17.07.2010 - 04.08.2010 25 °C
Today is a very sad day for us, our last blogging day. We have two and a half weeks to catch up on and we're sat with our red cups full of vodka and coke, true to ourselves, getting us through. As a result we have decided to summarise out time in America with a series of highlights.
1. Having found our local Mexican restaurant, which we were very excited about, we took our place in a booth, thrilled to be in an actual American style diner. We were thoroughly enjoying our meal until Donna left the booth to make a comfort stop leaving Laura in direct eye contact with a nutcase in the next booth who immediately engaged her in conversation presuming that Donna's absence meant that they were now dining together. Laura looked in every direction other than his eyes and prayed for Donna's return. Much to her distress, this didn't resolve matters as he leaned around her making obscene gestures with his hands.
2. On our airport shuttle, Laura was convinced that she had seen 'People's Revolution' from The Hills, Laura sent Donna on a wild goose chase trying to find it for a picture but massively misjudged where it was. Having walked 100 miles to find it, it never appeared allowing Donna to convince Laura that the sighting had never taken place. Laura later googled its location and discovered that it was two from their bus stop in the opposite direction. Donna was less than pleased and refused to go back.
3. Stupidly deciding to go to an American comedy night at our hostel and sitting accidentally too near the front. We were targetted by every comedian for not laughing enough...a painful evening for all involved.
4. Realising on our Beverly Hills tour that the two girls in our room went to Manchester University and studied history. Laura insisted on making them recite every module they had taken just to make sure they had not been in the same lecture hall at some point at Uni.
5. Overhearing a $40 tour driving past a house in Beverly Hills and us hearing that it was Steven Segal's house. Our tour guide declaring loudly that actually the house was vacant evident by the massive 'For Rent' sign on the lawn. He also pointed out the Segway tour encouraging us to point, laugh and take photos of the people who had paid $100 each to look like idiots.
6. Our tour guide making us touch the gates of the house Michael Jackson died in to be close to him spiritually and then showing us the video of his tour group seeing Michael two weeks before he died. All you could hear in the background was the high pitched voice of our tour guide screeching 'Michael, Michael, I love you!'. He was not ashamed.
7. Laura overhearing that the Salt premier would begin in 2 hours on Hollywood Blvd, 5 minutes from our hostel and being thrilled having prayed for a premier or alternatively an Ange and Brad spotting whilst in LA. Dragging Donna around the entire cinema to find the best viewing spot and eventually succeeding on a rooftop next door and proceeding to live probably the best two hours of her life exclaiming to Donna that she was close to tears and that her legs felt like jelly.
8. Going for alcohol and stumbling across the legendary red cups.
9. Finally going to a club from the hills...Donna was surprised to arrive finding Laura had taken her to a rock club, the least likely place to find Laura on any given night. Laura got into the spirit by screaming 'Rock Face' and Donna and attempting to head bang every 2 minutes.
10. Donna being thrilled by witnessing the 'free pour' mentality in America and how much alcohol goes into a single drink.
11. Trying to cook drunk noodles without a hob and successfully putting Donna off noodles for the first time in her life.
12. Laura throwing up noodles and insisting on showing Donna, laughing hysterically.
13. Attempting to pack after waking up at half past nine the next morning due to check out in half an hour and Laura refusing to do anything declaring that she 'didn't care!'.
14. The most painful day of our lives climbing up to see the Hollywood sign.
15. Actually managing to hire a car from the best rental company in the world and getting to our next hostel without getting lost...welcome to Venice Beach!
1. Meeting three English lads who reminded us once again what a small world this is as two of them are studying in Cambridge next year, one of them having lived in north Norfolk, having a friend in common and one of them having the same birthday as Donna and intending to celebrate it in Vegas. They also made us feel massively old when we declared that we had just graduated before coming travelling and it then came to light that they had actually graduated in July 2010. Bollocks.
2. Booking the same hotel as them within an hour of speaking to them and making elaborate plans for tattoos and marriage in Vegas.
3. Our first experience of American roads and how annoying it is to get lost on them given their poor signage and ridiculous lane etiquette.
4. Once on track, an amazing coastal drive to Paradise Cove...Laura was literally in reach of famous people, but not so impressed when she saw the sign barring her from going up to their houses. The only person we could see was a middle aged lady with a dark bob...Laura was convinced she was Suri Cruise and was therefore content to move on.
5. Our first beverages the size of our faces, we both looked at each other in shock when they were brought to us. They were refillable.
6. Coconut prawns.
7. Having told the Irish girls, later collectively to be known as 'Irish', that we wouldn't be going out, we met our favourite English boys downstairs who managed to easily convince us, with a show of massive amounts of vodka which we couldn't resist, to go out with them. Several drinking games later, we were on a game of Ride the Bus and we had decided the way forward would be to substitute a drink per forfeit to a 'pulley'...thanks Will, who seems convinced it was Laura's idea. A pulley is a large gulp straight from the bottle of your chosen spirit.
8. Our only picture of the night being an exploded toilet.
9. Laura and Terry going to the bar to get a round of drinks and, having already tipped, being informed by the bar man that it was customary to tip $1 per drink. After refusing to do so, the barman, along with a woman at the bar, pointed at them and started shouting 'shitty tipper!'...and we thought tipping was for good service.
10. Laura walking in on nakedness in our room and running out screaming, making the remaining Irish check whether Laura's eyes had deceived her.
11. Staying up until 4.30am and making ridiculous plans to visit the funfair at 10 the next day...and sticking to them.
12. Going on a road trip with the Irish to Huntington and getting massively lost due to accidentally exiting the freeway, apparently impossible to correct. Nevertheless we managed to successfully convince the Irish to hire their own car...good luck girls!
13. Going around Newport Beach for an hour trying to find a parking space and in the process losing the beach.
14. Telling the staff in Starbucks that Laura was a fan of the Hills and Laguna Beach, so in 45 minutes if they were her, what would they do. This ended in Laura touching the barista as informed us that she had seen Stephen two weeks before. Donna was horrified.
1. Discovering Taco Bell.
2. Also discovering 1.75 liters of Smirnoff vodka for $18.
3. Making the fatal decision whether or not to attend the hostel party for $15 or make our own fun, Laura was determined that any fun we could make would be better than paid for organised fun. How right we were when after our own drinking session we got into the party for free. This included free beer, free bbq (although this ended in tears when we were told that the chili was actually salsa and ended up, due to our inability to give up free food, eating an interesting combination of hot dog plus chilli con carne...not to be recommended, thank you Captain America), free ice luge which Laura insisted we do twice in order for us to get photos. The choice was tequila or jagermeister...excellent.
4. Whilst playing drinking games in our room, an Irish guy appeared at our window asking if we could let him in. Presuming he wanted to go to the party, we gave him the code for the door. Shortly after being turned away he re-appeared, suddenly declaring that what he wanted was a bed to sleep in. We made it clear that he was thoroughly unwelcome and would under no circumstances be getting into our room. This didn't help Laura in believing Kayleigh's assessment, 'the Irish cannot be trusted'.
5. Moving to our city centre hostel without getting even remotely lost.
6. A LOT of mental people in the city centre.
7. Day trip to Tijuana...being thrilled to get free bracelets and then looking closer to realise they are highly religious bracelets. A lot of love from our Mexican waiters who wouldn't let us forget that we are beautiful and being excited by Donna's declaration of no boyfriend and Laura's declaration that her boyfriend is in England. A lot of Mexican food and a lot of Margharitas make for a perfect day, especially when you have to queue for 4 hours to get back into America...we didn't even require passports to get into Mexico.
8. During the drive, being confused why the car in front of us was swerving between lanes. Upon close inspection, realising that three people seemed to be engaged in some kind of fight and sensibly opting to stay far enough behind them that when they took out the entire freeway we would be far enough away to remain unscathed. Luckily they seemed to make friends soon after and we could continue on our way.
1. An incredible drive through the desert to a lot of singing along to DJ Laura's limited selection of Britney, Christina and Jason Mraz.
2. Peggie Sue's Diner.
3. Bellagio fountains on our first night, the second we stepped off the bus.
4. Public drinking allowed...welcome to Nevada!
5. Donna managing to leave our bag complete with money, driving licences, locker key and room key in a fast food place. Astonishingly we were asked on our way back if we were Donna and Laura and were handed the bag, God Bless Americans.
6. Yard long Margharitas.
7. Checking into the MGM Grand slightly worse for wear after finishing number 6 and bumping into Will at reception.
8. Bombarding Will with what would you do's including what he would do if Will went back to his room to find a lion in his room and upon going downstairs for help seeing Terry in the lion cage. This what would you do lasted for all of Vegas.
9. Amazing lazy river and blistering heat.
10. Laura walking over an unexpected water jet and screaming, falling head first into the water in shock, emerging simply to declare that it was just a water jet.
11. Going to LAX, the BEST CLUB OF WILL'S LIFE and Laura succeeding in getting 4 glasses of champagne to see Donna's birthday in at midnight.
12. Soon bumping into the boys...Donna and Terry disappearing off to get free birthday drinks...being convinced that for a double birthday there was nothing they could not get and being disillusioned at the bar by being told that in Vegas no one cares.
13. Donna reappearing with a drink in her hand...Laura presumed it was vodka and lemonade due to the volume of liquid...it later emerging that it was in fact straight tequila. Needless to say, upon finishing said drink Donn and Laura stood to go the the dance floor and instantly fell backwards, straight to the floor with very little resistance. Bewildered, Laura helped her up.
14. Donna reappearing with two bouncers on either arm who informed Laura that Donna had to leave because she couldn't stand straight on her feet and that Will had to leave as well. Of the three of them, Laura was apparently the only one who was allowed back into the club much to Will's annoyance.
15. On arriving back at the MGM, Laura and Will walked towards 'our room' deciding that Donna would follow and having unsuccessfully tried to get into said room, still without Donna, realising it was the wrong room tried elsewhere, only to find Donna sitting outside the correct room.
16. The next morning Laura unneccessarily angrily telling Donna she could get the bloody door at 11am, having set her alarm for 5 to...Donna opening the door in her dress from the previous night in true Donna style, to find room service waiting singing Happy Birthday with champagne and a massive chocolate cake...Thanks Mum and Dad!
17. Settling down for a post champagne and cake 'nap' and waking up at 3.30pm with Laura questioning Donna as to whether or not she'd had a good day...bloody marvellous, the beds were amazing.
18. Laura seriously asking Donna if she could realistically live the remainder of her life in an MGM bed. Donna replying yes...they both could.
19. Heading to Tao in the Ventian, THE BEST CLUB OF OUR LIVES, complete with semi-naked dancing girls, a woman in a hoop dancing above the dance floor, many floors and rooms of dancing and drinking and a lot of good music.
20. Looking around the Venetian hotel with Laura declaring 'It looks like daytime, but it's actually night!', before going on a photography spree with Will.
21. Back at the MGM starting on the 1 cents slots machines for free drinks. Laura was massively annoyed that McDonalds were already only serving the shitty breakfast menu at 4am when all she wanted in the world was a cheeseburger.
22. Donna and Will spending the next 2 hours on the slots getting free drinks and becoming members of the MGM Players' Club.
23. The next day phoning reception to confirm check-out time, with Laura and Donna sensibly deciding that they were willing to pay for an extra hour in bed. We discovered that it was complimentary and Laura asking in disbelief what it was they meant by complimentary.
24. Walking through the MGM Grand lobby with our backpacks and the most painful checkout of Donna's life with Laura being thoroughly unsympathetic informing Donna that she would have been upset had she not felt this bad the day after her birthday.
25. Seeing the inside of New York, New York, the Bellagio and Ceasar's Palace.
26. A painful, yet wonderful drive, half way to San Francisco and staying in a Motel.
27. Surviving the night, after hearing, in true motel style, a woman screaming next door and bashing at our wall her might at half 2 in the morning before slamming the door and running away. Neither of us heard any other voices so are convinced there was a stabbing at Motel 6 on the night of Friday 30th July 2010. We are waiting for the police phone call.
28. Once again accidentally exiting the freeway, which was in no way our fault and once again due to piss-poor American signage, and taking an hour to find our way back. Particularly stressful since we had a deadline to get the car back.
1. Being absolutely thrilled to go over the Golden Gate Bridge with Laura declaring 'This is bloody well it!' and Donna replying 'Shouldn't it be red?'. Laura's response was that there could not possibly be two suspension bridges in San Francisco, unfortunately being proved wrong when two days later, we were in the middle of the Sea with the Golden Gate Bridge to one side of us and the Bay Bridge to the other side and it becoming horribly clear to both of us what had happened.
2. Not understanding the scale of San Fransisco and accidentally walking 3 miles to Fisherman's Wharf and realising that we were unfortunately definitely too late to buy Alcatraz tickets. We therefore decided to go on a cruise that would take us under the Golden Gate Bridge and around Alcatraz.
3. While waiting for the boat to depart, we went for a sneaky beer, buying a bucket of 6 Coronitas, a name given to mini bottles of Coronas...we were enchanted.
4. On the boat, Laura innocently asked a crew member for a photo with both of us and the bridge, the next thing we know, we have been invited up to where the 'Captain drives the boat'. We were taken up past some disgruntled passengers, through a Crew Only gate, to the wind free Captain's cabin where we meet Deshan, Erich and John. We were then both encouraged to drive the boat, to prove to Laura who was not convinced that the wheel actually controlled the boat. Laura then proceeded to steer far too close to Alcatraz for good pictures...whoops.
5. Going to see Salt and being surprisingly impressed, Donna refusing to dress up so that Laura could take photos and tell everyone they went to the actual premier.
6.. Captain Deshan taking us on a free trip on the Rocket Boat the next day which we thoroughly enjoyed, especially when we got the professional photos for free as well.
7. Erich taking us on the best San Fransisco tour ever, showing us everything we could want in a day, including illegal beer on the streets and to Laura's delight pork buns in the park.
8. The creation of J.A., when we were asked if we had moral objections to jaywalking and being told how he had been fined $200 for jaywalking, Laura was encouraged to give him the title of J.A,. jaywalking addict and screaming it at him every time he crossed a road.
9. Our tour included the Castro area, the gay area of San Fransisco where we were taught the game of 'Gay or European'...Laura's ingenius code of G or E, Donna did not think was appropriate. Erich was not impressed when, after ordering the three of us cocktails, we called him a G.
10. A butch, Asian lesbian came onto Donna, promting a 45 minute discussion between Laura and Donna about Donna clearly showing up on a gay-dar which she needed to think seriously about. She was just jealous, Erich was thoroughly uncomfortable.
11. Laura 'I'm never full' Whitwood failing to finish her drunk burrito with Donna declaring that she wasn't the person she had come travelling with and she was not sure she could think the same of her ever again. Laura responded that she had already eaten all the lunchtime pork buns which Donna had not.
12.We finally made it to the actual Golden Gate Bridge making it half way which was necessary in order to complete it...it's 2 miles long and we walked 2 miles, therefore, we have walked the length of it.
13. Going for drinks at Hooters where Donna was thrilled to notice the waitresses were all wearing sking coloured tights, their legs were not as amazing as she thought. Laura was equally thrilled when judging the waitressed that over half were not amazingly attractive, which she had not anticipated. There were also a disturbing amount of children and elderly couple there.
14. Feeling delightfully tipsy we head to Alioto's for red champagne and were unecessarily stressed out by the queing situation. Eventually we settled at a lovely table, although Donna was made to feel unfortable by a sleazy Mexican waiter, Jose, who would not let go of her, insisting on a photo, that she should go out that night and that she was very beautiful. The night was spent with 4 hours of eating, drinking and reminiscing leading us to finish our blog.
In conclusion, we have survived five months of travelling and have NOT been:
7. sold as sex slaves
9. successful gamblers
10. handed cash
11. forced to sleep on a park bench or a beach
and we have not lost our:
2. driving licences
3. joint purse
4. padlock key
5. flight details
6. bank cards
8. car keys
See you in England. Snogz.