Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Niagara Falls

I don't have much to say about the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. I shouldn't think that'd be expected if my first love is classical music. Sufficient that I found the building itself interesting but three hours spent traipsing past costumes used on so and so's tour of outer woop woop in 1972 was probably about two hours more than I wanted to spend.

Sonya enjoyed it immensely though! When we got to the hall of fame itself (a very dimly lit tunnel with signatures etched in backlit glass) she couldn't resist pointing at this signature or that and telling us she has their autograph. (Brian Jones, George Harrison, Sonny and Cher to name a few. She better hope I die first; otherwise I'll flog the lot and retire on the proceeds!)

We took off about noon and drove through the remainder of Ohio, across a teensy piece of Pennsylvania and thence into New York State. I have to show off my knowledge of the geography of that part of the US; my naturalisation interview is 30 days away! :-) More damn tolls! By the look of some of the roads as we approached Buffalo I'd reckon they were built about the time Busby Berkeley[^] was filming Shuffle off to Buffalo[^] which means the poor bastards have been paying tolls forever!

So we checked into our hotel on the US side of the Niagara River, a couple of blocks from the falls. No sooner checked in than we were off to see the American Falls. Pretty impressive. I sure couldn't swim against that current! I doubt you could either.

I got a good shot of sunset from the US side.


We were on the US side. Yeah, we could have walked over the footbridge to the Canadian side; the problem was that what with my greencard snafu last year I wasn't prepared to take the chance of being refused a return that evening. We were going to cross the border just twice. Once at Niagara Falls and again, two days later, at Sarnia.

So we contented ourselves with looking at the bright lights on the other side of the river that night (Friday night).


Next morning we did the touristy things; the Cave of the Winds[^] on the American side first. It's a bit of a misnomer; there ain't no cave. Wind there surely is and lots of water. They make you wear special shoes and a raincover. Naturally Andrew was too cool to wear the raincover. One watersoaked teenager and two relatively dry adults later we jumped into the car and drove to the Canadian side. I reckon we drove 3 kilometres that day!

Then came the Maid of the Mist[^] boat ride. As with the Cave tour they make much of the raincover; Andrew had learned by this time. Wiser lad! We happened to be on the side of the boat that passes closest to the falls and I've never experienced such driving rain! The thing it reminded me of the most is those nineteenth century descriptions of being tied to the mast during a driving storm in the mid-atlantic. No way to keep the water out of your eyes and damn hard to open em against the driving rain.

Of course, afterward when we were on top of the riverbank looking down at the Horseshoe Falls we could see that the boat doesn't get all that close to the falls. It felt a damn sight closer at the time! Well worth the few bucks for the ride!

An exhausting day but do you think the family were content to just experience the falls? Not on your life. Nothing would do but that we had to go walk through the Canadian side nightlife which reminded me of Hollywood Boulevard on steroids and finish up the evening by playing a game of miniature golf under ultraviolet light after dinner! I suppose it takes all sorts.

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