While Vivienne Duck found herself in one of the most exciting places a 22-year-old could be, it was the drive to the hot adult playground of Las Vegas that took it out of her, not the crazy three nights that followed.
When I think of Vegas I should think of bright lights, gambling (of course), the drinking and everything else that was done to an obscene excess.
And I was right.
But the first thing I can’t help think of when I remember our trip to the fabulous adult playground that is Vegas is the long drive to get there.
Forget the lights, the action and Elvis singing - think dirt, cacti and five and a half hours of straight, boring highways.
Driving on the wrong side of the road didn’t bother me - nor did driving on the opposite side of the car.
But sitting in the passenger seat while my boyfriend Dylan took the wheel – now that is something to be concerned about.
Making the trek from our friends’ house in hot and sweaty San Diego to an even hotter and sweatier Vegas may have tested our relationship.
Not because I am somewhat of a control freak but rather the testing first time getting petrol in the states, the confusing detours (or lack thereof) and a lack of good music stations.
We filled our little Toyota hybrid with our suitcases and despite getting up rather early we were revved up on crappy American coffee and excited to be heading to Viva Las Vegas.
Little did we know the exciting and fun road trip we had planned would turn into a disastrous beginning of what was a hectic three days.
Coming to our first petrol station in the states we figured it would be the same as back home.
It was not.
Apparently, you must pay before you fill up at the bowser.
Something that was fairly entertaining to watch as Dylan used some choice words to tell me the pump wasn’t working.
I’m sure the nice man at the counter was rather amused with the two idiotic Aussies making fools of themselves.
One disaster out of the way, Dylan’s temperature rising and we were off.
Only to be hit with a road block on what we thought was the only highway into Vegas.
We were wrong again although there weren’t any signs.
Thank God for Google maps.
Another 90 minutes added to our trip had Dylan on the edge of the abyss of anger (lucky I was driving), but we were getting there slowly.
With excitement levels quickly dropping, the radio station which was keeping us alive went to static.
The only station we connected to in the middle of the desert was some country hillbilly music which promptly went off in a rage thanks to my passenger.
Getting out in the humid heat for some ‘fresh’ air, Dylan took over the wheel.
As I held on for dear life we finally saw the bright lights roll over the hills.
And how magnificent it was.
Although I completely trust Dylan to drive, watching his eyes bounce off each bright, flashing light around him, I was pleased when we finally pulled into the hotel.
It was the Flamingo by name and by nature.
Extravagant in every way possible we walked in to a sea of pink and suddenly the memory of our horrible road trip had slipped away.
“If we are going to do Vegas, we are going to do Vegas.”
This was our motto and we quickly got changed and headed out to our first night in paradise.
Our list was short but our hopes were high with money slowly but surely running out.
Playing pokies with the giant levers, sitting at the bar getting ‘complimentary’ drinks while we pretended to play 21 and walking around the strip with litre beer cans were all ticked off our list on our first night.
If you do anything while in Vegas, you have to watch the water fountain display at the Bellagio.
Not only was it enormous and pretty darn amazing to watch water shoot out in time to some classic music, but the characters we found while watching it was something that made it all the more incredible.
While Bruno Mars’ Uptown Funk was playing a group of male flight attendants from Panama began belting out the lyrics next to us, all the while spilling their beers on anyone within a 5m radius.
They quite confidently had a chat with us and proceeded to invite us to Panama - trying to convince us it was the safest place on earth, especially for tourists like us.
Kindly declining we got another drink off the nice ladies wheeling around their eskies and moved to another spot to watch the next song.
The second day was the best day.
Cue pool parties and bar hoping and finding New Zealand besties.
I won’t go into too much detail but women received free drinks in the first hour and there were four different bars after that.
Meeting another couple of the similar age made the next night even better despite the sore heads.
Meeting up again to go on the High Roller (Vegas’ version of the London Eye or Melbourne Star) made for another night of celebrating.
Not sure what we were celebrating but we sure had a good time.
Each pod on the High Roller had its own bar tender in which you could drink as much as you could in the 30 minute ride.
Seeing the Vegas strip from the sky was not only an incredible view but it made you realise Vegas is actually a real city where people live and work.
Not sure I could live there.
The last night was rather tame but did include drinking, eating and gambling of course.
Next stop Grand Canyon (don’t worry I drove).