My very first post on this blog was about the inconsiderate, territorial asshats who stake their claim on a beach and KEEP it throughout their stay, even long after they’ve returned to their rooms for the night, so when you’re scoping for a place just for the morning or afternoon, or even for the sunset, you cannot find a decent spot whatsoever.
Well, you can if you’d like to be somewhere near the back, well away from the expanse of the shoreline (some view, that), or you’d prefer to have all of your stuff soaking wet, right at the shoreline, with sand being constantly kicked at your stuff, or even worse…your head.
The ideal spots — ALL of them — are quickly taken and that’s that. You’re basically screwed.
Anyway, my good friend and I are currently on our yearly beach excursion, this time on another area of the Panhandle, a place where the water is a gorgeously clear pane of aquamarine glass and the sand is soft, cool, and malleable between your toes. It’s not called the “Emerald Coast” for nothing. It’s just… incredibly beautiful.
I’d claim the place as “paradise” if it weren’t for one, little, nitpicky thing (well, there are other issues, but I’m focusing on beachgoing here)…
Okay, so we’re staying at a resort, more or less. It’s an unusual setup with townhouse-style condos (“beach cottages” says the website) for small groups in the back towards the main drag, larger houses for families the size of an LDS compound in the middle, and a multistoried condominium tower overlooking the Gulf (right on the beach of course). The price ranges vary according to the size of the place and location, of course. My friend and I are staying in one of the smaller cottages in the far back of the resort. Obviously, we’re on a budget. Maybe one day we can afford staying in an obscene $2640-a-week condo overlooking the water, but I think we’d need to sell toddler souls or something in order to do that.
There are perks for everyone. Lovely fountains and gardens. Sparkling swimming pools. A beach tram with a (most helpful) driver on standby to pick you up from your rental unit and whisk you off to the beach access. A number of outdoor grills placed in lush, picnicky areas around the resort. We like the perks, naturally. It grants us a feel of an authentic “resort,” a beachy home away from home.
Except for the goddamn beach chair and umbrella — never mind beachside space — situation.
Resort beach chair and cabana rentals are such a scam to begin with. Here, if you’re a guest who’s shelled out that crazy $2,640-per-week to stay in the tower (and keep in mind, that’s the MINIMUM for a one bedroom), the resort beach chairs and umbrellas are complimentary. If you’re staying in the back area in the cottages, they’re not included (tough shit, pleb). You may rent a pair, but should you wish to rent them, however, it’s $25 a day to do so.
None of this concerns me though because I have my own chairs. The kind condo owner even included a beach umbrella with the rental, so my friend and I were/are perfectly content with everything. That is, until we reached the beach…
(Fucking resort chairs and umbrellas EVERYWHERE)
(Everywhere you turn…resort chairs…and they’re EMPTY)
If you’re like me and my friend, you probably enjoy the beach because a GOOD beach is often scenic; it’s pretty. We come for the view, so a nice spot on the powdery sand is absolutely essential.
Those fucking beach chairs and umbrellas though…The resort chair gestapo have them arranged in giant horseshoes with just a smidge of space in between so you can walk through, but you can’t effectively set up your own stuff.
On the first day, my friend and I apparently broke Resort Law because we set up our stuff way in front of a group of resort chairs, right near the shoreline. One of the resort chair gestapo — I’ll call him Q-Tip because he looked like a tanned Q-Tip — suddenly made an appearance right beside us, and, with a overly chipper grin and cultivated Voice of Authority, he informed us in not so many terms that we needed to, at the very least, put down our umbrellas because we peons, the little people, were blocking the view of the beach chair renters (or condo tower dwellers). Oh, but hey, we could certainly “feel free” to set up in the spaces in-between the horseshoes (Q-Tip’s word, by the way — “horseshoe”)… in other words, the connecting gaps between the horseshoes.
Here’s the kicker that Q-Tip was probably more than aware of:
There were no spaces in-between the horseshoes to set up an umbrella at all.
Those fuckers had taken over the entirety of the resort’s private beach, essentially forcing anyone bringing his or her own stuff to leave the umbrella home. In other words, you want an umbrella? Pay up $25 a day or piss off, peasant.
On day two, my friend had an idea…
We could get creative without an umbrella:
(Two words: Recycled Shade)
Of course, the idea is all dependent upon the chair renters near us, but as we discovered, while they were allowed to move their chairs, their umbrellas had to stay put.
The makeshift shade lasted a good couple of hours, long enough for a decent beach trip for a girl with ultra-pale skin…
(What happens if I stay too long…)