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THE OUTDOORS ALMANAC | ONLINE EXCERPT

'Stinkys and all'

Bulletin board spills the dirt on 'magical' gatherings.

March 23, 2004

When police checked out citizen complaints of a "massive concentration" of people involved in "strange activity" on private farmland near San Vito de Coto Brus, Costa Rica, this month, they discovered the latest in a series of far-flung outdoor social experiments known as a Rainbow Gathering. A few weeks before this event, a fan of Burning Man, another popular back-to-nature forum for radical self-expression, initiated online chat about the Rainbow vibe. Here is a sampling of related postings from www.livejournal.com.

Mantheboat: "All of my friends who have gone to Rainbow Gatherings (more than 10) have nothing good to say about them.... Mostly that everyone is dirty ... lice and scabies are rampant."

Dace: "My only personal run-in with the Rainbow kids was at Burning Man, where they were stealing the PB&J I had out on my table in the camp."

Anabelsdreaming: " ... Dogs run wild there and no one cleans up after them. Also, most people there are very unclean and throw their waste anywhere."

Anonymous: "Hey, I've been to a Rainbow Gathering here in Costa Rica and I would have to say it was very magical.... All the people I encountered were more than wonderful ... a few stinkys and all, but that's normal (just like Burning Man)."

Anonymous: "The Rainbow Gathering is not perfect, nor is it a place where perfect beings hang out. It is a week away from society, a place where you can be yourself.... Peace."

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