It started out by checking into our hotel in downtown Orlando. Then we drove a little over a mile to Church Street where all the action is and got a bit lost trying to find a parking spot. Then we had sushi at Amura's--it was SOOO good. Loved it!
Then went to see a movie in the nicest theater I've ever been to. It's a cafe theater with rocking leather seats and private tables and drink holders. You can purchase all sorts of food and drink to have while watching the move. Definitely not your average teenager's theater.
Then we stepped into a bar to hear some live music from a really funky local band, stopped by a very luxurious lounge to sit for a while, then ended the night by visiting the most packed dance club I've ever been to. Oh, and since this was a first time for us in down town Orlando, we made the mistake of parking in metered parking. So we had to feed the meter the whole night. I think we spent $15 on parking! We finally made it back to our room around 1:30am.
We hadn't been out in a scene like that for about 6-7 years. We had a GREAT time. But it was also very interesting for us. So many things had changed, and yet so much had not. As cities do, it transformed after dark. The lines at clubs started forming at 7pm. We would pass one club where everyone standing outside was White, wearing all black, with chains, big boots, skinny jeans, and punk rockers shirts. Then outside the next club everyone was wearing grungy pants, dirty shoes, and had a post-modern, granola, hippy look that said "Yeah, I'm all for saving the trees, but f*** you." Then the next club was surrounded by a crowd of all Blacks and Hispanics wearing urban and ghetto fabulous gear, trying not to trip in five inch heals. We saw a few corporate groups, a lot of older, middle-aged people socializing, and even saw a high school group, with what appeared to be their pastor, getting ready to prayer walk or do some ministry.
The Same.... Everyone was still looking for something that they won't find. Everyone is still getting drunk. Still looking for "love". Still looking to fill the emptiness with a whole lot of craziness. I think some people were out on the town just so that they could say they had been out.
Different.... The last time I had been in a club, jeans weren't allowed. And you actually had to dress up! There were maximum capacity rules that maintained a nice environment inside and prevented fire code infractions. You might stand outside for an hour or more until someone came out so you could go in, but once inside, you could find a place to sit and if a good song came on, you could get up and go to the floor--and have some room to move around. Now, they just pack everyone in until you are sardines from wall to wall. There's no room to move, let alone breath. I think we stayed 20 minutes and couldn't take it any more. And of course, our meter was up. :)
When it was all said and done, we had a fantastic time together. And although we needed some time away from the girls, we couldn't wait to see them again. It was good to see what's going on in the party scene today... to be able to relate with those in it. I saw a lot of hunger, hurt, drive, determination, anger, need, etc... not any true joy or peace. Being there reminded me how hard some are running from God. And it also assured me that when I'm sitting at home on a Friday night with my wonderful husband and two precious girls, I'm not missing anything!