The "secret location in the desert", advertised in the flyer, turns out to be a musical venue next to Mitzpe Gvulot. The desert here is a continuation of the Sanai Desert (due to its proximity to Egypt), and as such, is nice and sandy, not hard and rocky like the Negev. It was nice to walk around barefoot, although there were these spiky burs that kept getting lodged in my feet. Regardless, we were in the middle of nowhere. To the south and east of us was more and more desert, north of us was the kibbutz, then more desert, and west of us was more kibbutzim, then Gaza (yay).
|A Burning Man "feel"|
The grounds came alive as the night progressed, and I was incredibly pleased with the people that came with me. Oscar, Jacob, and Sarah are all independently-minded enough to go around on their own, meeting people in their own ways, that I didn't have to be constantly be with them (which is not the way to do a festival). It was great just to wander around the grounds, dancing, talking, not talking. There were people playing frisbee, giving out face paint, lounging in giant bean bag chairs, and doling out food. The people made this such a special experience.
At a Shpongle show anywhere else, you'd see every sort of drug being used and abused. You'd see people so fucked up that they don't even know where they are, or what they're doing. You'd get a bit of a misconstrued sense of the counterculture, that drugs come first and the music comes second. It's the other way around here. Sure, people are doing drugs, but you don't see them out in the open. Maybe the army conditions them to be more mature, or maybe that's just the culture here. I loved it. You could have interesting conversations with just about anyone (assuming they spoke enough English). People here have ideals and embody their lifestyle, not just a bunch of druggies throwing on hippie garb. People eat couscous and vegetables, not junk food. And the conversations we had were engaging and meaningful!
The show…Shpongle did not disappoint. At the very moment when Raj played his first flute note, the entire crowd of 6,000 strangers were united under one spiritual experience. We were Shnitzled in the Negev. It was awesome. The show started at about 3:30AM and concluded as the sun rose at about 6. I'm not even going to attempt to describe the show; words cannot do it justice. All I will say is that it was hands-down, the most spiritual and magnificent experience I've ever had. And that sunrise...
|A Very Shpongled Sunrise|