What Happens in Vegas…

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The Alarms started going off at 4 a.m. it took about five of them to actually get us to move! We all through clothes on and mutually decided there was no need for make up at such a crazy hour! We jumped in a taxi to the nearest Greyhound bus station and from there we set off on our journey for Las Vegas! We had two stops on the way which were right in the middle off deserts but you wouldn’t doubt the Americans, both stops had McDonald’s! 

We arrived in Vegas around 2:30 and caught another taxi to our hotel “New York, New York”. It was when we saw this hotel that we really realized that this was no ordinary place! The thing had it’s own roller coaster for crying out loud!

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(and yes that photo is of just one hotel!)

So we made ourselves look decent and went for a walk along the “strip”. The heat was unbelievable but it didn’t spoil our fun. We went to see Caesar’s Palace and the Bellagio fountains

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As we walked we met loads of promotions guys offering us deals for different night clubs that night, each one better than the last, (apparently being a group of young girls has it’s advantages!)

We picked the best option and went back to get ready for the night ahead!

Keep an eye on this blog to find out how it went…it’s a good one! 😀   

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The OCTA…an experience in itself!

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Any J1er who has been to Huntington Beach California will be very familiar with the 29 bus, serving Knott’s berry farm, downtown, the beach, etc, but the thing is any locals probably aren’t so knowledgeable about this! The public bus is just not used by the average resident of California (apparently). I was told by a local, “the only people who use the bus are either Irish or crazy!”…and crazy they were! In just a few weeks we met drug dealers, hoarders (with large bags of rubbish), had photos and videos taken of us by strangers and had people attempt to convert us to their religion! My personal favorite story to tell (or most horrific) is that one evening a pretty normal looking man sat beside and started talking, again nothing strange about it, average conversation but what happened next was very out of the ordinary! People at the back of the bus began to shout loudly and I muttered “oh god” or something of the sort, and THEN the man beside me stood up and shouted back “hey! stop it! You’re scaring my little girl!”….I got off at the next stop.        

Welcome to Summer – a photo essay from Canada’s Capital Region

Many people like to travel to Canada as part of the J1 experience, take a look at this!

Travel Destination Bucket List

Summer is here and what better way to commemorate the season than with a photo essay from Canada’s National Capital Region.

Parliament Hill, Canada

The pomp and pageantry of Parliament Hill (Related Link: Canada Day on Parliament Hill)

Canada Day, Ottawa

Canada Day Celebrations and Fireworks on Parliament Hill

Maman outside the National Art Gallery

Maman, the giant spider outside The National Gallery of Canada

Rent a BIXI Bike in Ottawa

Hop on a BIXI Bike and tour the city

rent-a-bike Ottawa

Rent-a-Bike and ride the 180+ kms of shared recreation/bike paths

Inukshuck installation along the Ottawa River

Inukshuks along the Ottawa River Parkway (Related Link: Live the Photo: Inukshuks on the Ottawa River Parkway)

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Camping indoors.

Shops like Target and Walmart will be frequented by most J1ers and what may surprise you is how much value you can get from the “outdoor activities”/camping sections of these stores. First off when you final do find a place to live it will be EMPTY, and sleeping on the floor is no fun, however fluffy the carpet is or intoxicated you might be! Airbeds are an absolute must, but as well as this you can get cutlery, pots and pans and various other nick nacks to get you by for the three months, all at reasonable prices. I bet you can’t imagine how anyone would sleep on an airbed for three months, but I would do it all over again! 🙂  

“Four” Stages of Crazy!

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One thing that almost all J1ers can share, (or perhaps avoid sharing), is a “four loko” story/experience. For those of you who have never heard of this mysterious liquid, I direct you to the “Urban Dictionary” which defines it as; 

Legalized cocaine in a can. If you consume Four Lokos you can expect to encounter the same results typically associated with snorting a small mountain of cocaine.
“My dealer isn’t picking up” “Okay whatever we’ll just get some Four Lokos instead”
 
Four Loko got its name because it sends the person who consumed it into FOUR STAGES OF CRAZY:
Stage 1: Tipsy (loud, might stumble, laugh) 
Stage 2: Drunk (embarassing, stumbling, slight slur) 
Stage 3: Wasted (heavy slur, falling, hitting on fat girls) 
Stage 4: Black Out (no ability to speak, vomiting, waking up next to a fat girl, memory loss)
 
Okay, so clearly none of that is entirely true, but let me tell you it’s not far off for this unique combination of caffeine and alcohol, just look at it’s equivalent!
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Alright I’ll stop being so boring about this because I can admit that some of the best nights of my trip last summer were fueled by these wondrous cans. I mean this stuff is so good it has a whole website devoted the stories it “caused”,  fourlokostories.com, and did I mention it has been banned in numerous states! So I bet you are waiting for me to share my crazy stories, well in truth, I can’t remember them as I seriously suffered from the four loko “blackouts”, but what I can remember is the horrible hangovers which resulted!
 
Was it worth it you ask? Most definitely!  

The “Epic Fails” begin.

Anyone planning their J1 summer needs to know, the first few days (or even weeks) are HARD! On my first morning there we all woke up very early, the time difference was not our friend but luckily we had our phones so we amused ourselves on facebook until it was time for breakfast, (we were staying in a hotel at first). Of course we got the cheapest hotel possible so breakfast wasn’t exactly the “full-Irish” we were hoping for but we made do! We then caught a bus to the beach front where we set about job hunting. This was the first time we let our naive minds get the better of us. Strolling into shops, restaurants and anything else we could find expecting that they would hire us with a heart and a half! We were drastically wrong. Our next mission was to find a place to live for the next three months, so we took a walk around to see if we could find anything, again we realize now the stupidity! What we did find though, was a sign for an open house and naturally we had to take a look. The only way to describe this house was something of the “Cribs” TV show, not for us since our budget was a bit short of the 2.2 million mark but it entertained us for a while. We sat and waited for a bus back to the hotel, we weren’t familiar with the bus times so we were waiting for ages but we played eye-spy and were okay! We got to our hotel and had great plans to go out, have dinner and go for a few drinks hopefully to meet some new friends and other Irish…but what actually happened was the time change got the better of us again and we literally passed out at 7pm and woke up at the crack of dawn the next morning fully dressed! A full day of failures! 

Airport Moments!

This very day last year was when it all began, all the sleepless nights and day dreams during college exams lead up to this! Left early and headed for Cork airport. There I met with my two friends Kelly and Norrita who would be traveling with me for the summer, (the rest of our gang were flying out from Dublin). Then of course we had the awkward goodbyes with my Mum who started crying, seriously get a grip woman, but what made it even more awkward was both my friend had brought their boyfriends too and were very emotional leaving :-/ We first flew to Heathrow, London where we spent three hours running around looking for our next flight (if you’re flying through there plan ahead!) Thankfully British Airways were excellent and our painfully long flight was made slightly less agonizing, I personally watched movies for most of it! When we finally reached LAX airport we suffered what is know as “immigration” which any J1er will tell you is not an enjoyable experience. I got a 10 minute grilling from a stern looking officer who defiantly thought I was a young, innocent child who hadn’t the first clue what I was doing in the USA, and he might have been right! As for poor Kelly, she made a mistake when they were taking her finger print and the reaction she got, we thought she’d be deported immediately. All part of the learning curve I guess!