What happened in Vegas didn't stay there
It was January 2014, and I was travelling alone as a 24-year-old female.
I'd just finished five weeks in Europe and had a quick Contiki locked in for the West Coast of the USA for 12 days en route back to NZ.
I greeted the 51 other people that made up our Contiki group in LA and set off through the state, down to San Diego, across into Arizona through Scotsdale, Phoenix, Sedona and the Grand Canyon. Next up was Las Vegas.
By the time we'd got to Vegas, I had become close with a group of people (mostly Aussies - as you do on Contikis) and we had labelled ourselves the 'Elkpack'. This came about when star gazing while lying on each other's stomachs at the Grand Canyon one night. We were worried we might get trampled by a rogue elk while in such vulnerable postions on the concrete, and it escalated from there.
We had two nights in Vegas, and were keen to come home with amazing stories.
Night one we made a pact, whoever was still standing at the end of the night had to go and get tattoos.
At the end of the night, three of us were still standing - myself, one of the guys from Sydney who was travelling with his cousin, and a guy from Melbourne who was travelling alone but had a girlfriend back home.
We found our tour manager and asked him where a 24/7 tattoo parlour was. He couldn't find his voice let alone tell us where a parlour was so we asked the bouncer to the club we'd just stumbled out of. He knew one, got us in a taxi and told the driver the address.
Energy levels were pretty high, this was really happening! We arrived at the destination, paid our fare and jumped out.
I was thinking that it didn't really look like a parlour, but then we were in Vegas! It was dark, there were girls with no clothes on, and girls wrapping themselves around poles. Nope, this isn't right. I dragged the males back out and the helpful bouncer outside the strip club googled a 24/7 parlour for us.
We were back in a cab, our next destination looking much more appropriate. The name of our parlour was Precious Slut Tattoo 4 (you mean there are three others like this?!). We signed waivers to say we weren't under the influence of drugs or alcohol (sure).
The big burly guy covered in tatts asked us what we wanted. The Sydney guy shouted 'M&Ms!' and Melbourne male and myself yell out in agreement.
I decided to go first, being the only one of us with two tattoos - to show the boys how it was done.
My intoxicated self, thank goodness, came to the conclusion that there might be some regret the next morning so we went for a placement on the ribcage, below a previous tattoo.
Sydney guy was next, he went for his chest. We all got red ones and now, from a distance, this red M&M tattoo on his chest looks like a 3rd nipple.
Last up was Melbourne male. He wanted it on his forearm, and working where he does I suggested that it probably wasn't best, so he went for the ribcage also.
In the cab back to the hotel, we're all happy chappies buzzing at what we've just done. The biggest decision we had to make was whether to stay up another 24 minutes for the breakfast buffet that started at 6am or go to sleep. We all chose sleep, regrouped the next day, and showed off our new birthmark/disease-looking tattoos.
I don't regret it, and neither do the other two. They're not bad tattoos either which is lucky! It's only when you look at all three of us together with our tattoos out where I even cringe myself.