Waking up so close to the desert is an eerie but magical experience. The sounds of various wildlife was very different to anything I’ve ever heard. Looking out the window and seeing cacti and snow capped desert hills was simply bizarre!
My body couldn’t accept that it was living in a US time zone but I quickly snapped into consciousness after I realised I’d overslept. Once again there was no coverage on my phone and I went in search of a land-line phone to try and get in contact with everyone. After using the house phone and still not being able to make calls to Aussie numbers (something to do with international dialing?) I found out there was a computer in one of the bedrooms and I got online.
Once connected I was shocked to see in my inbox full with a gradual escalation of concern for my well being. Especially when you are overseas it is amazing how quickly loved ones can become anxious if they loose contact with you. I made every effort to keep on top of things but without a connection to the outside world I simply couldn’t use the facilities which had been keeping everyone updated... twitter, facebook, email... but most importantly “Google Latitude,” which is a fantastic application that plots your location on a map down to approximately a 50-100 meter radius.
I quickly sent out emails to my family and colleagues to put there minds at rest although at this stage I didn’t quite realise the gravity of the situation. As my last email had read I wasn’t feeling particularly great and that I was heading back to the hotel they thought the worst when they found the car the next morning... the possibilities ranging from being drugged, to mugging, kidnap or even worse! Their actions had been pretty systematic with phone calls to police, festival security, local hospitals and even the Australian consulate (sorry everyone!).
They were very relieved to hear that everything was fine and although it took some explaining, they eventually understood how I’d made the best decision possible in my given situation. Coincidentally I didn't get any response from my colleagues in the US, I imagine there must have been some ongoing communication issues. I was keen to get in contact so we could plan the day ahead.
So I felt terrible about worrying my family and colleagues and wasn’t quite ready to get into party mode which my new friends were launching into full swing! Margaritas were very much on the menu however for the time being I had my sensible hat on and stuck with some fresh fruit and water.
I went for a quick wander outside to take in the beauty of the landscape and reflect upon the previous nights events. Satisfied in myself that I’d done all that I could have in the situation I was looking forward to getting back for the final day of Coachella. We shortly were loaded back up in the SUV and heading back down the highway in search of greener pastures! :)
The drive inbound was a stark reminder of the extreme environmental conditions which we were in. When I asked about the actual water availability there seemed to be a strong consensus that it wasn't actually an issue thanks to a large underground reservoir. Environmentally I was concerned that this could perhaps contribute to an increase in ground salinity but there wasn't much of an opinion on this. In the area's favour was a strong and steady wind current powering the vast fields of wind turbines in the area.
We dropped the car back at the Church and jumped into our transfer which dropped us straight off at the front gates of the festival! According to the locals the best way to arrive at the festival was to get there via bike. I don't think they cared much for the security of these bikes as they left them leaned against each other with no chains or locks!
Once again we were back safe and sound inside the festival! My blatant approach to swinging my SLR over my shoulder and being extra polite to the security staff seemed to work as they let me in no worries!
[END OF PART TWO: Words and picture by Daniel "StereoDan" Taylor]