Tab Tries: Spring Break

ARON SOLOMONS beer bongs his way to the American vacation dream.

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Cambridge students deal with the stresses of term in different ways. Some go home for the weekend, some just buckle down with work and deal with it, while two, admittedly spoilt, Cantabs booked Spring Break 2012.

So come the 16th of March, after 3 flights and 36 hours (and minus 2 suitcases) we ended up at Bikini Beach Motel with one queen sized bed to call our new home.

The only way to really describe our destination Panama City Beach was as a perpetual parody of itself. The people were both fatter and friendlier than I expected, the gangsters had more tattoos and more ridiculously sized rims that I could ever imagine, and the Jocks shouted ‘Bro’ and odd mating squawks both louder and more frequently than I ever thought possible. For a more complete picture imagine Grand Theft Auto with Stifler from American Pie shouting ‘WOOOOOOO’ at you every couple of metres.

Our only rule was not to say no. This led to our first night being spent with what can only be called hood rats in a motel, smoking ‘medical marijuana’ (our hosts words not mine) while he tried to convince us he had more money than Wiz Khalifa.

This approach also led to us spending the next day humouring a couple of relentless preacher types who wanted to spend two hours on the beach discussing religion. While I can’t say this was an enjoyable experience, repeated answers to my questions with the word ‘faith’ soon had me napping and subsequently burning in the sun.

The days were spent watching a continual stream of bikini and pie eating contests (never combined) which seemed to perfectly summarise this side of American culture. Unfortunately we chose the week when it was all Mid-west schools who were off: Ohio State, Kansas etc which didn’t do our hosts ability to challenge stereotypes any favours. We were repeatedly asked if England and London were different cities, or whether we lived near the Eiffel Tower.

We just had to bite our tongue and enjoy it as part of the ‘experience’. It also took me far too long to realise that I was never going to make friends with people from the Deep South if I kept proclaiming my love for Obama.

On the way back from a night out I got hit by car walking along the side of the road – they don’t do pavements/walking in America. After slowing down briefly, the darling driver sped off. Luckily we managed to hitch a lift to the hospital with a guy who was both drinking a beer and inappropriately touching his sister.

In the hospital I was greeted with $1,600 bill for x-rays to find out I just had bruising. After the shock passed I proceeded to drunkenly rant about the glories of the NHS to anyone who would listen before we were put in a taxi back to the motel. Having kept the wing mirror as a souvenir I count the collision as a win.

Unsurprisingly when it all got too much, Josh and I tried to have our pseudo-homosexual alone time reading books by the pool. However this only drew scorn from our hosts as I was bombarded with what I was later told were cheetos. We were soon back to funnelling, calling people douches and semi successfully trying to use our accents in an attempt to woo the ladies.

It was crazy, fun, and unashamedly vacuous. The ‘land of the free’ was also anything but that financially.

Bring on the dissertation.