Three days after the ink was washed away, that tattoo was still with me.
There were many times when I traded a sticker for something else. Sometimes it was a refill for my cup of water, sometimes it was something like some repair work on my paperback, which needed repair many times. My favorite trades were the ones where I got something out of the experience, the best of which are shown below.
I went through a period when I was taking pictures of many of my customers. Some of those pictures were on the page before this one. Some people didn't want their pictures taken. One of them was the guy who traded this tin of Altoids for this sticker. That shuttlecock and badminton racket were his stand in.
This alien, and the flute in front of him, each cost me a sticker. I still haven't figured out how to get any more than a random squeak out of the flute. The alien, on the other hand, got several people to smile, sitting on my pinkie finger during the day or so before I passed it along to some other host.
Long ago I learned that people that make things themselves like to let you know that. It was true at Burning Man, where the makers of the soap and lip balm above gave me the lowdown on their products. The guy who made the soap explained that he had personally aged the calendula in it for a year, and used all organic ingredients, culminating in stirring the stuff for an hour with a wooden spoon while cooking it. The chapstick guy had a similar story. Both were quite proud of their work. I will be enjoying using their products. I'm only sorry I don't know enough about who and where they are to send them customers like you, dear reader.
This is a detail from a very real looking stock certificate from this refinery business that these guys in orange suits were trying to get people to by making outrageous deals. They had some mysterious process whereby they could refine crude from under the playa into good quality drinkables that tasted suspiciously like rum and coke. Their pitch amounted to "come on down, we are having a great party!"
By far the most popular trade goods at Burning Man were beads. Mardi Gras beads were everywhere. I took the ones I already had up there with me, and I gave away quite a few of them before the weekend was over. Above are the neatest beads I came home with. All of them had considerable hand labor by the people who gave them to me in them.
The yellow one at the bottom was the second one the woman who gave it to me gave me. The previous one had featured The Man over a Marijuana leaf, but I traded that one to the guy from the gray water recycling camp for the orange bead to the left of the green man bead at the top of the picture. At the time I had thought she was really pushing the pot theme, being in camp MASH 4207 and all. I learned when I went back to talk to her about it that it was the only one of its type, and I got that ooops feeling...
The bead and sticker on the green background were from a guy who gave me the idea from the way he treated his stuff that they meant the same kind of thing to him that my stickers mean to me. Made me wonder what the website was like....