Island Time

I decided to head to the Caribbean a little early this year. Right before the PCA my girlfriend and I spent a week on a small island in the Bahamas. Instead of staying at a resort, we rented a little house and lived the island life. This particular island was about 170 km long, but less than 1 km wide in most parts. We rented bikes and would take long rides down the island's only road. We stopped in all the small villages and drank beer in the town squares, chatting to local people. Everyone would eventually adjourn to the docks, where we waited for the fishermen to bring in the day's catch. Sometimes we waited a long while! In the Bahamas, everything is a lot slower. They call it "Island Time."

One day we took our bikes out and ended up in a place called Gregorytown. We stopped and asked some locals if there were fishing boats coming in that day. They told us they should be here any minute, and about 40 minutes later they arrived. We bought some of their fresh conch and snapper and they told us how to prepare some local Bahamian dishes. One was similar to a Brazilian dish called feijaoada. It translates to "peas and rice," but is actually made of beans and rice. I was actually born in Brazil and have made the dish many times, but I adjusted the recipe a bit to fit the Bahamian style. While the rice and beans cooked down, I slit the fish open on the side and marinated it with lime juice, garlic, and thyme. Then we grilled it up and served it with the feijaoada. Another dish we made was a conch salad. You slice up the conch and leave it raw, then mix it with onions, tomatoes, green peppers, lime juice, and seasonings. Everything we made was really delicious and so fresh.

I also spent two days learning how to surf. I had never done it before, but I rented a board and paddled out into the water to where all the other surfers were waiting for waves. I spent a lot of time that first day just watching them and the next day I took a lesson with a surf coach. His name was Tom and he was a really good teacher. He showed me how to pop up onto the board while we were still on the sand, but told me I could practice it a million times on dry land and still not understand how it feels on a wave. So we just paddled out to give it a try.

I wasn't able to stand up on the board this time, but now I know what I'm doing wrong! I don't exactly know how to do it right, but at least I know what to look for--what kinds of waves I should take and which spot to be in so it carries you. Surfing is really great exercise and you have to paddle really fast to catch the waves. The day of my surf lesson I was out on the ocean for maybe 4-5 hours and was totally exhausted afterwards.

I also tried yoga when I was in the Bahamas and practiced every day for a week to prepare for the PCA Main Event. It seemed to work out well because I ended up finishing in the money. My surf coach Tom told me to "follow the dream in 2014." This was a perfect way to start the year and hopefully it's only the beginning of great things to come.

NEIL5257__PCA2014_George_Danzer_Neil Stoddart.jpg

Zen master George Danzer

George Danzer is a member of Team PokerStars Pro

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