Sunday, April 08, 2012

Sunday Funnies: 1967 again as we embraced our inner hippie on San Francisco’s “Magic Bus”

Here’s the formula for a real “trip” of an afternoon:  take a straightforward city bus tour and throw in beatniks, music, politics and drugs (just mentions of them, not the real things).

It’s not your average daytripper, that’s for sure.

When Jenny, Joan, and I boarded The Magic Bus, we were filled with nostalgia for the sixties. This ride did not show us all of San Francisco, but it did give us and about 15 other riders a firsthand glimpse into history – and that made it something very fun indeed.

One very unique feature was a multimedia show on retractable window shades of the bus.  Sure, you miss some of the sights along the way while the movie plays – but then again, how many street musicians can outperform The Mamas and The Papas?

Our driver was founder and CEO Jens-Peter Jungclaussen, who also manages another tour concept called Teacher Bus, whose tagline is “Life is a Fieldtrip.”

Here are 3 reasons to jump on the Magic Bus (from

1. You hit the hot spots in San Francisco.

As you roll through some of the city’s most notorious neighborhoods – Chinatown, North Beach, Haight-Ashbury and Golden Gate Park – the shades are raised and you can drink up the scene. Instead of a one-liner about every building and bump in the road as you whiz through, you’ll get a personal feel for the places that defined a decade.

2. It’s more fun than your high school history lesson.

When you want to be transported to another time and place, no one does it better than a trained crew of actors and performers. Founder Chris Hardman tells the sixties story through news clips, classic music and a focus on the feeling of the era. It’s a Ken Burns Disney ride. It’s time travel. These guys believe that passing around fake acid (candy) and flowers is a lot more fun than bombarding you with dates or subjecting you to a dry presentation about the significance of the people mentioned in the videos. They couldn’t be more right.

3. It’s not a tour, it’s an experience.

The tour appeals to many San Francisco first timers, but even locals will get a kick out of this trip. The Magic Bus is about more than seeing the city. It’s a theatrical experiment brought to you by Antenna Theater, the same people who popularized Walkman tours way back in the 1980s. Who knows – 20 years from now you could find yourself saying that you that were there, that you took one of the first truly avant-garde city tours in the country. Or, at the very least, you‘ll have an interesting story to tell your friends back home about that time you took a bubble-blowing bus tour.

Enjoy a video about the tour at YouTube

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