It's sort of like club hopping. You go from one "experience" to another. We start with dinner as the sun goes down. We end with breakfast as dawn breaks. In between, we add to the fun quotient.
Significant wealth is not a prerequisite to run the city. However, significant wealth opens otherwise closed doors and provides a great deal of latitude. Besides, the way we do it, someone has to pay the horrendous costs. In running the city, the venues chosen through the night are best described as underground parties and get-togethers at select private residences. With excessive excitement the goal, we gravitate to exotic and over-the-top venues.
This evening seven of us are at the starting line. I know every person save one. She's a trust baby, early 30s, and while she has heard about this kind of activity from friends, it's new to her and she's visibly nervous. We tend to start our nightlong excursions very conventionally with dinner in a VIP room of a five-star restaurant. The liquor generously flows and I wouldn't be surprised if some of the "runners" have an additional medical boost. Stomachs full, we're eager to start our run.
The person who invited us is the unofficial coordinator and financial sponsor for the night. There are times we might be spontaneous, but we tend to follow a prearranged pattern of venue hopping. We do this because the places we visit always require permission to enter.
Our first stop is in full swing by the time we arrive. Architecturally large bouncers guard the entrance and usher us in. The dance floor is crowded with people in all stages of undress. The music is highly eclectic, from hip-hop to the quickstep and from heavy metal to the Viennese waltz. Musically, there's something for everyone. In between sets, there's the entertainment. A diverse group of acts keeps the audience amused. This night the act that garners the most admiration is a three-couple ballroom cabaret strip show. We leave the "nightclub" losing two of our party but we also net a few additions to our ranks.
Our next stop is a three-story penthouse. Our hosts are extreme practitioners of the spiritual discipline known as shugyo. They're seeking the intense refinement and deepening of their humanness. The way they implement this path to enlightenment is not, by any means, ordinary. Our hosts promote intense semi-erotic rituals intent on breaking down mind and exhausting body. The purpose of these rituals is to drive out all destructive thoughts and feelings, thereby laying a clear path to personal perfection. (It's a lot wilder then it sounds.) A few hours later, tired and exhausted from the experience, we leave-adding two more people to our traveling assembly. The trust baby stays behind, having finally found her true calling.
Moving on, with the night vanishing, we-now numbering 12-board a few helicopters and fly to a nearby city, where we have breakfast in a meat locker. Our breakfast hosts are clad in full-length furs, shoes and nothing else. They set up some sides of beef as targets and weapons are provided for those of us who are so inclined.
The sun is up and the helicopters are ready to take us back to our starting point. In the helicopter I am in, the runners talk about the high points of the night. The rituals in the penthouse tend to dominate the conversation. Of course, I hear talk about "next time." I know next time will be a very different experience which none of us can guess at today. When the helicopter lands, there is a line of Maybachs ready to take each person home or wherever he or she wants to go. As I'm chauffeured to a client meeting to work with her on her Personal Wealth Creation Program, in my mind I'm dancing the Lindy, walking the path to enlightenment and feasting on seafood while slowly getting frostbite.