Since Friday was our anniversary (16th or 26th depending on how you count the 10 years we lived together), I took the day off so we could celebrate it in Panama City Beach. Fortuitously, Saturday was also Mardi Gras in PCB and so the weekend was a “two-fer.”
We arrived in PCB at lunch time, so our first stop was Chow Time, a Chinese buffet we enjoyed last Thanksgiving. Since Thanksgiving was our first time there and it was a “special menu” for the holiday, I wanted to see what their normal lunch was like. No crab legs or oysters on the half-shell, but otherwise it was an excellent value, especially for just $6 (after the senior discount).
I polished off about nine pieces of sushi (shrimp, tuna and salmon), about two dozen chilled “peel and eat” shrimp, BBQ pork, two spring rolls, sautéed mushrooms, and some other items I can’t recall before finishing with some ice cream for dessert. After we left, I realized I’d forgotten about the brownies, cookies, and cakes on another table. Oh noooooooo…..!
We then checked into the hotel, which was about two miles from Pier Park Mall, the main destination of the Mardi Gras parade. I was pleased that this La Quinta serves Community coffee, from New Orleans. It’s a rich, strong coffee. Although Spring Break has begun, there were no college students (or too many guests at all), probably because of the $145 rate. (I used hotel points to stay free.)
We took an hour nap to properly digest lunch and then headed to Pier Park to stroll. We didn’t intend to buy anything but fate intervened.
We went into Old Navy (a store we almost never visit) and stumbled upon a faux downtown Vegas casino t-shirt (Goldbar, on Fremont) that was part of a BOGO (buy one, get one free) sale. Since we’re headed to Vegas in May, we picked up matching shirts for each of us so we can wear them there and perhaps fool some “tourists” that there really is such a casino. (The old Fremont Street casinos have managed to hold their own against the Strip’s “destination” themed casinos, although the Lady Luck wasn’t so lucky and closed.)
Saturday morning, we had a big breakfast at the hotel (eggs, sausage, waffles, bagels) to hold us over until late afternoon after the parade. We scouted the parade route and found a nice bench about 150 yards inside from the turn off Front Beach Road where the floats were coming from. Unfortunately, there was a strong wind and it was only a cloudy 67. Susie had brought a sweater but all I had was a light polo in Mardi Gras colors I had picked up in New Orleans. At least I was wearing long pants! (There were a lot of college students in shorts and T-shirts.) I had to periodically go into a store to warm up.
The parade began at two and lasted two hours. Since our bench was in front, we were in prime “bead catching” position. We ended up with about four dozen beads to add to our many dozens from previous Mardi Gras parades. We would have had more but I didn’t make much effort to catch the “normal” small round beads. I hollered only for the “upscale” beads.
Now, we’re counting down to Vegas. Where we’ll be staying at…the Orleans, a New Orleans / Mardi Gras themed casino.
Laissez les bons temps rouler!