our tale begins wednesday night 8/27, on the playa:
I, along with two girls from my camp, hijacked an art car. not in the box cutter way. more like the driver had fallen asleep and we took liberties with his art car. to and fro about the playa we motorcarred. when we stopped to cuddle in the back
cut to saturday night 8/23, reno (note the chronological disorder):
as any good beat poet will tell you, all roadtrips have rest stops. just like every cowboy sings a sad sad song. reno was that sad sad song on our way to burning man. motel 6, to be exact. unbeknownst to me at the time, our small roadtripping party was graced by divine communication from the goddess aphrodite. said goddess left a note on one of our expedition's cars thanks to the maui plates gracing its stern. the goddess aphrodite wrote that she's from maui, how cool that we're from maui and going to burning man, and her maui phone number.
cut to thursday night 8/28, on the plays:
those same two girls from our camp (from wednesday night) run into this goddess again and have a romping fairy adventure. I wasn't present so I am unable to testify.
cut to friday morningish 8/29, at our camp:
our two girls recount last night's romping fairy adventure. one described stepping out of the playa and into a foresty enchanted area. she described running and laughing and flitting about the midsummernight's dreamish forest with the fairy pricesses - lead by none other than the fairy goddess aphrodite. she described her evening in such a way that made another in our party unsure as to whether the goddess aphrodite had been a real person or mystical like the forest.
cut to saturday 8/30, at our camp:
a conversation about hawaii came up and the proprietor of the note-graced car mentions that his car has maui plates, mentions the note, and mentions the goddess aphrodite's calling card. the two girls and I exclaim that we met that self-same goddess. "so aphrodite was a real person, and not mystical like the forest?" came the revelation...
cut to a few days ago, maui:
I'm sitting in my rental car. I'd just deplaned. I don't know anybody on this island. I have no hotel reservations. I haven't the foggiest what I'll be doing or where I'll be sleeping for the next few days. but here I am. rock you like Q hurricane.
as my first act on maui, I prayed.
I stretched out with my feelings and called out with my cell phone to the goddess aphrodite. as she answers, my exact words are "aphrodite? we met at burning man. what are you doing for lunch?" recognition and confusion shine through the brief silence that is her response. it's clear that my words aren't as foreign to her as they would be to a wrong number. though it's also clear, before she utters a syllable, that while she is not the goddess we're looking for, she knows what's up.
ummmm I'm not aphrodite.
ok. what's your name?
whatchoo talkin' bout, willis? isis is a sweaty-toothed madman. your teeth don't sound sweaty and you may be mad, but you're not a man, baby.
who is this?
my name is dan. you left a note on my friend's car on the way to burning man because of his maui plates. you and I spent some time on the playa on a hijacked art car with a bathtub?
oh - you mean amanda.
amanda's on first, aphrodite's on second, you're on third... where does that leave the sweaty-toothed madman?
amanda is aphrodite. the old guy she was with at burning man is named IRIS, my name is ISIS. amanda left that note on your car, but left my phone number because she had no phone.
and it's pure coincidence that I mistook iris's name for your name and now am on the phone with you?
ok... what are you doing for lunch?
I'm in los angeles.
are you telling me that I got a note with your phone number in nevada from someone else, travelled from LA to maui, called you - the wrong person, and instead of going to lunch with me in maui, you're in LA?
yes. want amanda's phone number?
I figured that with that kind of buildup, how could anything other than magic transpire when I place my next phone call.
I left a message.
so that's that. since I don't know anybody else on the island. I hit costco, mostly expecting to not find my soulmate. I scored sunscreen, water and life sustaining clif bars, and no soulmate. sans soulmate, I'm off to little beach. some maui expatriot friends (one of whom owns the car with the note) told me about this beach where you meet cool people and do cool stuff. but there's no food or water. stocked up like a boyscout, I drive for a bit and find said beach.
which leads us to our first set of photos... these are the people I met during this hawaiin journey.
the first picture there is anya. she's the first little beach person I met. I walked up to her and asked if she's the cool burning man people I'm supposed to meet here. again, the confused but familiar silence. before I even noticed the burning man necklace around her neck, I was taking her email address and promising to send her info about the joshua tree didgeridoo festival.
perhaps you cannot really tell the beauty of this place from my picture with anya. you can kind of see it in the background. which leads me to our second set of photos: the natural beauty
that first beach picture is overlooking big beach from the cliffish area between big beach and little beach. the second is the second star at which you turn right before flying straight on until morning. it's the hollow tree in sherwood forest. it's the knot in the dead tree which leads to the pit of despair. the quasisecret hidden entrance to little beach.
while I was talking with anya, a guy porting a fire staff walks by. mental note to talk with that guy.
after taking my leave of anya, I talk to the fire staff guy, who tells me...
today is saturday. normally, sunday night is the night for little beach. it's when the big drum circle does its circle of life. it's when the fire dancers do our little dance. but ryan the fire staffer says that he and some friends are going to be doing that fire spinning thing here tonight. taking some photos. have I come home or what?
I fritter the day away, talking to people, spinning things, body surfing, taking it all in. bit of a corona commercial, that spot. when apollo's chariot approaches the end of its journey, I snap that third picture in the natural beauty set.
also around sundown, I meet ryan's crew... him, his pretty girlfriend, a blond guy, a pretty long haired hippie girl, another blonde guy, a pretty girl with strikingly beautiful eyes - her eye is the eye in the people photoset, and a pretty dreded blonde fire spinner. the long haired hippie girl, nicole, is going to take publicity photos of the dred pirate, christy. I politely get permission from the initially reluctant christy to let me take photos of her as well.
which leads us to our third photo set... fire.
the first fire picture there is what I produced during christy's brief set. christy is starting up a fire troupe and wanted photos to go on a logo, or business cards or a website or something. I felt pretty cool for having produced something that I'd call business card worthy in such a few scant minutes.
after a couple of spins, everyone leaves. the sun is down, it's not sunday night, everyone is taking off. not just everyone out with whom I'd been hanging. I'm talking piedmont, arizona after the andromeda strain satellite hits. little beach's population depopulated like amity island's beaches in 1975. this turn of events is kind of contrary to my plan. I'd planned on staying on the beach with whoever else was staying on the beach and probably sleeping there. well that someone else was noone else. so I was off to look for kicks.
I went to starbucks to figure it out. while figuring out plans for the evening, I strike up a conversation with the two swedish girls pictured in the third photo in the people set. you may find yourself wondering how the one korean girl in that photo is two swedish girls. bad aim is how. if you look closely, you can see a sliver of one swedish girl on the right hand side of that photo. and the korean girl was adopted by swedish parents at 6 months old. as swedish as swedish can be. we quested after dinner for hours and fought off the sleazy scuba instructor who takes boring pictures of fabulous events.
when it was time to part company, I brailled my way to la perouse bay for the night. I was told that at dawn, there are often dolphins there for your swimming pleasure. I found my way there, parked my car, and went to sleep. though I reveilled around dawn (fourth picture in the natural beauty set), I couldn't find anywhere to get in the water. though I put in the effort to be there at dawn, no dolphins for me.
after that failed attempt, I went back to little beach and spent the entire day there. talked to all sorts of people about all sorts of stuff. tooks naps, gave away trail mix, clif bars, raisins, water. met some flag spinners and played with what they had. just before sundown, I called the goddess aphrodite and left her a message that we're about to be spinning fire on little beach.
sunday night is the night.
everybody knows it. you can feel it. someone started a fire in the sand. people gather up. some chant, some wear crazy clothes, I had my face painted (first picture in the misc section immedately after this paragraph), some bang drums, some of us do fire. just about everyone is contributing in some participatory way. it had a very familliar air about it.
I took my turns, I watched others, I helped some, I photographed others. I impressed some people by asking permission before taking their photo. I ended up seeing some different styles, some different tools, some amazing performers and catching those other two photos in the fire section.
after hours of drumming and spinning, I met aubry. she's the hippie pictured lighting her cigarette in the fourth picture in the people section. aubry told me about magic, mayan calendars, costa rica, ancient peoples, and her travels. turns out that on the mayan calendar, I'm a White Solar Dog. she offered me a place to crash. I offered her dinner. during dinner, we talked about her knowing my fire spinning, man burning, LA based prometheatrics crew. I called them and she left heartfelt messages.
also during dinner, I received a phone call. ready?
dan - this is amanda.
the goddess aphrodite?
yes. I just figured it out.
figured what out?
that you're that guy whose car we left a note on.
that you're that guy who I met mercedes and daniella with
that you're the dan I met on the beach yesterday.
the goddess aphrodite is none other than the pretty girl with the strikingly beautiful eye. how's that for coincidence? it gets better? after a brief chat and a promise to attempt to get together tomorrow, I excuse myself to rejoin my not-yet-impatient dinner companion. unfortunately, the goddess aphrodite said that she likely had plans all day tomorrow and that though she'd try to get together with me, it was likely not to be.
after dinner, we headed back to the hippie commune upon which aubry lives and works. after eating a homegrown 100% organic banana, sleeping in a not enclosed structure in the jungle, donating a bunch of water, clif bars and naptha to the hippie commune, and seeing an armada of large spiders, I take my leave of aubry and the hippies.
again, I am without plan. upon earlier advice, my vague plan was to hit paia for some crepes and then back to little beach for more hanging out before before my flight at like 8ish. after having lain dormant and out of service in hipperitaville, my phone sprang back to life, once on the road, to tell me that I've got mail.
divine communication from the goddess aphrodite... contrary to her prior prediction of preoccupation, she's free. not only free, but having lunch with her friend colleen in haiku just a few minutes from the time that I got that message. not 10 seconds after hanging up, I see a sign on the road that says haiku - 2 miles to the left. scratch that paia plan. I bust a left.
after a couple of miles of driving toward haiku, I arrive at an intersection, pull in and prepare to hunt for the goddess aphrodite and colleen. after just a bit of walking around, I spot colleen's cafe. I guess that there's no colleen with whom the goddess aphrodite is having lunch. what do you expect? communication from gods is most often somewhat interpretive. I greet said goddess and her whole crew and hang out the rest of the day with them before parting for my flight home. with all the pictures I took of everyone else, and the whole eye thing, I am sorry to say that I forgot to take a full picture of her. all I got was a slightly bigger eyes shot.
in the airport, I snapped the second misc picture and the last picture in "who I met." that's heather - with whom I shared travel back to LA.
after getting home, I made two new discoveries which will end my story.
cut to about a month ago - parking lot of a restaurant in the thai ghetto of hollywood:
I'd just finished dining. my friends were lollygagging in the restaurant. I adjourn to the parking lot and start poi'ing to keep occupied and warm. aside from upsetting the valet with my antics, I attracted a pretty girl named charity. she told me she'd learned to spin in costa rica, but lost her chains before having the chance to light them on fire. we talked a bit, we exchanced numbers. unfortunately, she lives in the 949.
cut to a few days ago - on the phone:
I'm going to a concert in the 949 and call to invite charity. in the course of talking, I told her of this hawaiin trip I'd just taken and told her of some of my fire experience. she asked who I knew of the fire crew of maui. an odd request, in my mind. so I reeled off the above fire dancers as well as a few more. as it turns out, it was hippie aubry who taught charity poi in costa rica. are you like whoa yet? I was like whoa a long time ago.
and finally, the end of this story...
I realized the day after I got back that I had, in fact, been bitten by mosquitos. or sand fleas, or spiders, or something with more legs than me. though I hadn't felt it during the trip, once I returned, I noticed that I'd been eaten full force. this tale, starting with burning man, ends with my end itching like the devil: