When I first returned to the New World from London, I would wake in the morning and have no idea where I was. Now I now wake up, look out the window of my posh room, and can clearly see This Is Vancouver with its mountains, Stanley Park, Lion’s Gate Bridge, Coal Harbor and the Pacific Ocean. But a new problem emerged yesterday. What day is this? What is a girl to do? Pick up the phone, call the front desk and ask. It is slightly embarrassing but the staff does get a good laugh. Then later in the day the shower was a puzzle. Solution? Call the front desk and up comes a nice gentleman to illustrate the bells and whistles of the shower. He did admit it was rather confusing. Ms. McBride said: “I was thinking for a minute that I should get married again just to have a helpful guy around, but this seems to be a better ploy. He agreed, not offering to be Number 4. There is a great deal of technology in this room but slowly…. mastery. At this moment mastery over the coffee machine, the drapes, the shades, the shower, the do not disturb light, most of the lights, lamps and the hairdryer. I am on a roll.
I did say to staff that this would be a great place to stay if one has dementia because whenever you call on the phone and whenever they see you in person they always say: “Ms.McBride”. One would never loose track of who you were, or the day, or how to turn on the shower.
As an aside I was describing to someone that I had lived for two and a half years in London.
Me: No, England.
Me: Why would I be spending two and a half years in London, Ontario? Not to knock London Ontario which is probably a great place to live. Whereas, in my humble opinion London, England is not a great place to live but a great place to visit. I should know I lived here.
The location of the hotel is ideal and yesterday (rather amazingly) the sun was shining. So I took off on foot heading for adventure and an opportunity to see the sights when they were visible. Turning right on West Pender, there was a huge line up of people stretching for blocks. I complimented a woman on her stylish sunglasses (which resembled mine) and we fell into conversation. Such a lovely woman, her name is Francois ( I think, but I did not learn how to spell it.) She told me that all were citizens of France lining up to vote in the national election. It was impressive, these citizens cared so much for their country to patiently stand in long lines to vote. But what was astonishing is this; I knew about the issues and the controversies. The day before, whilst unpacking I listened to a lengthly podcast from CBC Radio. It was so informative, so balanced, so considered. In fact at one point I said: “Too Much Information”. But here is today’s truth: “It is better to have too much information then too little information.” So I was in the right place at the right time. There was an aura of joviality, furthermore, a man and a woman were handing out free croissants. A picture of the croissants and the woman will be posted, I chatted with people as I walked the length of the line. Ray (the husband) and Giselle, the French citizen. resided in Langley. They were in this together even though Ray could not vote. He suggested that I cross the road to take the picture. Across the road I spoke with Flora who told me that she arrived at 8:05, stood in line and had just finished voting at 10:10. I did not ask anyone who they were voting for, though some did tell me. I did get into a political discussion with a woman. I told her about the podcast and based on the information received I did think she was simplifying the issues. But politics is politics and each were entitled to our own thoughts on the matter. I am vitally interested in learning of the results of the election.
On this side of the street there were three gems. The first was a souvenir shop filled with Canadian paraphernalia but these were quality items, beautiful items. I almost cried, probably did. The tears were occasioned by the feeling that I was so glad, happy and proud to be back in Canada after an absence of fifty years. (I left Canada to live in San Francisco in 1967). Then it was breakfast at Smak, a treasure of a place only two blocks from the hotel. I sat outside at a picnic table and spoke with a fellow diner. She was employed by Landmark. Someone had suggested it was something I should follow up on. I now have a pamphlet and a web site and it was an excellent suggestion. One woman stopped to ask what was going on, we got into a political discussion about the upcoming Canadian election and I vowed to register. She suggested the Green Party and gave good reasons why they were superior. I went back to the hotel at about 11:30 exhausted. The following events are described in an email written to Chief Concierge
I am entirely sympathetic to the fact that you might need a day or two off but I am getting in trouble here without your support. It does not involve a local boy and technically he is grandfathered in BUT trouble may loom. I cannot speak of this in an email and goodness knows it is NOT going in the blog. I am totally exhausted somehow and am about to have lunch in bed. Everyone says it is ok. It is possible to have breakfast, lunch and dinner in bed but they will miss me. I am ordering the club sandwich if you really want to know. So bye and hope to see you soon. Alexis aka Trouble.
Then the club sandwich did arrive escorted by Dom, one of my favorite employees who had talked me down from a panic attack last week. I has asked that my room not be cleaned because I wanted to sleep but Glenda arrived at the same time to give me towels and clean cups. “What an embarrassment of riches, two of my favorite people in my room at one time.”
Then I went to Shopper’s Drug Mart for a Dior facial with Nina. It was so relaxing and perfect but unfortunately I bought some cosmetics that I may never use.
Back to the hotel and a snack at Mott 32 where I met a man from Sweden and a couple from “I cannot remember where.”
But this I accomplished at the same time. Robert the Sommelier and I chatted about the fate of the 300 bottles of wine on the container ship. I am sure that Husband Number One did make plans to ship it properly but if not he may have trouble on his hands. Robert says that if wine is in the wrong climate for even thirty minutes it can spoil. So it depends on where the wine is within the container ship. If it is in the belly of the container ship, it will be ok but if it is on the deck, then NOT. The heat will do it in, the corks will pop and vinegar will reign. Vinegar will reign is admittedly my terminology but it will not even be good vinegar. Now should Number One and I be presently wed those three hundred bottles of wine would be long gone,
After all of the conversations, it was then to bed. However, and unfortunately, a panic attack struck in the middle of the night. Fortunately upon waking there was a cheery email from Chief Concierge .
Good Morning Ms. McBride aka Trouble,
I am so happy that you understand that even the most dedicated worker to his role and Chef Concierge and Personal Attache to Ms McBride needs a day off to recoup now and then. I am back at the desk and ready to be at your service whenever the need should arise.
Me: High time you are back. I will see you soon.
I did see him soon but then I went outdoors yet again as the sun was shining. I found the Vancouver Marathon in progress on West Pender. I went back to the hotel and spoke to Chief Concierge,
Me: Why did you not tell me about the Vancouver Marathon?
C. C.: I would have thought that 50.000 people running past the hotel would have given you a clue.
I think that it was Rodney Dangerfield that said: “I don’t get any respect.” But I do from some and I am providing two examples.
Robert the Sommelier: Anything for you Ms. McBride
G. from Mott 32 caught me at the Champagne Bar even though I told him I would be in my room writing.
Me: I am sorry. I became tempted on my way upstairs. I am meant to be in my room writing.