Pensacola is known for its' pristine beaches. One of the many nicknames it has is "World's Whitest Beaches." Now I know that it is refering to the color of the sand, but people don't call the Southeastern Gulf Coast the "Redneck Riviera" because it reminds us of France. There are no black people! Please, if you are black and in Pensacola, show out!
My third visit to my Mom's new home was a strange one. The first two times it was Florida-to-Florida trips. Specifically, North Central Florida to Northwestern (Panhandle) Florida. There are only small, subtle climate and cultural changes. This time it was New York City-to-Northwestern Florida presenting a world of differences.
Pensacola is nicknamed "The City of Five Flags" due to the five flags that have flown over it at various times in its history: the flags of Spain, France, Great Britain, the Confederate States of America, and the United States. Other nicknames include "Cradle of Naval Aviation", "Western Gate to the Sunshine State", "America's First Settlement", and "Red Snapper Capital of the World". (I thiefed this paragraph from Wikipedia)
During my vacation, I reveled in the suburban paradise of not New York City: indoor shopping at Malls, the conveniences afforded by driving, supermarkets with aisles wide enough to push two side-by-side carts through or extend your arms in and still not touch anything, unimpeded walking. I went to chain restaurants and loved it: Olive Garden (twice), Ryan's All You Can Eat Buffet, Auntie Anne's Pretzels. I ordered cheap chain store pizza: Domino's.
I also reveled in being with my family. I did not spend one penny. I went on vacation and saved money. Scratch that. I went on vacation and made money. I was absolutely spoiled.
Leaving was hard and my day of travel was exasperating. I and my cat survived 12 hours from door-to-door. I was not relaxed until I got into a taxi at LGA and was on my way to my apartment. Hoot the Cat did not make a peep all day until I grabbed her carrier to get out of the taxi.
New York is not a white city. It is dirty and it is not known for its white beaches. As much as I loved being with my family and friends in Florida, there was an amazing comfort in returning to my routine: walking the three blocks to the subway, 30 minutes on the train, the museum.