Into the City with Nick: Once in a Lifetime

Either I can’t read a calendar anymore or I’m just too lazy, but this post is late once again.

So last Thursday (the 21st) I was in Victoria once again for something very special. As the title hints at this was a once in a lifetime thing I got to do as the place where I went is closing at the end of the month. Where is this place? Well sit back, relax and I’ll tell you.

Maybe you’ve heard of it or maybe not, but The Fairmont Empress Hotel is easily the most luxurious hotel in all Victoria along with the oldest and most famous. It was built way back in 1904 to 1908 and since then has served a landmark in Victoria for decades. Anyways, inside the hotel is a lounge called The Bengal Lounge. It’s a very high class lounge that’s decorated in a Victorian era Colonial Indian style and is absolutely breathtaking to see in person. Well after 61 years The Bengal Lounge is sadly closing at the end of April. But before it shuts its doors forever mom was able to get a reservation for us to have lunch there as it’s a place she really wanted us to see before it closed forever. So that’s the main attraction of this day trip, a very high end lunch.

Before I get any further, no I was not able to take any pictures and there never really was a good time to stop and take pictures as it was very busy and I don’t think the folks there would take kindly to some guy snapping pictures all over the place. Thankfully there are plenty of pictures online that I’ll be showing you, ones that are much better than I could ever take. Moving on then, being that this place is so high class, they have a dress code which is business casual, meaning this isn’t a place you wear jeans, shorts or anything of the like. As I usually don’t get the chance to dress up when going to Victoria, I enjoyed wearing something nice for my time in the city, plus people always treat you well if you dress well and act normal. I actually kept getting asked if I was a tourist from America, being that the Inner Harbor area is ground zero for tourists and The Empress is a landmark people come from all over the world to see.

My impressions of The Bengal Lounge were very positive. From the moment I entered I was taken aback by how amazing it looked. I’ve been to some nice restaurants before when I was in California (seems like a lifetime ago) but this might just top all those. Just take a look at a few pictures of it.

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Yeah it actually looks like that inside. So as you can imagine being in this room is much more grand than looking at pictures and I’m really happy I got to experience this lounge at least once before it closes forever. If you’re wondering why it’s closing in the first place, well some new people own the hotel and they apparently don’t want this historic lounge anymore. Unbelievable, they’ve probably never stepped foot in it before.

The food was great too. I usually don’t eat much Indian food but I gotta say this was some really good curry. We got some wine to go with lunch too and dessert was also top notch. All in all it was just a very surreal experience and one that’s best just to have in person. Like I said, I’m very happy I got to go here once as it’s one of those things that’s gonna stick with me for a very long time.

Aside from the lunch we also did a bit of shopping, mom and my sister having things they needed to get while I was mostly tagging along, that is until I saw this Herschel bag, the exact same one I’d been eyeing up online. Now I tweeted about it last week but I’m starting to have an obsession with messenger bags, being that this is now my third one, second this month actually. Here’s what my current lineup of bags looks like now.

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From left to right, my first bag a Diesel one that I got a few years ago for uni; second is my new Swiss Gear one which I really love as it’s a nice compact size and looks great; lastly is my new Herschel Pop Quiz Messenger bag which is a nice size, looks very good and I’ve just always wanted something by Herschel ever since my brother got a Herschel backpack. Look forward to the next post for a detailed look at my bags.

Other things that I wanted to accomplish during this trip was to pick up a certain mug I saw at Silk Road Tea in Chinatown. As expected it had a very Japanese vibe to it, having ninjas on it. Take a look.

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So yeah drinking tea will be much cooler now.

Other highlights included a trip to Mayfair Mall to see about the Batman shoes and much to my dismay it looks like there might not be anymore made. So it looks like my quest for Batman shoes will once again end in sadness. I still blame Converse for not shipping to Canada, like seriously what’s up with that? People up here want to buy your shoes too so ship them to Canada goddamn it.

While waiting for the bus to head back into town I saw an amazing car too, a McLaren 675LT in white. They only made 500 of these cars so chances of seeing one is extremely slim, so it was yet another cool experience for the day. As expected it was driven by a young Asian guy as most expensive cars seen in Victoria are driven by Asians being they’re the ones with the money. Don’t even get me started on Vancouver either… So yeah seeing that $350,000 car was something very special. I didn’t have time to snap a pic as it was moving, but here’s what it looks like.

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So yeah it was a treat to see a car that beautiful. Once again it seemed like my sister and I were the only ones who noticed it, people just don’t understand nice cars here.

Among the last highlights was a quick stop at the Bell store at The Bay Center to try out the new Samsung Gear VR headset as I’ve wanted to try out some of this next gen tech for a while now. I gotta say it was a really cool experience and even though it’s just some phone strapped to the front of this headset, it was unlike anything I’ve tried before. If you can find a store where they demo that VR headset, I recommend trying it out as it’s a very neat thing.

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So all in all Thursday was a very good day as I saw and did things that I’ll never get the chance to see or do again. I’ll be returning to Victoria soon as we’ll be finally going to see Star Wars: The Force Awakens in IMAX Laser 3D. Hyped af for that, just need to finalize the plans to go.

Alright then that’s all for this week’s post, I’ll have one out on Monday for real now so look forward to that one. As always thanks for reading and I’ll see you next time!

-Nick

**Header Pic**

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