Amtrak "Flight" a Blast: Dance and Electronic on Any West Coast Weekend 5
Something a little different happened this weekend. A wonderful friend of mine, DJ Erin (GeminiTrix) who now lives in Seattle, asked me via MSN Messenger on Friday night, "Are you coming to 'Flight' tomorrow night?" "Flight?", I asked. "What's that about?" She responded, "It's a party in Bellingham. I'm on at 10pm.
"I thought about it for a bit, considered the drive down, calculated the fuel, and then thought about the border lineup, and how basically I tend to get singled out for not being born in Canada, which I swear is the reason I may have been flagged as being a part of some sort of subversive organization of some persuasion.
"Doubtful" .... and then I realized that the keys to my car were not in my possession because I had lent them to a friend who is now on holiday in the Caribbean somewhere.
"Doubtful, because I don't have my car." (Yeah, that's it)
Erin suggested catching a ride with friends... of hers. Generally, I have no problems hooking up with people I don't know for an adventure, but the logistics of crossing the border with a subversive can be just a little imposing on people I don't even dislike.
"Hmmm. Okay, I will think about it."
And, then I actually did. I considered creating my own group and heading down, as well as heading solo on the bus, and several other ideas. Then I had a flash. I jumped onto the Amtrak website, and tapped in Vancouver to Bellingham to Vancouver, and found that the train was leaving at 6:00pm and returning from Bellingham at 9:45am. The trip was $17 US each way.
Heck of a deal! I chatted back to Erin, "I will see you there!"
I never thought of taking the train anywhere in North America. It's a great way to travel in other places of the world, but it struck me as being available for anything here other than a cross country tour. Perhaps it's because I live in a area of the country where everything else is so far away, it would only be worth flying to. I couldn't wait! It felt like I was about to head on holiday. It seemed like such an exciting adventure was about to begin.
I read the flier for "Flight". It's theme, oddly enough, was flight, and anything to do with it. Theme parties are great because you get to dress up, and be someone a little different. Dressing in a costume often makes for a great night because, you need to be at least a litte creative, you can be a little sillier when dressed up, and you have something to say to everyone you come into contact with. If you are even just a little shy, then, you really should check out these parties.
Time was very short already, as I promised my office manager that I would complete a dreaded annual task that comes around at the end of the fiscal year. I managed to dodge it for a couple weeks until I was told in no uncertain terms that I would not live to see the end of the weekend, if it wasn't completed. In the morning, I had my second flash, and thought "two flash-lights". I shall be a ground controller for planes. A red shirt and not much more would do the trick. A very simple custom... but effective. Perfect! I get to go to a party and not be killed immediately afterwards. Life is good.
After getting the job done, I ran to the train with costume making gear in my travel bag. Jumped onto the Skytrain and then to the train station on Terminal Ave, where I bought my return ticket, and then hit the customs line up. It was fun because it kind of seemed like an airport in Africa or something. But, then I was in for a shock... there were x-ray devices. I thought "Great, they are going to take away my scissors, and then what? How will I finish making my directing lights?" Surprisingly, with all the stuff I had in the bag, there were no problems. "Good to go", security said with a smile. I jumped onto the train, and got my seat. Very impressive. You can watch television, and listen to music and news channels, just like on an aircraft. If you are hungry or thirsty, you can go to the diner car. It was awesome! At some point I realized that worrying about the scissors was stupid. What could I do, hijack the train to Bolivia or something? Sometimes I'm not very impressed with my brain.
The flight, er, I mean ride was pleasant and uneventful until the US border when the hulking border security and their dogs came on board to check for unwelcome guests and/or drugs. I sat very still. Good doggy.
Ha! On we went to Bellingham, where I jumped out and grabbed a five minute cab ride to The Majestic where the party was being held. Flight had an interesting thing going on. The hall was very well decorated, had lots of costumed people, both young and old, everywhere. The night started with a human circus and entertainers for the ages show. In addition to the circus, there were lots of activities for children including origami and Easter egg hunts. It was really cute, although I was thinking, what have I got myself into with all these kids? The music started downstairs at 9pm, and got into my very simple, yet effective, costume. Friends showed up, the place got busy, I started dancing, more friends showed up, the music got louder, I started meeting new people, it started to get louder, and everyone was so friendly. Wow, everyone is smiling and friendly. NICE! I'm thinking, "Why?"
At about the time the children have cleared out DJ Erin shows up in her chicken suit, and the world gets a little more ironic, silly and more fun yet. Erin, is one of the coolest people on this planet. I give her a lot of credit for hooking me up with the local party scene, and also introducing me to the joy of creating and wearing costumes for events. The parties that I have gone to because of her have been brilliant, and I am so glad I met her.
I have always enjoyed her music, but tonight when she hit the decks at just gone 10pm, the universe shifted. It was as if she had managed to pile drive adrenaline straight into hearts of every reveller in the packed room. She had gone with break beats featuring the likes of Kraffy Kuts and Plump DJs, and read the crowd perfectly. I couldn't stop dancing, and nor could anyone else. She kicked it for so long, and yet it was still over too soon. Right then and there, DJ Erin was not only my favourite DJ, but scored number one on my charts.
The energy she knocked into our bodies and minds took us through the rest of the night. There were some good acts, great music, and it was all so well done. I stayed until the bitter end, as, well my train was leaving at 9:44am, so what else was I going to do? That was soon answered when then lights came on, and I was indoctrinated into the clean up and pack up crew. I didn't have a problem with it. In fact, aside from scraping gum off the floor (cute girls were chewing this, cute girls were chewing this), and making the killer mistake of opening the men's rooms door... %$#&*!! It was alright though. In fact, it was better than alright. I talked to members of the presenting group (Boogie Universal) who explained that it was a not-for-profit event where all proceeds went to the community. It was then, that I realized why it was so friendly and charming. The night was made of of party-ers primarily from the small town, and it was put on by people who were doing it on for a good time as well as a noble cause.
After having been thanked for the effort, I walked through and explored Bellingham as the world became light once more. I eventually made my way back to the train, and then to a really nasty Canadian Customs officer. Here is a little hint for you... never ever state you were at an all night party with DJs. Just say, you were at a wine tasting party that just kept on going.
But the really cool thing is, if Bellingham is that easy to get to, Seattle is just a little further. I can't believe I never thought of the train before.