I have a lifelong quest to try and develop more empathy for people. Some people, I find it easier to develop empathy for. Others, I find it more difficult to develop empathy for. Mostly, it is the Paris Hiltons of the world – the people have cultivated this lifelong sense of entitlement that I find so difficult to relate to. That kind of self-absorption; I find it difficult to have any empathy for someone. But I think that after this weekend, I think I understand what a precarious and difficult position it is to be someone who is used to having whatever they could want. When one has all that one could want, it is pretty hard to accept having less, however necessary it may be. Entitlement, privilege – here is a lesson in class struggle, courtesy of a weekend trip and the Titanic.
This weekend, David and I took a trip here:
That is Victoria, B.C. We took the Victoria Clipper ferry from Seattle, and only three short hours, and five sick passengers later, we were in Victoria. We enjoyed a free breakfast on our trip to Victoria as a part of our tour package (actually, it was a free champagne breakfast, but since we don’t drink alcohol, the Clipper saved some money on us. Our hotel later also saved money on us when we didn’t drink the sparkling wine that came with our chocolate covered strawberries – more on this later). Victoria feels British, not Canadian. Perhaps it is because it is a city that so prides itself on its British heritage that it still proudly boasts the name of Britian’s longest reigning monarch. Perhaps it is because of the plethora of English gardens, or English estate houses, or shops boasting goods from Scotland and Ireland.
This is where we stayed:
That is the Fairmont Empress Hotel. It is world famous for its afternoon tea. Of course, we don’t drink tea, but the hotel was lovely enough. We got chocolate covered strawberries as a part of our trip that David booked. Note: the strawberries were served with the aforementioned, Sparkling Wine. I started to understand a little more why people like Paris Hilton end up with DUIs and in jail when faced with free alcohol around them all of the time. By 2:00 pm, we had already been offered two free bottles of alcohol. Anyway, I forgot to mention that name of our Victoria Clipper weekend getaway package was called “Pure Pampering.” Here is David being “purely pampered” and enjoying the strawberries.
Here is my satisfied face after enjoying the tasty strawberries. They were delicious. On Saturday, we had a bit of a technical mishap trying to arrange transportation out to Hatley Castle near Sooke. However, we made the most of the time that we had left that day, first enjoying the flower gardens at the Empress. That is one great thing about Canada – it may be 50 degrees in July, but the gardens in July remain full of color. The roses were blooming all over town.
The BC Parliament Building pretty much knocks the socks off of any U.S. State house building I have seen. Those British seem to build everything right. Maybe we should have rethought this whole American Revolution thing…
We had dinner reservations at the Empress Room at our hotel, but on our way there we stopped off at the lovely old hotel library that had the ambiance of an old British Gentleman’s Club. Leather bound books make me giddy.
In these gardens, the most surprising thing of all happened. David proposed. I know, quite shocking. Although we have been dating for nearly four years, it still came as a shock to me. That is a good man to put up with all of my neuroses. I mean, I am no Effie Dunsmuir, but some significant patience is required.
Since my antipathy for diamonds is well documented, David gave me lovely pearl ring that he had made in Australia to match the pearl necklace that he gave me in Paris last year. It was an incredibly kind gesture and ensured only an oyster was harmed in the making of my engagement ring.
We walked back to the Fairmont and ate a delicious lunch in the colonially inspired Bengal Room. We had walked alot and were both tired (although David looks more mischevious in this picture).
I on the other hand just look tired and rather wind blown. The leather chairs in the Bengal room were made of the softest leather, that I seriously wanted to fall asleep sitting there.
Afterwards, we walked around Victoria some more, and saw that in Victoria, their mermaids play the accordian.
Here is one last view of the Fairmont Empress before heading out on the ferry back to Seattle.
And here is David on the ferry saying goodbye to Victoria and hello to months ahead of fun wedding planning. So to sum up, here are the things that I learned in Victoria: I am still way too obsessed with British aristocratic society and need to root this out of me immediately. It is really representative of everything that I detest in life, but it sure is lovely to look at and tasty to eat. Negative. But on the positive, in spite of my significant and numerous flaws, including my incredibly oxymoronic tendencies, David still wants to marry me.
Thank you Victoria! Oh, and also, thank you Victoria for teaching us that not all royal weddings have to be sad, scandal-infused affairs. Your marriage to Albert was a model of domestic felicity.