My beloved and I just returned from a weekend in beautiful Whistler, BC. Thanksgiving and, of course, 20th anniversary.
It was my beloved's idea that we get married on Thanksgiving weekend in 1986. October 11th, 1986 in fact, the final day of Expo '86. They were nice enough to throw a huge fireworks event for us that evening.
Whistler really is a marvellous little resort town for those of you that haven't been there. I wouldn't want to live there you understand, just as I wouldn't want to live in Banff, but as a getaway that's only about an hour and a half away it's very nice indeed.
We had a pleasant 1 bedroom suite with a gas fireplace and a kitchen at a good shoulder season rate (third night for $1 was the deal) and we could have the dogs with us, which matters. A few dozen restaurants within walking distance and Bob's your brain surgeon.
Walking distance being the operative phrase. The villages, upper and lower, are superbly designed for pedestrians. You can walk everywhere and not have to deal with a walk light or crosswalk or a cranky type A idiot with too much horsepower even once. It's all open pedestrian concourse surrounded by shops, hotels and pubs, cafes and the aforementioned restaurants.
We went for a drive on Sunday afternoon to look at some of the neighbourhoods. One in particular known as Sunridge Plateau I have to mention. The homes are magnificent examples of architectural and engineering excellence. Some are truly breathtaking.
Like this one.
Or even this cheaper one.
But there were no cars visible, no people, no lights, no smoke from the big stone fireplace chimneys, no heat radiation from the furnace outlets, no activity at all. On a long holiday weekend Sunday. At least a Canadian long weekend anyway. And this particular long holiday weekend.
I became rather curiously uncomfortable with it.
The houses are magnificent, as I said, but it became clear that they are not people's homes. They are rather avatars of extreme wealth; icons of a lifestyle of highly conspicuous consumption that very few have either the means or the chutzpah to pull off, even if they were in residence. Which quite clearly none were.
Ultimately, for me, the architects artistry, the engineers ingenuity and the craftmen's excellence all seemed somehow shallow, even empty, as empty as their creations.
It made me sad.