The party began almost twenty years ago when some wind surfers at a summer competition started a bonfire on the beach and added music. The celebration grew and grew, day by day, summer after summer, until today it is the premiere party in Eastern Europe, lasting from the end of July to almost September.
The party consists of two parts, one being the recently added sports games, an eight day event, the former Soviet Bloc's answer to the American X-Games; the second being a huge rave, where Kazantip Nation attracts in excess of 10,000 youth a night.
There's a very small subset of Eastern Europeans that can afford the $250 for the month long KaZantip ViZa (everything here has a "Z") , not to mention additional money for lodgings, transport, food, alcohol, drugs, and the vacation time needed to make the long journey out to the middle of nowhere. Why do they make the trek? Aside of probably the nicest, least polluted beach on the Black Sea, it's like pilgrimage for youth, the Mecca of raves, something you can always say, "Yeah I did that."
Many compare being here to Burning Man in the States, or the party in Ibiza. Over the years this two square kilometer "nation" has really built up some infrastructure- bars, restaurants, sculptures, a skyway, and stadiums that line the beach. It's actually quite impressive.
Many of the creations in Kazantip are modeled after drawings drawn-up by Soviet engineers who imagined what life would be like on the moon; from the rocket ship below-
nest of eggs atop spaceship in Kazantip
(check out this video of the scene in Kazantip- from day to night)
A plethora of drugs exist. I was warned not to consume any drinks that didn't come straight from a bartender as they could very likely be spiked, namely with Speed.
Fortunately, I never have to worry about being offered drugs, I know I'm not cool enough. (plus I don't speak Russian)
|kazantip Bar on "skyway"|
Boobs. You'll see lots of boobs on the sand here. I told you it's a nice a beach, right? It's clothing optional in the Z.
In my last post, I told you I was viciously attacked by mosquitoes at dusk, and while purchasing my pass to the sports game portion of the party ($25) I was taking my revenge on the little vampires resting on the walls, swatting about six of them while i waited for my ViZa to be created. I turned around and exchanged eye contact with a blond girl who was looking at me horrified.
"What are you doing?"
My ViZa is ready so I walk away, probably looking like a weirdo in her eyes.
She sees me on the dance floor the next night. "Hey, you're the American that was killing mosquitoes!"
"Can I talk to you?" she asks.
Great, now I have to explain my Hitler like actions towards these blood sucking parasites. She takes me aside, and sits down with me, but thankfully insects are the last thing on her mind.
She's a 25 year old Russian diplomat, hence the good English, recently divorced, and is here to party cause she's "too young to stop drinking and having sex." And that's what she's here to do ...
|Flying bicycle- Kazantip|
24 hours a day, disc jockey's are playing electronic music in every bar on the beach. Aren't grooving to one DJ, walk twenty seconds, you'll find a different flavor. Unlike city clubs, even in the evenings, you'll find very little male/female grinding, most people are trance dancing by themselves, and there are some really excellent dancers here. I don't happen to be among them, but I love it when I allow music to take over my body, and I just let go. When thoughts cease, the dance of pure expression take place.
I'm trying to decide whether to stay for the rave portion of the party, and pay the $250 for the new ViZa. Outside the ticket office, I run into Kate, a Russian girl. She and her friends are leaving in a couple days, and can't afford the fee. She strikes up a conversation with me and invites me to hang out with them. When people invite me to do something fun, I'm usually a Yes Man.
|Me, Kate, and two Russian friends|
I have never seen so many stars. It's magnificent.
|Stars in the night sky above Kazantip (Big Dipper)|
Tears roll down my eyes, a release of whatever negativity might have been in me, the problems of my mind dissolving as the purifying gratitude of existence washes over me. Some people have panic attacks, I get bliss attacks. Right Now, is holy. I need nothing, there is only deep peace and love. Kate looks over at me. I smile. "I see the Universe in your eyes," I whisper. And I'm not lying. You're no different than me, are you?