Tuesday, July 11, 2006

The Party Bus

This past weekend, I was introduced to a phenomenon I'd never experienced before, but which seems to be a rite of passage for all those of legal age here in California: the Party Bus. Apparently, a bus is rented to shuttle partygoers from the selected meeting place to up to three clubs in San Francisco in the span of an evening. When the clubs close down, participants are driven back to the house of origin, without ever having to sit behind the wheel of a car. A very good idea when considering the consumption of alcohol.

I didn't quite know what to expect when the call came on Saturday night for a friend's sister's co-ed bachelorette party. Danny and I showed up, dressed to the nines, ready for a fun night of revile. And a fun night it was.

The Party Bus is not just a limo or one of those stretch Excursions you see driving around on Saturday nights. It is a real, long-haul passenger bus, complete with sound system, TVs, and requisite disgusting toilet in the back. Those of legal age are allowed to drink on the bus, and I watched in amazement as cooler after cooler was loaded on, knowing full well that most of the bottles inside would be empty by the end of the night.

Driving up to the City of San Francisco, the party launched into full swing. Drinks were passed around, music was blasting, dancing was commenced in the aisle and in the seats. Not being a heavy drinker myself, I limited myself to one beer and one cocktail, enjoyed at my typical slow pace. Vodka and cran. Yummy, yummy.

As we arrived at the club, the tour guide warned us that we must be very quiet in line. A rowdy group will be denied entry into the club. We must keep the noise down and wait in the VIP line like good little partygoers. We filed off the bus in an orderly fashion and queued up as we were instructed. Shhh. Pass it on. Shhh.

A few minutes later, we were granted entry.

Studio 181. In the same location as the old Polly Esther's, this swanky, updated club had airs of a real class act. Hip-hop music blasted from the main and the downstairs room. An interesting assortment of people milled about, and danced, drank and fraternized. Fresh from the Party Bus, with liquor on board, we all did the same.

As the night wore on, the club became even more crowded. A fight nearly broke out in the downstairs room between a group of gangster-looking men, but was diffused quickly by their friends. All present were having a grand old time, especially the bride- and groom-to-be. This was their night, and they enjoyed it to the fullest.

We headed outside at the specified time to wait for the bus, and after refueling at the small but surprisingly good pizza place next door, we headed southbound. What was left of the huge bottle of vodka was poured into the equally huge bottle of Sunny D, creating a deadly cocktail of pure drunkeness. It was passed around, but we passed it up. None was wasted, however, especially by the groom-to-be.

The party continued all the way home, with much dancing, singing and chants of "Go drunk girl !" when one particular attendee struggled to keep her balance while grooving in the aisle. We returned home well after 3am, completely exhausted.

It was a night that nobody, especially not the guests of honor, will ever forget. Unless, of course, the alcohol forced them to do so.

Such was my first experience with the famous Party Bus. I somehow have the feeling it won't be my last.


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