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April 2003
San Francisco

Is Miami really in California?

This story is about one of the most amazing weekends in my life. I start this story on a cold miserable April Thursday afternoon in Boston…

I am sitting at my desk chatting with my friend Alex in San Francisco on instant messenger. I tell him how wonderful it would be to just jump into a plane and hop to San Francisco for the weekend. We check flight prices and it is too expensive.

Less than an hour later my friend Eric, who is a flight attendant, calls and asks if I would like to join him on a trip to New Orleans. You can imagine how excited I am, and agree immediately. Unfortunately, another half hour later I get another call that all flights to New Orleans are full because of a jazz festival. I did not know that jazz still exists. I guess it does. Mood goes up, mood goes down. I am so ready to leave Boston with its horrible never-ending winter. Eric comes up with the idea to go to Miami. I keep my excitement low until final confirmation but tell him to go ahead to check availability. To my surprise Eric calls again to indicate everything is ok for your flights to Miami. Hurrah! We will leave Friday after work.

I contact a friend in Miami to find a place to stay, call the hotel and reserve a room for Saturday night. Our plan is to arrive at around midnight on Friday, leave our bags somewhere, explore the city, and check in to our hotel at noon on Saturday. Saves us a night … 200 bucks for the flight is enough for an unplanned weekend.

Friday I pack my little bag with summer clothes because the forecast for Miami is 86 and sunny the whole weekend. That's about 30 Celsius. After work I take the fabulous Boston public transport and meet Eric at the Northwest counter, still not trusting the whole thing because we have standby tickets. Ten minutes later we have the boarding passes, and my mood is up because I will spend a weekend in the summer or maybe not?

We arrive at the gate shortly before boarding. The nice lady at the gate announces that the aircraft that is supposed to bring us to Detroit (our connection) has mechanical problems, and we will depart an hour late. I recognize a worried look in Eric's face. He is obviously thinking and calculating. He comes to the conclusion that we will not make our connection in Detroit and have to blow the whole thing off because believe me, you don't want to spend a Friday evening in Detroit. I am a little devastated … talking about expectations. I call our hotel in Miami, and luckily I am able to cancel our room without penalties because it was only booked for Saturday night. Eric asks me whether I want to go to New York or Chicago, but I want to go somewhere warm, or stay here. He asks me where I want to go, and I say "San Francisco".

Eric finds this little old computer monitor and starts typing cryptic letter codes. He pauses for a bit … types more letter codes. Suddenly he says, "there is flight to Minneapolis leaving in ten minutes, and from there we can catch a connection to San Francisco which brings us in just before midnight local time. Are you up for it?" Of course I am, and as we run to the gate, I call my friend Alex in San Francisco who was inquiring about my trip to Miami. I interrupt him with the message that we will be at his place at 12.30am. I don't know if he is more confused or happy to see me. There is no time to think about it because I am entering the 757 aircraft and have to switch off the phone.

I brought my mp3 player with two headphones, so I can entertain Eric and me with funky tunes from London, Paris and New York. We have about 6.5 hours of flying time in front to us, so some entertainment is very welcome. Also Madonna's latest remixed by Peter Raufhofer, still warm from floating down the net, is being presented by partyrichard in the air.

In Minneapolis a big snowstorm greets us. With God's help we make our connection, and after an hour delay because of the de-icing procedure we in the air again off to the Bay Area … home sweet home. You have to know that I used to live in San Francisco. This time we are in first class. One travels with style, of course.

The word "Sky" will have a new meaning for me on this trip. The nice flight attendant who looks like Papa Smurf keeps serving me vodka and tonics. Well, you take one or two of those little blue Sky Vodka bottles and add a drop of tonic. After five of those and a vivid conversation about good old San Francisco, Bush being a typical Coke head, etc… I felt it is time for a little nap. Half an hour before landing (2.30am Boston time) I wake up feeling really sick from all those little blue bottles. The plane is moving of course, and I had to concentrate to not embarrass myself in first class. Sky is supposed to be outside the window and in my stomach and nowhere else.

The landing works out fine, and I am slowly sobering up. Next thing I know we are in cab with a Russian cab driver, and the first thing he says: "Do you want to buy land in Iraq? It is really cheap now." Great…welcome to the Wild West.

We arrive at Alex's place at around 12.30am, get changed quickly, and convince him to join us… At 1am we are at the End Up, dancing outside in the patio. It is a miracle for me. Am I not supposed to be in Miami? I run into so many old friends and I don't know who is more surprised that I am here, they or I.

We dance into sunrise. This is such an amazing experience, because there are not many clubs where you can dance outside end experience such a crisp, clear, and bright orange sunrise as in San Francisco (

After a good sleep we walk to the Castro for brunch. The weather is beautiful. Not too hot, not too cold. T-shirt was just fine. I have my favorite half roasted chicken at Café Flore sitting outside in the sun. Then some shopping, a quick cocktail at the Café, and getting ready for the big event. Yes, there must have been a reason why our flight plans got diverted into the west. "The opening of Mezzanine" the new Saturday night club in San Francisco.

The gay capital of the world has been deprived of a proper gay club on Saturday night for a while. Everybody in the city is longing for a place to shake and sweat after the sun sets on Sabbath (

I warn my friends to be there early to make to sure that we get in. Mezzanine holds about 1000 people and that is not a lot for dance hungry city like San Francisco. We arrive at 9.30 half an hour before opening and the line is already around two block corners. While we are waiting the line is growing and growing. I would say at least 2500-3000 screaming, glittery queens ready for a Saturday night extravaganza. True, I think there are one two girls too.

Little before 11pm we are in. We made it. I think the door was closed shortly after we entered. Mezzanine goes for simplistic concrete design. It has the best sound system on the West Coast. The most impressive thing was the horizontal dance show. I am sure that there is a lot of horizontal stuff going on, but this was different. Two girls hanging from the ceiling on ropes performing aerobic style dance moves on the wall, and that in a gigantic empty picture frame.

I run into all sorts of old friends that I have not seen in ages. Also the fact that I am allowed to dance all night makes me happy. In Boston everything closes at 2am, which is just not fun. And I tell you those San Francisco boys are fun. You might want to think twice before shaking their hands, because you never know where they might have been just minutes earlier. My friend Alex introduces me to this adorable creature named Lucas. I know now where the Lucas Films got their name from...Or was it Lucas with a 'k'? Or was it me on 'k'? ...

At 6am, Alex and I have enough and we head home for a good Sunday morning sleep. Eric is on his own adventure and will meet up with me later on Sunday. After a luxurious 4-5 hours of sleep, I meet up with Eric in the Castro. The weather is yet perfect again. I am thinking of my poor friends freezing in Boston with temperatures close to freezing. My other friend Alex meets up with us to show us the new place to go for T-dance on Sunday called Lalo's. A place which is usually a restaurant but on Sunday from 4-8pm it becomes pure madness. You would not believe how 2 dollar margaritas can change people's personalities. A DJ is spinning the best funky tunes which I am only used to from London. By 6pm boys, girls, gays, straights are dancing on every surface. I mean if there is a two inch wide space between two booths, people are dancing on it. Well, I am actually dancing there... Of course my shirt is gone within minutes and shortly after my shirt has left my body, people keep sticking one-dollar bills into my underwear.

Suddenly my friend pulls two of those dollar bills out of my pants and sticks them into this other guy's pants. This guy, equipped with a bottle of Tequila, winks his eye and gestures with his hand telling me to lean back my upper body. Before I can realize what is going on, he is pouring Tequila right down my throat. Long live the Wild Wild West. One of my friends is getting a blowjob in the bathroom. Sodom and Gomorrah lives on…

At this point I say it is time for a phone call to Mattias to move our Monday morning meeting to Tuesday. Knowing the to do's for the week I know it should be ok to take a day off. The original plan is to take a 10.20pm flight from San Francisco to Detroit, and then on to Boston. This would bring me into Boston at 8.20am perfect for the meeting with Mattias, but….is that really a good idea? Mattias is ok me prolonging the weekend, so there is no reason to stop the San Francisco tomfoolery.

Eric leaves margarita madness because he is in need of body remodeling because he is still on the walk of shame, this bad boy. I meet up with him at this bar called Badlands (, where the madness continues when the margarita place closes its doors at 8pm. At 10pm I say 'fare well' to Eric and go home to get my well deserved sleep.

The next morning, I have my last coffee in the sun, and then we head to the airport for our 12.30 flight. Of course the flight is delayed again. Eric is worried that we will not make our connection in Detroit. I clam him down, because there is nothing we can do anyways. The flight takes off, we are in first class again, and the next snow storm awaits us in Detroit.

Luckily the Boston flight in Detroit is waiting for us and other delayed passengers. One more de-icing procedure, and by 12.30am we are back in good old Boston in a wintery mix of rain and snow.

'Is this the real life? Is this just fantasy?' You decide.