28/4/17 – All the Canadians

For some reason, the oldies decided not to knock on for us for breakfast, so we ended up going down by ourselves and catching them just as they were leaving. Had the usual quesadilla, bacon, sausage, sauteed potatoes and nachos. I do love their nachos. We took up some prime positions by the pool – still in the shade, because it really is blistering hot here; I know, I’m ashamed of myself too – and I got my writing game on. Bust out three pages before getting highly distracted watching three girls playing Marco Polo in the pool with some little kids. We’ve only ever seen this game played in American movies, so it was highly entertaining to us.

One of the girls then expertly saved her drink whilst rolling out of the pool, so I told her it’s always a success as long as you haven’t spilt the drink. We then got talking to them, which lasted all afternoon. They were friends from Canada called Danielle, Daria and Gelisa. They were very funny and apparently very happy to have made new friends, as they posted on Snapchat. We got so carried away chatting that we missed the lunch slot entirely. Inconceivable! We hit the snack bar instead and I had some pulled chicken, chicken nuggets and chips. Very sophisticated, of course.

We opted out of more drinks for the afternoon, because we knew we had a heavy night ahead of us. The girls all sat in the pool for a while, so I sat on the edge with them with my notebook so that I could half write and half chat, which ended up being mostly chatting. Managed to get a little more done on the sunbeds before me and Kel conceded we should go back to the room to start showering, as we had to have an early tea before Coco Bongos. Said goodbye to the girls and went back to the room. Did the usual of squeezing in some writing between getting ready, so that I was only a page behind where I wanted to be.

We went back to the Mexican restaurant this time, since it only had scheduled sittings and going down earlier meant we were right on time for the first one. I had some oddly multi coloured nachos with their hot sauce, taco rolls, refried beans and beef tostadas. Still need to try their tortilla soul at some point, but I kept filling up on everything else. I had chicken fajitas for my main. Super yummy! We had a look at the pudding buffet, but weren’t too enamoured by it, so we decided to go over to the other restaurant and look at theirs. We spotted the oldies in there, so we sat with them whilst we had ice cream with strawberry sauce. Much better.

Kel had left her phone on charge and I didn’t want to take my phone out with my, so we went back to the room for a little bit before our bus was due so that we could switch. I also squeezed in that last page I wanted before we had to go down. I am never going on holiday during a NaNoWriMo event again. It makes it feel so much more like a chore to get the pages done, when sometimes I just want to read or sunbathe or watch Clannad instead. We got on the most air conditioned bus ever. In my tiny, pineapple playsuit, it was bloody freezing. We also had to sit on there for ages in the hotel drive, because there was a faff with a mother and daughter pair who had bought their tickets, but the daughter wasn’t old enough. Expensive tickets to not get refunded, but what did they really expect from a club? You need ID. That’s just how it works.

The first stop on our special little bar crawl was Senor Frog’s – one that amused me, as it had been on Impractical Jokers. Really nice, fun little bar with a live band playing and everything froggy themed. It was beach side too. Just a shame it was so damn windy – I spent the entire time having to push my hair out of my face. We got free cocktails and free shots there, as it was all-inclusive with our tickets. No idea what either of them were, but they were both drinkable. We then had some odd margarita/mojito mash-ups and made friends with a Canadian couple called Andrew and Alisha. Seriously, there are so many Canadians here. They tried out the oxygen bar where they plug tubes up your nose, so the oxygen helps the alcohol into your blood stream faster and gives you a natural high; plus it’s meant to make your hangover a lot better the next day. Safe to say, me and Kel were happy to just tackle all that the old fashioned way. Shoving anything up my nose didn’t sound like much fun. One of our rep people then had us standing up on our chairs to a very fast forwarded version of Macarena and then some House of Pain (what a tune). I’m all for dancing on chairs and tables, but it’s a little more terrifying in heels.

We then walked round to our next coach stop, chatting to Andrew and Alisha on the way. They rent a property with forty-one acres of land and apparently get deer and porcupines in their back yard, wow! Though apparently not so wow for their pitbull that just wants to eat everything. The coach took us to the next place, Salsanero. I was given a vile cocktail upon going in – tasted like soda water and a lot of alcohol. I quickly ditched that and got us some better margaritas instead. The music in here was a lot more Spanish. As the name suggests, clearly somewhere where you learn the proper dances, rather than just going to a club. We took our own entertainment in watching a guy in pink shorts, who was dancing around all goofily and totally looked like Murr from the back.

We didn’t seem to be in there long before being moved onto Coco Bongos, which was just across the road. We were given more cocktails as we went in. These ones tasted quite medicine-y, but were at least better than the weird soda water one. They suddenly became a lot more drinkable when we were given shots to down on the go as we were directed through, which turned out to be pure tequila. My gag reflex was certainly strong with that one and I had to glug a fair bit of my weird cocktail to recover. Those of us on the specific Coco Bongo tour had our own level, which the reps were trying very hard to lead us all too. Difficult when there’s so many of you in the group and the club is completely rammed, especially when I managed to lose sight of the guy in front. Thankfully, whilst I was looking all lost, one guy turned round and asked if I was on the tour too. When I said yes, he just grabbed my hand and dragged us both through all the people, right up until we got to our designated level. Bless. It was more hilarious when I spotted the pink shorts and realised it was non-Murr.

All of the little balconies overlooked the main stage and dance floor, with step-like levels so that more people could fit and still be able to see over everyone else. We couldn’t get onto one of the steps straight away, so we couldn’t really see anything, but then they suddenly released lots of sausage balloons and me and Kel entertained ourselves with those for a while, like the children that we are. Whilst Kel was then getting up on one of the steps that had become free, I was watching her and didn’t realise I was hitting non-Murr on the head with the end of my balloon. Thankfully, he found it funny and just gave it a shake.

Once we were on the steps, we decided to launch our balloons off the balcony like javelins. Well, Kel did. I tried to do the same and managed to hit one of the overhead speakers, so that it bounced back and landed in some guy’s face, who was clearly like ‘where the fuck did this just come from?’ He tried to javelin it too and hilariously, also bounced it off the speaker and it came right back to me, so I got another shot at it. On my second try, I finally managed to launch it off the balcony and into the crowd. The whole time, we had reps going round asking for our drink orders and delivering them right to us. We chose to stick to the margaritas all night.

Our visibility of the stage had been pretty limited until that point, but as the crowd started to thin out, we finally got to see what was going on. The crowd was huge – looked like what I imagine New Year’s Eve to be at a hugely televised American event. It was basically like being in a night club that stages a pop culture themed Cirque du Soleil. They had full dance performances of medleys from artists like Bruno Mars, LMFAO and Pitbull. Real choreographed dances too. Then they had staged fights and aerial acts between Jack Sparrow and Barbossa, Spiderman and Green Goblin, The Mask, and the guys from Tron. Tron acts always look so good because of the light-up suits, but their aerial work was something else. Serious highlight for us was when Satine came out n her trapeze to Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend, going into a whole little Moulin Rouge segment. Far too much love for that movie.

Our reps started directing us back outside before the club closed at three, so we headed back to a congregation point where we were all directed towards the right coaches. We got stuck with an insanely noisy group of Colombian girls. Now I’m all for appreciating Colombians, because they hella pretty, but these were just damn annoying. Two of them were from our hotel and trying to ask us what our room number was. Dodgy or what? Safe to say, we didn’t tell them anything. I was prepared to make up a fake number if we had to.

There was no question that we weren’t doing anything when we got back, other than going to bed. Personally, I was just glad to get rid of the heels, because it had been a very standing-only kind of night. Maybe next time, I’ll just stick to flats.

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This is not your average night club.

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27/9/16 -Let’s go to the mall

Lazy start of reading, playing my Disney game and getting ready. We decided we’d go shopping first, since Mom wanted to go to a mall – I told her we could only go if she pronounced it right, rather than ‘mal’, like she kept calling it – and then we’d hit either the beach or the pool. We went to the Coral something or other mall. I really hate shopping. Mom wanted to look at clothes and homeware stuff, so I occupied myself by getting some more notebooks and also a pair of happy little pineapple earrings. Not a bad result, but I was still bored within the first twenty minutes.

When we came out, it was starting to rain, so we braved a dash to the car and then went off in search of food. We ended up in a place called Miller’s Ale House. I asked for an Orange Crush cocktail and gave the server my driving license when he asked for ID. He took it off to the manager, came back and said that they couldn’t serve me because it’s an out of country license. What the hell? My license is obviously not fake and it clearly shows my birth date on there, showing that I’m turning twenty-seven in a few weeks and am definitely long past the legal drinking age requirement of twenty-one. So even though I’m way old enough and provided legit ID like they asked, they still wouldn’t serve me. What bollocks. I grudgingly had to have pop instead. It kinda rubbed it in more that the pop was also called Orange Crush – it just wasn’t alcohol. Come on, guys. I got ID’ed at plenty of places and none of them cared that my license wasn’t American.

For food, I had garlic chicken zingers over a plate of fries loaded with cheese, bacon and spring onion. It wasn’t overly successful. They still managed to mess up my order and gave me blue cheese dressing instead of the ranch I asked for – yuck! I then managed to drop one of the zingers on the floor, which Mom found hilarious and wanted me to try kicking it underneath my chair at the people behind us. My mother, ladies and gentlemen. Clearly misbehaving.

After lunch, we drove a little way down the road and then stopped at Dunkin’ Donuts, because Mom was craving. I had a caramel apple croissant donut. Quite nice. A little like a mix between a donut and an apple turnover. Though I have to say I still prefer Krispy Kremes. It was still raining by this point, so our pool/beach plan was out the window. With nothing else to really do – other than finding another mall, which I definitely wasn’t feeling – we went back to the room for a while. More reading, more Disney game, a Red Bull and another episode of Psych, as well as Skyping Kel.

After an hour or so, it had finally stopped raining, so me and Mom decided to madly get into our swimwear and go down to the pool anyway. It was very cloudy and everything was wet, but it was still perfectly warm enough to sit out in my bikini, if a little pointless when there was no hope of sun. I watched more Psych and read more before it started getting late and we conceded we may as well just go back to the room. I hit the drinks early to compensate for the lack of sunbathing before we very slowly got ready to go out.

We went to a restaurant just round the back of the pizza place called the Parrot Lounge. Another place with a really nice bar. I had a Parrot Ocean Breeze, which was mango rum, blue curacao and orange and pineapple juice. Really nice, even if it looked physically like swamp water. I didn’t fancy much from the menu, so I went for the supreme nachos that are supposedly a starter. My god, it was definitely a good decision. They were friggin’ huge and topped with cheese, chilli, sour cream and jalapenos. The salsa came on the side, which suited me to a tee since I don’t like salsa all that much. Despite the fact that there doesn’t seem to be much around here, I definitely approve of the places we have found.

Came back to the room after for more drinks, more Impractical Jokers, more reading and more bed. Y’know, the usual. Even better as it was one of the particularly hilarious episodes of Jokers with the corn maze. Night all.

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I promise there’s nachos in there somewhere. And yes, I’m aware I mostly post photos of food.

26/9/16 – Bring on the pizza

Back to the more relaxed get-ups, since we didn’t have to check out till eleven. Slowly got ready and packed up before heading off to Fort Lauderdale. We’d gotten up and dressed a little late for breakfast, so we stopped off at a Taco Bell en route, as it was something I’d always wanted to try. Yet another disappointment, unfortunately. We all wanted a good nosey at the menu, since we’d never been there before, but we felt rushed because of the miserable cow behind the counter who clearly had no time of the day for tourists, as she was perfectly sweet to everyone else. Pretty sure that’s still racism. Stupid bitch.

I had a quesarito and a spicy potato taco from the savers menu. The quesarito was okay, but far too full of cheese sauce and got quite sickly. I had to pull all of the salad out of the potato taco and it wasn’t even a proper taco. It was just a tortilla shaped like one. I call bullshit. That is so not a taco, which is all I really wanted in the first place. Taco Bell experiment failed. Happily got back into the car to carry on and had a far more satisfying Red Bull.

Despite driving past where we’d already stayed in Miami, the drive up to Fort Lauderdale really didn’t feel that long. Only another hour or so from Taco Bell. We found our cute little apartment complex, Tropi Rock, which actually has its own pool for once. I most definitely favour pools over the sea. Something to do with the fact that I can actually get in the water at the pool, rather than just crisping up in the sun on the beach. We unpacked a bit, milled around a while and then headed out for a little wander around to see what’s about.

Apparently, not a lot. There was the beach, obviously, and it really was a beautiful beach. One thing you can’t flaw Florida on. It was also the first one we’d seen with protested turtle laying grounds. Lots of little triangles of sand were all roped off. We had a meander past some apartment complex and found that even above anywhere else we’d been to, Fort Lauderdale is absolutely lizard central. I even saw a huge one that was two feet long from head to tail. I thought it must have been an escaped pet as it was bright lime green and had a crest and a beard, but we saw more afterwards. Talk about exotic looking wildlife.

After the very hot walk that didn’t really enlighten us on much other than the lizard situation, we came back to the room for a longer while. I started reading my Kelley Armstrong book, showered (in the worst shower we’ve had so far) and downloaded a cool notes app for my phone that’s designed to look like a Death Note with the black pages and the same fonts and everything. Love it. That’ll do well for my writing notes. Got ready to then head back out in search of food. Mom had already researched it on her tablet, since there hadn’t seemed to really be anything around, so we were on the lookout for an Irish grill and bar called McShorley’s.

Unfortunately, this was another plan that didn’t quite work out. It had a truly lovely bar and atmosphere, but the barman Rob told us that they don’t serve food, although they’re happy for people to bring food in from the adjoining fast food places. Ah. We didn’t want to be rude and just walk out, so we all had a drink first. They actually had a few ciders – often quite a hard find in America – so I had a bottle of Magners. Mom had a pint of their draft cider, Woodchuck. It was actually really nice; so much so that I wished I hadn’t just gone for the one I was familiar with. Some guys then brought in a takeout pizza and sat at the bar with it, watching the American football. That just seemed like the best idea ever, but stingy Brits would never allow that back home.

We decided to follow their lead, so after we finished our drinks, we moved across the road to the pizza place, Primanti Brothers. I pretty much never fancy pizza as I’m not a pizza fan in the slightest, but the one the guys had got in the bar looked really good so for once, I was fancying. The smallest they did was a fourteen inch pizza – typical America – so I ordered one with sausage, ham, salami, onions and extra cheese. Oh my god. Best pizza I’ve ever had. Dad had two of the smaller slices since he’d only had a hot dog and I happily devoured the rest. Normally, I find pizza gets far too boring to eat that much in one sitting, but not this pizza. Serious hats off to the Primanti Brothers.

Since they hadn’t offered much in the way of alcohol, we went back to McShorley’s afterwards. I was delighted to have my own pint of Woodchuck this time. We moved into the side room, where they had a big fish tank, a pool table, darts, a few arcade games, checkers, giant Jenga and Connect 4, of all things. I played Dad at pool and almost beat him, but cocked up my last shot and ended up perfectly lining up the black ball for him. Boo. Him and Mom had a few games after that, whilst I entertained myself by making a tower out of the Jenga blocks and watching the tropical fish in the tank. They actually had one of those goofy yellow fish that looks like it has teeth, just like the one me and Kel were so amused by in San Antonio.

Came back for more drinks in the room afterwards. By this point, I’d moved onto Bud Straw-ber-rita Splash. Played with my Death Note app some more and then did what was becoming the usual wind-down of reading, playing Disney game and watching some Impractical Jokers. Larry!

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I could be talked into being a pizza fan after this. For size comparison, see the chair behind it.

25/9/16 – Rollin’ on the river

Up earlier this time in order to get the complimentary breakfast in and get to the Everglades fairly early. I was actually ready before anyone this time, so I did some reading before we went for breakfast. First place we’ve been to that actually has a waffle make, woo! Safe to say that went down a treat. We then headed off to the Everglades. I watched an episode of Psych on the way. We stopped off at a little information centre to figure out a bit more about what we wanted to do, since the Everglades is a seriously huge place.

When we actually got into the park, it was chucking it down. Feels like home when the weather’s that typical. We bought our ticket for the Stingray boat tour, which leaves from the bay, goes along the canal and out into the lakes. The shop backed right onto the dock. I saw the fin of a tarpin cut through the water a few times. It’s kinda freaky; they’re like mini sharks. Armed with my brolley, I wandered further down the dock to have a nosey in the bay to see if I could see anymore, looked sideways and had the shock of my life when I instead saw the head of a three-metre crocodile rising up out of the water and against the side of the dock. I mean whoa. Talk about scary. I kept my distance, because I’ve seen how high those things can push themselves out of the water. I was certainly ready to be back inside the shop if it looked even remotely like it was going to try and climb out.

The croc disappeared when the boat came back in to dock from its last trip, but we saw another couple swimming further down the bay before we got on the boat ourselves. Apparently, this is the only place where crocodiles and alligators share the same water. I’d seen plenty of alligators when I did a swamp tour the first time I went to Louisiana, so getting to see wild crocodiles was a new and interesting one. They’re also scarier looking than alligators. However, our biggest problem on the boat wasn’t the crocodiles, the alligators or the horrible giant banana spiders we saw underneath the bridge we drove through; it was the goddamn mosquitoes. The boat ride was certainly interesting, but I felt like I spent the whole time slapping bugs away.

We had our ride cut short by about twenty minutes when a big thunderstorm hit whilst we were out in the middle of the lake, so we had to turn around and come back. I was super hungry when we came back in to dock, but with the weather being so temperamental, we wanted to keep seeing stuff rather than sitting down for a proper lunch. Instead, lunch was a pink lemonade and a bag of Funyuns from the little shop. Whilst we were having a munch, we went over to the other side of the bay and got to watch some baby manatees surfacing and sticking their noises up out of the water, ahhh. I really love manatees and they’re actually not endangered anymore. Well done, world.

We had a wander around the park and tried to do one of the trails you can walk along to look for wildlife. However, it was super overgrown and you had to try and cut your own path – not only unappealing when you’re in shorts sandals and a low-cut top; there was also the possibility that there could be snakes and all sorts lurking in the grass (in America, a lot of their snakes are poisonous). And we’d barely got anywhere before we were getting fully eaten alive by the bugs. We hastily changed our mind on that idea and returned to the car to drive round to the other side of the park to find Shark Valley.

Unfortunately, that idea also fell through when the satnav went on another mad one. We drove a really roundabout way, didn’t find anything for ages, then realised that we’d somehow bypassed the entire park and were suddenly a lot closer back to our motel. Well, bloody hell, satnav. We didn’t really feel like trying again, so we hit the next Walmart we found to get more drinks and things. I found some cute little jester gloves that are blatantly Harley Quinn inspired and will go great with my costume.

Mom had had a taste for KFC for ages now. We knew there was one nearby and had planned to bring some into the room last night before we’d spotted the Applebees, so that was moved to our plan for tonight instead. However, like the Applebees, it was also disappointing. We asked for a regular twelve-piece bucket and when we got back to the motel, we realised the dopey server had given us boneless chicken strips. Still nice, but nowhere near as good as the proper Kentucky coated stuff and when that’s what you’re expecting, chicken strips are definitely disappointing. Homestead have really failed us in the food department.

At least the TV selection was more satisfying. Mom turned it on to find 22 Jump Street, so that had us occupied for the night. After that, we found more Impractical Jokers and I had a mad reading spree to finish off my Clive Cussler book. With more Seagrams on the go, of course. As nights in go, not half bad.

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Now this is what you call a holy crap moment.

23/9/16 – We’re gonna need a bigger boat

Usual early up and get ready to get the rest of our stuff packed. Only this time I had to get Mom to try and help me put my hair into pigtails. That was fun, since Mom is nowhere near as perfectionist as Kel, which is what I want when it comes to my hair. Safe to say it took a few tries. We then loaded up the car and went off on our way further down the Keys. Once again, the drive was beautiful. Had to go across several long bridges and at a few points, the road narrowed out so much that we were driving the with the sea right on either side of us. Apparently one side if the Gulf of Mexico and the other is the Atlantic, but I’m rubbish at geography, so I couldn’t tell you for sure without Googling. Either way, the water was so incredibly still and flat that you could see the sky reflected in it to a point where you couldn’t tell where one left off and the other began.

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Now that’s scenery!

We stopped off at a Walgreen’s because Mom said that Auntie Lynne had requested us to bring back a specific toothpaste, of all things. I ended up having another mad shop when I found more DC stuff and bought a Harley Quinn makeup bag and lipstick, a mini Deadpool plushie and more Red Bull, of course. We then didn’t get much further down the road before stopping at an IHOP for brunch. Now this is what I’m talking about. I had to have my usual country omelette – ham, cheese, onion and has browns – with a side stack of pancakes and plenty of strawberry sauce. I also had a lemonade mixed with lime and mango syrup. Yum yum.

We made the rest of the drive uninterrupted down to our room in Key West. Another really cute place. Our ‘hotel’ building is like a small collection of massive houses with a pool and lots of front and side porches with swinging chairs on them. However, it’s also the first room where we haven’t got a fridge and we have a lot of drinks to chill. Thankfully, there was an ice machine out by the pool, so I did the first trip to fill up the ice bucket and then try to fit as many drinks in as possible. We had a quick settle into the room before going off to explore.

First off, I felt like I was in a Zelda game, because there were escaped chickens just randomly around on the streets – and some baby chickens, aahh. We headed on straight down towards the harbour. We walked past a pool party where a guy and girl were fully recreating the dance-off scene from White Chicks with Run DMC playing and everything. It was hysterical. Of course, technophobic me didn’t know how to find the video camera on my phone, so by the time I did start recording, they were just finishing. I need a tutorial for my phone, even after a month of having it.

We stopped off at the Key West Lime Shoppe for key lime pie and a lime slushie, mmm. Gotta have things where they originate from. We sat in a nice little courtyard with a koi pond. The shop itself was really cute. They did lots of lime flavoured sweets, sticks of rock, soaps, drink making kits… It helped that they were playing Red Solo Cup too. I sand along whilst Mom bought a proper, easy-use lime crusher so that we can make even better margaritas back home. We have our priorities straight. From there, we had a wander down the harbour, right along the waterfront. It didn’t have the same fishing village type feel as Key Largo, as it was much busier. Still totally welcome atmosphere though. Buzzing, but not crowded, not like poor new Bourbon Street.

We took great enjoyment in watching some very exotic fish along the edge of the harbour and that was where the excitement then came in. We saw more wrasse and Sergeant Majors, some electric blue wrasse-like fish, big fat jellyfish, a beautiful blue and yellow angelfish and some giant, giant tarpin. We saw a huge one lurking in the shallows and looking super evil before it disappeared under the dock. We were trying to point another one out to Mom, who couldn’t see as well, and then the show-off flashed all the silver on its side, right under the surface of the water. It was four foot long! But then whilst we were distracted waiting to see if it would surface again, Dad spotted a seven-foot nurse shark, right under our feet! Talk about seeing something exciting in the wild.

We headed back up one of the strips from there. Saw a Senor Frogs, which made me giggle as it makes me think of Impractical Jokers, as well as a shop that had a lurid pineapple design painted across the window that looked totally Psych-esque, as well as lots of real pineapples in the window. I went in all excited, but then they didn’t actually have anything pineapple themed that they sold. Boo the false advertising. On the way back to the hotel, we walked alongside a huge cemetery that was all built above the ground like Lafayette. It seems to be a real imitation of New Orleans here. They do Creole cuisine, have several bars named after Bourbon Street and some of them even do Hurricanes. Not sure why the similarities are there when the places aren’t even close.

We got back to shower and get ready. I broke out my last Mike’s Hard Lemonade that I’d managed to cool some in the ice bucket, which I then had to down on the way because the oldies suddenly put a speed on and were ready to go. We went to a nearby Peruvian restaurant called Inca’s. We really are getting around. Our server Jessica was so lovely and shared drunk sangria stories with us when we ordered a pitcher. For food, I had Peruvian styled fried rice, which was rice fried with chicken, spring onion and some kind of salty, soy tasting sauce. God, it was so good. I scarfed literally every single grain.

We all agreed none of us wanted to walk past the cemetery again in the dark, so we headed off towards one end of the town, which is actually the most southerly point of the states. However, when we realised how long of a walk it was, we changed our minds and hit a bar instead. Big mistake. The moment I walked in, it was very easy to tell that it was a smoking bar. Good god, it was disgusting. I hate the lack of smoking bans here. I had to breathe through my mouth the entire time I was in there, so I passed on having a drink as I wouldn’t be able to taste it. I actually went to stand outside for a while for some fresh air, but when the same middle-aged guy somehow found a way to walk past me three times and told me twice that I was “too cute to be out there by myself”, I swiftly decided to go back in and watch the oldies play pool and just go back to mouth-breathing. It was actually quite funny when Dad then ended up playing some crazy woman from Kentucky.

Came back to the room after that and did some more planning for the trip going forward. I then read some more Shock Wave and broke open the Seagrams before bed. The next move is afoot.

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The fake Psych shop that lied to me.

22/9/16 – Doing as the locals do

Got up semi-early to get ready and pack the last few things before leaving our nice Miami apartment. A friend of Lydia’s picked us up and took us to the Alamo to fetch our car and didn’t even want to charge us for the ride! We still tipped him, of course. Our car wasn’t ready yet, but the man behind the desk upgraded us to a bigger one free of charge to save us spending our vacation sitting in the Alamo. I do love Americans. There was also the Latino double of Oliver Hudson working on the desk. I genuinely thought it was really him (and that he’d super downgraded his career somehow) until I heard him speak.

Our car was a big Dodge Journey that I quickly dubbed Harry (Hazza if you’re feeling casual). It’s so good to have a car to just pile everything into, rather than having to lug around various bags and cases, particularly the box that’s filled with alcohol. Both the Alamo guy and our unofficial taxi driver commented on how it was the most important piece of luggage we were carrying. Not untrue. We only drove about an hour out of Miami before we had to stop off at a Burger King. Hunger is real, people, even if Burger King is pretty unsatisfying when you consider the wide variety of eating options here.

Back on the road again. Watched an episode of Psych and then we were distracted by a Walmart. Actually the first one we’ve seen. Finally got my big box of Seagrams, as well as more Red Bull, Sunny D, Milk Duds and a giant bag of popcorn. Then I discovered the clothes section and got very distracted indeed. I ended up picking out a stripy jumper dress of all things, but it was just too nice to pass up and as Mom pointed out, it was very me. Everyone knows black and red is my colour scheme. Even better, I also got various pairs of boxers with Deadpool, Batman and Wonder Woman on them. There were some lovely Harley Quinn ones, but sadly, they only had them in massive sizes.

By the time we were leaving, it was pouring with rain, so we had to wait it out a little before we were brave enough to make a run for it to the car. Thankfully, we didn’t have anymore distraction stops. I’d planned on using the driving time to write, but the drive was so nice that I ended up just watching through the window instead and taking the odd photo. Definitely some lovely views driving into the Keys. We booked into our very cute hotel in Key Largo and had a mill around in the room for a while. Had a little read and then Skyped Kel for a bit. I don’t think she’s enjoying hamster-sitting for Wilson, since he managed to get out of his ball. Yes, I named my hamster after a ball and yes, it’s ironic that he’s tried to make his grand escape from it on a few occasions.

Headed on out after that and had a little wander around the area. We walked down the waterfront first and found some lovely red and blue wrasse, stripy little Angelfish looking Sergeant Majors and some teeny, teeny jellyfish. We then went inwards and onto the street that ran parallel to the water. It was so freaking adorable. It was like being in a proper little fishing village, which I guess technically, we were. All of the houses were built up above the first storey with open patios underneath, besides the garages, clearly prepared for any potential flooding. They all looked really nice and cute though and everyone had their own unique mailboxes, like ones that were being held up by a manatee or alligator statue.

After exploring everything there pretty much was to explore – which really was only a little – we went to a restaurant called Sharkey’s, where we got to sit upstairs out on the balcony, overlooking the waterfront. Now this was just the most perfect night. I had a literal bucketful of a cocktail called Sharkbite Punch, which was mango and passionfruit rum, pineapple and orange juice and grenadine. To go with that, I decided to be adventurous and went with the beer battered fresh shrimp and sea fries. I’m really fussy with seafood and had to ask for them to be served without the tails on, so it was a brave step for me, but god, it was such a good choice. It was so fresh and so tasty and I felt so pleased that I’d chose to be adventurous. As well as the food and drink being delicious, there was a musician playing an acoustic set of great covers of songs I love like Three Doors Down, Oasis and Red Hot Chili Peppers. Then we even got to sit and watch an electrical storm out over the river where the lightning made the clouds light up pink and blue. Talk about the most incredible atmosphere. Everything was just perfect.

Suitably stuffed and with Mom certainly not wanting any more cocktails after our buckets, we headed back to the room. I had a few of my Mike’s Hard Lemonade and read, then planned to watch the rest of Sahara and then do some writing. Unfortunately – or fortunately, depending on which way you look at it – Dad discovered Impractical Jokers on the telly, so I had no choice but to watch that after only watching a little more of Sahara. Guess we’ll try again tomorrow.

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Now that’s entertainment.

15/9/16 – Maximum effort

Up early at half four and initially feeling like I’m just getting up for my six o’clock Friday shift, but nope, it’s holiday time! First time going back to America since the two-month stint and also, sadly, my first ever trip without Kel. Since she bought a house earlier this year, she couldn’t afford a holiday and my friends are all no-go options because of either already having holidays booked or being useless with money or not wanting to go the same places. So what option did that leave me if I wanted any chance of going away this year? Tagging along with my parents. Luckily, no matter what age I’ve been, I’ve always got on really well with my parents and I’m certainly capable of paying for myself. Plus when they said the first place they were going to was New Orleans, I really didn’t have any choice. New Orleans is my most favourite place in the world.

So we got packed up and ready and got to the airport about half six. Milled about duty free once we got through customs and had a laugh over a Moschino perfume that looked like a Mr. Muscle type bottle. Since I have a super fancy phone for the first time in my life, I can officially play photographer myself. As long as I remember to take pictures, that is – I’m kinda bad at that. I grabbed food from Burger King whilst the oldies had breakfast from Wetherspoons. Apparently, going away with your parents is a good bet, because Mom also got me a giant hunk of black pudding on the side of the breakfasts. I looove black pudding.

We boarded the plane for our first connecting flight to Amsterdam. Accidentally read a quarter of my Anita Blake book, oops. The flight was only just over an hour, but there was a slight delay before we took off, which meant we had to rush through customs and boarding straight onto the next flight, meaning we didn’t have chance to get drinks or anything from the airport. Boo. I was dying for a Red Bull. It was even more annoying, because there were then more delays and we had to sit on the runway for about forty minutes. I could have used that time to shop for my fix.

Thankfully, sitting on the plane was made way better by the fact that the in-flight entertainment was the best ever. Like most long haul flights, each seat has their own screen fixed into the headrest in front of them with a selection of things to watch. Only this selection was basically like having Netflix, albeit smaller, but with very new releases, including the latest aired seasons from this year of Flash, Arrow, The Walking Dead, Gotham, etc. I promptly found and put on Deadpool. The mature ones had to be edited a little, but it basically just meant there were less close ups of gore and they cut out the whole sex montage. Not so bad, as it would have been awkward if anyone else looked at my screen. I just had to miss out on hearing Calendar Girl.

After Deadpool, I watched Groundhog Day and then The Lady in the Van (was not prepared for it being as sad as it was!) I spotted Suits and figured I could continue watching from where I left off, but they only had season five, whereas I’m still on season four. Watched a couple of episodes of Impractical Jokers instead. In between all this, we had various drink options throughout the flight, packs of pretzels, little snack packs of olives (which were definitely left unopened) and crackers with a bell pepper spread, then ice cream pots and hot chicken, cheese and honey mustard sandwiches. The main meal was cheese tortellini, cheese and crackers, a bread roll, ignored salad and a lovely rich chocolate orange mousse. Good job, Delta.

Despite how well we were looked after, the flight just felt sooo long. I spent a while just listening to music and we still had another three hours to go. I turned to my saviour on long trips and listened to an episode of That Anime Show to kill another few hours. I seem to have a knack for choosing appropriate episodes, because they spent a good portion of it talking about travel and the sore points of flights. I had people constantly knocking my elbows as I listened to them, so I certainly understood. They even talked about New Orleans and Key West – both places we’re visiting on this trip! One thing I adore about That Anime Show is not only are they super geeky and produce the dubbing work that I love; they’re all so into travelling, it’s amazing. Not enough people have the interest in travel.

Finally, after nine and a half hours, we were landing in Atlanta. The sad part was that we still had one more flight to go. Thankfully, we had a little more time in this airport. We visited for a connecting flight before and it still amazes me how huge it is. How many airports have their own train systems inside?! (Later learnt that it’s the biggest airport in the world, which really doesn’t surprise me). One day, I’ll actually get to see Atlanta properly or at least more than just the airport. I finally got to get my much needed Red Bull, as well as some fruit punch Gatorade. I forgot that America means living on Gatorade and Powerade. I managed to connect to the WiFi in the airport and update people on where we were before we boarded our final flight.

Again, this one was only an hour long. I read another quarter of my book, then was just so tired that I attempted to sleep through until landing. Not only did it not work; I realised far too late that they were showing Flash on the screens. Damn it. That would have made it far more enjoyable. Baggage claim was fairly smooth and then we had the hopper ride to our hotel, which was another half hour to the journey. I was a lot more interested in watching everything through the window now that we were finally in New Orleans.

We checked into our Best Western and started unpacking things. I soon discovered there’d been a toiletries explosion in my suitcase and that half of my clothes were soaked through. Oh, no. Thankfully, the culprit was my now completely empty bottle of heat protection spray for my hair. Not greasy and gross like the shampoo explosion we had one of the years and it actually smelt quite nice, rather than making all my clothes stink like chemicals. I hung them over every chair and rail I could find and will just have to hope for the best. On the bright side, we had free WiFi in the room and there’s fucking millions of PokéStops in New Orleans. I think we’re seriously cheated back home.

Updated a few more people on our whereabouts, played a bit of my silly but adorable Disney game, then finally hit the hay. Super, super comfy beds and I even get a double all to myself. It was seriously welcome after all the travel. Tonight’s gonna be a good night.

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If you got your bottles mixed up, it’d either my an expensively clean kitchen or a not-so-niced, possibly burning perfume.

1/10/15 – Last day on Gran Canarian soil

We got up, got semi dressed and went down to breakfast first, this time. Why have we not been doing this the whole holiday? Had my usual sausage, bacon, chips and cheese and ham toasted thing. It was the last one and I actually ran for it, so I felt I deserved it. Cath caught us at breakfast and told me off for not wearing something pineapple-y. Apparently I’ve gotta that reputation as the pineapple girl that I was kind of expecting. Guess that’s better than my reputation as the drink that I got on our trek in America. Though that one became apparent this time too, as Cath was surprised at how much I’d been drinking in the day, every day. Eh, I’m on holiday. We wanted to leave some time to do some more packing after breakfast before we went down to the pool. Kel had already spoken to the guy on reception to see if we could keep our room on for a few more hours, which was fine. We primarily did it just to keep the all inclusive going, as we figured they’d cut our wristbands off as soon as we checked out.

Once we only had a few necessities for the day left out, we suncreamed up and headed down to the pool. We were given more word searches to do. This one was much easier than the last. I did that and then another short story. Patrik tried to convince me to join the aqua gym by sitting on the end of my sunbed, facing me, and doing his stretches. I must have an iron will if I can resist that. I really didn’t want to get wet though, as I won’t be able to shower or do anything with my hair later on, once we lose access to our room.

Instead, we got roped into the paper plane game. Surprisingly, this was the one activity that got most people to join in – over forty of us altogether! All to play with paper planes. We were each given a sheet of paper and told to make a plane with it. That was a challenge in itself as I’ve never even made one before. I’ve always gotten other people to make them and then give them to me to play with. I tried my best to make mine aerodynamic, but when it came to us all lining up and taking turns to throw them, mine just insisted on going nowhere but down. At least mine was more awesomely decorated than anyone else’s – I’d written Thunderbird 3 on the back of the wing. The Barry/Murr guy almost landed his in the outdoor shower, which was funny as you had to stand where your plane landed, so he was practically standing in the shower. One guy even had to stand in the pool when his went really off course. Gutted.

We then went for our last inclusive meal of the trip. So sad. I bid goodbye to the rice, pizza, chips, beef with champagne sauce, lasagne-less pasta and some new garlic potato cubes that I really hadn’t gotten the time to know. I did my last bid to get drinks in before we checked out, so I ran down to the pool bar to grab another sangria and cocktail and left them on the table by our sunbeds. We then brought the cases down, put them in a storage room for safe keeping as we don’t get picked up till later and checked out. Apparently my drinks preparations had been futile – they didn’t take off our wristbands or say anything about the all inclusive ending. Happy days!

I went back to my shade after that. I didn’t want to risk the sun and getting sweaty because of the whole no shower thing. I don’t wanna be that icky person. Joel caught us and got us to go join Patrik for the new rifle shooting activity. Now this is an activity I can get behind! I did feel a bit stupid holding a giant rifle in my bikini and big sunglasses though – the kind of look you’d expect to be all sexy badass, but this was me, so it wasn’t. But it turned out I was pretty good at the shooting part. Even Patrik was like, “Who are you?” My first shot went wild before I got the hang of it, but I quickly got the highest score and also the first bulls-eye. Boo-yah! Nerf guns, eat your heart out!

Did more reading and chilling in the shade afterwards. Also watched some bits of Arrow on my iPod. Ah Brandon Routh, you are a pretty, pretty man. Eventually, I conceded that it was probably time to sort out my appearance at least a little before eating. Had to pop in and out of the room where the luggage was being held (more so than I should have needed to, because I was stupid and kept forgetting things) and got changed and did a bit of makeup in the toilets downstairs. It was actually just a horrible ordeal, as it was really hot in there, so I tried to be quick about it.

We then went for food around six, pleased that we got an extra meal more than we’d been expecting. Bonus meal! The evening menu has a split earlier on and they seem to serve different foods for each half. We’d obviously never been down to eat this early, so it was all new to us. Was initially horrified to see that they had a yellow rice rather the usual amazing rice, but then it turned out it just tasted exactly the same anyway. You deceived me, rice; well played. Also had some salted potatoes with the Gran Canaria sauce, some pork and crackling (wow), chips, a chicken drumstick and some chicken and chickpea stew, which was super yummy.

No entertainment room tonight. We hung out in the lobby instead, so we could see what was going on and if our coach turned up. We had our free cocktail to share that we’d won from the movie quiz. It was called a San Francisco (woo!) No idea what was in it, but it was nice and sweet. I made the most of my last sangria before switching to pop. I really don’t wanna be drunk on the plane or, worse, risking a migraine from lack of hydration. Sadly, we didn’t get to see Joel, Patrik or Marek before leaving. It was an awkward time in between when they’re clearly usually getting ready before the entertainment slots have to start. Sad times. But at least we have their Facebook details. The practicality of the modern age.

The transfer was a bit horrific. It had been alright up until the last pick-up, then about fifteen people got on and every one of them had a child with them, all of which were screaming and crying and shouting. It was like hell got on the coach. I was surprised I wasn’t screaming and crying and shouting too. To make things worse, the girl sat behind me could not stop complaining. Everyone who knows me knows that I actually really, really hate kids, but no way do I ever go on that much about it. Sh was actually causing more of a fuss than the kids and the kids really were making a fuss. Her and her mom were clearly not the kind of people you want around though anyway. Soon found out that they robbed a mirror from a club and were trying to get it through security. I secretly hoped that they weren’t allowed.

Checking in was a real ball-ache, as there were loads of us and then hardly any people behind the desks. The plus side was that we were told our flight was gonna be half an hour early. Getting through security was brief, though I did get swabbed for explosives again! Why me, guys? Do I look that dodgy? Once we were through, we grabbed some drinks for on the plane and I bought a big bottle of citrus Grey Goose from duty free. I’m calling in my early birthday present to myself. Since I asked people for vodka anyway, that’s just like skipping a step. No seriously, I really did ask for vodka for my birthday. I’ll get more use out of that than a gift card for New Look.

We got on the plane and had a bit of a mix up with an older couple who had misread their tickets and were in our seats. They were completely fine about it and the man apologised, saying it was their fault, to which the woman corrected that it was just his fault. She gets how it works. I watched the Psych musical on my iPod to clear some time. It was funny because at one point, even though Kel obviously couldn’t hear it, she could see Shawn’s mouth moving and knew exactly that he was doing the ololololololol hoo-de-hoo hoo-de-hoo bit that she loves from Santa Barbara Skies. Well done, Kel.

After Psych, I watched several episodes of Impractical Jokers. Those guys never fail to make me laugh. I then listened to the Galavant soundtrack, did a little writing and a little reading, then thankfully, we were coming in to land. I’d been getting really tired, but I hate trying to sleep on the plane because it always makes me feel really bleugh and out of it. Which probably would have been made worse by the fact that I’d still pretty much been drinking all day. Getting through passport and baggage control on the other side was pretty quick, thank god. We grabbed a black cab from outside and found ourselves with a very chatty, travel-savvy driver. Awesome.

When we got home, I saw that Dad had put the hard top on my car for me. Aww. I guess we left the sun behind in Gran Canaria for the rest of the year. Would absolutely go back though and recommend our hotel to anyone. Great food, great drink, great place and great crowd. First shot at all inclusive was an absolute success too. For now though, I have to concede to grey old England. We got into the house and, of course, Izzy was very eager to get into my bedroom. She got onto my bed before I did and immediately took up all the room. Home, sweet, home, I guess.

One fancy cocktail to see us off!

One fancy cocktail to see us off!

29/9/15 – Bye bye birdie

I made sure we woke up with plenty of time for breakfast today. Since Kel clearly can’t be trusted with snooze button duty, I had to use my own alarm. I have switched back to my ‘secret party’ tone though, which is always fun. Got ready, dropped our towels on some sunbeds first like usual, then hit the food hall. It’s been a while, breakfast – I’ve missed you. I had bacon, frankfurta, chips and a kind of one-sided ham and cheese toastie thing. All the yummies.

It was super hot today. Easily the best sun yet. It makes me a little sad though when it’s so hot that I have to keep switching between sunbathing and hiding in shade or water. Can’t I just tan the whole time please? We had to have several breaks to chill in the balcony pools. Suddenly the fact that they’re freezing cold didn’t seem like such a problem anymore. The heat even meant I started off having to have more pop than alcohol to stay nice and hydrated. Perish the thought.

At one point, it got so hot that even after another dip in the pool, we weren’t prepared to venture back out into the sun, so we had to sit under the canopy by the snack bar for a little while. We then decided that this would be a good time for lunch. Cue all the rice, pizza, some bolognese pasta, beefs cuts with some kind of sauce and what tasted like a Chinese style of pork. Of course, seconds were in order, so I had more pork and chips and was thankfully able to make the most of more rice. If I’d seen anyone trying to take it away early this time, I’d have been chopping off some hands.

As we were eating, I found myself in the stage where I couldn’t decide if I was developing a headache or a migraine. I’m getting really fed up of this malarky. I really don’t want to be taking my meds every day – that surely can’t be good for me. I chanced it on headache and stuck to painkillers and a few sweets from my bag (for some reason, particular kinds of sweets seem to help when I have a bad head; probably because of the sugar). Thankfully, I made a good guess and it soon cleared up as the painkillers kicked in. I felt happy to head back out into the sun. I was insistent on sticking to my sunbed this time. Did more reading and wrote another short story. I’m on a roll!

When the sun had gone in and then stayed in for quite a while, I headed back to the room for my usual Red Bull relaxation time before showering. Kel put another Fruits Basket episode on whilst I was doing my hair and then we kinda watched but mostly listened to Improv-a-Ganza clips whilst getting ready. It says a lot that we can now just listen to them without having to watch to know what’s happening. That Kazakhstan Taratino musical though… I wore another of my pineapple playsuits, as well as my new big pineapple heels that I’ve been trying to practice to walk in for quite a while now. I’m gonna have to be especially careful with plates. If I fall over when carrying food, then that’ll be genuine reason to cry.

Food tonight was of course rice, chips, pizza, bolognese pasta, small cuts of steak, Chinese style pieces of chicken and pork steak with Gran Canaria sauce, which tasted like it was primarily made of garlic. I had seconds for more rice, chicken and pork. I skipped pudding this time, as it always makes my sangria taste funny. It says a lot when I prioritise alcohol over pudding. Moved onto the entertainment room for more drinks and, well, entertainment. First up, was a parrot show with various macaws that rode scooters, rollerskates and would ring a bell the exact amount of times you asked it to. The guy also brought three of them round for people to have photos with. I got a scarlet macaw on one shoulder, a little grey one on the other and then a blue and yellow macaw to hold in my hands on its back like a baby. I’m not a big fan of birds, but that was adorable.

After the show, we got chatting to a couple from Cheshire called Cath and Jamie. They were probably in their forties. Learnt that Cath works for the council and Jamie travels around doing repairs on various vehicles and ships. We always seem to meet people who have such interesting jobs. They were really funny and we ended up talking to them all night. They share our love of food, so we clearly got along well. Jamie helped us out with some answers on our new movie quiz too. This one was way harder with rounds of having to guess from movie frames, edited posters and obscure versions of score music that sounded almost nothing like the original pieces. I have no idea how, but I knew the Breakfast At Tiffany’s poster. And I was geeky and able to pinpoint Armageddon just from one shot of Steve Buscemi and Michael Clarke Duncan, before they even showed the rest of the clip. Told you movies are my forte. Despite the fact that it was much tougher, we actually won! It was funny as our team name was Where’s Larry, so Patrik was then asking who Larry was. Sadly, nobody from the audience shouted LARRY, which is the response I would have liked. Boo you, uneducated crowd.

We headed back to our room after Cath and Jamie did, armed with many drinks this time. Obviously we’d done another last minute drink run before the all-inclusive ended. We’re savvy with scavving the free drinks, duh. We had a drink and more watching of Fruits Basket in the room before bed. I’m liking this new late night development. Geeks who drink, yo.

25/9/15 – Where everybody looks like everybody

We got up fairly early. We’d both been doing very loud yawning and stretching as we got up, so I joked, “Who can make the most noise?” And a man immediately sneezed somewhere outside. I think we have a winner. We got all dressed and sun creamed up and headed down to breakfast. The food hall is huge and has a lot of variation of foods, though it’s not very logically laid out. We didn’t even make it to the typical hot breakfast stuff. By that point, I’d already filled up on bread rolls, cold cuts and cheese, a croissant, watermelon and this really nice cheese on toast with salami thing. Guess we’ll have to explore the rest tomorrow morning.

Our pool is very big and very pretty. We got sunbeds on the decking, overlooking it. There were activities going on throughout the day and we have three entertainer/rep type people hosting everything and wandering around, trying to encourage people to join in. They’re called Patrik, Joel (pronounced Jo-ell) and Marek. Patrik is very much the Slovakian Captain Awesome and Joel commented on my diamonds tattoo being Harley Quinn and that she wanted it. I do believe that’s the first person to have brought up that particular tattoo and not had to ask what it means. Kudos, Joel.

She gave us word searches and sudokus to do whilst we were sat around the pool. Hardest fucking word search I’ve ever done too! Some people went off to play shuffleboard. We abstained as we had no idea what the hell it was. Other people were then roped in to make pretzels, as we have a German Octoberfest kinda theme going on for today (the reps were all wearing cute green lederhosen type things). I passed on that too since you had to wear little latex gloves for it and those kind of things always bother my hands, but Kel had a go at that and then the aqua gym (water aerobics) too.

I probably looked like the miserable one, but I’d been developing another migraine by this point. I’d really hoped they’d leave me alone for this holiday, but apparently not. I went back up to the room to take one of my meds and bury my head in a pillow for a little while before coming back down. Once the meds kicked in and I felt a bit more alive, I could finally start making the most of our all inclusive deal. Had a couple of sangrias and a couple of cocktails whilst sitting by the pool, reading and writing. Very nice! My only complaint is that as pretty as everything is and, despite the fact that the air itself is quite warm, there is no sun! Where is the sun! It even started raining a bit on more than one occasion. I can’t believe I flew ten thousand miles for this shit. (Very harsh exaggeration, but I just wanted to get my quotes in).

First drinks! Yes, I was the greedy one who had two. Is anyone really surprised?

First drinks! Yes, I was the greedy one who had two. Is anyone really surprised?

We grabbed lunch from the snack bar at some point in the day, which is right nearby the pool, along with the one bar. I had chips, sausage and a giant pretzel. Then a bit later I had a bread roll and a teeny cake from the ‘coffee and pastries’ stage. There is hardly any time in the day when there isn’t some kind of meal being served. This suits me just dandy. I tried to make sure I had a glass of pop for almost every alcoholic drink I had to try and start hydrated to prevent further headachey stuff. This is the kind of thing you have to worry about when you start getting old. I think I’m gonna spend this holiday peeing.

Following the German theme, they also set up a game of beer pong. Sitting on the decking is the best place because we could just watch everything across the pool. We also kept hearing this stupid Istanbul song whilst they were playing. It’ll be like the German equivalent of that gabbu-gabbu-gabbu song we kept hearing in Greece last year. As it got later, we decided to have a wander out of the complex to find a nearby shop to stock up on necessities for the room. In my case, this is Red Bull, Kopparberg and crisps. In one of the shops, I did spy a big litre bottle of Grey Goose for about fifty euros! I know what I’m doing if I have money and case space left when we leave.

We came back up to the room to chill for a bit, shower and slowly get ready. The shower is super powerful and awesome. I love a power shower – it’s so much easier to wash your hair in. I drank my Red Bull and wrote another short story in between getting ready. I wore my poofy pineapple bargain dress from Primark, which is just too cute to have only been three quid. We’ve established that people will probably think I’m a nutter, as most of the clothes and accessories I’ve brought with me have pineapples on them and I even have a pineapple tattooed on my foot. So yeah, they would be correct.

We came down for food first and had fun around the illogical buffet again. I had a bizarre turkey skewer, chips, yummy herby potatoes, cuts of beef (which didn’t seem at home with everything else), lasagne, meat tortellini, meatballs and some delicious rice. There’s something about European rice. Greece, Turkey, Spain – they all clearly add some very tasty things to it. Then for pudding I had jelly, strawberry ice cream, a little toffee eclair, peach slices and strawberry and pineapple mousses. I love pudding buffets more than anything. After eating, we moved into the ‘entertainment’ area, which is basically lots of tables and chairs pointed at a little stage and dance floor space. Of course, throughout the night we were making the most of the all inclusive again with sangria and cocktails, then progressing to some very strong vodka and lemon.

The entertainment was actually hilarious. Firstly, they were getting people up to do the conga line. They grabbed Kel, but I escaped because of my big shoes that I’ve already fallen over very painfully in before, despite how much they tried to nag me. This is where I start to get a bit annoyed, when people pester you to get up and do something. I’m not like one of those miserable people who just sit in the corner – if I want to join in with something, I will, and often do. I actually quite like a good conga line, despite some very awkward past romantic experience with it (don’t ask), so know that I have a good reason if I abstain. In this case, not wanting to fall flat on my face feels like a good reason.

I was actually very glad I said no, since they quickly turned it into a limbo tournament. I’m pretty good at limbo, but again, certainly not in my big wedges. I couldn’t do the classy thing of taking them off either, as one of the waters had smahed a glass not long before. I’ve had to have glass picked out of my foot once before and I’d really rather not repeat it, thanks. We took fun from watching everyone else play and from just people watching in general. We found a lot of lookalikes. There was a creepy guy on his own who reminded me of a weird Murr from one angle and a younger version of Barry from work. There were a couple of Chris’s from work, a girl from the Inbetweeners, a young Clive from work, an older Curt Smith and an Asian Steve Frank. Not forgetting our very own Captain Awesome in Patrik too.

After the limbo tournament, we watched them all dancing to some of the classic songs like the Macarena and the Cha Cha Slide. It was particularly hilarious because Marek has absolutely no rhythm at all. He was all over the place. He did try though, bless him. They then got everyone to bring their chairs in front of the stage. Obviously we thought we were going to watch them play Musical Chairs. But no. They all sat down in a circle and moved their feet around to the music, then when it got to the chorus they all got up, picked their chairs up over their heads and started dancing around with them. It was absolutely hilarious and so not expected! That’s definitely the oddest game of Musical Chairs I’ve ever seen.

This is how everyone should play Musical Chairs from now on!

This is how everyone should play Musical Chairs from now on!

They pulled the tombola and the entertainment ended from there, as did the all inclusive, boo. After eleven you have to start paying for your drinks. We finished up the ones we had and decided to go for a bit of a wander down the road just to see what else we could find that was nearby. We clearly chose the wrong road because all we could find were little houses and a black cat that I dubbed Satan. Satan became our best bud for the walk and followed us around for a while, before we got bored and decided to head back. Time to build up the fan tower again!