Sunday, September 12, 2010

Panama(w) City Beach - Labor Day 2010

It’s officially called the ‘Emerald Coast’ – the stretch of beach lining the Gulf of Mexico on the ‘panhandle’ side of West Florida. College students have proclaimed it the “Spring Break Capital of the World”, since more than half a million booze-crazy ‘kids’ show up for a week-long party [read: drinking, sex and drugs] in the spring. I simply call it the “Redneck Riviera”, for all its’ visual beauty from afar, once you’re down at “eye-level” or within earshot of any conversation you simply realize that PCB caters to a certain demographic on the ethnic-social scale...

Earlier this summer the president and his family went for a dip in the brilliant blue waters of the Gulf … and as the pictures would show you, the scenery rivals some of the best palm-tree laden beaches anywhere else in the continental US. Great accommodations (and relatively cheap) bring down anyone within driving distance. Unfortunately, ‘driving distance’ means southern Georgia and Alabama (and this year, some of our neighbors to the west – MS and LA – who did not want to take any chances with the oil spill).

What does that mean? You hear “y’all” in every other sentence (or it’s plural: “all a’ y’all”)… and you’ll be hard-pressed to find anyone to engage into a half-intelligent conversation. Here’s a snippet of something overheard while waiting to get a drink at the bar (it looked like they were either in a first date, or he was actually trying to pick her up):

…conversation had something to do with teeth (sensitive subject, apparently here in the South)…

Him: ‘doesn’t really bother me, but I can stick a toothpick all the way in’ [stunning visual, eh?]

Her: [didn’t seem to be grossed out by the comment or even flinch] ‘oh, my teeth are just fine…I take good care of mine’

Him: ‘oh, I don’t… but this one [with the toothpick apparently] is the only one that gives me trouble; it doesn’t even hurt though…only when I poke in too deep’ [;-)]… then he keeps going: ‘my sister on the other hand, she takes great care of her teeth but has like 5-6 bad ones’

Her: ‘yeah, some people just have bad teeth no matter what…’

Another guy butting in: [why not get sucked into such an enlightening conversation?]: ‘how many times a day do you brush your teeth?’

Her: ‘three at least’

…at that point, I almost yelled to the bartender: “make it a double and pass me a paper bag just in case I have to listen to this any longer!”

Seriously though, after a few days spent in PCB I promptly added a crucial requirement on the checklist for individuals that my kids will be allowed to date/marry/socialize with: they have to born and live north of the Mason-Dixon Line! The further north, the better! [For those of you who don’t know me that well, I’m kidding of course; I would never stereotype people like that… but the arguments and ‘supporting evidence’ can be overwhelming sometimes]

So if you decide to visit, know that you’ll enjoy the beach and some of the activities it has to offer, but there’s not much outside of that. The obligatory “Ripley’s Believe It or Not” is there [sort of a Mecca for the linguistically challenged patrons who call the resort Paenamaw C Tee Beeich] and you’d be really lucky to find a dining spot too far north of “average”, with most of the ‘fresh catch’ [likely frozen for a while] deep-fried or cooked in half a pound of butter. Oh, and BTW, most of these so call “upscale” eating establishments have a minimum 1 hr wait and don’t take reservations [that would mean bringing a certain degree of civilization to this corner of the world; what a sophisticated concept!]

If you want to spend some time relaxing on the beach and are thinking ‘beachfront property without the beachfront price tag’, GO. If you’re an amateur observer of human behavior in some of its less developed or intellectually evolved stages, GO. But if you’re looking for much outside of that (including lounging in the resort’s pool/jacuzzi after 10 PM) then GO SOMEWHERE ELSE…

Or better yet, go with a bunch of family and friends, consume copious amounts of fruit-and-vegetable-distilled-byproducts and none of this would matter!

1 comment:

  1. the pictures man who took the pictures, you are getting credit for writing nice how about the pictures?