Saturday, July 14, 2007

Niagara Falls

Well on this rainy and dreary day, as I wait for the time to come to head out to Brigitte's house to hang out for the evening and enjoy her fantabluous cooking, I figured I should blog about the second part of our trip from last weekend.

Late Sunday afternoon, after saying our goodbyes to John, Sarah and the girls, we piled back into the trusted Explorer and headed on down the 402. Destination: Niagara Falls! One of the most frequent sources of shame during my stay in Japan was when this conversation occurred... multiple times:
Student: I've been to Canada!
Me: Really? Cool! Where did you go?
Student: I've been to _____ and ______ and of course Niagara Falls!
Me: Nice! I've never been to Niagara Falls.
Student: Eeeeeeeeeeeeh?
Finally, I can avoid any recurrence of this conversation in the future, since I am now once of the chosen millions to have visited The Falls.

A mere three hours drive from Sarnia, we arrived at our hotel, which promised a great view of the falls... the road it's on is named Fallsview after all, it would be quite misleading otherwise. Sure enough, as we entered our room, we were greeted to this view:

Man but that's a lot of water! at any given time, the far side of the falls are hidden behind a dense curtain of mist from the 6 million cubic feet of water which pour every minute down into the river 180 feet below. So much water!

This was our hotel, the Mariott Fallsview which, other than the great view on offer, didn't impress me all that much. Just a few little snags occurred which made our stay less than perfect, which at the prices we were paying, you expect them to be. Case in point, we noticed upon arrival that the mini-bar had not been restocked since the last guest and there was an empty bottle of wine in there. It now seems that despite my telling the front desk clerk when we checked out that this had happened, I've been charged about 60$ for the bottle of wine and god knows what else was missing from in there. Not pleased, but we'll see how their accounting department deals with this.

Since we arrived relatively late, we headed out right away for a bit of a walk and to grab a bite to eat. As we were walking around we had a hilariously frustrating encounter with a dense gentleman from south of the border. We got to a point near the Casino where a groundhog was walking around on the grass, ignoring all the passersby.
I said to Yoshiko: Look, there's a groundhog.
The gentleman standing next to us said: What is that?
Me: A groundhog.
Him: No it's not.
Me: ... Yes it is.
Him: Nah, we have those in our back yard down in Buffalo.
Me: What do you call them?
Him: I don't know.
Me: ... (Is this guy for real?)
If you don't know what it is, why are you arguing with me that it's not a groundhog.... DUMBASS! I went on to discuss the fine points of groundhogs with this moron before moving on, still not sure whether he believed me. Maybe he thought groundhogs didn't come this far North? What with the cold and everything? I know US Customs and Border Patrol are pretty tough, but come on.... Good story which I've enjoyed telling a few times already. As we got back to our hotel room, it was getting dark and we were eventually faced with this lovely view of the falls lit up for the night. To the right are the Canadian Horseshoe Falls, with the American Falls also lit up farther on the left.

Monday morning, we were up bright and early and made our way to Table Rock overlooking the falls while the rest of the tourists were still having breakfast. This gave us a nice unobstructed view of the falls and made the visit quite enjoyable.

As we made our way down the side of the river towards the dock for the Maid of the Mist, we spotted one of the tour boats in question down in the water.

They end up getting quite close to the falls, and I found it quite amusing to see at the people in their blue rain suits... like a boat full of blueberries.

Of course, we quickly turned into blueberries ourselves as we arrived at the dock and donned our suits. The ride was fantastic! Well worth the $14. We ended up making a run for the front of the ship where we were bounced around and sprayed from all directions, it was great!

On our next visit, when we'll have a bit more time, we'll definitely hit up the tour which takes you behind the falls... somewhere behind this curtain of falling water.

Seeing as we had a 6+ hour drive ahead of us still, we headed back to the hotel to check out around noon and stopped by the Taki (which means falls) Japanese Restaurant and enjoyed a very nice meal. And cheap! Good stuff for sure.

The drive back home was uneventful, with the 407 helping us avoid the stress of driving through Toronto. That's definitely the way to go from now on.

In parting, one last photo of the Horseshoe Falls.


Blogger godzilla_rabbit said...

Great pics!


10:38 PM  

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