Sunday, April 30, 2006

Travelblogue, Coachella 2006 07: Sunday Morning, Refreshed

It's amazing the recuperative powers an air conditioned hotel room can have. In my previous two trips to Coachella, 2003 and 2004, I camped. The first year wasn't so bad - since the camping was new, it wasn't too crowded, nor dirty, yet. But it was taxing to sleep on the ground, wake at 6:30 AM with the light, use not-so-sanitary porta-potties, eat funky food, and go without showers. In the second year (2004), I camped again. And it was a mistake. Camping was drastically over-sold, and they had to open several overflow camping lots. After driving 15 hours solo, I arrived in Indio at about 12:30 AM only to find an excruciatingly long line. I had a near breakdown, then slept in my car until about 3:00 AM, at which point the line had died down, so I headed in and made camp. But this new, overly crowded campground wasn't just filled with folks looking for cheap lodging. It was filled with folks looking for outright debauchery. People were up at all hours of the night, raging drunk and high, screaming, running about, and vomiting and soiling the porta-potties, rendering them completely unusable - how does one get excrement on the wall? When I woke at 6:30 AM to the growing desert heat, after sleeping fitfully for another two-or-so hours under the disturbance of the infantile revelers, my day was already soured. I could hardly enjoy the festival afterwards. Oh yes, there was some good music, and I finally got to see Kraftwerk, but at the end of the day I was so exhausted and disgruntled that in the morning I decided to ditch the second day and head home early.

Coming back to Coachella, I was slightly worried I'd have a similar experience. But nay, it's been thoroughly enjoyable thus far. Flying instead of driving gave me a head-start in terms of exhaustion. The hotel, with air conditioning, a bed, a toilette and shower, and privacy, seems utter luxury. When I came home last night, I was tired and sore, but after six hours of sleep and a shower, I feel fully recuperated and eager to head back to the festival. I'm very much looking forward to Bloc Party & Massive Attack. I suppose I'll also see Tool - I like Tool, and they were my first concert, but I imagine the Tool crowd is going to be unpleasant. I never enjoy metal-type crowds - the innate hostility just isn't fun.

Oh well. Now, for some more on yesterday...


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