I still maintain that Britain has no beaches, just a coastline, and this place reinforces that belief. Now, I’m no fan of the beach. I tend to stay out of the sun for the most part, don’t really like the water, and don’t even get me started on the incredibly flawed design of sand; it just gets everywhere and you’ll still be washing it out of your hair for days afterwards…even if your head never touched the sand!

However, so far this holiday within a holiday has been incredibly relaxing and laid-back. Jeff shares my general distaste for the beach so we keep each other company reasonably well (although he left early). Karleigh is still a little young to enjoy the beach properly, but she loves the shallow toddler pool and has a very cool inflatable boat in which she can sit and paddle; Jen and I have taken her a couple of times now. The hotel grounds are beautiful as you can see, and the seaside sunset skies are incredible. Everything is comfortable (even when sleeping on the floor for the first few nights) and now that a few of the others have left, I’m just sharing the condo with Jenna and Alexis who are great fun as roommates.

It’s easy to start chatting with anyone out here (arguably aided by my British accent which is an immediate talking point) and everyone’s pretty friendly. The Gulf Shores are the cleanest and generally nicest beaches near here, so they attract people from all the neighbouring States (I’m currently in Alabama). Holidays like this also tend to bring out everyone’s eccentricities, like Stephen’s discovery of the shuffleboard (at which I’m happy to say I rule!) on the grounds; the game is sort of a cross between curling and boules. And of course, Manel came equipped with bottles and bottles of factor 50 sunblock. It’s an impressive arsenal when you see it piled together. I’ve never quite trusted that stuff: can it really be healthy to coat your skin with that gunk!? I’ll just stick to the shadows and stay sunblock free thankyouverymuch.

Unfortunately Jen and Alexis are heading back early, so I’ll have the condo to myself for a few days. I will miss them, especially as I’ve had some problems back home with trying to extend my stay here by a few weeks (since I’ve been working most of the time, it would be nice to have a little more than just the one week’s holiday). The irritating this is that I’m sure if it were anyone else, they’d be calling back home to ask for money. I’m just asking them to send some of my money so that I can sort out the plane tickets. Things have yet to be resolved.