Waiting for the bus to take me back to Prague and I’m sure I recognize half the people here. A lot more than half are definitely Americans. We are expats. More specifically we are student expats with a penchant for drinking and a bloodhound’s nose for finding party towns; so, we went to Budapest. And in Budapest I found myself at a party like I’d never seen before, but if I’m lucky, I might see again. I certainly ran into the same crowd from the party again.
This was a sparty.
Dub step techno music pounds through Buda’s cool night air, but the crowd is chanting so loudly you can barely hear it. A futbol cheer echoes between the walls enclosing this pool and dissipates into the Hungarian sky as the mass jumps in perfect rhythm. Beer cans are lining the edge of the deck.
The young and undersexed. That’s who came here tonight. I don’t fully know how to explain it; I don’t think it’s really possible. In a haze of alcohol, steam and flashing lasers the DJ pounds electronica remixes as hundreds of young expats do God knows what. You see people you know – knowing is a relative term; how well do you really know someone you just met on a bus or at the hostel. You see these people because parties like this are a black hole. They lure in expats, youthful and wild, with the promise of cheap booze and a memorable evening. They delivered.
Through sober eyes – for better and worse – I watch it all unfold. Young couples, young in age and in the sense that they’ve known each other a total of thirty minutes. Young couples are making out across the pool. Some girl is riding on some boy’s shoulders. The horde are pulling at her bikini strings, eager for a sight. She falls and drags her ride into a corner. This is like sharks among wolves. These people did not come here to splash around.
Despite it all, I only saw one topless girl. But, I did see a lot of skinny, long-haired Europeans sporting Speedos and at first glance I thought they were topless girls; but, I, like many others, was disappointed.
And there was a man in a duck suit. I don’t know how to explain that. I don’t really understand it and it felt like the kind of thing that I should have been “seeing” but was actually imagining. But there he was. People saying “This is wild!” were not uncommon. It was a memorable evening. People drank and danced and splashed and made out with people they’ll probably never see again — but when I think about those two Aussies, they may.
And then, at the bus station the next day , you see some girl who you’re pretty sure you saw last night holding her coffee with a death grip. Yeah, last night happened.