I just spent 4 days at Burning Man and here are the craziest things I saw

Burning Man
Nearly 70,000 people attended this year’s Burning Man. Aly Weisman/Business Insider

I just spent four days with an estimated 70,000 people at Burning Man in the Black Rock Desert  —  a remote and desolate part of Nevada.

There is no power grid and no running water, yet during this week Black Rock City emerges out of the dust to become the 10th largest city in Nevada. Despite reports that the festival is losing its edge as wealthy tech titans like Elon Musk, Sergey Brin, and Mark Zuckerberg erect fancy luxury camps, I can report that this year’s festival was as wild as ever.

Much like when I first attended two years ago, I saw plenty of nudity, free hugs and massages, attractions like human petting zoos, dozens of weddings and memorial ceremonies, world class DJs playing on Vegas-style sound systems at all hours of the day and night, buses and tractors turned into party yachts, fire-breathing dragons and other outrageous “art cars,” people climbing on giant art installations, and generous offerings of food and alcohol to strangers.

This year also saw unseasonably bad dust storms and freezing temperatures, but that didn’t stop nearly 70,000 attendees from having the time of their lives.

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[slide
permalink=”/#many-journeys-to-burning-man-start-in-reno-nevada-where-groups-meet-to-pick-up-vehicles-and-friends-1″
title=”Many journeys to Burning Man start in Reno, Nevada, where groups meet to pick up vehicles and friends.”
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permalink=”/#but-burning-man-officially-begins-three-hours-from-reno-at-the-gates-of-black-rock-city-where-vehicles-wait-in-lines-of-traffic-before-they-can-be-admitted-2″
title=”But Burning Man officially begins three hours from Reno at the gates of Black Rock City, where vehicles wait in lines of traffic before they can be admitted.”
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[slide
permalink=”/#each-car-is-searched-by-a-burning-man-organizer-to-make-sure-you-arent-sneaking-anyone-in-while-your-car-is-searched-everyone-inside-must-wait-outside-and-get-their-tickets-scanned-3″
title=”Each car is searched by a Burning Man organiser to make sure you aren’t sneaking anyone in. While your car is searched, everyone inside must wait outside and get their tickets scanned.”
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image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/55ef1346bd86ef18008b8bd6/image.jpg”
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[slide
permalink=”/#once-you-reach-the-entrance–which-can-take-anywhere-from-10-minutes-to-10-hours-depending-on-weather-and-traffic–burn-virgins-are-hugged-by-a-nude-welcoming-committee-4″
title=”Once you reach the entrance — which can take anywhere from 10 minutes to 10 hours depending on weather and traffic — burn ‘virgins’ are hugged by a nude welcoming committee.”
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image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/55ef24539dd7cc0f008b8ca6/image.jpg”
source=”Aly Weisman/Business Insider”
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[slide
permalink=”/#burning-man-virgins-must-then-roll-around-in-the-desert-dust-5″
title=”Burning Man virgins must then roll around in the desert dust.”
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image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/55ef1348bd86ef0e008b8b5d/image.jpg”
source=”Aly Weisman/Business Insider”
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[slide
permalink=”/#first-everyone-has-to-find-their-camp-the-community-in-which-they-will-live-for-the-coming-days-camps-can-be-anything-from-a-group-of-fancy-rvs-to-a-tricked-out-old-school-bus-6″
title=”First everyone has to find their camp, the community in which they will live for the coming days. Camps can be anything from a group of fancy RVs to a tricked out old school bus.”
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image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/55ef1354bd86ef21008b8b45/image.jpg”
source=”Aly Weisman/Business Insider”
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[slide
permalink=”/#this-camp-identified-themselves-as-voodoo-soup-7″
title=”This camp identified themselves as ‘Voodoo Soup.'”
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source=”Aly Weisman/Business Insider”
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[slide
permalink=”/#then-its-time-to-grab-a-bike–the-main-mode-of-transportation-around-the-miles-long-desert-land-8″
title=”Then it’s time to grab a bike — the main mode of transportation around the miles-long desert land.”
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image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/55ef4a06bd86ef17008b8da4/image.jpg”
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[slide
permalink=”/#everyone-decorates-their-bike-so-you-dont-take-someone-elses-by-accident-9″
title=”Everyone decorates their bike so you don’t take someone else’s by accident.”
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image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/55ef134cbd86ef0f008b8bd2/image.jpg”
source=”Aly Weisman/Business Insider”
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[slide
permalink=”/#some-people-get-really-creative-with-their-transportation-10″
title=”Some people get really creative with their transportation.”
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source=”Aly Weisman/Business Insider”
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[slide
permalink=”/#other-bikes-take-skill-to-ride-11″
title=”Other bikes take skill to ride.”
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image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/55ef136fbd86ef17008b8beb/image.jpg”
source=”Aly Weisman/Business Insider”
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[slide
permalink=”/#these-bikes-with-umbrellas-were-functional-to-keep-the-sun-off-riders-backs-12″
title=”These bikes with umbrellas were functional to keep the sun off riders’ backs.”
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image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/55ef1361bd86ef1f008b8b9d/image.jpg”
source=”Aly Weisman/Business Insider”
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[slide
permalink=”/#some-people-let-a-segway-do-the-work-for-them-13″
title=”Some people let a Segway do the work for them.”
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image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/55ef135bbd86ef18008b8bd9/image.jpg”
source=”Aly Weisman/Business Insider”
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[slide
permalink=”/#once-youve-got-your-wheels-its-time-to-explore-14″
title=”Once you’ve got your wheels, it’s time to explore.”
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image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/55ef1367bd86ef18008b8bda/image.jpg”
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[slide
permalink=”/#i-came-across-this-bar-that-required-you-wear-stilts-to-have-a-drink-15″
title=”I came across this bar that required you wear stilts to have a drink.”
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image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/55ef1348bd86ef1e008b8ba0/image.jpg”
source=”Aly Weisman/Business Insider”
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[slide
permalink=”/#there-was-a-potato-sack-race-in-the-middle-of-the-road-16″
title=”There was a potato sack race in the middle of the road.”
content=””
image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/55ef1348bd86ef16008b8b9d/image.jpg”
source=”Aly Weisman/Business Insider”
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[slide
permalink=”/#and-human-hungry-hungry-hippos-in-which-you-laid-on-a-skateboard-and-caught-as-many-balls-as-you-could-in-an-upside-down-storage-bin-17″
title=”And human Hungry, Hungry Hippos, in which you laid on a skateboard and caught as many balls as you could in an upside down storage bin.”
content=””
image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/55ef1348bd86ef10008b8b5d/image.jpg”
source=”Aly Weisman/Business Insider”
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[slide
permalink=”/#this-contraption-swung-people-upside-down-and-all-around-18″
title=”This contraption swung people upside down and all around.”
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image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/55ef1348bd86ef1c008b8b16/image.jpg”
source=”Aly Weisman/Business Insider”
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[slide
permalink=”/#this-truck-served-as-a-book-store-on-wheels-19″
title=”This truck served as a book store on wheels.”
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image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/55ef135abd86ef13008b8c02/image.jpg”
source=”Aly Weisman/Business Insider”
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[slide
permalink=”/#except-all-of-the-books-inside-were-free-as-burning-man-operates-as-a-gifting-society-20″
title=”Except all of the books inside were free, as Burning Man operates as a gifting society.”
content=””
image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/55ef135bbd86ef19008b8b65/image.jpg”
source=”Aly Weisman/Business Insider”
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]
[slide
permalink=”/#inside-center-camp-a-main-hub-where-coffee-is-served-i-found-a-man-giving-free-massages-21″
title=”Inside Center Camp, a main hub where coffee is served, I found a man giving free massages.”
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image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/55ef1357bd86ef17008b8be8/image.jpg”
source=”Aly Weisman/Business Insider”
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[slide
permalink=”/#and-people-doing-acrobatic-yoga-22″
title=”And people doing acrobatic yoga.”
content=””
image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/55ef1357bd86ef1e008b8ba3/image.jpg”
source=”Aly Weisman/Business Insider”
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]
[slide
permalink=”/#another-camp-offered-a-peep-show-shower-running-water-can-be-hard-to-come-by-23″
title=”Another camp offered a ‘Peep Show Shower.’ Running water can be hard to come by.”
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image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/55ef1369bd86ef1e008b8ba5/image.jpg”
source=”Aly Weisman/Business Insider”
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[slide
permalink=”/#inside-a-nondescript-white-tent-i-found-a-saloon-that-was-making-fresh-smoothies-24″
title=”Inside a nondescript white tent I found a saloon that was making fresh smoothies.”
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image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/55ef1369bd86ef0e008b8b62/image.jpg”
source=”Aly Weisman/Business Insider”
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[slide
permalink=”/#there-was-a-human-petting-zoo-25″
title=”There was a human petting zoo.”
content=””
image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/55ef136ebd86ef18008b8bdb/image.jpg”
source=”Aly Weisman/Business Insider”
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[slide
permalink=”/#plenty-of-free-hugs-26″
title=”Plenty of free hugs.”
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image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/55ef1350bd86ef10008b8b5e/image.jpg”
source=”Aly Weisman/Business Insider”
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[slide
permalink=”/#and-freaky-art-in-the-middle-of-the-road-27″
title=”And freaky art in the middle of the road.”
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image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/55ef1366bd86ef1a008b8b96/image.jpg”
source=”Aly Weisman/Business Insider”
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[slide
permalink=”/#this-temple-was-erected-to-honor-the-dead-28″
title=”This temple was erected to honour the dead.”
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image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/55ef1353bd86ef11008b8b49/image.jpg”
source=”Aly Weisman/Business Insider”
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[slide
permalink=”/#inside-people-posted-photos-and-memorabilia-of-lost-loved-ones-29″
title=”Inside, people posted photos and memorabilia of lost loved ones.”
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image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/55ef1350bd86ef1d008b8b5a/image.jpg”
source=”Aly Weisman/Business Insider”
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[slide
permalink=”/#outside-i-witnessed-a-wedding-take-place-complete-with-bagpipes-on-sunday-the-temple-was-burned-to-the-ground-like-many-of-the-other-art-pieces-30″
title=”Outside, I witnessed a wedding take place, complete with bagpipes. On Sunday, the temple was burned to the ground like many of the other art pieces.”
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image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/55ef1351bd86ef15008b8abd/image.jpg”
source=”Aly Weisman/Business Insider”
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[slide
permalink=”/#people-climb-all-over-giant-art-installations-randomly-placed-throughout-the-desert-31″
title=”People climb all over giant art installations randomly placed throughout the desert.”
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image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/55ef135dbd86ef1d008b8b5c/image.jpg”
source=”Aly Weisman/Business Insider”
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[slide
permalink=”/#this-woman-climbed-all-the-way-to-the-top-in-giant-heels-and-wings-32″
title=”This woman climbed all the way to the top in giant heels and wings.”
content=””
image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/55ef1360bd86ef12008b8b88/image.jpg”
source=”Aly Weisman/Business Insider”
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[slide
permalink=”/#others-did-yoga-poses-33″
title=”Others did yoga poses.”
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image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/55ef135ebd86ef17008b8be9/image.jpg”
source=”Aly Weisman/Business Insider”
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[slide
permalink=”/#or-used-the-art-for-a-great-group-photo-34″
title=”Or used the art for a great group photo.”
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image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/55ef135fbd86ef21008b8b46/image.jpg”
source=”Aly Weisman/Business Insider”
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[slide
permalink=”/#the-art-was-just-begging-to-be-used-for-a-photo-op-35″
title=”The art was just begging to be used for a photo-op.”
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image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/55ef1366bd86ef12008b8b89/image.jpg”
source=”Aly Weisman/Business Insider”
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[slide
permalink=”/#you-can-imagine-the-selfies-surrounding-this-mirrored-piece-36″
title=”You can imagine the selfies surrounding this mirrored piece.”
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image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/55ef135ebd86ef1c008b8b19/image.jpg”
source=”Aly Weisman/Business Insider”
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[slide
permalink=”/#this-zap-piece-was-a-popular-one-37″
title=”This ZAP! piece was a popular one.”
content=””
image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/55ef1364bd86ef10008b8b5f/image.jpg”
source=”Aly Weisman/Business Insider”
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[slide
permalink=”/#as-was-this-leaning-question-mark-38″
title=”As was this leaning question mark.”
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image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/55ef1365bd86ef15008b8abf/image.jpg”
source=”Aly Weisman/Business Insider”
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[slide
permalink=”/#this-giant-sculpture-of-a-woman-is-always-a-festival-favorite-every-year-her-looks-change-slightly-39″
title=”This giant sculpture of a woman is always a festival favourite. Every year her looks change slightly.”
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image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/55ef136fbd86ef1e008b8ba6/image.jpg”
source=”Aly Weisman/Business Insider”
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[slide
permalink=”/#the-art-can-also-be-useful-for-a-quick-break-when-youre-tired-of-riding-your-bike-40″
title=”The art can also be useful for a quick break when you’re tired of riding your bike.”
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image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/55ef1361bd86ef0e008b8b61/image.jpg”
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[slide
permalink=”/#everyone-was-free-to-sit-in-these-giant-chairs–as-long-as-you-could-climb-up-onto-them-41″
title=”Everyone was free to sit in these giant chairs — as long as you could climb up onto them.”
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image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/55ef1369bd86ef1d008b8b5d/image.jpg”
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[slide
permalink=”/#people-could-climb-into-this-hanging-silver-box-42″
title=”People could climb into this hanging silver box.”
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[slide
permalink=”/#this-colorful-tunnel-rotated-as-you-walked-through-it-in-perfect-view-of-the-man-sculpture-43″
title=”This colourful tunnel rotated as you walked through it in perfect view of ‘the man’ sculpture.”
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image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/55ef136cbd86ef14008b8bba/image.jpg”
source=”Aly Weisman/Business Insider”
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[slide
permalink=”/#this-line-of-porta-potties-looked-like-they-could-be-part-of-the-art-in-the-middle-of-the-desert-but-were-actually-functional-and-a-popular-destination-44″
title=”This line of porta potties looked like they could be part of the art in the middle of the desert, but were actually functional and a popular destination.”
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image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/55ef1361bd86ef1e008b8ba4/image.jpg”
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permalink=”/#this-castle-wasnt-just-a-backdrop–inside-people-partied-day-and-night-45″
title=”This castle wasn’t just a backdrop — inside, people partied day and night.”
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permalink=”/#during-the-day-there-were-plenty-of-parties-to-be-found-46″
title=”During the day, there were plenty of parties to be found.”
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[slide
permalink=”/#peoples-costumes-were-over-the-top-outrageous-and-amazing-47″
title=”People’s costumes were over the top, outrageous, and amazing.”
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image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/55ef1350bd86ef21008b8b44/image.jpg”
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permalink=”/#these-people-were-dressed-as-inbred-cats-get-it-48″
title=”These people were dressed as ‘inbred cats.’ Get it?!”
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[slide
permalink=”/#art-cars-come-in-all-shapes-and-sizes-and-roam-the-desert-all-day-and-night-49″
title=”Art cars come in all shapes and sizes and roam the desert all day and night.”
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image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/55ef135bbd86ef16008b8ba0/image.jpg”
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permalink=”/#they-are-essentially-traveling-parties-50″
title=”They are essentially travelling parties.”
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permalink=”/#some-prefer-to-ride-solo-like-cha-cha-the-balloon-man-51″
title=”Some prefer to ride solo, like Cha Cha the balloon man.”
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[slide
permalink=”/#or-this-lifeguard-patrolling-the-playa-on-a-chair-with-wheels-52″
title=”Or this lifeguard patrolling the playa on a chair with wheels.”
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[slide
permalink=”/#other-cars-are-filled-with-friends-53″
title=”Other cars are filled with friends.”
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[slide
permalink=”/#many-are-in-the-shape-of-animals-54″
title=”Many are in the shape of animals.”
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[slide
permalink=”/#most-all-cars-blast-music-55″
title=”Most all cars blast music.”
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[slide
permalink=”/#or-have-people-singing-live-as-they-drive-56″
title=”Or have people singing live as they drive.”
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[slide
permalink=”/#this-art-car-was-more-insular-57″
title=”This art car was more insular.”
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permalink=”/#this-car-had-a-working-carousel-on-top-of-it-58″
title=”This car had a working carousel on top of it…”
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[slide
permalink=”/#but-had-a-warning-sign-for-riders-danger-uninsured-art-board-at-yer-own-damn-risk-59″
title=”But had a warning sign for riders: ‘DANGER: Uninsured art board at yer own damn risk.'”
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permalink=”/#actual-ambulances-also-roamed-the-land-in-case-of-any-emergencies-60″
title=”Actual ambulances also roamed the land in case of any emergencies.”
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permalink=”/#at-night-all-of-the-cars-light-up-its-an-amazing-sight-when-they-are-all-lined-up-together-61″
title=”At night, all of the cars light up. It’s an amazing sight when they are all lined up together.”
content=””
image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/55ef1354bd86ef12008b8b87/image.jpg”
source=”Aly Weisman/Business Insider”
caption=””
credit_href=””
]
[slide
permalink=”/#neon-signs-also-light-up-the-night-62″
title=”Neon signs also light up the night.”
content=””
image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/55ef1354bd86ef1a008b8b95/image.jpg”
source=”Aly Weisman/Business Insider”
caption=””
credit_href=””
]
[slide
permalink=”/#even-some-skateboards-light-up-63″
title=”Even some skateboards light up.”
content=””
image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/55ef1370bd86ef0e008b8b63/image.jpg”
source=”Aly Weisman/Business Insider”
caption=””
credit_href=””
]
[slide
permalink=”/#and-fire-dancers-perform-for-the-masses-64″
title=”And fire dancers perform for the masses.”
content=””
image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/55ef1373bd86ef19008b8b68/image.jpg”
source=”Aly Weisman/Business Insider”
caption=””
credit_href=””
]
[slide
permalink=”/#on-one-particularly-chilly-evening-i-was-ecstatic-to-find-freshly-popped-hot-popcorn-65″
title=”On one particularly chilly evening, I was ecstatic to find freshly popped hot popcorn.”
content=””
image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/55ef1353bd86ef13008b8c01/image.jpg”
source=”Aly Weisman/Business Insider”
caption=””
credit_href=””
]
[slide
permalink=”/#because-no-garbage-can-be-left-behind-at-burning-man-all-popcorn-bags-and-leftovers-were-burned-in-this-bin-66″
title=”Because no garbage can be left behind at Burning Man, all popcorn bags and leftovers were burned in this bin.”
content=””
image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/55ef1353bd86ef1b008b8bf6/image.jpg”
source=”Aly Weisman/Business Insider”
caption=””
credit_href=””
]
[slide
permalink=”/#food-carts-are-rare-but-this-hot-dog-cart-gifted-food-for-those-willing-to-do-a-stupid-human-trick-67″
title=”Food carts are rare, but this hot dog cart gifted food for those willing to do a stupid human trick.”
content=””
image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/55ef1373bd86ef21008b8b48/image.jpg”
source=”Aly Weisman/Business Insider”
caption=””
credit_href=””
]
[slide
permalink=”/#sunrise-and-sunset-were-by-far-the-most-beautiful-times-of-day-many-people-plan-their-sleepign-patterns-so-that-they-can-catch-both-68″
title=”Sunrise and sunset were by far the most beautiful times of day. Many people plan their sleeping patterns so that they can catch both.”
content=””
image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/55ef1348bd86ef14008b8bb5/image.jpg”
source=”Aly Weisman/Business Insider”
caption=””
credit_href=””
]
[slide
permalink=”/#while-the-festival-doesnt-end-until-monday-the-grand-finale-is-on-saturday-night-when-the-man-sculpture-is-burned-to-the-ground-the-ceremony-starts-with-a-giant-fireworks-display-69″
title=”While the festival doesn’t end until Monday, the grand finale is on Saturday night when ‘the man’ sculpture is burned to the ground. The ceremony starts with a giant fireworks display.”
content=””
image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/55ef136fbd86ef16008b8ba2/image.jpg”
source=”Aly Weisman/Business Insider”
caption=””
credit_href=””
]
[slide
permalink=”/#soon-the-flames-begin-to-envelop-the-man-70″
title=”Soon, the flames begin to envelop the man.”
content=””
image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/55ef1371bd86ef20008b8be4/image.jpg”
source=”Aly Weisman/Business Insider”
caption=””
credit_href=””
]
[slide
permalink=”/#and-before-you-know-it-he-is-almost-gone-71″
title=”And before you know it he is almost gone.”
content=””
image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/55ef1371bd86ef0f008b8bd6/image.jpg”
source=”Aly Weisman/Business Insider”
caption=””
credit_href=””
]
[slide
permalink=”/#leaving-just-bones-before-he-collapses-completely-72″
title=”Leaving just ‘bones’ before he collapses completely.”
content=””
image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/55ef1373bd86ef1a008b8b98/image.jpg”
source=”Aly Weisman/Business Insider”
caption=””
credit_href=””
]
[slide
permalink=”/#people-watch-on-in-awe-73″
title=”People watch on in awe.”
content=””
image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/55ef1373bd86ef1f008b8b9f/image.jpg”
source=”Aly Weisman/Business Insider”
caption=””
credit_href=””
]
[slide
permalink=”/#and-with-that-its-time-to-drive-or-fly-out-of-the-playa-74″
title=”And with that, it’s time to drive or fly out of the playa.”
content=””
image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/55ef1374bd86ef18008b8bdc/image.jpg”
source=”Aly Weisman/Business Insider”
caption=””
credit_href=””
]
[slide
permalink=”/#until-next-year-people-will-have-to-take-what-they-learn-on-the-playa-into-the-real-world-75″
title=”Until next year, people will have to take what they learn on the playa into the real world.”
content=””
image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/55ef1357bd86ef1c008b8b18/image.jpg”
source=”Aly Weisman/Business Insider”
caption=””
credit_href=””
]
[slide
permalink=”/#watch-my-experience-here-76″
title=”Watch my experience here…”
content=”
image=””
source=””
caption=””
credit_href=””
]
[/slideshow]