This is an event with a name that has no meaning, but it sure does look cool in Hebrew! Cypris shall be spinning the night away and offering a workshop on connecting to one another through flow props!
Working at a kibbutz was on my to-do list, but when i went to volunteer, i was told that you must apply before arriving in Isreal, make a two month commitment to working at a place that the agency chooses, as well as pay a large deposit. I figured that this was not going to be an option, until I heard about a sustainable farm a couple hours south of the city. It was described as a spiral gardened oasis of calm with clay huts and light work throughout the day. Then, it just so happened, a friend was traveling there in a couple days and welcomed me for the journey.
We met at the central bus station of Tel Aviv. This was the one place i was absolutely warned to never go near. Turns out it is like any other mass public transit station i have ever been to. It is a huge multi level complex with a food court and little shops all around. It is in a poor neighborhood that you would not want to wander very far into, but I felt safe in the station itself. The number of bus lines is dizzying. There are three different kinds of buses you can take; 10 person taxis called sheruts, where you enter and find your seat then pass your money from seat to seat to the driver who then passes your change back to you from person to person; regular large city buses and long-haul greyhound-esque wifi equipped ones sans toilet. We wound our way up the escalators to the top floor. i was very grateful to have a guide through chaos.
It was Sunday, the day all the military folks return to thier bases. All Isrealis, unless you are religious, studying, or crazy, are required to be in the military for 3 years post-highschool. It is a very casual thing to see groups of teenagers, gathered in their uniforms with rifles across their shoulders. Seeing all of these deadly weapons illicit a certain knee jerk fear when you are not accustom to it. But when looking closer, the gun is like the laptop cases of a business man. It is just another cumbersome thing to carry around that is necessary for the job being done.
I had two seats to myself and breathed a sigh of relief, knowing the journey was going to be a long one. What i did not realize, was that this was not a non-stop bus. The man in front of me fell asleep and i started to wish i did the same. The bus was standing room only after about half an hour. I watched as many people stared down at the sleeping passenger, but let him be. It took another 45 minutes before an old salty man shook him awake.
We reached our stop and i noticed we were on a highway and nowhere near what looked to be a farm. The guys i was traveling with let me know it was hitching time. We spread apart, stuck out our thumbs, and watched the cars go by. It is hitching courtesy to line up behind the people that were there first. I noticed a girl traveling by herself and felt pretty calm about the whole thing. If she can do it, so can I and i was traveling with two men, so i did not worry. A couple rides later we arrived at Adamama.
The farm buildings are arranged on a winding path that leads to the hay fields. You begin at the kitchen, which is open for eating whenever you are hungry as well as for the communal meals that are cooked for lunch and dinner. The walls are lined with shelves that hold 5 gallon buckets filled with nuts, grains, and dried fruits. Ethiopian tahini is also in a huge bucket accompanied by the giant jug of the farm’s olive oil. There is electricity to run the lights, refrigerator, kettle, and toaster, but the only hot cooking option is called a kettle stove. You start by pulling a metal tray out to clean the ashes from the previous meal, then add hay through a small whole at the bottom of a smoke stack. Once the fire gets going you add wood. The top of the smoke stack is open with metal grate to put the pot on. The stove relies on air circulation, so you must make sure the vessel you choose is not too large. Once you use how to light it properly, it is a very efficient cooking system.
There is a communal area of couches and a huge table that is covered in a lattice work of climbing plants. The path continues to a multi-person living tent that has a wood stove and electricity, a large open tent for hosting work shops and kids groups whose roof is made out of a billboard of Bruno, a few smaller living quarters, and ends at an out cropping of clay huts.
Reduce, Reuse, recycle is the way of life that is apparent in all things. Plastic bottles are re-purposed as planters, lanterns, lights, and anything else possible. All food waste is fed to the chickens or composted. Glass bottles are turned into glasses and eating vessels. Electricity is used as little as possible, although it is not really noticeable.
My duties included dead heading all of the really tall prickly plants, putting sun dried olives into jars, gathering snails for the chickens, putting nets over fruit trees, then waiting them with concrete tiles, cooking for a school group, teaching poi and nighttime glow performances for the staff.
My last evening was spent frolicking in the hay fields. There was a huge quadruple stack of bails that i climbed and spun on, overlooking the surrounding farms and listening to the musical call of the ice cream man. Which, incidentally, the ice cream man does not actually sell ice cream, only popsicles. I watched as they tried to fly a kite that was made the day before and then played Frisbee till the sun went down!
I randomly posted about wanting to make it to the Dead Sea. A friend offered to take me to her favorite kibbutz hotel for a day of salty adventure. The architecture dramatically changes when you leave Jerusalem. The Arab built areas are comprised of huge high rise buildings, clustered very close together, that all look the same. As the altitude declined, we were surrounded by hills that are tended by the Bedouins; a nomadic culture that lives in tents, agricultural gypsies that also guide people through the desert. Road signs along the way show your drop in altitude.
We picked up a couple dutch hitch hikers as we entered the kibbutz, but ended up only driving them a few blocks to the trail they were looking for. The hotel was nestled in a desert oasis. Banyan trees, soft grass, and many familiar tropical plants lined the well kept property. Our room was not ready yet so we headed to the Ein Gedi spa which seemed more like a ski lodge. There was a large room for picnicking, a small snack stand, a gift store with really expensive everything, murky fish tanks used for pedicures, and public rest rooms. The way to the beach was via carts pulled by a tractor. It reminded me of hay rides. As we puttered down the road, the aqua marine sea opened my smile as wide as it could go. The white salt deposits off the shore make it look like waves are lapping. You must wear shoes when entering the sea. The salt looks like white coral and is super sharp. There were a few grass shade structures that were covered in white stalagmites of salt. The sea is harsh, one drop of water in the eye will blind you for a few minutes. I could not resist the urge to float on my back, feeling more then weightless. The water supports you from below, most of your body is above water. I wanted to open my eyes, just a tiny bit to see the sky above. I took care to keep my head back so as to avoid the blindness, but was only mildly successful.
It was hard to find good mud. So many years of use and global warming has diminished the supply. It is grey in color, unlike the black mud you can buy in stores. I always avoided becoming a mud person, but this time i let it go, I was in the dead sea for goodness sakes! After a fifteen minute bake in the sun and a torrential shower, my skin was pristine and soft. The mud lives up to its reputation!
The next day we took a cable car up to Masada the ancient fortification atop a 1,300 foot plateau. The story was dramatically played out in the introduction movie. Masada was home to the last group of Jewish rebels against the Roman conquest. The Romans built an assault ramp up the side of the mountain,then rolled a battering ram up it to breach the city walls. Rather then be taken into slavery, the rebels killed themselves and their families.
The ruins are commanding. It feels like a place of ultimate human survival. To live in the middle of the desert, a top a huge rock formation is mind boggling. They built many storage areas to house supplies for months, supposedly Masada was one of the best equipped residences. We self guided our way through the Mikvah a Jewish ritual bath, Herod’s palace, living quarters, communal areas, guard house, and the synagogue. We talked with Rabbi Lewis, who was behind a sheet of glass as he transcribed the Torah using a quill pen and parchment. He invited us into his sacred space and asked what was my purpose for being in Israel. I told him of my flow aspirations and he gave me much encouragement. He offered to write me a blessing in Hebrew and inquired about my utmost desire. I responded, “Peace of Mind.” He got a little bit of parchment and started skillfully and purposely writing. The blessing he offered translates to, “God gave you a pure heart.” I was overwhelmed with gratitude and took my parchment outside to gaze at the Dead Sea while it dried.
We waited in a her d of children for the cable car ride back. Rabbi Lewis and a French couple were the only people over the age of 10. The doors opened and the kids rushed in. We were in a mosh pit of children, screaming at the top of their lungs. Luckily, we were right by the exit door, so it was a quick step to the side to avoid the stampede.
Upon my return to Jerusalem, I was really antsy. I had been wanting to go to the Israel Museum since i arrived. Google maps was only in Hebrew, so i broke out my tourist information provided map and started on my way. I wound my way down the roads whose name changes a few times, but there are no signs to tell you this. I ended up at a park, my first non-car experience in the woods of Israel. The trees are evergreen and sparsely distributed over the levels of tan rock. Looking at the pine cones brought thoughts of the North West. I popped out of the woods and onto a college campus. Feeling very lost, i started to hitch. A soccer mom picked me up and it turned out i was only a few blocks from the museum.
I only had 2 hours and did not realize how big the place was. My game plan was Dead Sea Scrolls first, Herod next, then the rest of the museum. The scrolls are housed in a white building that replicates the pots they were found in. It looks like a giant boob, with a hard nipple, that is keeping cool from the fountains that cascade over it. You enter the Shrine of the Book and walk down a dark hallway. The center of the room houses a a large reproduction of the Great Isaiah Scroll that you can walk around. Around the edge of the room are the fragments of the actual scrolls. They are preserved in what looks like a waxy substance, that is pressed between glass. I am so grateful to get to see things I have only read about.
I continued my journey through the sculpture garden and into the galleries. There were all of my favorite Impressionists, Post Impressionist, Modern, and Post Modern artists. I kept walking deeper and deeper in the museum and then remembered Herod! I pulled myself away from the art and went seeking the king. I was drawn back to the art post historical experience and almost did not get my bag back because the museum was closing.
I had some left over falafel from lunch and sat on a bench outside noshing down until i figured out what to do next. I wandered around trying to find the right bus back. I ended up getting a free ride back to Sivan’s from a cabby.
Cypris will be adding a little spin to this special girls day!
The road to Jerusalem climbs through ancient mountains. Unlike Tel Aviv, there are many ways to get into the city. We chose to go through the forest. It was my first glimpse and the many trees of Israel; hardy evergreens, that have withstood the test of time and the elements, supported by the rocky soil. The roads are really small and windy, making it seem as though we were one of those caravans of people making the pass over the mountains and into the city.
I was going to stay Sivan, a very calming prescence I met as she was cooking for the DPW team of the Israeli Burn the previous weekend. I told her i was planning on couch surfing in Jerusalem, and she invited me to come stay with her. I was planning on couch surfing for the first time of my trip, but could not pass up her kind offer. I was dropped at Independence Park and spun myself into the fleeting sun as I awaited her return from the Market. She rolled up with a huge rolling bag full of goodies for Shabbat dinner. I met her friend Anat and we had a relaxing conversation about the ups and downs of travel over fresh goat cheese, veggies, tea, rice crackers and chocolate. It was friday, the evening of Shabbat, when the tradition is to cook a huge meal with your family and friends.
The ratio of vegetarian/vegan to meat eaters is reversed here. Us meat eaters are in the minority, at least in the group of friends i have been hanging out with. Sivan and i have a great kitchen relationship. You friends out there know how particular i am in the kitchen and i was excited to see how well we flowed together. It is fresh garlic season here. Each clove is shrouded in a light purple layer of skin beneath its white exterior. We sauteed up a bunch of greens with a couple heads of garlic and onion. This was layered with bechamel sauce, feta, mozzarella and wanna-be parmesan cheese. We made a salad, lemon-time vinaigrette, and the dressing for Sivan’s mom’s famous cabbage salad. We decided to hold the meal at Anat’s because of her large table and selection on wine glasses. The meal was rounded out with a roasted eggplant, onion, and tahini dish of amazing, slightly sweet dal and jasmine rice, tapioca pudding with strawberries and chocolate for desert.
The next day Sivan and I headed into the old city. The sight of the ancient walls is intoxicating. The rocks are tan in color with a very distinct, almost fractal pattern of intersecting squares. The stones are very slick and have been rubbed smooth by so many millions of people whose steps have come before. The old city market is slightly claustrophobic, about three people can fit abreast in the isles. The walls tower about as the vendors call out to you as you approach, as you gaze into their stall and as you pass. So much beauty is crammed into a very small areas, Moroccan furniture, Arab and Yemenite jewelry, gold and silver ornate kitchenware, leather sandals and bags, linen tunics and robes, belly dancing EVERYTHING, food stands, fruits and veggies, regular household items, souvenirs, like a plaque that reads,”Shalom, Y’all.” It is a hagglers market. It would be silly to pay the price the ask. My favorite experience was in the first store we stopped in, a custom belly dancing shop where the store owner taught us a couple tying techniques for scarves.
The western wall was our next stop. I find the word stop very applicable in this case. The energy from 2,000 years of turmoil as well as celebration and honor causes you to really pause all thoughts of anything. People write their wishes, memories, and prayers on pieces of paper then stick them into the cracks in the rock. White plastic lawn chairs are set out for sitting as well as used to stand to get the paper into the highest crack possible. The access to the wall is divided by sex. I placed my head against the wall and let the waves of gratitude flow over.
We walked back home through the Armenian Quarter and stopped in a few of the pottery shops to enjoy the intricate hand painted pieces. After a rest, Sivan and I bussed to a Couch Surfer’s house for dinner. We has spinach-shouka, a combination of the Tradition Shakshouka dish of simmered tomatoes and eggs with the left over greens from the night before. We left a little late for busing and had to cab back home.
I thought that i had a ride taken care of to get to the festival, but everything fell through at the last minute. I started posting on the event page for a ride, which seemed to get no response. Turns out, lots of people were providing solutions, but i could not read them becuase they were all in Hebrew. Luckily, a kind American girl sent me a message letting me know I could ride with them.
I took a bus to Herzlya, about 30 mintues out of the city, and was able to make my stop thanks to a gentle mother figure. I have found the Isrealis to be a very kind people. Although, I have learned that kindness does not equal politeness here. Interactions sometimes feel abrupt lacking any please or thank you. Sorry is not a word people use, which i found out through my over use of it. I have learned that when i need something, ask directly, do not apologize for not speaking Hebrew, or start the conversation with, ‘Excuse me, please may I….” People have walked me for blocks and blocks when i was lost, helped me with cab rides and ensured i was home safely, and refused to give up on translational issues insisting we figure out some way to communicate.
So I made it to the central bus station in Herzlya and was picked up and taken to this great mutli-level house in the city. The sun was shining and I enjoyed the view of the water from the comfy couch. I was fed musili and yogurt as the group packed. After car tetris, we headed North. The traffic was pretty terrible, but once we got out of the city the scenery started to fly by. My giant back back took up the whole center seat and I could not see my travel mates. We rocked out until our stop at what seemed like just a regular gas station. Around the back were a few little restaruants: noodle house, coffee shop, and arab food. We went for the hummus, falafel, tahini, chips, and taboli. I was able to buy an airmatress in the gas station and was happy to atleast have a sleeping bag and something to place it on.
I did not have a way of contacting my hosts and had no idea where they were camping. Thankfully, the people that gave me a ride offered to let me stay in their camp. They had a shade structure so i set up my air mattress and sleeping bag alongside the tents. By the evening the camp was full and a kind women offered to let me sleep in her tent. I was so glad to have shelter provided! I was ready to get my hands into the Trance scene and my body into the Sea of Galili.
I found the Magaya stage where i would be performing and spun to the accoustic jam that was going on. I was in the right place, surrounded by creative people, vegan food, great music, and free hug signs. I felt like i had been transported back to the 60′s hippy movement. This feeling only increased as the festival went on. We dressed in costumes, sang songs, paraded around the festival offering chai and baked goods for sale, free hugs, and attempting to pass out flyers. We were not super well recieved by some of the festival goers. I felt at a loss because I could only understand body language and my flyer passing out was really piss poor because no one wanted one or could understand what we were trying to do. I spent the afternoon spinning on and off at Magaya with a few moments of shared friendly flow.
As night rolled around the trance set in. And boy did those BPM’s ramp up. I spotted someone spinning glow poi on the out skirts of the crowd. He was Russian and did not speak a word of English. Thank goodness flow is an international language! We spent hours jamming together and showing each other moves. It felt freeing to be with out words, but still able to communicate. The security guards came up to us and offered words of, “Beautiful, I like very much, and good good.”
I went the wrong way back to my camp and heard someone saying something in my direction in Hebrew. I walked up to a completely deserted bar where a guard and a bartender were standing. They let me know that I could not get out the way i was going. I took the opportunity to chat them up. Our conversation led to many questions about my reason for coming to Israel. Instead of explaining, i started spinning and everything became clear.
The next day began with a dip in the Sea of Galilee. It took a lot of effort to get in the water. The water was dingy and there was a lot of trash floating about. I have never scene so many plastic bottles strew throughout the beach front and the reeds. But, I had to get over myself and get into this place of supposed miracles. Once away from the shore, with my back to the festival, i enjoyed the surrounding mountains. I imagined what it was like before our over populous invasion.
As the night set in, i found myself wanting to get away from the generators, bright lights, and music. I started wandering down the shore in search of some quiet darkness. Just as i was in the shadows, i heard a group offer hellos. I followed their voices and was invited to sit. It was Russian friends who had come to hear the trance music from afar, not wanting to pay to get in. They adopted me and fed me kebab, sausages, hummus, salad, and the liquor of Israel – Arak. Arak is an anise flavored clear liquor that turns translucent when mixed with water. I like it mixed with lemonade. One of the ladies of the group was a poi enthusiast who got very excited by my flow toys. I shared a few transitions and then let loose and completed my spin to great applause.
Upon my return to the festival, I saw fire from afar. My fire gear had not arrived yet, so i gravitated toward their flame. I found myself at home with group of you-tube spinning dorks. I was able to get a nice poi spin in, then we all headed back to camp to have a flow geek out. It was my first fire in Israel!
The rest of the festival i dipped in and out of the water, got my trance dance on, and enjoyed entertaining camps as i wandered. One of my favorite moments was when a man walked up to me with my fins and asked to show me a video. He saw Buugeng on you tube months ago and has been searching and searching to figure out what they were. His absolute glee in seeing Dai’s website was priceless! He thanked me every time he saw me with tons of hugs and smiles.
The trip was topped off with one of the best meals i have had since being here. We met up with the rest of our camp at what looked like a truck stop. We sat, with our dirt and paint covered selves as the server kept brining out dishes upon dishes of hummus, two kinds of egg plant, two kinds of cauliflower, beet salad, tomato and cucumber salad, taboli, chips, until the table was completely covered in food. We moved outside so everyone could smoke and were then served coffee, tea, pastries, and candy. I wish i could have that meal after all the festivals i go to!
Cypris joins a great line up of funny makers and hilarious hooligans.
ג’אגלינג קפה – יוסי בן יוסי 3 יפו
My first week in Tel Aviv was a dream. I was swooped up from the airport by my kind host. We drove through the palm tree lined roads, looking at all the signs i could not read, listening to American rock music, and enjoying the street art. The closer we got to home the smaller the streets got, it seemed like we were driving down ally ways, instead of streets. We dropped my giant pack off and headed down stairs to the hummus place below his apartment. I absolutely had to eat gluten this day. I enjoyed every bite of freshly baked pita, hummus, pickles, olives, rice, beans, chicken kebab and washed it down with Israeli beer.
Next stop was the beach. It is kind of like Miami, as long as you do not look at street signs, billboards, or listen to people talking. The Israelis are beautiful people, living an active life style and basking in the rays of sun. The ocean is lined with buildings that are covered in graffiti. We hung out on an out cropping of rocks to watch the sunset. There were a few bridal portraits being taken above a couple making out.
After sunset we headed back to my welcoming place of residence. I felt completely at ease and very grateful to be in the right place at the right time. A quick bus ride to Jaffa landed us at Kalimera, the restaurant my other host works at. It is a modern place with great muscles and fresh bread. We took the long way home walking through the streets of Old Jaffa. The lapping of the sea echos through the stone walls. The energy in those ancient streets is infectious. The streets are worn smooth by thousands of years of use. You can imagine the many eons of civilization that have inhabited the area.
My sleeping area was a really long couch, one that i can actually lay flat on! I slept into the evening and then had my first city adventure. I picked my way slowly through the small streets, wandering around making sure to not get lost. Made it to the beach and enjoyed the post sunset glow over the Mediterranean Sea. Walked to a small neighborhood bar called cafe Berlin. A birthday girl was dancing on the bar, insisting on dusting the lights, and breaking the customary plate. I chatted with the party and got invited to some Italian food across the way. I learned she was turning 26 and very unhappy about it. I am so far blessed with not worrying about age. I have enjoyed the perspective i have gained in my years. Aging is an unavoidable process, so why fight it?
The next day was my first performance. It was a Stoli sponsored house and techno night. We walked through the streets and arrived at what may have been a bike shop by day. We wound up the staircase, past a few paintings and into a room with white and black large tile floors. There was an aerial sling under the staircase, a sculpture of a woman made of vines and zip ties as well as a LED lighted wingspan. The music was great, with a few familiar track here and there. I changed into my costume and rocked the dance floor. I met a couple guys from the North who had lived in South Dakota. We bonded over the beauty of the Bad Lands and then I taught him a few transitions. My poi spinning spawned a flow jam with everyone taking turns and enjoying their spin. We attempted to hit up the after party, but it had been shut down.
We went to eat in Florentina, an up and coming artsy area of Tel Aviv. Ended up at a hot dog place where we were adopted by a group of gay men. Nipple ring appreciation turned into zerberts. I got asked about my flofins, so i spun for the staff. Their love increased when i came back from the bathroom in my full costume and spun some more!
Sunday we walked along the beach to ritzy family area of North Tel Aviv. It was surprising to see all of the construction along the way. Bulldozers were driving into the sea to gather water to mix cement. I suppose beach side development is inevitable, but I could not possibly see how these buildings, almost at the water line, could survive for very long. As Jimi says,”Castles made of sand fall to the sea, eventually.” We took the scenic high road and overlooked the religious beach. This is a private beach that has women only and men only days, but i didn’t really see the point, because the barriers are only so tall, after all, we could see them! We walked down the promenade, a wide palm tree lined walking path, to the French quarter, in search of juice.
It was then time for my first trip to Carmel Market. Each of the vendors set up on a metal box that is the size and shape of a large dumpster. They sell clothing, accessories veggies, fruit, candy, spices, dried goods, meat, fish, poultry, hummus, catering items, window washing, household goods, juices and everything in between. It is a mix between a flea market and a farmers market with some of the vendors using mega phones to sell their wares. I made a lunch of fried potatoes and greens. That evening I headed out to a soul jazz performance that was so packed they would not let us in. Luckily, we could hear the great tunes from the front deck as we sipped wine and chatted about nonsense. Stop for a hot dog on the way home and get my first try at Israeli Capri Sun, it is still just as high fructose corn syrup tastic.
The next day was Passover. We headed a couple hours out of the city towards Hiafa to my host’s grandparents house. The ride was tranquil as we skirted along the beach that was filled with kite surfers, then continued past an old submarine, a roman aqua duct, sculpture garden, and oil processing plants with their many smoke stacks that look like cigarettes in the sky. Growing up in the Catholic church we had Seder meals, where we each had a piece of matzo and some horse radish. I had no idea the beauty in the ritual of the meal, i remembered it as a boring thing my parents used to make me go to where i ended up very hungry at the end.. I tried to follow along in English as they all took turns reading the ancient words of the story of Moses. My favorite dish of the Seder was the symbol of the cement used to build the Egypt – a date, apricot fig, and nut pure which was accompanied by a shredded beat salad, celery leaves, potatoes, eggs, matzo and wine. After we feasted on sprout salad, spinach cakes, gefilte fish, stuffed squash, greens, beets, ice burger salad, matzo ball soup, tea and coconut cake with chocolate mousse!!!! It was like Jewish Thanksgiving.
Wednesday was my first day of street performing and it was phenomenal! I went to the outdoor art market and set up on the corner of a street. I spun to my hearts delight and enjoyed all of the smiles i created. The next day i met with the owner of the Juggling Cafe in Jaffa and got invited to bar tend and perform at a Bat Mitzvah. I also went shopping at the market to embellish my costumes for DOOF, the trance festival I was performing at. I spent the next day sewing stuff to more stuff and packing for camping. There was plenty of beach and Jaffa street wandering for breaks between. It was then off to the DOOF, which is the name for all trance festival in Australia.
We flew over the brilliant blue sea and into a land full of sugar cane and palm trees. It had been raining in LA when I left, so I was still layered in a couple coats, pants, leg warmers. The childhood image of being greeted with a lei was turned into the reality of lei vending machines. I was picked up by my aunt and uncle and we went to Mama’s, a beach side fresh and local fish house. I had my first tropical drink, umbrella included then feasted on asparagus soup, poi, lightly fried calamari steak sand, crab stuffed mahi-mahi. I was made fun of by my post-meal cabby for having too many layers and not having flip flops yet.
I arrived to a mostly empty house and was able to set up a little nest out back in the screened hut. DJ’s began to arrive from all over theUSand soon the house was overrun with laptops and head phones. I was feeling really jet lagged so I called it an early night while the group had a night beach adventure.
We did our burner preparatory trip to Wal-Mart. I was very surprised by how commercial everything is there. I had this image ofMauias an untouched island with all business being local and full of flavor. Which, when you go into the mountains, there are areas like this, but most of the inhabited places include lots of strip malls and chain restaurants.
We began our climb up the winding mountains. Theses were 1.5 – 1 lane road passing through waterfalls, high cliff views of the water, and small bridges. The horns were used only to warn other cars you were coming. It had been raining for a few days and the streams were ballooned into raging brown rapids.
We reached theCampKeanaejust in time for the staff meeting. I met my co-lead and jumped in as much as possible. The rain was relentless. Ditches were being dug to re-rout the water. There were short hour breaks between down pours, but this was rain like I have never seen before; rhythmically pelting everything in sight, soaking you within minutes. The beat of the down pour helped make sleeping in the bunk house easier. I had a third level bunk that was precarious to climb into, being careful not to tip the whole bed or wobble myself off.
Gate work began at dinner, checking everyone that had been working in, getting lists submitted for entry, and parking. The gate experience at SOURCE was a good one. I did find that it is much much easier to be the gate keeper at a festival where you know most of the people. I spent a lot of time asking for this and that person and radioing here and there.
I love how small our world is. No matter how far you are away, there always will be something familiar. I ran into a friend fromNorth Carolinathat I had not scene or heard from in years. She immediately adopted me and invited me to stay with her. I was overwhelmed with comfort and gratitude.
The festival carried on despite the ankle deep mud. Walking from camp to camp was a slow process of either trudging through the field or carefully picking your way across the pallet walkways. I had a great night of fire spinning and enjoyed dancing on the OPS porch while running the fire tool inspection station. Monday morning brought the closing ceremony. We all stood in a circle and held hands. We blessed the land, each other, and thanked the universe. The scene was very moving; a native Hawaiian woman sang chants, warming our hearts with her songs.
I spent a couple days on the northshoreofMaui, realizing very early on that the waves are not to be messed with. I had secretly asked the universe to be swooped off to a place with a pool, hot tub, and beach view, not thinking it was actually possible. To my surprise, that is exactly where I ended up, staying as one of the few permanent residents at a time share community in Kihei. The next week was spent with new and old friends circumnavigating the island. We camped overlooking the water, hiked through a bamboo forest to get to a400 footwater fall, stopped along the way at art galleries, ate at a top chef restaurant, visited a mostly deserted island, and went snorkeling in lava fields.
Even when you are running on the chilled out slowed down island time, it goes too quickly. My last moments were spent gazing at the sun set, enjoying gelato, and taking in a magic show at a pirate bar. Which, at the point, meant that I had visited a pirate bar at all of my travel stops a long the way!
Hawaiiwas a time of rejuvenation and sunshine induced tranquility. Many thanks for all of the adventures and island love!
LA is a whirlwind! I consider myself a pretty fast mover and shaker, but that city is on another level of life pace. My lovely friends seem to be home maybe a total of 8 hours a day. This includes eating, sleeping, and daily preparation time. I did my best to keep up and had an amazing time.
My first performance was in a nifty theater inHollywoodfor, “What Is Art?” The show was as unique as the mushrooms growing out of the dressing room ceiling. I was billed with burlesque, magic, singing, and poetry. The show went off well and the flofins were as mesmerizing as ever!
The next week was peppered with small breaks between play functions and set construction. Argent took me on a venture to his old work place – a market near the Million Dollar Theater. We went to see the building where Blade Runner was filmed, but they would not let us go up in the elevator seeing as it was a place of business.
Valentines Day was lady pampering focused. Mystic took me on a venture through LA filming my spinning as we explored. Dr. Lust and Mae met up with us for a mid day salad exchange that was right across from a micro part. Micro park = a 10 X 10 area covered in turf, with tiny little swings and an exercise machine area on the side of the sidewalk.
I popped another naked lady spa cherry and introduced Mystic to the Korean Spa experience: multiple pools of varying degrees, hot and dry saunas and meditative healing rooms. We hopped the subway back home to prepare for our night at the LA Art walk.
We hit the tail end of the evening and started in a studio filled with 2-d and 3-d hearts covered mustaches, gears, bees, food, collage and maps of LA. A glass of wine was enjoyed in a wooden playa car at a crazy burner studio. We were given a tour of the shop where they had a large lazar cutting machine. The ceiling was covered by an interactive origami pull structure was hanging from the ceiling and a suspended motion capture technology was being displayed.
I made sure to get to Marvin’s flow fest early on Saturday to help out the opening crew and open the gate. TheMissionwas packed by mid afternoon and I took my first club spinning class. The whole experience filled me with joy as I smiled from ear to ear surrounded by my flow family. The last class of the day was the most transformative, bringing into my life Jilly B, a play flow sister for life who shares the same philosophy as I. Many wonderful idea exchanges were made with inspiration and admiration abound! I even sold my first pair flofins!
The last few days were family-tastic. Enjoying liquid breakfasts and lunches, performing at the Peepshow Menagerie, cooking for a roof-top photo shoot party, meeting David Cross in Whole Foods, Mai Thais at a pirate bar, getting the tech fan boys to loosen up a bit and play, Aladdin opening weekend, a burner pot luck in the valley, and so much more!
I shall leave you with the same thought as before; the people are what make our experiences. It doesn’t matter where you are, how long you have known someone, or how long you shall know them. Thank you to all of the new, old, and transient friends that colored my LA experience so wonderfully!