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from Asia in Switzerland
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post #7
bio: asia
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12/6/2002
06:17

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old money and othe thoughts
I used to wish I had been born into a really rich family, like in the Hodgeson Burnett books before the ubiquitous tragedy strikes.

Then I met the fourth richest woman in Switzerland. Talk about poor little rich girl.

She is the lonliest woman I've ever met - who is constantly surrounded by people. She has a house with fifteen rooms and a built in stable, two horses that are worth more than the average budget of a hollywood film, a butler, a ladies maid of the type found in Austen novels (who knew they still existed?), and a chauffer for her three cars and horse mover.

And now she has a gardener. Stefan.

I supose Landscape Architect is a more appropriate term. She has hired him to give her Bern estate a face lift and completely redesign the grounds around her castle in France.

She got his number from her Interior designer - a very entertaining ex-icecapades dancer, he told us a story about a performance in Mexico city with the entire cast suffering from Monctezuma's revenge... as satisfying a scattalogical mishap as you can imagine.

Stefan and his friend and working partner, Dimitri, have been there for most of this week (installing Christmas decorations (700$) despite the fact that she is leaving next week for the holdays.) She never speaks to Dimitri, except yesterday, she asked Stefan if Dimitri would be there the next day, he said not and she walked over to Dimitri and wordlessly handed him a fifty franc note. A man came from the garage to pick up the Mercedes for service and bring her a temporary one in its place, of course the temporary one doesn't have bullet proof glass and siding so it won't be driven - its just for show. As he walked away I saw him looking perplexed at the key, which had been wrapped in another fifty.

She was polite and gracious with me, but looked a little uncomfortable because, I suspect, she had no reason to just give me money and walk away.

The whole place left me feeling a little sad and a little jealous. She has everything money can buy. But her best - and only real - friends are her six Jack Russel terriors, a Pyranee Mountain dog, a large family of Guinea Pigs and another of Rabbits that live in the stable, and of course, the horses.

So, old money makes people remote and scared... and a little strange. Also, ultimately, completely helpless.

But I am looking forward to a month in a french castle next spring, and not least for the oppurtunity to spend more time in this curious world with the lonely princess and her menagerie


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