On Saturday, having a sunny day WITHOUT snow, Linda and Cheryl bundled me up (frostbite in fingers, overheating in torso), and we headed to the top of the Malahat, the local mountain summit. Many people commute over it every day. Basically Vancouver Island and the surrounding Islands are the tops of mountains sticking out of the ocean. Sometimes we forget that.
The sun was going down (It WAS 3:30 pm after all!), so it was casting interesting lighting one direction, the various islands were full of fog in the valleys, snow where we were, but warm as well. It was a vivid blue sky. But of course, in order to take a picture of US, all of that is missed (the sun whites it out). BUT, I wanted to show you I am still alive! Of course, I was in agony that night and the next day and today, but hey, have to do something while you can, right?
I took a picture of Linda with the blue sky and the Islands of the Juan de Fuca strait behind her. Sadly Mount Baker is just out of view behind those trees. But don’t worry, once they clear cut the area for condo you still won’t be able to see it! Haha.
After that, I had frostbite in four finger so we were trying to think of someplace to go for a pub drink. Linda was thinking of work and I was thinking of, well, the past. Because I can’t remember much of the last several years, I tend to remember 10 or 15 years ago. I remembered going down to the Empress Hotel (the old Empress Cruise Line Hotel) to call Linda on the payphone as I was living in a unheated basement. If I had a bit of money I had a drink in the Bengal room, which was quiet and sort of like an club from the Colonial days (That’s actually how they advertise it, ‘Enjoy the colonial setting”). There is NO TV, though the head server told me they get asked EVERY day by people wanting to know where they can watch hockey. AHEM. We don’t do that HERE. You can see in the picture the old fans up above which turn (to cool off that heat of India, here in Victoria...in Jan.), there were no street urchins pulling a rope so I guess they are automated now. Ironically since cougars come sometimes into the city and around the Empress it is a joke that old Colonial types will hang out in the Bengal room with an elephant gun waiting for a ‘good shot!’
First, I had to show Cheryl the little secret history room of the Empress (which actually turned away the first black heavy weight champion in the world, who came straight from his win to the Empress. The reason? He was with a WHITE woman. 1908. Not in THIS establishment please!). To get to it you have to go down a flight of stairs which you face a giant hand coloured steel plate picture in heavy frame of "The Charge of the Light Bridgade" (I kid you not! I, however got the elevator). So here is all the tea parties and the Xmas menus.
There is a case which shows both the caps of the bellboys, and the various attractions that the Empress put on. Remember, Victoria was the western terminus for the Rail Line and the start of the Empress Ship Line. People came from the UK, across Canada and then took the Empress of India, the Empress of Australia, the Empress of New Zealand and the Empress of South Africa Cruise ships in order to start a NEW life in the ‘the colonies’.
We headed back up to the Bengal Room (after a small side trip to one of the great Inuit Art Galleries in Canada). Actually, if I don’t write this now, I won’t be able to remember this at all. That is the curse of my mind. My body hurts. Linda and Cheryl tells me I had a great time. I have pictures but most of it is already gone from my memory. I’m sorry, but at least two of them (Linda, Cheryl) have the memories, and I have the pictures.
Upstairs, I wheeled over and shamelessly used my “I was here 10 years ago and they used to know how to do a layered Sling, much like the Singapore Sling I had at the Raffles in Singapore (I did!).” The head Bartender told us he was up to the challenge and we took our places by the fire, and on a carefully carried tray arrived a true sling which you turn into a sunset by stirring (the colors then mix! As the alcohol and other drinks have different weights! It turned out to the be the least expensive drink on the menu: so use the crip card, available at most fine restaurants!)
We sat by the fireplace deciding what to eat and YES that is a REAL tiger skin mounted above the fireplace and Victorian style glass, along with oak finish everywhere. Ahhhh….now this was how to live. Particularly as we had Onion Rings and they used Samosa batter on them which made them the best tasting onion rings I had ever eaten. It was a great time, and we talked (I assume) and one of the servers took a picture of us, in our Victorian Resturant, in my Victoria Secret! Oh wait, that’s a Hot Topic/Tripp top! Then it was take Beth home and roll her into bed.
So as you see, when the sun comes out, Linda and Cheryl try to take the poor, poor cripple out, who then shanghais them into a Colonial Experience (seriously, for a beer, and a $8 mixed drink, this is the best ride in town!). I hope you had a great weekend, I am still at work on postcards, just wanted you to know why I keep going, “OW!”
3 hours ago