Now, if I asked you to draw me a picture of an average American, you’d probably draw a very obese man, possibly wearing a cowboy hat, waving one of those tiny American flags in one hand, firing a machine gun into the air with the other, while somehow also holding a cheeseburger. (Or maybe that’s just what I would draw. Then again, I can’t draw for shit.)
Or you’d just draw Peter Griffin. Whatever, the point is that Americans have a reputation as being, on average, a little… portly. Robust. Husky. Corpulent. Hefty. I like all these words. Basically, fat. If you’ve ever wondered why, here’s the main reason;
This is breakfast to these people.
This was at Denny’s, where we spent most of our mornings, and it was packed with people every time. That peanut butter & chocolate pancake in the top photo was so sweet it turned my blood sugar into sugar sugar. Most of the drinks on the menu were chunky milkshakes. Even the vinegar is actually syrup. It’s MADNESS I tell you.
Don’t put this on fish & chips.
Yes, Americans may generally be fat, but with this kind of stuff available and marketed to a ridiculous, inescapable level, can you really blame them? I’d be fat too if I lived there, and my metabolism has (touch wood) so far proved almost superhuman. (Slight pot belly aside. Real men have curves, y’know.)
So America’s obesity crisis can mostly be blamed on corporations like Denny’s, those evil tyrants with their delicious pancakes, steaks, burgers, mouth-watering omelettes... I need a takeaway.
America’s awful spelling (it’s C-O-L-O-U-R!!!) and taste in presidents, however, remains on the heads of their general public.
On the Wednesday we visited Top Golf Las Vegas, next to the MGM Grand. This place is a flippin’ huge (sorry I have to use the F word, but it really is huge) high tech driving range.
Some in-depth background research (30 seconds on Wikipedia) reveals that Top Golf was founded in Watford in 2000, and also has UK locations in Surrey and Chigwell. (Sorry… where? Oh, Essex. Never mind then.) Of course, since this is Vegas, where everything has to be massive and covered in flashing lights and huge boobs, it’s probably a tad more impressive than the Surrey branch. I doubt the Surrey branch – or Surrey in general – has two swimming pools, five bars and about six billion TV screens, for example.
In Top Golf you score more points the closer you hit the ball to the centre of the targets on the range. It was time to show everyone why my golf skills are often compared to Tiger Woods…
…if Tiger Woods was blindfolded, handcuffed, and dead.
Luckily, we were all pretty awful, which just made the experience more fun. Many of the balls didn’t make it onto the field, one somehow hit the ceiling, none managed to hit the unfortunate bastard driving around collecting balls… it was a dark day for the sport of golf. But a fun one for us.
Later in the week we decided, after 28 years on this earth, it was about time we spent at least one day being cool, dammit. So we rented the Mustang…
Which is a posh name for ‘horse,’ which itself is really a posh name for ‘pony but bigger.’
…and we rode this magnificent beast to Hoover Dam.
Two fish swim into a wall… you’ve probably already heard this joke.
Driving into a rocky, red desert that looks like the surface of Mars and suddenly seeing the contrasting blueness of Lake Mead is surreal. It looks so out of place, like a beautiful painting come to life.
Unfortunately as you can tell by the water line, due to climate change (or according to President Trump, due to no reason whatsoever) the lake is drying up, reaching record lows every year. Because of this, 25 million people across 3 states could face a water shortage as soon as 2018 (according to reputable sources I can’t be bothered to link to because I’m writing this at 2am.) And if the lake gets low enough, it would become what they call a ‘dead pool’ –
No, not you.
– meaning that it can no longer supply hydroelectric power via the dam, thus Vegas, along with California and Arizona, would lose one of its major power sources.
So if you’re hoping to visit these places some day, I’d make plans about now-ish before all hell breaks loose.
The border between Nevada and Arizona runs through the middle of the dam, and since Arizona doesn’t observe daylight savings time, we walked from the Nevada side of the dam (at 15:00) to the Arizona side and jumped an hour ahead (16:00.) Doctor Who would be proud.
Looking at the structure from the other side, I found it odd that half the dam was suddenly missing…
…and didn’t my friends have faces a minute ago?
My vision suddenly going weird & blurry is symptom #1 of a sadistic migraine kicking in. There were many possible causes; bright sunlight, dehydration, inconsistent wearing of glasses, lack of sleep, breaking a mirror and getting 7 years’ bad luck, our time travel escapades across the dam causing some kind of temporal headache…
Whatever the cause, I kept my eyes shut all the way back to Vegas. My friends kept me updated on what was happening around us: I was gutted to have missed the bus full of topless supermodels that drove past, the herd of dinosaurs sweeping majestically through the desert, and the five minute detour to see Canada. (What are the odds of all that happening when I was effectively blind?) So I wasted a day in Vegas trying to sleep off a headache that felt like I’d fallen off Hoover Dam and landed on my brain. Fantastic.
The next day, with my eyes functional again, we took the Mustang to visit the one place you can’t miss when you go to Vegas; the Grand Canyon.
On the way we tried driving with the top down… while doing 80+ miles an hour.
Yeah, we’re never doing that again. It was like being slapped in the face by God.
To get to Grand Canyon village from Vegas takes nearly 5 hours (if you really go for it you can just about do it in 4.) You can’t even play Eye Spy to pass the time because there’s literally 2 things to see for miles and miles; rocks and shrubs. And more rocks, and more shrubs. Bring a book. Unless you’re the driver, in which case I hope you like rocks and shrubs.
Once you finally get there, though…
One of the world’s most breathtaking natural wonders…
and the Grand Canyon.
Seeing pics of it on a flat screen doesn’t come close to doing it justice (but have a look below anyway.) The sheer scale of the canyon has a way of leaving you speechless. It’s something everyone should see in person in their lifetime.
Some say that rock we threw in is still falling to this day.
Of course, there’s no shortage of tourists from all over the world, many trying to be funny by pretending to push each other over the edge.
You can take an aerial tour of the canyon via helicopter from several locations including Vegas, hike along the rim, go rafting in the river that runs through the canyon, and as of 2016, skydive over the canyon. Unfortunately the downside of visiting in November is that the sun was already on its way to bed when we got there. And as we had to be back in Vegas at 8 for the Impractical Jokers live, our time at the canyon was limited. Still, well worth the long drive.
Plus, on the way back we were treated to some impressive sunsets:
With a 4 hour drive through the dark desert and nothing but the radio to keep us entertained, we had to find a way for 4 grown men to pass the time…
…things we never haaaaaad…
Not shown: our equally flawless renditions of ‘Believe’ by Cher, Bohemian Rhapsody, and of course some Bon Jovi. If I get one more phone call off Simon Cowell I’m changing my number.
We made it back to Vegas just in time for the Impractical Jokers live at New York New York, and… ugh, do I really have to write about this?
Look, I’m not saying the Impractical Jokers are a bunch of hacks who seem to think they’re world class stand-up comedians, but really only get laughs when funny things happen TO them. And I’m not saying they’re too busy laughing at their own (mostly poop-related) jokes to realise that you could replace them with any 4 random people off the street and have an equally entertaining TV show.
I’m also not saying that the parts of their act that weren’t just them playing clips from the TV show were about as funny as watching paint dry… while having nails hammered into your scrotum. I’m not even saying that if they tried the same ‘jokes’ in the UK, where most people outgrow laughing at poop jokes at around the same age they outgrow potty training, it’d recieve about as warm a reception as an act of terrorism. But what I am saying is all of those things I just said. The Impractical Jokers will never read this, but if they do, you assclowns owe me the rest of the day I could’ve spent at the Grand Canyon. It was so bad it put us off watching the TV show. That’ll teach em…
Still, at least their American audience were laughing (bless.) And at least they weren’t as bad as the one guy who did stand-up for the supporting act. If I’d had a rotten tomato on me (and didn’t throw like a girl) it would’ve gone right between the cretin’s eyes…
Otherwise, good show.
Gonna end the story of Vegas by cramming in some random extra bits:
The world famous Bellagio Fountains. I had a video of them in action, but YouTube’s copyright bullshit blocked the audio. My crack legal team is on the case as we speak.
Childish pranks by Ben & Dan, deliberately telling Foster the wrong room number. I mean, how gullible do you have to be to fall for such an obvious trick?
Gravity seems to go weird in the desert…
Tucking one’s shirt in is a lost art. Also, we miss Vegas. It’s gotta be done again.
(Special thanks to Ben Edwards for all footage. I should buy a decent camera…)
Thanks for reading. Next time I update this (hopefully) I’ll be on the road, bringing you stories from the world’s biggest city: Tokyo, Japan. Will all the stress, nerves, and excitement finally be worth it? It f**king better be…