It all began with a Taxi. Me, Adam, Rhys & Dimitri had a taxi booked for 4am from Liverpool to Manchester Airport. All extremely giddy and with enough luggage to cover us for a month, our taxi pulls up, a tiny hatchback and a very confused lady. You would of struggled to get all of us in let alone suitcases so we had to wait for a bigger car.
Finally on the road, our excitement slightly jaded due to the lack of sleep now taking over, we are travelling at 95mph on the M62. A little tense and we miss our junction, the taxi drivers head has now fallen off. I explain to him its no problem and we can still get to the airport using a different route but he’s having none of it and decides to go faster to turn around at the next junction. It is worth noting, we are travelling through 50mph average speed cameras. Our man is heavy breaking just before them and getting back up to light speed just after them. I tried to explain to him that they are an average but my words fell on deaf ears.
Finally at the airport, thankful to all be alive and still on time, we walk in to a packed airport. I mean really, why is Thursday at 5am so busy at Manchester Airport?
I was grieving to say the least!
The flight to Vegas, a mere 10+ hours was extremely ropey. I have had hangovers that lasted over 2 days that were more enjoyable than this flight.
Each hour passed like I had been on the plane for three times as long, sleep was sketchy and by the time it was over, we were extremely glad of it. It didn’t help that there were 20 drunk Celtic fans from Scotland having apparently, the time of their lives.
There was a lot of drunk Celtic fans on this trip.
My first experience of meeting an American was indeed an interesting one. As we landed, we all had to fill out immigration forms regarding why we are here, how much money we have brought and if we have been near any farm yard animals. Imagine, two plane load of brits having to fill this form out before we can begin entering the country, at the same time. Madness.
There was a designated space to fill them out that provided pens but as you can imagine all the pens had been taken. So I decided to approached a lady who works at the airport:
Me: “Excuse me please, do you have a pen I can borrow?”
Lady: “All the pens are on the back wall”
Me: “I have just been there and there aren’t any, do you have one I can borrow please?”
Lady: “Are you saying there is a pen thief in this airport?”
Me: “What? No, not at all, just all the pens are being used and I wondered if you had one I could use”
Lady: “I can’t give you my pen if there is a pen thief, you could be the pen thief for all I know!”
I found this conversation incredible, I mean really, a pen thief? I didn’t know if I should laugh or not!
Anyway, I borrowed a pen of a Scottish lad and in to the queue I went.
Three hours, yes, three sodding hours we spent queueing in immigration to get through and just to really take the piss, self checkout opened up as we got to the front. What a liberty! At this point I was ready to f**k the holiday off and head back to normality.
The first thing I noticed when we finally left the airport was the heat, a punch in the face would of been more subtle. The air conditioning in the airport was so good that the constrast of indoor to outdoor temperature was really intense. No problems though, our limo was ready and waiting for us!
(Shock I am talking about Air Conditioning I hear you say!)
We had a lot of limos on this trip!
It is worth noting, that Dimi had been in the sun for approximately 3 minutes and was already significantly more tanned than I could ever dream of being.
As you can imagine, we were incredibly excited, this was it, this was the holiday we had been waiting for, for over a year now! The six of us popping bottles of champagne in a limo on our way to our hotel is probably up there with one of my most excitable moments, up to that point in my life, about as close to ‘balling’ as I probably ever will be.
The next thing I noticed about Vegas, to which I associate with America, is they don’t do things by small measure. Everything and I mean everything is big, shiny and in your face. Now don’t get me wrong, I was loving it.
We got to our hotel, the MGM Grand and what else could you expect to greet you but a giant gold lion. Obvious right?!
On the drive to the hotel, everywhere you looked, was sensational. The views unfathomable and humbling. You just couldn’t take it all in!
As you can see by the videos above, the hotels are phenomenal in every possible aspect. Never have I ever felt like such a tourist then the start of Vegas, well the whole of Vegas.
We had no real plans for the first night because of how intense the journey had been over, we didn’t want to commit to anything and ruin it by potentially being too fatigued, which worked out quite well because we got to walk the strip at night, which to be honest, was a terrible idea. Within five minutes of walking to the cosmopolitan to meet friends who just happened to be in Vegas the same time as us, I was knackered. It was so hot, my pants choice of attire made my balls feel like they were being suffocated whilst drawing in sweat. Poor guys.
I tried my best to fight it, I just did not want shots, I wanted to be normal, enjoy my night, not feel like death the next day but as all anyone kept saying to me, “Shut up Bry, we are in Vegas, you are having a shot!”, now obviously my pathetic will power is immediately diminished and I am downing tequilas like I need them to save my life.
On to Hakkasan were I first learnt that all the partying and clubbing I had done in England growing up was nothing, minuscule, in comparison to the clubs in Las Vegas. In the words of any excited American, it was lit. My only complaint because I wouldn’t be “terribly British” if I didn’t complain about something, would be climbing one million stairs to get to it. I literally didn’t sign up for a work out.
Loving life in the club I got talking to Erica, one of three American girls I met out there that I had enjoyed a lengthy chat with. Talking to these three, Erica, Brandi and Alex, opened my eyes to the variety of person, lifestyle and general everything that America has to offer and how contrasting it can be to what I know in the UK and ultimately where you live in the USA. Between them, they all left their print on me, all completely different yet all sculpted and shaped my opinion on American culture, for the better.
Erica is probably what I would describe as, ‘TV American’, from Louisiana, a solid GPA which I learnt that meant she was intelligent but I didn’t need to know her a GPA score to get that, (I had to have GPA explained to me), she was sweet and wasn’t shy discussing poignant points of interest, which I thought was really interesting. She was cool and she didn’t assume I was from Australia, like every single other American we met out there. Now, I know what everyone is thinking, Bry is in a big club, in Las Vegas and he is stood talking to a girl about the speed of light. Yes, the speed of light, which in my defence was because she challenged me, apparently I couldn’t tell her anything ‘nerdy’ she wouldn’t already know, to which I told her the speed of light. 18 year old me would be so disappointed. We talked a lot about the differences in the USA and the UK as well as trivial stuff. Her future and how she was getting married. Yeah that got landed on me, as if I couldn’t see that giant rock on her finger. I basically established a solid online pen pal. Brilliant. Anyway, Ericas struck me as the type to be a career driven ‘Soccer Mom’ and I remember thinking, despite quite drunk, she would be a good one at that. I learnt about something called the ‘Bible Belt’, which I had no idea about.
The ‘Bible Belt’, is basically a line of towns, or counties that really take religion seriously. To the extent I found myself glad I didn’t live there as I would probably be chased out with pitch forks.
Erica had a good sense of humour, she was in Vegas with her Fiancé and a huge wedding party but had chosen to come to the club with just one of her friends whilst the rest of the party went somewhere else and I felt that spoke volumes about her, in a good way. She did her own thing. I think the best part of this conversation, was her confidence in Americans understanding sarcasm. We tested this on her friend:
Me: “Sarcasm seems to be wasted over her”
Her: “Not on me though, I get it”
Me: “Do you, yeah?”
Her: “Yeah, I just said that I do”
Me: *uncontrollable laughter”
To be fair, she got there in the end but it was funny. Erica was the first American to surprise me by breaking the stereotype I had of them.
Eventually, we went our separate ways, me and Dimi had been abandoned, he had been talking to Ericas friend and the lads, uninterested in us talking to girls, had buggered off to bed. We went and had a dabble at blackjack, won a couple of dollars and rolled in at 5am. We had been up for 31 hours and boy was I looking forward to bed!
This was so much fun, unbelievable amounts of fun. Up early, believe that or not, we had breakfast before heading to the pool. The pool at MGM is really good, well the pool(s) I should say.
- It was easy to relax yet with the music on outside it was easy to feel upbeat at the same time. We started drinking, although very lightly quite early and whilst the rest of the lads took a break during the day, me dean and josh carried on all the way through. I mean I was quite drunk, so drunk I asked a pregnant lady to take a picture of us three whilst in the pool. I didn’t realise she was pregnant when I asked but as I started speaking I gathered and was kind of committed to the request. I couldn’t just stop speaking half way through a sentence! She very kindly agreed, despite being laid down comfortably (I don’t mean to be a terrible person, it just kind of happens). I felt awful and the other two were in hysterics. Due to the fact I was already being judged for asking a pregnant lady to get up and take a picture of three drunk lads in a pool, I thought in for a penny in for a pound and asked her to take my bag from under my sun lounger and put my phone back afterwards. What a gal she was!
After a day of flaunting my dad bod in the sun to the residents of MGM, it was time to have our first big night out. Fizz then Hyde and boy oh boy was I excited!
A Huge shiny limo picked us up and obviously I felt the need to peacock with my pastel salmon pink pants. To be fair the picture is a little deceiving, it makes me look almost as big as Faupel! (I am not!)
We arrived at Caesars to indulge in a 2 hour stint of bottomless Champagne, which would be marvelous if I liked Champagne, anyway, when in Rome…
As you can imagine, two hours of us typically British alcoholics making the most of the endless supply of champag started to take affect and before you know it, the big man was smiling.
After Fizz, next up was Hyde at the Bellagio. As per most of the trip, I was overwhelmed and excited, Hyde was absolutely class.
Prior to the trip, Adam had spoken to a lad called Joe who ran a events/promotional business in Vegas, who arranged the lot for us, well worth its money. He turned up to all our pre bookings to make sure we got in and sorted out okay. In Hyde, we had our own table with hostess service. It looked straight over the Dj booth and outside, were the Bellagio fountains were showing off their talent in all their glory!
This was at the end of the dance floor were it met the balcony, which I had been boxed off for a private function.
Rhys having the time of his life, as we all were!
The jubilation and intoxication summed up in this picture sums up my night. Incredible in ever sense of the word. I was really pissed. ha!
Waking up to the air conditioning blasting out, Faupel snoring and kids screaming in the room next door was not ideal. In fact, it was dire. The fact Vegas is in a desert so the air is dry anyway, my throat felt like I had been eating salt, my head was banging and the hangover was well underway. Who ever tells you they pump oxygen in to your hotel room so you wake up free from a hangover is lying to you.
Day 3 was to be a quiet one, we had had a mental 48 hours and needed to recover before the pool party on day 4. Obviously by recovering and quiet, I mean we spent the entire day drinking and gambling. I have had worse days.
Now if you don’t know, I am from a small town on the east coast of England called Grimsby and would you believe whilst we were having a late hangover breakfast, a guy walked in wearing a Grimsby Town top. Now the rest of the lads literally could not of cared less, but me, well I was gobsmacked.
“No F**king way!”
Stood up and shouted “Mariners! Mariners”, now I don’t even support Grimsby, I never have but it was a sure way to get his attention (and make a complete tit out of myself!)
I mean, what are the chances?!
The pool party.
We arrived by minibus, well more of a party bus, either way it was a different way to travel to our pool party. Most of the lads had some Hawaiian type shirt on (I never got that memo) and we were all very giddy, a day of drinking in the sun around a pool, whats not to be excited about?
We had our own cabana and it was class. Our package meant we had a big bottle of vodka and champagne waiting for us on arrival, which lasted all 10 of us about 3 minutes. We arrived at 11:30am and by 12:30pm I think we were already on our 6th bottle. The music was loud, the sun is hot and the drinks were going down well, we were all fully in party mode having the time of our lives when a girl comes over to start talking to me, really nice but sunglasses so big it was really hard to grasp any facial expression. This was Brandi, she didn’t stay long before she went back to her own cabana and we all carried on. About 1:30/2 and I was pretty pissed playing volleyball in the pool, typically dishing out it out to the opposing team despite performing terribly at the game. It was all good fun. Come about 2:30 I’m back in the cabana talking to Brandi who has come back over and without any hesitation, I decided to ask her if she wanted to get married.
At first, I was joking but she said yes without even so much as a flinch, game on, F**k it, I am in Vegas after all I thought. Googled a registrar and booked in, christ, this is actually happening. I did the only logical thing to me at the time and phoned my dad, it went something a little like this:
Me: “Dad, I am engaged, I am getting married in a few hours”
Dad: “Are you pissed again?”
Me: “Well I am in Las Vegas, so obviously I am but thats besides the point”
Dad: “Hardy Har, very funny, are you having a good time?”
Me: “Dad, I am getting married, speak to Brandi”
*Passes the phone to Brandi*
Now, I don’t know what they were talking about but Brandi was chuckling and to be fair to my dad he is very charismatic.
*Passes the phone back to me*
Dad: “Don’t get married you F**king Idiot!”
Me: “Its happening, embrace it, embrace your daughter in law, this is happening”
Dad: “I am going, please don’t get too drunk, please don’t get married”
I mean, to be fair to my dad he was half taking it in good humour but I could tell the underlying tone of his voice was insisting I don’t get married.
Before you comment, no I won’t shave and yes it took a lot of effort to get my Dad Bod in to shape! haha.
Now, we needed to go, I sort of told the lads but they were all either drunk, in the pool or god knows, so I just bailed. We had to nip to a Hotel come casino before we got hitched to see her friend, who also begged Brandi not to marry me. Which I felt a bit offended by, what’s wrong with me? Anyway, Brandi wasn’t arsed and we left. Except, we didn’t leave to get hitched, we left to go to her place….30 minute drive out of Las Vegas in a town called Henderson.
There I am, in her car, drunk, as she’s driving on a freeway and I am trying to digest what I am doing. We get to hers, have a drink and sit out back having a chat until a few hours pass and we realise theres no point going to get married, we had missed our slot.
The next day she makes me a coffee in the most American like coffee maker I could possibly dream of before she takes me back to my hotel.
Brandi was class, to say she had been dealt a few rough hands in life would be an understatement, yet still she remained happy, thick skinned and dreams of relocating to a third world country to help people in need. To be honest, my time with Brandi was a real eye opener to the American system and how people can fall prey to pitfalls in it. I left quite inspired as no matter what life threw at her, she always came out on top sooner or later and that got me thinking about my own trials and tribulations. I didn’t really want to leave, I wanted to stay in the sun, in the peace and quiet but obviously needed to get back to the madness. I needed this break half way through the holiday, I think it saved me!
After she dropped me off I headed to my room to find Faupel the most broken man, in every sense of the word, I have ever seen him. Hungover, sleep depraved and incredibly distraught what his drunk self had done with his credit card the night before, he was all over the show. After a shower, some breakfast and a nap he returned to his normal self, as did most of us and we all got together to discuss the madness of Day 4 and what we had in store for Day 5.
By this point, its worth pointing out that I was exhausted, I really had had enough. Why the hell were we there for 7 days I kept thinking? I was glad I wasn’t some sort of millionaire because I think I would of been dead by this point. I was so grateful for the break on day 4 with Brandi. When we first got there, people thought we were all crazy going for 7 nights and by this point I understood what they meant!
So our plans for Night 5 was Vegas Sign followed by Ghost bar then on to XS.
10 had become 9 since Josh had gone back to LA, so the 9 broken men pulled themselves back together again and headed out, via limo obviously!
The Vegas sign is very problematic, firstly, there are too many people trying to get their picture taken in front of it and secondly, taking a picture a night does not provide great pictures. There was also a guy dressed up as Elvis trying to get people to pay him to have a picture with him, all really weird. We stayed about 8 minutes before we decided to bail it!
Now Ghost Bar was something else, if only my phone could do the pictures justice. Just so much to digest and take in, it was breathtaking. Once we had all taken plenty of pictures, selfies etc we had bottles of Vodka brought out on ice and I have to say, was probably one of my favourite moments, sat there with the lads having a drink taking it all in. Absolutely class.
All of Vegas for as far as the eye could see.
Like I say, the pictures just don’t do it justice!
Back in to the limo after the vodka had brought us back to life and on our way to the Wynn/Encoure to go to XS.
After walking through the poshest casino I had ever seen we had arrived at XS. You walk down a very slight but long spiral set of steps in to the club. The club is almost a circle with the dance floor and Dj booth in the centre. The place is crazy, it has to be the best club I have ever been to. We got escorted to our table and tried to get our bearings. To be honest we wasn’t even in there 30 minutes before I was on that dance floor, loving life!
The above picture is the walk way down to the dance floor and you can see in the centre the Dj booth. It was insane.
They say a picture speaks a thousand words!? ha!
The night went on and in all honestly, I barely remember coming back to my hotel. I do remember though, I got a taxi much to my disappointment as I had got accustomed to the limo life!
I need to go home.
It is all I could think when I woke up. The hangover, or fatigue, or whatever it was that ruled me was taking over. I couldn’t, I didn’t want to do it any more. No more drinking, lack of sleep, I just wanted to go home. I was broken, much like everyone had told me, “Vegas will break you”, it happened.
We decided to have a chill day, after breakfast we would hit the pool and then in the evening go for a walk. I didn’t see most of the lads on day 6 as like me, they were broken so stayed in bed. Something I think I wish I had done.
I thought it would of been a good idea to do my first Facebook live video, no idea why, but as you can see above, I had been better!
My plight to try and get a tan was fading as was my will to live. I spent the day in the sun in and out of consciousness before I went to get some food with Faupel and Dimi.
I am going to be completely honest, after food, I went back to my hotel room to chill and wasn’t seen until the next day. I don’t even regret it, it was magical.
It was the last day. So a few of us decided to go be tourists for the day. We walked all the way up the strip to the venetian and back. Now, I had to be back for a certain time because I had a date. Well, I think it was a date? I matched with a girl called Alex on tinder, she was from New York and was keen to meet her for a drink. Maybe it wasn’t a date, does it matter? Ha!
We stopped along the way to watch the Bellagio water feature and it was ace. Clearly, my timing on trying to selfie when they are on is impeccable as above but still, non the less you can see the impressive feat that is the Bellagio!
Once we had finished there we continued onwards and upwards, past Caesars palace, which I might add, is ridiculously big, like not just in height but how much of an estate it has. I think it took us a good 5-10 minutes to walk passed it!
Shoutout to the drunken Celtic fan who took this picture on his 7th attempt, got there in the end champ!
We kept on walking, which felt like a never ending road of impressive casinos and face melting heat. We got to the venetian and it was worth the walk. To me, the interior was better than the exterior, really impressive.
Michelangelo eat your heart out!
We headed back to the hotel, were I need to get showered and changed in quick time. It was time to meet a New Yorker.
I am not usually so overwhelmed by people, as much as I am by places but Alex, well she is up there with one of the coolest girls I had ever met. She had this husky New York accent and was confident but cool. She has an incredible job and her plans for the night seemed unbelievable to me. She had front row JLo seats and then off to see kygo before flying to LA for the weekend.
We met at the MGM for a few beers for an hour or two and talked about as much as you could possibly fit in to a conversation in that time. She seemed to know everyone worth knowing and she could of made up a load of stuff and I would of believed her. We talked about stereotypes of UK/USA and her travelling, her work takes her all over the place.
Within 20 minutes of meeting her, I wanted to move to New York and just spend my weekends drinking and exploring all the cool bars. She made New York sound like London’s Soho and Manchester Northern quarter had an American Love child but 100 times better. She had probably had more nights out in London than I have, in fact she probably knew london better than me too!
We swapped social media and went on to do our own thing that night. Her snapchat stories though, she was at this huge club, in her own private area with more vodka bottles the size of me than I knew existed. At one point, Kygo who was Dj-ing, I think is even waving to her. Maybe she is American famous and I don’t know her? Maybe she wanted to see what non famous people are like?! haha! Much like Vegas didn’t seem real to me, neither did she. Already planning a trip over to the big apple!
The next day, was finally the long trip home.
Arguably, its difficult to tell if I had even been away, if you was to base that on my above skin colour! I tried to get a tan, honest!
One thing I learnt on this rollercoaster, is that in Vegas you can do anything, be anything, wear anything. It simply does not matter. You can meet as many people as you have time for, party as hard as your body and bank will let you or you enjoy the sites and relax. The place is amazing and equally unforgiving. If you are going to go and planning on going at it 24/7, I would not recommend going for 7 nights!
I had the time of my life with some incredible people.
Would I go back tomorrow? F**K no! Its August, my bank, body, soul, spirit, you name it is still recovering and I went the start of June.
Maybe in a year or two!