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Location: Los Angeles, California, USA
This morning was horrible saying good bye to Kellen and Ali before my flight out of Las Vegas. I’m not going to lie, I cried the whole cab ride to the airport and the cab driver didn’t know what to say or do.
To make matters worse, Southwest left my luggage in Las Vegas after I had already touched down in Los Angeles. I had to sit around hoping it would show up on the next flight. Luckily, it did.
I am now sitting at Terminal 2, Gate 23A at Los Angeles International Airport about to board my flight back to Melbourne, Australia with Air New Zealand.
This is the end of the world as I know it. Saddest day of my life.
Good bye USA, it’s been a blast.
Airport Hotel Booze Vegas Strip Booze Booze Girls Girls Girls Vegas Strip Pool Booze Hotel Cirque du Soleil Booze Buffet Girls Girls Girls Buffet Vegas Strip Booze Vegas Strip Pool Booze Buffet Thunder from Downunder Vegas Strip Booze Cirque du Soleil Booze Clubbing Vegas Strip Booze Pool Booze Cirque du Soleil Booze Clubbing Booze Airport Tears.
Phew. What a mouthful. After an amazing 14 month run, my last five days in the USA were to be spent in no place other than Las Vegas. I am by no means a Sin City virgin but on this particular trip, we were going to be popping Ali’s Vegas virginity.
It was tough saying farewell to Bryan at the airport on Tuesday morning; probably the toughest of them all. This was the one good bye I was least looking forward to. We had pretty much spent every single day of the entire last year together; grocery shopping, working, drinking, cooking, cleaning, hanging out, going to the Disney parks, vacationing together; literally everything. He pulled up curb side at the Southwest Terminal and helped remove our luggage from the car. After it was all out there was a hesitant pause. Ali and Kellen would be seeing Bryan again so it was all up to me. I took a step towards him and leaned in for a hug. I failed at trying not to cry. I didn’t wear any make up for this particular reason; it was inevitable. We said our good byes while I cried all over his shoulder. I didn’t want to let go of him. Bryan handed me a letter and told me to read it a little later on. He hopped back into the car and like that, he was gone. I’m going to miss him so much.
I check all 130lbs of my luggage in. It’s hard to believe how much crap I’ve accumulated over the last 14 months. Thank God for Southwest Airlines two free checked pieces of luggage policy. While sitting at our gate waiting to board, I decide to read the letter Bryan left me with. I’m not even two lines in before I start to cry again. I’m an emotional mess. His words are so sweet and it pains me to imagine my days without him. My sleeve becomes my tissue; good thing I didn’t wear any eye liner. I get a grip of myself right before it is time to board the plane.
We touch down in Vegas at 10am with hopes The Mirage will let us check in this early and sure enough, it does. Score. Our room is gorgeous and we’ve conveniently been given a room with a strip view at no extra cost! Double score.
Twenty minutes is by far too much time to spend in a hotel room in Vegas so off we go to introduce Ali to the strip. We are only walking for
maybe five minutes before Ali realises you can legally roam the streets with booze in hand. This is way to exciting for Ali to handle so we make our way into the nearest hotel to purchase ourselves our first drink. Never mind that it is only 11am, it is 5pm somewhere, right? I’m glad you agree. Our first drink is down the hatch within minutes. There’s nothing like an ice cold Bud Light in 108°F heat while walking down the Las Vegas strip. As we make out way towards the Paris Hotel our taste buds are tingling for another alcoholic beverage. Ali suggest a beverage of the frothy kind and Kellen and I agree. We come across a little place called Evening Call and purchase a cup each that has refills available for only $5; insane. The cup is white, but when a freezing cold substance is poured into it, it turns red! Pretty cool. I order a coffee slushy with baileys in it. As I bring the straw up to my mouth for my first sip, I start to wonder if I should have ordered this; My stomach doesn’t usually have a great reaction to milk-based products. This is quickly forgotten upon having my first sip. The drink is heavenly; absolutely bloody delicious.
More drinks are consumed as we walk the Vegas strip. Kellen and Ali decide it is fun to collect the cards of nakey girls that the GIRLS GIRLS GIRLS guys are handing out on the side of the road (if you’ve ever been to Vegas you know exactly what I’m talking about). It is not even 2pm and we are already best friend with intoxication. We head back to the hotel to sober up and get ready for tonight.
We have tickets to the 7:30pm session of Cirque du Soleil’s Mystere at Treasure Island. After having seen La Nouba 1047982 times while working there on the Disney College Program, I decided it was time to venture out into the world of Cirque du Soleil and see as many resident shows as possible while in Vegas. I lost my Cirque virginity to La Nouba, so in a sense, I felt like I was cheating on it tonight with Mystere. I tried to convince myself this was probably for the best; after all, I was on a mission to find bigger and better… than La Nouba, of course. Get your mind out of the gutter! Mystere had many similarities to La Nouba in that it was the imaginable being brought to life on stage to provide the ultimate discovery that life itself is a mystery. I thoroughly enjoyed the show probably a little bit more than La Nouba, although the first time I ever saw La Nouba, I was blown away by it all too. After Mystere we eat dinner at the Paris buffet which is absolutely delicious.
Day two is just another day of drinking down the strip only today we are rather excited because we find a place by the name of Bill’s that serves 99c margaritas and beer. Needless to say we make out way on it and indulge in a few. I must take advantage of as much cheap booze as possible now because God knows, once I get back to Australia, I’ll be paying insane prices for it. We lay out by the pool while drinking more beer and frothy beverages before it is time to go in and gussy up for tonight’s adventure.
We head to Planet Hollywood for dinner which is insanely crowded due to The Expendables movie premier going on there. It was a nice surprise to see Sylvester Stallone standing around just before we went into eat. The buffets was amazing and had food from many different countries. One of the better buffets I’ve been to in Vegas for sure. We only have a small time frame which to consume as much food as possible because tonight we are heading to… drum roll please…
at The Excalibur hotel. We have been waiting patiently for this day for a few weeks now and are beyond excited to see my home boys represent. The show was absolutely insanely amazing! The boys were hotter than I can even explain. At one point, the MC asked if anyone had ever touched anything Australian before. Of course, Ali and Kellen start screaming at the top of their lungs and pointing to me. I may have slightly blushed. The show they put on really is phenomenal and I highly recommend it to any one who’s in Vegas for a bachelorette party or just to have a good time like we were.
Ali and I wake up early on day three to head to the Cirque du Soleil ‘LOVE box office which is located inside The Mirage. This particular Cirque show was coming off a seven day dark week which meant it was more than likely going to be sold out but thought we’d try our luck. The lady selling tickets at the box office tells us the same thing we tell all the guests “We are coming back from a short break, we are sold out, only single seats left, we’re not releasing any more, yada yada yada”. I knew she was lying because this is what we use to tell everyone too even when we had seats on hold. Conveniently, as we are standing there, two seats magically appear. The only catch, they are $172.40 each. Ouch. I wasn’t planning on spending this much on a ticket but tonight is the only night we can see this show. I tell Ali I’m fine with paying it as long as she is too. We both hand over our credit cards and slightly cringe as they get swiped. This better be a good show!
So after watching LOVE I don’t feel bad about dropping the $172.40 on my ticket. It was, hands down, the best show I’ve ever seen. LOVE celebrates the musical legacy of The Beatles. Drawn from the poetry of their lyrics, LOVE explores the content of the songs in a series of scenes inhabited by real and imaginary people. There was always so much happening I didn’t know where to look which is why I think I’ll have to see this show for a second time on my next visit back to Vegas. Incredible! While still high on energy from LOVE, we head to Jet Nightclub at The Mirage. Being Mirage guests, we get free entry; excellent, more to spend on alcohol. We drink and dance the night away.
Day four is our last full day in Vegas and also my last night in the USA before heading home. Sadness bestows me which means it is time for a drink. We make our way back to the Evening Call in Paris and refill our cups. Kellen doesn’t feel the best so I decide to take advantage of this situation and double fist. I get the Bacardi flavoured rum mixed with tropical flavoured slushy. Delicious. The best part is, I can’t even taste any alcohol so I’m just slurping these babies down as if they’re a regular 7/11 slushy. We head back to the pool for our last day of sunshine and tanning. For me, this will probably be the last time I see sun for the next few months. I have a horrible, cold winter to look forward to after tomorrow.
Tonight we have tickets to see Cirque du Soleil’s Zumanity at New York New York. Zumanity has claimed to be the sensual side of Cirque du Soleil. It is a seductive twist on reality, making the provocative playful and the forbidden electrifying. You are asked to leave all inhibitions at the door and let loose as this Cirque production takes you on a sexy thrill ride full of sensational acrobatics and naughty fun. The show is part burlesque and part cabaret and only viewable to those 18 years and over. Again, another amazing show.
We head to Studio 54 at the MGM. There is a huge line up at the door. Tonight Lady Gaga performed at the MGM and Studio 54 is home to her official after party so the crowds are insane. It doesn’t help that she is due to walk out any minute to do a press conference and pose for the paparazzi right by the front of the club and admissions line. The security guard calls Kellen and I in right before she comes out. Bummer.
Kellen has never been to Studio 54 before but I had told him several times how it is my favourite club in Vegas because the music they play is amazing. After a few drinks, he was quick to agree. We buy each other round after round after round and after a while, I lose count as to how much we’ve consumed. We’re having such an amazing time just dancing the night away. It reaches 3am and we agree that if the next song is crappy, we will leave. Lucky for us, it isn’t, so we continue dancing like it’s nobodies business. Everywhere we look, there are girls dressed up as Lady Gaga. Once Kellen reaches his height of intoxication, he starts asking them all for photos and they kindly pose with him. Too funny. We stumble out of Studio 54 sometime after 4am and make it back to the room exactly at 5am. What a night.
The next morning is like a depressive blur. Ali and Kellen help me carry my bags out to catch a cab. I have an earlier flight out than they do so of course, I have to say my good byes to them. The cab driver finishes loading my bags into his trunk. I turn to Ali, before I even reach out to hug her I’m already crying. She starts crying too. I look over to Kellen to give him a hug and I start crying even more. I know I will be seeing them again so this makes it a little easier. I say good bye one last time then hop into the cab and cry all the way to the airport.
Good bye Las Vegas, until next time…
Leaving for the airport at 5:30am and getting a flight out to Las Vegas at 7:55am where I will spend the next five days before flying back home to Australia.
The worst part; saying good bye to a friend I have become so close with at the airport in the morning.
Good bye, Orlando, I’ll forever cherish all the memories I’ve made here. You hold a special place in my heart ♥.
See you soon.
Location: Somewhere in the North Atlantic Ocean
~ DAY FOUR ~
Today is our final day aboard Monarch of the Seas and we are scheduled to be at sea for the entire day. Knowing this the night prior, we plan to sleep in and attend brunch. There are many activities planned on board the ship today to keep the guests amused, but for the most part, we plan to just relax and soak up the sun while laying out on a deck chair.
It is so peaceful laying out in the sun with nothing but ocean surrounding you. I find my own piece of serenity just by gazing out at the crisp, calm waters. The ocean sparkles as the sun reflects off of it. If only I could do this every day of the week. The trance I am in is soon disturbed as the pool deck entertainment kicks off. First up is a male belly-flop competition which a handful of men have signed themselves up for. I adjust my deck chair up one notch so I am able to peer over the edge to watch the battle. There really are some pathetic excuses for bellies that have entered to score their ten seconds of ship fame. One guy in particular, I feel sorry for. I have the greatest urge to walk up to him and feed him a cookie, or a burger, better yet, both, but I resist. His competition are several other guys who seem to have enjoyed the ships 24/7 buffet. Poor dude doesn’t stand a chance.
Our cruise friend, Mike, enters himself into a Dodge-ball competition. His team has made the finals so we go to cheer him on. Mike is so caught up in winning the game that he doesn’t realise that his sandal has somehow slid over his foot and is now firmly wrapped around his ankle; almost like a shin guard. It is not until after they are declared the winners that he notices his sandal is not under his foot. He tries to
pull the sandal down but fails miserably. He sits on the pool ledge while his dad tries with all his strength to remove the sandal. Strike two. Mike puts his leg into the pool with hopes that the water will help the sandal slide off. Strike three. At this point, Mike has gathered quite the crowd. A man walks up with his SLR camera and begins taking photos of Mike’s ankle while his daughter watches on in a fit of laughter. I try not to laugh but I can’t help it. We are left with only one more option. Off to the ship doctor we go! Now, I know this isn’t something common, but even the doctor had a hard time taking the situation seriously. The doctor looks down at Mike’s foot and bursts out laughing. He shakes his head and tells us this is the most ridiculous thing he’s ever seen. He disappears for a few seconds then comes back with a packet of KY jelly which he smothers all over Mike’s ankle. The doctor takes a turn trying to pull the sandal off, only when he tries, the chair Mike is sitting on just starts dragging across the floor. Fail.
Mike is faced with no choice; it’s either the leg or the sandal. The doctor knows this is a tough decision so he gives Mike a few seconds to think it through. His time is up. After some serious thought, Mike decides to sacrifice the sandal. The doctor grabs a pair of scissors and begins the pain-free process. Just like that, Mike is free. Hooray!
Tonight for dinner I am super excited to see that they have New York Strip Steak on the menu. This has become one of my favourite cuts of steak while in the USA so there was no hesitation when ordering it as my main meal. In fact, it was so amazingly delicious that I had a second. Dessert was an incredible double chocolate mousse brownie with a dollop of cream and a strawberry. My taste buds may have just had a mouth-gasm. In fact, I think they did.
Sadly tonight was our last dinner on board Monarch of the Seas. This also meant it was our last night with our amazing waitress, Ning, and our phenomenal assistant waiter, Jonathan. They had both been incredible over the last few nights when dealing with our dislike towards veggies, Jessica’s love of cups of hot water and our mad obsession with the sour doll bread rolls they served us before dinner. We made sure to give them both an extra tip on top of the recommended tip because their service really was tremendous. After dinner, we said our thanks and good byes and then had our photo taken with them both.
We head to The Sound of Music Theater for our final night of on board entertainment. Tonight’s show is called Signed, Sealed, Delivered and is a dance and musical number performed to us by the Royal Caribbean Entertainers. The lights dim, the curtain draws and the show begins. The female lead vocalist gives an amazing rendition of Whitney Houston’s I Will Always Love You which brings down the house. It was absolutely incredible and she sang it perfectly, absolutely killing the big notes with what seemed to be such ease. As she sang she brought chills to my spine. What an amazing voice.
Everything ends early tonight on board the Monarch of the Seas. I feel absolutely buggered. The late nights, alcohol, sun and swimming has all caught up to me. I call it a night and head to bed at around midnight. When I wake up, we will be docked back at Port Canaveral, Florida and our cruise will have come to an end.
What an amazing four days this has been.
Location: Nassau, The Bahamas
~ DAY THREE ~
Day three sneaks up on us quicker than we would have liked. After only a few hours of sleep we wake to Mike’s cell phone alarm and take turns getting ready; I’m first. Every one after me seems to take their time so I head up to Deck 11 alone and tell the others to meet me there. Throughout the night, the Monarch of the Seas had cruised its way toward Nassau and docked there a few hours before we awoke. The view from our breakfast table this morning in phenomenal; a Norwegian cruise liner is docked beside us in some of the most amazing ocean water I’ve ever experienced before in all my travels, and in the distance, Atlantis can be seen. Views like this aren’t to be taken for granted.
After consuming a hearty breakfast of sausage, piles and piles of bacon, cured ham, scrambled eggs, toast, hash browns and fruit we make our way down to Deck 1 to exit the Monarch of the Seas. It is ridiculously hot outside. I mean, it is so hot that it reminds me of that one time I fell asleep with my laptop sitting on my lap and it burned an attractive red patch onto my upper thigh multiplied by about eight hundred. Taking a shower this morning was absolutely pointless as I’m already swimming in a pool of my own sweat. Right now I am about as attractive as a baboon running around in distress from a torrential down pour; hello boys!
We make our way through this one building that gives us access to Downtown Nassau. We are greeted by a big, colourful Welcome to Nassau and The Bahamas sign before we start getting pestered by the locals to buy from them or to use their services. One lady offers us a ferry ride from Downtown Nassau to Paradise Island for $6 each round trip. We take her up on her offer and board the ferry. As the ferry pulls away from the dock, a guide starts narrating the history of Nassau to us which I find extremely educating and enjoyable to listen to. The 360° views that we have from the ferry are breathtaking; especially once we’ve cleared the port and look back to see the four cruise liners docked there. Amazing.
The ferry docks at Paradise Island and we are told to return no later than 6pm for the final trip back to the mainland. Awesome, this gives us plenty of time to explore Atlantis. Without further ado, we make our way over to the resort. It’s a good thing Mike has been here on previous cruise trips because he knows exactly which way to lead us.
As we approach Atlantis, I am overcome with jealousy as to the size of some of the yachts docked there. There is one yacht that has it’s own speed boat and jet ski’s on deck as well as a 60″ flat screen LCD TV swiveled over a marble outdoor bar. Not to mention the yacht parked next to it which I’m pretty sure is bigger than the size of my house. It must be so tough being rich. Buggers. Maybe a high roller will see me in the casino and be turned on by my pool of sweat and whisk me away on his yacht where we will make yacht babies while sailing away into the Bahamian sunset.
The Atlantis casino is rather large and to my surprise, it is the first casino I’ve ever seen that has natural light shining in through windows. To my knowledge, casino’s are known to not have any windows so that the people in there playing have no track of whether it is still daylight or not. Strange. We sit down for a while and play some slots. I decide to play $5. I’m such a bad ass high roller. The beauty of playing even the cheapest of machines is that, as long as you’re donating, all the drinks you order, alcoholic or non, are free. I order myself a Malibu with pineapple juice. I’ve been drinking beer lately so I am eagerly excited to sip on my drink of choice while pressing the buttons on this slot machine. I take my first sip. Gahhhh. It is three quarters Malibu and one quarter juice. It’s excruciatingly strong. I’d never have imagined in a million years that my drink of choice could taste so hideously gross. I try so hard to drink it, and believe me, I do, but I just can’t handle it. What a sad, sad moment in my life.
We leave the casino and make our way outside to discover the grounds of Atlantis. The resort is huge and there is no way we will be able to cover a vast majority of it in the time we have here but we do our best. We find a path that takes us around the outskirts of the main building and decide that it’s our best option. The grounds are gorgeous and so well maintained and the detail given to everything is incredible. I love that they have so many different breeds of fish swimming around in the ponds as well as sting rays and sharks. We walk out to an open area that gives a breathtaking view of the man-made beach with a view of the real beach in the distance. Spectacular. This place is like heaven on earth and I’m more than sure that a vacation here is in my future.
We make our way back inside to escape the heat for a few minutes. Oh air conditioning, how I love you. While inside, we purchase tickets that will give us access to. the Atlantis aquariums.. This turns out to be
a rather fun experience. We see all kinds of sea creatures; star fish, electric jelly fish, sharks and guess what, we even found Nemo! Well, not just Nemo, but Nemo’s entire family and then some. It’s not even pushing 6pm but we’re hot, bothered & hungry. We leave Atlantis and get the ferry back to the ship to get our grub on.
The ship doesn’t leave port until 11:30pm tonight. Our schedule is quite hectic; dinner at 8:30pm, pool-deck party and late night pool-side buffet at 11:30pm, drinking and partying until ??
Dinner tonight is a succulent cutlet of roast beef with seasonal veggies and of course, a baked potato. The beef is cooked to perfection and if I didn’t know there was a late night pool-side buffet in three hours, I may very well have asked for seconds. Dessert was a mouth watering double chocolate cake with black cherry sauce. It was delicious but extremely rich, too rich to finish eating. What a shame. After dinner we decide to take a nice stroll around the ship. We are still docked at Nassau. The view of the city and the other ships all lit up at night is pretty. Mike and Jessica decide to take some cute boyfriend girlfriend photos. Lauren and I decide to give them a run for their money. I kneel down and place my arms around Lauren’s back and legs while swiftly whisking her off her feet into a cute honeymoon pose. So romantic… for a whole 10 seconds before I drop her back down to the ground. Good times.
After dinner we head to The Sound of Music Theater to attend one of the ship activities for the night. Everyone must gather in groups of eight and sit with their group. The MC explains the rules; he will call out an item, and what ever item he calls out, we must present to him with our group number to keep track of points. It starts off simple enough; shoelaces, a boy wearing girls shoes etc… but then it gets messy. He asks for four bras so of course, Lauren, Jessica, myself and another female member of our group start undoing our bra straps and trying to wiggle them off under our shirts. I get mine half out until Lauren decides to tug extremely hard on the right cup that is hanging out from under my shirt. A loud rip can be heard. Much to everyone’s amusement, she is holding the right cup of my bra while the left cup is still snuggled securely around my left boob. Oh dear. I pull it out and Lauren runs all four bras up to the MC. Success, only now I have to hold my boobs for the remainder of the game! Half way through, our friend, Mike, stumbles in completely drunk, ‘I’m so glad I found you guys!’ Unfortunately for Mike, just as he approaches us, the MC calls for a male wearing nothing more than their underwear. ‘Mike, get your pants off’, I scream while Lauren is trying desperately to unbuckle his belt and pull his pants down. Mike has no clue what is happening but thinks he has walked into the best night of his life. Once his pants are off, we hand him our team number and tell him to run up to the MC. Double success. It only gets better when he has to put on a bra and do a sexy, seductive walk to gain us an extra point. Utter hilarity. The MC calls for a thong. Needless to say women are running up to him and pulling up their dresses to reveal the thong they are wearing. Most of these females are American so they have no idea that in Australia, our flip flops are called thongs. I send Lauren up with my right flip flop and we score a point while still maintaining our dignity. We don’t win the game but regardless, we have too much fun taking part in it.
People have already started making their way to the pool deck for tonight’s pool-side buffet and deck party. We’d only just gone done with dinner a few hours prior, but alas, food was calling our names.
We take a plate and line up. There is so much food to be eaten but my semi-full belly can only fit so much. I only grab a few things. If I over do it I know I will regret it later when I’m suffering from indigestion at 5am. There are cute little fruit carvings at each table. These things are absolutely bloody phenomenal. Kudos to who ever carved these designs; they’d have to have the patience of champions. We find a spot to sit and eat. The DJ starts laying some tunes on the main pool deck. He’s picked a great array of dance songs and it’s making me just want to get up and let loose. Lauren appears with two Bud Lights; one for me and one for her. Beer; one of life’s simple pleasures. We get our butts onto the dance floor and start burning it up. Mike, the friend we made on day one joins us. Lauren is an amazing dancer and goes off to Soulja Boy’s Crank That while others take photos of her dancing. I hear one lady yell, ‘Daaayyumm, white girl can dance!’.
Tonight is yet another night of one too many beers. Our favourite bar tender is mixing drinks on the pool deck tonight. He sees us dancing under the stars and calls us over. Hooray, free shots for us. We continue burning up the dance floor. It’s become quite intense with about five boys having a dance off competition which is rather impressive. After seven Bud Lights and one shot, the dance party comes to an end at around 3am. We make our way to Sorreno’s Pizza Cafe to wind down and some how get to our cabin at maybe 5am? Another amazing night on board Monarch of the Seas.
~ To be continued ~