As you know, I have been on vacation while Ashley held down the blog (she did an amazing job!). You see, my best friend from Nebraska and I see each other only once a year, when we head to Orange Beach and shake the place up.
Every year, we somehow take it to another level and this year was no exception. Some things can’t be discussed here, in order to allow for some discretion and keep a few things sacred.
On Thursday morning, I had to go hang out at the airport for several hours before my flight, because Stuart needed to go to work and I would rather hang out at the airport than Uber. I love airports. As luck would have it, I ended up flying out of the international terminal at DFW, which is one of the best places you could ever hope to be. It is seriously like a luxury mall where planes land. I had too much coffee and people watching.
I flew first class (and am now spoiled and don’t think I can fly coach ever again) and enjoyed my free drinks on the plane. My flight attendant wouldn’t even let my glass get empty. I arrived in Pensacola tipsy and grabbed my bags. Nicole was flying into Pensacola as well, but not for a couple of hours, so I posted up at the bar of course. My bartender was lovely. My other BFF Chrissy was picking us up, so we decided to just all gather at the airport bar for a drink. By time we left the airport, I was feeling fine. We grabbed groceries and booze on the way to our condo.
We have a tradition of popping open bubbly as soon as we set foot in the condo. I pour, Nicole photographs, we toast and sip. Then we always take a walk on the beach after we unpack. After those traditions, we got ready and headed out to the Flora Bama. If you’ve never been there, you’re missing out. We made some new friends, which happens every year. And seriously, every year those friends get better quality. I still talk to Thad* after meeting him many years ago and very close friends with Kanye* after meeting him last year. I feel this year’s friends will be no different. There’s just something about going to paradise and meeting people in a similar vacation frame of mine. Everyone’s walls go down and as the drinks flow, people open up and connect on deep levels. It’s a beautiful thing.
We found out a few weeks prior to the trip that we had accidentally scheduled it during Mullet Toss (if you aren’t familiar, it’s a ridiculous beach party and I think you’d have to attend to understand). We were super frustrated with that oversight, because it meant that we would be in the midst of chaos and crowds, with which we don’t usually have to deal. It turned out to be a positive thing, because without Mullet Toss, we wouldn’t have met some of the people we did this year – not Connor*, Trey*, or Roger*. Anyway, I’m getting ahead of myself.
Thursday night at the Flora Bama, we had a Bushwacker, their signature drink, and then some vodkas. We listened to bands and danced and just had a great time enjoying our time together. We met Connor and Trey that night, which was great. Really cool people.
We got up Friday morning and headed down to the beach after coffee. The Mullet Toss was slowly gearing up and the beach steadily filled. It was a great day of hanging out and watching the waves roll in. We ventured over to Trey’s tent and met some of his friends. I was excited to meet his friend who has Boston Red Sox tattoos. Turns out, his dad was a player for Boston! He has a really super cool girlfriend too.
Chrissy met up with us in the evening to go out with us. We all went out to Flora Bama, where we ran into Trey and Connor again. Such a fun night, with the bar vibrating with energy. I love it when the atmosphere is like that. I danced my ass off after we had to put Nicole to bed with a migraine.
I woke up Saturday with no voice and a little hangover. But the beach was waiting. Ashley drove in to meet up with us and we had so much fun on the beach together. Chrissy joined us a little bit later. Having all of them with me was a little overwhelming, with all these very different personalities. The water was super rough and we witnessed a few rescues by lifeguards. We explored the Mullet Toss tents a little more, where Ashley and I decided to conduct a very important survey. You see, we discovered that a couple of the guys were wearing underwear under their trunks (not because we were in their trunks, mind you. We could see the waistband). We were horrified and they challenged us to ask around. They were certain most were wearing underwear. There were a couple, but overall, NOPE. Most men don’t do that nonsense.
After a long day at the beach, we went back to the condo to sip on some wine and get ready to go back out. That night turned out so weird, but fun at the same time. I had planned on Connor coming out with us again, but he was missing. We found out he had gone to another bar to sing karaoke, and we decided to just go ahead and tag along. We have never gone out anywhere other than the Flora Bama on these trips, so figured what the hell?! It was fun, but not so much fun having to get rides back and forth. Half the appeal of our trip is that we never have to leave once we arrive. Our bar is next door to our building. It was great watching Connor (and later, with Trey) sing (he’s quite talented).
Sunday though…. I’ll be damned if I didn’t have the worst hangover ever. I was a little later than usual getting out to the beach and our condo was looking like a frat house (I would say sorority house because it also looked like an Ulta exploded, but women aren’t typically this messy) from it being the party hub of Orange Beach.
Ashley and Chrissy left and Nicole and I spent the day on the beach again, before getting ready to go out yet again. We got ready as a storm system rolled in and made it out to the bar. It was a much more quiet night at the Flora Bama, with it being stormy AND a Sunday. It honestly was my favorite night thought. I drank way too much and danced and sang to the band. We met Roger, who was there with his friends for a bachelor party. Seriously, we meet a bachelor party just about every year. He was fun and really hilarious, and I’m sure his friends were too, I just don’t really remember. Oops. So much vodka.
Well, as the storm really rolled in hardcore, the lights went out and everyone was kicked out of the bar. It was really chaotic and a little scary, with drunk people stumbling around in the dark (like me). We all ran next door to our condo to wait out the storm, since Roger’s condo was several buildings away. We all watched the storm from the balcony. Anyone who knows me knows I’m pretty scared of severe weather. Turns out enough vodka alleviates that. I’ll keep that in mind.
Monday morning, I woke up with another epic hangover, but with beautiful weather. We eventually found our way outside for our final beach day. We really soaked up the sun and I got super fried. In the evening, we packed some of our stuff and geared up for our final night out. It was dead at the bar, but we still managed to make new friends and Trey came out to see us one last time. We stayed out way too late for people who were leaving the next morning, then came back to have corn dogs and fries (and wine for me).
Then it was Tuesday and all over. We packed in a frenzy and went to the airport feeling like 30-something women who partied all weekend. Imagine that. It was great to be back home, but I always miss the beach and certainly always miss Nicole.
I hope to see my new friends again and in the meantime, I have the memories.
*Names have been changed to protect the innocent.