Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Thoughts In Nassau


Thoughts In Nassau

Nassau Night
Nassau Night
I try to imagine growing up in a country like the Bahamas. My ancestors were marched out of their homes at gunpoint in the middle of the night and put in shackels. They were separated from their parents, their culture, their language, and their homes.
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We ran to the island when we were freed, or some Puritans dragged us there. We gradually became most of the people on the island.
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We went, “yes, this land  is ours now! It took us centuries, and we’re halfway around the world from where we started, but it’s ours! So, what do we do now?!”
This is the clearest picture I got of Shaq on his yacht.
This is the clearest picture I got of Shaq on his yacht.
Our first leaders then turned around and stared us right in the eye. “Why, isn’t it obvious? We will all pamper the children of the people who enslaved us!”
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One of the hardest jobs you can have is working tirelessly when people around you are having the time of their life. The Bahamas is a group of islands based around this. 50%+ of their GDP is derived from tourism. Another 20% is derived from banking, which is primarily done for foreigners. Seven out of every ten dollars this country makes is off of serving the very people who dragged their ass out there. That’s not even accounting for the drug trade going up into the states.
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To their credit, they don’t seem to hold this against anyone. Most of them are really laidback and loving. People invite you around to different places all the time. If you make the effort to make friends they will not turn you down.
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Understandably, there is a dark undercurrent to many interactions. The country has 20%+ unemployment. Gang violence is on the rise, as warring groups fight over who will get their product out to the Americans.
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I would be annoyed too. Could you imagine the smartest people you know constantly being forced into tourism? Could you imagine serving burgers to people which cost more than three of your full meals? You have no other industry but to endorse and encourage the decadent waste of US dollars in these fake resort dream lands.
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Of course, large foreign corporations come in and siphon up much of the real profits, while you’re supposed to be cheering them on for your token minimum wage. How dare you ever challenge the glorious and perfect job creators?
Friends at the hotel.
Friends at the hotel.
I’ll get off my soap box at this point. What I am trying to say is it’s weird to frequent the Bahamas. The people are  nice, but serving dumbass ungrateful tourists 24/7/365 must get really tiring.
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I can sympathize. Most of the smart people I know in the states are told to go into banking or the stock market. Nothing else seems to pay much or not be subject to intense government taxation and regulation.
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They don’t study new fields of science to create a better tomorrow and they don’t work to cure a disease. They discuss money. They try to get an edge, usually on the population they are supposedly servicing. Their ethics cross the whole population now. It’s sickening.
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Seeing your population be transformed by that type of business is difficult. I can’t imagine it to the extent that it’s displayed in the Bahamas.
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To their credit, these people handle it pretty well. People are patient and laidback for the most part. You joke with them and they joke with you.
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Naty and I did our best to enjoy the place. We went frequently to Twin Brothers under the bridge and enjoyed different fish dishes. Ch0ppy and WadeShaq03 came with us one night. Matt and I discussed the difficulties of poker players get along, Monsato, Super Mario on the DS, and how to stay ahead in poker.
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Back at the hotel bar Matt and Chris got some Kaliks. Matt puffed on a cigar.
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I drank water. It felt good to be sober. I could really pay attention to what a smart person like Matt Kay is trying to say. I felt I learned more.
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Naty and I tried to do more of the beach activities than we had done before. We opted for parasailing and jet skiing after trying to go to other islands failed.
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Jet skiing was a blast in the Bahamas. I paid for 40 minutes, but the guy was nice enough to give us 50+ for $70.
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Obviously, it’s a little overpriced because it’s Paradise Island, but I found the charge fair when coupled with the rare professionalism of the renter. Most people walking up and down the beach scream at you repeatedly about riding a jet ski. We were blessed with a soft-spoken man showing us how everything works and giving us extra time because he felt like it. I tipped him well and he honestly didn’t look like he expected it. It’s genuine to meet people who enjoy helping other people have a good time.
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Riding those things were fun too. After letting Naty doddle around and rev the engine for a while I took the reins. Determined to get my $70.00 worth I gunned it and hit every wave at max speed. Flying off the 53rd one we sprayed ourselves nosediving into the wake of another boat. Naty hit her jaw on my shoulder. I slowed down at that point, and checked out some far off small islands and harbors with her.
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It was well worth the money. If you’re staying at the Atlantis walk halfway down the beach. The vendor is literally the only one who talks and doesn’t shout.
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You should go in that direction anyhow. There is a great beach at the end that no one ever walks down to. Naty and I ran out to it nearly every day last year. I regret not going to it more this year. It’s worth the 30+ minute walk.
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We also did the parasailing, but it wasn’t as fun. The one operation on the Paradise Island beach was asking for $140 for two people. I told the guy $120, and even that was ridiculous. He stopped talking to me but he dutifully went off and called in a boat.
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They took us to the parasailing boat in deeper water. I know from my brief days of sockeye fishing that they weren’t doing enough to help you from boat to boat. Someone could easily lose an arm the way they did it. You don’t realize it till you’re there but those huge steel boats slam together pretty hard. The other tourists had their arms hanging off the side and everything.
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The guys who hooked us up to the parachute were obviously high. Once we got it up in the air it was captivating. You could really see the whole capital, the beaches underfoot, the swamplands, and that grayed-out city stretching past harbors.
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Then, as soon as I was getting into it, it was over. They charged me a $100 and change for about 20 minutes.
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We got on another boat to get back to the beach. The guy driving that one crashed sideways into the sand, submerging half the boat. I soaked my fiance’s camera. It turned on shortly afterward, but it hasn’t turned on since I got home. It might have something to do with all the sand falling out of it.
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Researching The Bahamas a little more I was convinced Cat Island and Harbour Island were next on the list. Historical locations, pink sand, more locals and authentic cities; it seemed like the place to be. Unfortunately, I didn’t think this through till I got there, where I realized I couldn’t just skip over to these places for a day trip. I’d have to sink thousands into second hotels and ferry rides. Maybe next time.
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I came to The Bahamas a few days early for this trip. I felt great and acclimated the day I played. I want to continue going to the places I play live early, and actually getting around to see the country more. I’ve been to 40+ countries abroad, but most of the time I just saw bars, different cities, some necessary tourist locations, and casinos.
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About to go parasailing :D
I have so much more energy now. It’s necessary I do more with it.
The clearest picture our stoned guide took of us, out of 20+.
The clearest picture our stoned guide took of us, out of 20+.
Next time I hope I can show up early with a plan to see the ruins on Cat Island and lay on some seashell-encrusted sand.
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Naty and I were thinking of doing Aussie Millions next year instead of PCA. The Bahamas is nothing less than brilliant, but Australia seems like an adventure and a half.
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We have some friends in the country too. That’s really enjoyable, seeing the country with the locals.
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I’ve heard Aussie Millions has gotten pretty soft. Really, it’s just another excuse to travel to somewhere new, but I’ll take it.
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My Plugs: Check out my vids at Pocketfives Training, contact me for lessons at assassinatocoaching@gmail.com, see other stuff I write with my friends at www.pokerheadrush.com, and follow my Twitter @TheAssassinato and Facebook at www.Facebook.com/Assassinato

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