Va-Va -Voom Vegas!

Britney Spears first broke onto the scene around the same time I was visiting my bestie Brandy in California back in 1999 .We were both 16 and every time she came on the radio we’d scream “BRITNEY” and turn the volume right up. We had dancing in the car down to a fine art.

17 years later, I get off the plane at LAX and the first thing Brandy says to me is,

“I got us tickets to Britney Spears in Las Vegas!”

Oh.My.God.

It's Britney, Bitch.

It’s Britney, Bitch.

After a couple of days in California, we packed up the car and road tripped to the bright lights of Las Vegas. This city is insane. Not only can you gamble everywhere – including at the petrol station, but they have 24 hour buffet passes.

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I love food, but even I think maybe that might be too much of a good thing.  We still hit up a few buffets and I spent almost my entire time in Vegas with a food baby.

I’m not really a gambler but gambling in Vegas means free cocktails. If you play very, very sloooooowly it wouldn’t be hard to get pissed on the cheap.

No luck for me! I may as well have taken $20 and set it on fire. At least I got a pina colada.

No luck for me! I may as well have taken $20 and set it on fire. At least I got a pina colada.

Jackpot! Brandy had more luck than me.

Jackpot! Brandy had more luck than me.

The night we went to see Britney, we  stayed at the Hard Rock Hotel, just off the strip.

Lights of Vegas outside our window.

Lights of Vegas outside our window.

Hot Vegas tip – if you want to party on the cheap, go mid-week. Our room cost something like $30 for the two of us.

Britney was really fun. There was a lot of Vegas razzle-dazzle and we spent the whole show up dancing. I had a couple of cocktails during the show (at $24 a pop! I suggest smuggling in a hip flask if you want to drink). Cocktails combined with the pre-Britney drinks I’d had left me a little bit sloshed by the end of the show. When Britney walked off, I tried to get her to come back by starting a chant of “One more song, one more song, encore, encore” but no one wanted to join my chants. A few people gave me funny looks, probably thinking, “look at that one woman gronk-show.”

After partying with Britney and eating our way through Vegas we headed back to Brandy’s place in California to spend our last few days together.

Huntington Beach.

Huntington Beach.

On my last day, we headed into Los Angeles to see ifwe could spot any celebs before Brandy dropped me at the airport. Brandy and I cruised around Beverly Hills and picked out which houses we want for when we get famous for something. I thought I saw Al Pacino but then I realised he was driving a pretty shit car. Maybe Al Pacino likes shit cars and it was him, I can’t be sure. You never know what you’ll find in LA.

View from Mulholland Drive. The Internet says we drove past Madonna's house.

View from Mulholland Drive. The Internet says we drove past Madonna’s house.

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I think that big white house there might be quite nice for when I’m famous.

After a wonderful week it was time to say a sad good-bye to Brandy and hop on my plane to Guatemala for the next leg of my trip.

Rio Carnival 2015

Despite reaching my early 30’s with a lacklustre career, no assests, no boyfriend, a dismal bank account, no fixed address, and no direction in life, I have decided to move even further away from something that resembles a successful person by taking yet another 6-12 months out of real life to travel around South and Central America.

Delaying adult-hood for one more year.

All packed and ready to delay adult-hood for one more year.

I’m travelling with Simone and we kicked off the trip in our usual sensible and subdued manner by heading to the worlds’s biggest party, Rio Carnival.

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The whole thing was insane. Carnivale is non-stop parties day and night. As well as the famous parades, there is live music, colour, costumes and parties all over town. We went to one party in the park that had a band singing Beatles songs Samba style. People of all ages dressed up in costumes, singing, dancing and drinking a lot of beer.

At the Beatles Samba-Style party.

At the Beatles Samba-Style party.

Simone making new friends.

Simone making new friends.

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The streets were packed with people every night. When you have tens of thousands of people in the street drinking, you have tens of thousands of people needing a wee. There were port-a-loos, but they got pretty vile pretty quick so most dudes seemed to just opt to wee against a wall somewhere. Every night the streets were filled with streams of piss and they stunk. As I walked along bits of liquid would flick up off my thongs and hit my ankles. I like to think it was just someone’s spilt beer, but in reality I don’t think there was a night that I went home without someone else’s wee splashed up my lower calves.

I’ve had all my shots so I’m sure it’s fine.

The high-light and most famous part of Carnival are the incredible parades. Rather than watch one Simone and I decided to march in one. Anyone can join, you just need to buy a costume from a samba school and you become a member of that samba school for the night and can march along with them.

Samba time!

Samba time!

We had a song we had to sing and dance along to but all the words were in Portuguese and I have no idea how to samba so I just opened and closed my mouth, pretending to sing and shook my hips and banged on my bongo drum.

After the parade we headed back to the street parties and kicked on. We were still awake when the sun came up and ended up partying until 1030am.

I make myself sound like such a rager. To be honest, I partied until about 8:00am then dragged my feet and dreamt of bed while everyone partied around me. At one point I fell asleep in McDonalds. 

I’ve heard Carnival has a bit of a wrap for being dangerous but the biggest drama I had was when some dude yelled “Happy Carnival!!!” then tried to pash me by opening his entire mouth onto my face. I tried to push him away and ended up with his teeth and spit wiping across my nose. Thanks mate. Other than that it was all cool, and everyone was friendly.

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It was full on and by our final night we were both exhausted and a little bit partied out. We already had tickets to the gay ball though, so like the troopers we are we got dressed up in our sparkly wigs and headed to yet another party. I’m glad we did, seeing some of the costumes alone was worth it and the ball ticket included food and an open bar so we couldn’t let that go to waste.

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It was two very exhausted and hungover girls that got on a flight the next day. It was epic and amazing but by the end I just wanted a quiet room, a massive nap and something non-alcoholic to drink.