Joe King with Simon Cowell

Simon Cowell did not come into STA Travel today for an appointment with our consultant who is not called Joe King. But if he did, it would probably go a little something like this…

Ah, Simon Cowell – the man in the iron codpiece, talent finder, dustpan-hairstyle-genius and thin-lipped Lothario. When he pushed open my door, I briefly convinced myself that he’d come to whisk me away to world stardom. A glittery future of arena tours and TV appearances.

But alas, it wasn’t to be.

Instead, Mr Cowell got straight to the point.
Simon Cowell

image courtesy of timsnell

‘I want glitz, I want glamour, I want adventure, and I want luxury. Let’s see what you’re made of, Joe.’ With a gold-ringed finger levelled squarely at my chest, I nervously opened my trusty brochure.

‘OK, Mr Cowell. You’re a man with fine tastes, so I’m sending you to experience some of the best there is — to the wine regions along South Africa’s Garden Route.’

SiCo paused, then slowly raised a brow. ‘Wine is so last year! In fact, it’s not even last year it’s practically millennium bug it’s that outdated,’ he scowled. ‘Try again, and this time, take it seriously.’

Suddenly, I became distracted by the mental image of a tiny Louis Walsh furiously bobbing up and down and disagreeing, ‘No Simon, you’re completely wrong – he’s hip, he’s modern, he’s got style, he’s got mass appeal – he’s a star!’

Suddenly, I started to believe. I took a deep breath, looked him in the eye, and apologised.’You’re going to fly to Rio de Janeiro with T.a.P Portugal — one of the great new additions to our global network — for just £549.

‘Once you arrive in Rio, we’ll have a car waiting to meet you and a room ready for you in the Sheraton Towers Hotel – one of Rio’s finest, and most luxurious hotels. Sound good so far?’ I asked.

‘Much more like it, Joe! You see, this is why I’ve stuck with you. I believed you had something hidden in there, and you haven’t let me down. Now you need to go on and really, really deliver. You could be the next big thing.’

High praise from the high-waistband himself.

‘Ok then Mr Cowell, now for the good part. The Wonders of Brazil: 13 days, starts and ends in Rio de Janeiro, and takes in many of the country’s best bits. From Rio you travel to Paraty, which is one of the country’s most popular places.


image courtesy of Rodrigo_Soldon

‘You can’t fail to fall in love with it, from the stunning beaches you can take boat trips to visit the idyllic nearby islands. After that, relax with a cachaca – the local beverage of choice, you can even visit the distillery to see it being made. After two days in Paraty, move on to the wonders of Iguassu Falls. Higher than Niagara falls and wider than Victoria Falls, Iguassu is a truly amazing place; and one of the greatest sights in all of Latin America.’

I was on a roll. Nothing could stop me now.

‘From there, you visit Bonito — which means beautiful in Portuguese — and its incredibly clear rivers, teeming with fish, and a jungle squawking and cackling with all kinds of wildlife. There’s even some underwater caves to snorkel in, and waterfalls to freshen up!

‘Sadly you can’t stay forever, as you head over to Pantanal, a gigantic wetland region, which is half the size of France! If you think of yourself as an animal lover — and let’s face it, you went for Sinitta – you can’t fail to be stunned by the diversity on show here. From anacondas to anteaters and caimans to cabybaras, Pantanal has it all, Simon.

‘A short hop to Campo Grande and an even shorter flight – all included in the price – brings you back to Rio, where you get two days of touring in the city before you and your fellow travellers say your goodbyes and venture on to your very own Brazilian experience.’

I waited nervously for a response. Then Simon slowly climbed to his feet – eyes welling up with tears – and applauded. He applauded like no man has ever applauded (me) before.

‘What can I say?’ he sobbed, ‘you were born to be a star!’

If you’d like to see your favourite celebrity not walk into an STA Travel store and not have a conversation with our consultant, Joe King, then leave a comment below and we won’t get their people to speak to our people.

In the meantime, which one of our current destinations would you like to have sent Simon Cowell to?