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Picture of the day

Nightlife in Drake Bay, Costa Rica, ain’t like London. Here, in the rainforest, it’s not the sound of club classics rocking the dancefloor, it’s the weird sounds of wildlife bringing the jungle to life. We hung out with Tracie, aka ‘the bug lady‘, an awesome story teller, and her husband John, an eagle-eyed wildlife spotter.

Our tour with these two critter-loving entymologists was like being in a live action version of a cutting edge nature documentary such as Planet Earth or Life. Tracie is an incredible fount of knowledge, and has horrifying tales of badass bug encounters as well as the weirder side of wildlife – all delivered in her impossibly laid back drawl. John was the first person on the penisula to identify the elusive trap-door spider, and is a hoot at mimicking frog mating calls – he had the lady frogs literally begging him to take their phone numbers in this strangest of natural night clubs.

Here, we couldn’t wear the kind of glad rags we’d don for night out in the city. It was insect bite-repelling shirts (biting gnats, mosquitoes, biting flies, etc), rubber boots (snake-proof) and headlamps (a magnet for every insect in the jungle), and set off into the forest in search of frogs, beetles and stick insects. We found them, and how – but we also encountered far more dangerous creatures.

The tour kicked off at nightfall with a silent, eerie paddle across a river. In pitch, as we knifed slowly through the water, our torchbeams picked out the menacing red glow of saltwater crocodiles – there were loads of them. And we were wearing bug sprayas we rode the thinnest, shallowest of canoes. I could bite throuh them, let alone a hungry, killer croc. Later, we had close run-ins with hairy jumpy aggresive spiders, and nasty-looking snakes. It was great fun.

Thankfully, we lived to tell the tale, and share some pics with you. Here they are. It’s a jungle out there, make sure you take a torch.

I love this photo that I took of a horse sculpture in the reception of the Bellagio. I’m not saying it’s great, I’m just saying I love it – it’s art in true Las Vegas style – glitzy and glittering.

The Bellagio’s attitude to low rollers (even no rollers) like me walking in to simply gawp and snap is great – there’s none of the sheer snobbery you would get walking into a similar hotel in Europe to do the same thing. They don’t care who comes in – they want you to see the splendour. Maybe more places should be as open-door.

When I noticed this brilliantly bejewelled beast, I was still cynical about, if not downright resistant to Sin City’s brash charms. That said, as the city’s neon heat radiated through the night, I warmed to its ‘I am what I am’ honesty.

This picture certainly represents a turning point in my attitude to the town. Indeed, from this moment on, I stubbed my own snobbery out like a final cigarette, and embraced the world’s party capital a little more.

Sometime’s a little of the ole razzle-dazzle goes a long way. In this case, I think it certainly does. So here’s a taste of it for you. I hope you enjoy.

Sculpture in Bellagio, Las Vegas