1. In Panama City Beach (hereinafter referred to as PCB) the sands are almost snowy and white, complementing clear sea, emerald green and blue. These beaches can be straight from a postcard – they are really beautiful, and compete in the whole Caribbean. Across the Atlantic Ocean in England, there are also sandy beaches and pebbles. The sandy beaches are made up of grainy yellow textured sand, and the treacherous beaches are basically a space of large stones. Great to flutter on the water, sore beyond measure for a barefoot stroll or for laying on a beach towel. Given the choice, I will take the sandy bottom every day.
2. A summer day on the beach on the PCB will usually be hot and sticky – jumping in the ocean is a great way to cool down and beat the heat. You can sit under an onion umbrella, and return to air conditioning if the temperatures are windy. In England, you can still sit under the umbrella, but it will protect you from the elements. (I.e. wind, rain or hail) Think it's hard to keep your beach towel spread out on the beach in PCBs? Try to do this in almost Gallic power winds. A wind break is a necessary item to pack along with flip flops, sweaters and maybe even a jacket or two.
3. There's nothing like a postcard that makes people jealous of home and illustrate the wonderful time you have on your beach vacation. A postcard of a PCB will usually show an amazing view of the beach, perhaps some palm trees swinging in the wind, and a magnificent sunset on the horizon. An English beach postcard is a very different story. There are usually a couple of older women wearing knit pants or a very dubious piece, sitting on their striped chair chairs and eating fish or newspaper clippings or a rock stick. The women will smile but you can tell they are freezing and want them warm at home instead. What are the sticks and rock sticks you can ask? I could explain, but I don't have enough room to explain the complexity of our "common" language!
4. The PCB vacationers will, for the most part, enjoy comfortable, spacious hostels with a stunning view of the sparkling Gulf of Mexico. Shared hotels or homes offer all the comforts of home including cable TV, DVD, washer and dryer, sometimes full kitchen, and usually private balcony. Head east for about 4000 miles and you'll probably find yourself in the Zimmer (it's bed and breakfast) sharing a bathroom with ten other people and having to check before taking a shower in case the water doesn't get hot enough. . Of course this is a bit excessive, but believe me ….. many rooms still offer shared bathrooms and they almost run out of hot water at one point! The Zimmer is a traditional English guesthouse and is basically a room in someone's house, with a greasy fry in the morning. The design usually seems like time stood still somewhere around 1936, and the facilities are basically just a tea kettle, bed and reading lamp. Plus, if you're really lucky, you could get a huge four-channel TV to choose from.
5. One of the absolute best things about PCB vacation is the amazing kitchen set that entices your palate, and the exciting variety of restaurants available. Here's what a typical menu for the day can look like:
Breakfast: Fresh seasonal fruits, grits, eggs any way you like, pancakes and coffee.
Lunch: Divorced sandwich, fresh tuna dipping and colorful salad.
Dinner: Fresh seafood platter with shrimp, lobster, clams, clams, fish and crab. Key lime pie for desert. Still hungry?
Here's what might be served at Tea Cromptville:
Breakfast: Traditional frying. Eggs, bacon, hot dogs, fried toast, tomatoes, baked beans and blood pudding. Yes, I really said baked beans and blood pudding. Plus a cup of hot tea with kick milk to start the day.
Lunch: Steak and Kidney Pie, Chips (this Chips) Pea Sauce. If the kidney rejects you, maybe try some fish and chips wrapped in the paper. It really makes it taste better.
Dinner: Bangers (hot dogs) with mash or potato (baked). Probably a diseased pea. And a big old bowl with a speckled cock and cream for dessert. Yum.
Now I do not for one moment suggest that a beach vacation in English is something to be avoided at all costs. On the contrary. It is actually a divine experience, made better by the strange traditions and unexpected weather. I believe England is one of the best destinations in the world and I know every visitor will definitely love it, blood pudding and everything. Panama City Beach is, in my opinion, one of the world's biggest vacation destinations and has its own unique qualities that set it apart from the rest. If you are lucky enough to travel across the Atlantic – you will love it. For those vacationing on vacation and heading to Panama City Beach – you are about to go sunny, sandy, southern. Just leave your jackets and wind breaks at home and think twice before ordering grits.