// Australian travel blog
Continued from Part 1
As the leader rounded up the group, we all gathered around in each other’s smell bubbles and listened attentively. There was one primary volunteer organiser, and several team leaders who would be in charge of the varying volunteer areas. The headquarters, where we’d present to commence our shifts, was located at the market place along with the food vendors and fashion stalls. All the organisers were chilled, friendly, and buggered from what appeared to have already been a long week.
Aside from the basic details, I learned that I should go and help people if they’re having a ‘bad trip’, get medical attention for said person if they required it, and encourage them to tell the truth about what they’d taken, in case the paramedics tried to give them something that might ‘intermix badly’ with their illicit drugs. Aha! Drug-drug interactions: my day job was coming in handy!
In addition, we were told not to waste our time talking back if we came across any wankers who were too high and being obnoxious; we also learned where to find the DanceSafe crew – a team whose members’ official roles included assisting people through bad trips on the dance floor. The following day I came across their stall in the market place, which was complete with a giant-sized printed chart of which licit and illicit drugs should be compatible with one another… harm minimisation, you see.
After a brief run down, and receiving our wristbands, we were released into the night. I made my way back to the tent in the dark, and climbed in and switched on the fairy lights as it continued to drizzle outside. I organised myself a sophisticated dinner of 1.5 x Coles bakery tiger rolls, some almonds, and a Pink Lady apple. Relatively balanced, I thought, and with a beer for good measure.
Once dinner was done, the lack of WiFi and phone signal became overly apparent, and I tried to remember what people did before technology. Even knowing there’d be no power, I had purchased a great solar-powered torch complete with USB charger from Big W during the week, so that I could still take pretty pictures on my iPhone. But it was night-time, and there were no pretty things visible out in the dark bush. I was the only glamper and I was all alone.
So what does one do when all alone in the bush?
‘We were just lying there, and it was like this fucking mandala pattern!’
As one does when alone in the middle of nowhere with their thoughts, I had a mini meltdown over life's big questions. Once the feelings had escaped, and I’d done a little writing, I figured there wasn’t anything I was missing out on anyway - at that point I was the only glamper, and the music and festival had yet to officially commence. Aside from that, transient showers continued to dampen the night outside.
I settled into my book, interspersed with some eavesdropping on conversations of the occasional passers-by on their way to the Portaloos:
‘I was like, “No way! It must be real!“’ a snippet of story made its way through the tent’s mesh, and I pricked my ears to hear more.
‘Cos Jake could see it too!’ they continued. ‘We were just lying there, and it was like this fucking mandala pattern!’ The duo proceeded to chuckle. It was 9:18PM.
I finished drinking a second beer, which had chilled nicely in the Esky, and then went for a quick toilet stop before bed. On the way, I met an outline of a person (really, you could barely see a thing), who proceeded to ask me for some weed. I apologised, and told him I couldn't help him. I continued on my way, and then headed back to the tent to retire. After a while, I could no longer hear any passers-by, and I drifted off into eight hours of comfortable slumber atop my grandma's old aerobics mattress from the eighties.
The next morning I awoke to birds chirping and bright light. The campground was almost hissing with heat as the fierce sunshine bounced off the freshly dampened ground and cranked my dome's humidity level up to sauna status. I opened all the tent zips available to me and climbed out with sweat beads in every crevice. I decided it was shower time before I ate breakfast and got ready for my first volunteer shift, so I reached back inside the tent for a towel and an outfit from my bag. One does not simply wear clothing to a doof – it must be an outfit, darling.
As I fossicked through my bag for gumboots, glitter and a leotard, half a dozen people wandered by wearing 'normal' clothes. I stopped and investigated more closely.
Yes, it was as I had thought: plain T-shirts, shorts, and thongs. No outfits. I had no mates around to consult about the outfit situation and started to doubt my garish choices.
'Shit!' I thought, as it suddenly dawned on me that I hadn't packed any actual pants. 'Hopefully these people wearing proper clothes is some kind of early-on anomaly...'
Continued at Part 3