Monday, January 05, 2015

Me and the Wing

I’m back in the Caribbean, having made the short flight down yesterday for this year’s PokerStars Caribbean Adventure. Things don’t really get going until tomorrow when the $100,000 Super High Roller kicks off, which means I have the luxury of a day to get acclimated and perhaps ride a water slide or two.

Actually I am getting more than a day to enjoy the warm temps and other diversions here, as I arrived during the early afternoon on Sunday. The flight was fine, though delayed an hour while we sat on the plane waiting for various weather-delayed traffic to clear. It was a wet, cold day I was leaving, and while I didn’t mind the wait -- I was in no rush -- I was glad when we finally rolled out on to the runway for our turn, then soon took to the air.

The plane was only half-full. I had a window seat near the wing and a whole row to myself. As we gained altitude I found myself looking intently at the rows of houses, the criss-crossing streets and highways, and the mostly empty parking lots below. I spotted an idle amusement park, too, which felt like a faint bit of foreshadowing of my destination, Atlantis.

As we climbed higher I trained my eyes in particular on the green and brown squares of open land, mentally measuring them against the one we’ve been tending to back at the farm. At last we rose up above the clouds and suddenly it was just me and the wing.

Growing up and even into young adulthood, I’d never been especially adventurous when it came to traveling or even trying new things. Like many, I find routines largely comforting, and so it really wasn’t until Vera and I boldly decided to live abroad in France for a year that I ever challenged myself to break out of the familiar.

I’d slipped back into such routines soon after that, though, and while we’d continue to travel now and then I mostly locked into a full-time job for a decade that provided both financial security (if modest) and more or less ensured I wouldn’t be edging beyond a fairly circumscribed path without great effort. That ended nearly five years ago when I even more boldly stepped away from that life and into this one which has carried me places I’d never even thought to go previously. And even more importantly, has brought me many friendships, too.

The airport in Nassau was easy to negotiate with an elderly Bahamian trio providing live music to accompany what was a short wait in the customs line. I didn’t check any bags, which after hearing several stories of lost luggage last night seems to have been a smart move. That also allowed me a quick walk out to catch a cab. My driver played a Teddy Pendergrass CD, and soon after his last Love TKO had landed I was checking in.

Spent the afternoon and evening reuniting with a number of friends and colleagues, including the LAPT folks, some PokerNews guys, and the PokerStars crew with whom I’ll be working. I know pretty much everyone else will be coming here soon, too -- media and players -- which makes me realize coming to PCA was a good decision after having skipped going to Las Vegas last summer.

It’s good to break away and connect with everyone like this once in a while. We’re all flying around on our own most of the time, the clouds of our own personal tasks and duties obscuring our view of others. Nice to come down out of all that and get grounded, when we can.

More to come.

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