by the incredible Lake Tahoe Flow arts Festival. I fell asleep on the way from Reno to Tahoe, fell asleep in the desert and woke up here:

It felt like some kind of oasis. Just over those mountains was the desert, and here was this crystal clear lake with enough water in it to fill the entire state of California with a foot of water. Freezing old water. But I don’t think swimming ever felt better than right then, in the sunset, washing a 5 cm thick caked layer of dust off. The next days were filled with workshops and spinning fire in one of the most lush, beautiful locations imaginable.

The second consecutive festival didn’t do much for my sleep deprivation. On the way back to San Francisco I fell asleep curled up on a tiny seat, so painfully tired I didnt notice how uncomfortable I must have been. The first day back in the city was spent regenerating some energy. I was lucky enough to have met a San Franciscoian traveler in Berlin a couple of months earlier, who invited me to stay on his couch. This was great. Not only are he and his room mates awsome, fun people, but their apartment is rigged with interactive LEDs and is located in a very nice central neighborhood! So I had a great time exploring from there and relaxing. The City of hippies, sea lions and this supposedly golden (but actually red) Bridge. What can I say. Arf arf aaarf arfarfarf Arf. I love sea lions. They just chill there, in the sun and enjoy all the fish in they bay, going “arf aarf arf” all day long! Next stop Arcata for one night on the way to the next festival: Pacific Fire Gathering.

If Lake Tahoe was an awesome location, I cant even say what PFG was. A boyscout reservation sure enough (It said on the flyer: “no alcohol except if you disguise it”. I appreciate the authors realism). We were out of reception, in the middle of nowhere in the forest of the Oregon Coast. It was giant. You could camp wherever you wanted so it was up to you whether to be close to the action or all by yourself with kilometers of nothing surrounding you. Being the first fire specific festival Ive ever been to, I’d never seen a fire space that big or technically proficient! Just wow! With no problem whatsoever would I have stayed there another week!

Last festival on the schedule. Thats a sad thought to me. I felt like the fire community and the knowledge I would be going back to it gave me a lot of stability when traveling alone. Right now I don’t know there will be a familiar face around until I hit Montreal. At the other end of this continent.

Internet Cafe in Seattle right now. I didnt know I was going to Seattle until yesterday. Then I was offered a ride, and it was the right direction… so why not? Got a rough look around today, maybe explore again tomorrow- then onwards to Vancouver.

Love

Lisa

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Burning Man Madness

Internet Cafe in San Francisco with some of the most annoying music Ive heard in a long time. Cheesy vocal harmonics torturing my ears. I suppose Ive just never really gotten the hang of relaxing to pseudo-oriental meditation music without feeling remotely aggressive.

It feels like quite a while that Ive been out of civilization and its been incredibly intense! Burning Man just blew all expectations I might have had about it straight out of the water. I don’t even know how to begin to describe it. First of all, yes its a festival in a desert… including all the issues that come with that: dust storms, alkaline dust eating your feet and lips (nom!), hot days and freezing nights and so on.

To say what its all about is harder. I expect every one of the 60 thousand people had a completely different experience of it. Best description I can come up with is that its an absolutely huge (about the size of Tempelhofer Feld) playground with masses of interactive art, random sculptures, LED lights, Flame throwers, and participating people.

A giant pier and shipwreck were constructed in so much detail and intricacy that standing on it yo could feel the waves. Around it a water was projected onto the desert floor.

An insignificant looking dome structure standing all by itself housed an incredible LED display that reacted to the sound around it. You could just lay there for hours yelling random things at it. One guy kept calling and singing his brothers name. It would interest me to know what exactly he was on!

One of my all-time favorite pieces was an art car with a 4-5m high movable octopus made of recycled cans. Each arm had an individually controlled flame thrower integrated. Wherever it went, a giant party followed, and it was visible from anywhere on the middle field called the Playa.

This inner circle of sculptures and artwork was surrounded by thousands of theme camps where you could go to do anything from eating ice cream, over playing giant Jenga or Legos, to making T-shirts or coins, and other more obscure activities. There was a surprising amount of spanking booths!

Getting lost is basically the first prerequisite to adventuring around at Burning Man. Wherever you go there are friendly people to meet, things to do and to see…Between floating around all day and spinning fire most of the nights, sleep seemed to loose its sense of urgency- at least until my body started showing serious signs of serious exertion around the 6th day. But even then I didn’t want to miss a moment.

The night the man burned to was a little windy. Windy enough for there to be little fire tornadoes that blew towards the audience. That was my side. But instead of fleeing along with most of the crowd a guy and me ran straight towards it, pelted by flying glowing pieces of wood. We stopped where the first row had been and enjoyed the show. I don’t think Iv e ever seen anything burn to the ground. Its quite an interesting sight!

I can honestly say I saw only a tiny portion of things that were there but even that tiny portion completely overwhelmed me. It was just so unlike anything Ive ever experienced before, its very hard to describe satisfactorily.

Thanks to all the people that spend so much time making it happen and thanks to all the amazing people I met there, those that I already knew and those that I know now!

Wow… long post. Hope I’m not pushing my luck here! After Burning Man I headed to the Lake Tahoe flow arts festival. Photos will follow as soon as I get them sorted out!

Love

Lisa

PS: I much appreciate the spamming! keep it coming!

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