Ahh USA.. The land of fast food, fat people, guns…. And AWESOMENESS! This 8 day trip confirmed just how much I love this country!
Monday morning I took a 5 hour bus ride from Playa Hermosa in Costa Rica to the capitals airport. I hadn’t showered, I still had sand in my hair and my bag was packed in a half-arsed attempt.
When I landed in Miami my sister picked me up in a convertible and drove me to our boutique hotel in North Beach, Miami. Going from a rickety old bus and dingy hostel to a convertible and a boutique hotel was like drinking goon (boxed wine) and chasing it with a bottle of Moët. 🙂
We spent the following day baking in the glorious Florida sun on the stunning beach while drinking coconuts in the morning and beers in the afternoon. We drove around south beach in the convertible acting a little fancy and I finished with a few beers in a dungeon bar (the only place I could afford.)
The next day we started early to head up to Orlando to hit up Disney!
It was around 3.5 hour drive, rooftop down, working on my tan.
We arrived at around 11am and checked in to our hotel within the park, All Star Movies. I knew there were 4 parks but I didn’t realise there were soooo many hotels and the area is HUGE. Checking in there reminded me of checking into a hotel in Vegas. The buzz was amazing, everyone is on such a high.. Whether you were young or old you couldn’t help but catch the contagious excitement! It especially helps when the cashiers tell you to “have a magical day.” Haha.
We first went to the park Epcot which is basically futuristic themed, although seemingly a little outdated now. We went on to a boat ride through some hydroponic gardens. Weird, yes, but really cool and I saw so many fruit, vegetables & herbs growing that I’d never seen before besides in a supermarket. They actually use the produce they grow there for a lot of restaurants in the park.
We rushed out of there and went over to Animal Kingdom which is obviously focused on animals. We did a safari through the park which was UNREAL!! The park is absolutely huge and every animal has a spacious area that replicates their natural environment. There were elephants, hippos, alligators, cheetahs… And my favourite; Giraffe!! We drove around in a safari truck, almost as if we were in Africa. Amazing! We then watched an awesome bird show before heading to the main park “Magic Kingdom.”
We arrived in there and I was blown away at the sight of it, the hype and the view of the castle! It truly is magical. There were full bands playing in the street, a guy busting out tunes on the piano at the hot dog cafe and Disney characters walking around. We did the Tea Cup Ride, Haunted Mansion, the amazing Space Mountain rollercoaster, met Mickey and then found our spot for the fireworks. Everyone I’ve met who has been there raved about the fireworks but I was still completely blown away! Every time you thought they were going to end they just kept going & going & going! They were absolutely amazing!! Such a great way to end such a thrilling & exciting day.
The following day I took advantage of the sunshine & pool at our resort before we headed back to Fort Lauderdale. We stayed overnight in my sisters friends apartment which overlooked the river, ocean and city and was absolutely stunning. This apartment building had its own valet (first time I’ve ever used a valet!) and amazing rooftop pool and a garden terrace with a jacuzzi.
We ended our whirlwind Florida trip in the most perfect way, drinking Rum & Tequila overlooking the city lights.
I then had a morning flight to Denver (which I almost missed due to a bit of a rum debacle.) 4 years ago I had met 2 American couples on a beach in Fiji for about 3 hours. We drank cocktails, snorkeled and got wasted. They were crude and hilarious.. Exactly my kind of people! So I decided to go off route and visit them in Denver. I was EXCITED! I was NOT disappointed!!!
They picked me up from the airport and we went straight to the city to… Drink, obviously. We started at an arcade bar that had life-size Jenga, arcade games & GIANT shooters (which is the way in all of the states actually.) My first drink was a Tuaca shooter and I almost threw up all over the bar floor at 1 in the afternoon.. Luckily I had time to swallow it. Gross! We went to the outside terrace to play Jenga. The terrace is just below the street outside so half way through the game we had an audience of one.. The most hilarious, homeless black man I have ever seen in my life! His enthusiasm for the game was intense and he made it show.. He was hanging over the fence shouting things like “Ohhhh shit, ohhhh shit man!” “Be careful. Oh please be careful!!” “Oh noooo, don’t take that one!! Oh noooo, you didn’t!!” (I hope as you are reading this you took on the correct accent as it makes it soooo much funnier!)
We moved on to another bar which had a huge outdoor green area with 3 games set up; the first was “Cornhole”. One of the simplest and weirdest games I had ever seen. Basically you stand on one side of the green and throw a sack across to the other side where there is a wooden plank with a hole in it. Aim is to get it into the hole or at least land on the wooden plank. Simple, yet entertaining! We played a few games and then went to the rooftop bar and drank every alcohol ever invented. Pitchers of beer, birthday cake shooters, whiskey, vodka, jäger, firebombs and more.
That’s when things got a little blurry. We hit up at least 4 more bars that night.. I even drank vodka shots that you chase with pickles. Yes, pickles! I don’t even like bloody pickles but I ate a whole plate of them!
The next morning was an extremely hungover one where we began at a Jewish cafe for breakfast. I love my pork, but the “corned beef hash” did just fine, especially covered in cheese! We then dragged our hungover arses out to the Coors Brewery where we did a “tour” (I wasn’t listening) and got 3 free beers! Amazing.
We then got ready to go to the Broncos game. I was super excited to see a US pro football game aka “the guys in the shoulder pads & helmets.” We arrived at the stadium a few hours early to go “tailgating.” To me and a lot of other English speakers this simply means to drive right up the arse of the car in front of you. Well, not in the States. “Tailgating” is basically a pre-party in the stadium carpark. People go ALL OUT! They pack their cars with tables & chairs, eskies (coolers), grills, Cornhole, footballs and actual bars with umbrellas! They set up an entire bar in the carpark!! Amazing. I walked by one group of people who had set up a table complete with a table cloth and were drinking fine wine & eating a proper meal. Others take their RV’s and set up their grill & games outside. What an epic, epic place!!
We drank beers and took shots of fireball and I even broke my “shotgun” experience. Again, for most English speakers this means to take the front passenger seat in a car. Well this kind of shotgun is where you stab a hole in the bottom of a beer can, open the top and drink it in a few gulps. Almost like an instant beer bong. I had to do this one just next to the “vomit zone”,the garden which I named earlier after a few difficult fireball shots.
We got into the game and I can’t say I watched much of it. No offence to my American friends, but it’s actually pretty boring, stopping & starting all the time. But, the hype!! The hype was amazing and was one of the best experiences I’ve ever had. By this point I had discovered how much Coloradans love Australians so I took advantage of that. A guy was standing holding a box of popcorn, I walked up, stuck my hand in and helped myself to his popcorn. He looked a little shocked and slightly annoyed to which I said “it’s ok, I’m Australian.” To that he was like “oh awesome, high 5!!” I also did that with some chili fries and numerous other edible/drinkable things. It pays to be an Aussie in Colorado!!
We hit some bars later that night, ending up in a ghetto bar where I’m sure we were looking completely out of place. I think I high-fived at least 40 people that night!
The next day we decided to do something touristy and go to the Garden of the Gods. Of course we were yet again completely hungover so we started the day with Sonic for breakfast. This place blew my mind! Instead of driving through like in McDonalds you take a park and there is a speaker box that you tell your order to. Then ol JT rolls out on roller-freaking-skates to deliver your greasy fast food! Epic. OK, the food wasn’t, but the roller skates were. JT loved my accent so much all he kept saying to me was “keep talking.”
We drove out the to the Garden of the Gods and WOW! This place was stunning. It’s a national park surrounded by mountains & greenery and has these red rock formations. People were rock climbing, walking their dogs, the sun was shining. It was gorgeous! We went to the tourist centre to grab some water where I met my first ever “hillbilly” from Texas who had me laughing for hours. We were chatting about your normal ol everyday things. He told me he was driving back to Texas overnight to which I asked “are there some kind of animals out at night that you could hit?” (I was thinking how I hate to drive at night in Australia because of kangaroos.) His reply (and please read in a hillbilly accent): “Yeah, deer. I killed more deer hitting em then I did shootin em!”
That night we had a classic American “grill” which the rest of us simply call BBQ. We drank craft beers, expensive wine and ate steaks and sausages. Such a typical thing, especially for me, but an awesome experience all the same!
Monday was tough. The 3 day bender is a little hard for the old me who can barely handle one big night! I had just found out a friend I went to school with was living in Denver so we went downtown for the day, ate organic burgers & drank beer. The people watching in the street was great with all the odd characters (mostly the homeless), one with a sign saying “need money for drugs & hookers.” Always good to be honest and aim high mate!
I took a red eye flight that night to JFK where I spent a glorious 8.5 hours on the airport floor before my flight to ICELAND 🙂
The US was epic, amazing, unreal, awesome!! It was a whirlwind 8 days full of new experiences, thousands of laughs and some of the best days I’ve ever had traveling.
Fat America, I heart you!