Sunday, July 20, 2008

Road Trippin' In the Northeast: Niagara

As mentioned last time, yesterday I traveled to Niagara Falls. With me were my friend Danielle and her friend, Ingrid (center and right, respectively). Danielle is kind of like a sister to me as she's my sister's best friend and I was her Senior Buddy when she was a freshman at Notre Dame HS. Ingrid, on the other hand, is a 25 year old Chemistry student from Norway who is one of Danielle's friends, and being a foreigner, was the main impetus for this trip.

The drive up to Niagara from Elmira is about 3 hours, plus a little bit more time. We spent the ride up talking about a lot of things, from the Dark Knight (still so awesometastic!) to the foibles of Scientology (all hail Xenu!) to the differences between the Norwegian and American higher educational institutions (Norway: college is 3 years long and a masters is 2 years. America: 4 and 3). So, before we knew it we were pulling into the Goat Island parking lot to take a look at the Horeshoe Falls from the American side. It was a really, really hot day out- I would estimate around 95 with a burning sun up above. Even standing close to the river didn't give us any relief, so we decided to trek down to the Maid of the Mist, pausing to take pictures and clamber down to the river whenever possible. When we were above the American and Horeshoe Falls we saw some really cool rainbows that formed out of the mist; in all of my times coming to Niagara, I'm not sure that I ever saw those, so I was pretty psyched.

Everyone and their mother knows about the Maid of the Mist- you go on a big boat loaded with people in blue plastic ponchos and drive out past the American Falls and get as close to the Horseshoe Falls as nautically possible and wait there for 5 minutes, then go back. Not exactly the most exciting thing, but Ingrid was almost jumping for joy, so I guess it was worth it. What was also worth it, and what I will probably do instead of taking the Maid from now on, is clambering up the wood and rock steps to the lower observation point. There you can get right next to the American Falls and get completely drenched by the mist and sprayed water. Even walking up to the observation point the air was so full of water that just by breathing you can easily get your 8 cups of water for the day.

So afterwards we were pretty much drenched, ponchos be damned, but the hot day decided to favor us a bit by almost instantly evaporating the water from our clothing. Cooled down and having our fill of crashing water, we headed over to the Canadian side to have lunch at the Hard Rock Cafe. I had forgotten how expensive those places were, but dammit, sometimes a man needs a salad and a beer.

Not many times, but sometimes.

...Let's move on.

We meandered down the Canadian side of the falls as water began to fall from the sky as rain. I had the foresight to bring along my rain jacket, but the women folk did not. C'est dommage. The rain started to pick up, and we realized that we didn't really want to get any more soaked, so after walking all the way down the Canadian side we decided to reverse course and walk back to our car. We stopped by the duty free shop to pick up trinkets and left to exit the country. Luckily we each had two quarters, because apparently you need to pay 50 cents to leave Canada. At the American side we had the usual light banter with the customs officials: are you traveling together, how do you know each other, are any of you going to switch from being just friends to being family members... yeah, that last one was actually asked. Apparently Niagara Falls is a popular honeymoon destination for internationals... something about a place called Chino's. If anyone knows what that's all about, post it; I'm kind of curious now.

We walked back to our car in the rain, fired up Hallison (my gps for those not in the know) and headed out to go shopping at the Niagara Outlet Mall. Yeah, I didn't know it existed either until Danielle and Ingrid told me. Our trip there took us through some of the seedier parts of Niagara and included one illegal three point turn after we got stuck in the line for the Indian Casino and one possible hooker sighting. Yay!

The outlet mall was basically a collection of a bunch of clothing outlets that had banded together to attract customers and sales. We each went our seperate ways, and I actually found myself finding things that I wanted, like a sleek black belt and a nice black and grey dress shirt that I can't wait to try out. We had dinner there, as apparently the outlets grew a food court to accomodate their prey. There I made the mistake of eating at a chain called Wimpy's. It's an american food place that apparently prides itself in three things: being able to stack four hamburgers on top of one another; being able to put gravy on anything, even salads; and really, really aggravatingly poor grammar. On the menu, you could order fry's, or fry's with gravy, or sweet potato fry's (really bad, by the way). Not fries, but fry's. And on a statement saying that they would only use organically grown tomatoes (yes, they spelled it correctly, Thank God) they used their instead of there. Plus, the service was lousy and took for freaking ever. So, there is a new rule: never, ever trust a restaurant that makes repeated grammatical mistakes on their menu. Ever.

After reighning (is that the right one?) in Ingrid from shopping we headed home, accompanied by Hallison's sweet croonings. Once home I watched Dr. Horrible Act III again and promptly purchased the season. Good job, Mr. Whedon, good job. You've made me finally purchase something on iTunes. But seriously, that thing is AMAZING; I've already watched it one and a half times today. So, so good, can't wait for more. Neil Patrick Harris, you rock my world, and we finally got to see Bad Horse. He didn't do much, but you could tell from the way his black, soulless eyes gazed malevolently around the room that he was truly the Thoroughbred of Sin.

Today I haven't been doing much; went to church, fixed some things around the house, and worked on a few side projects that are finally coming together... I'll probably do a post about them in the near future when I have more to show. So, until next time...

"So I thank my girlfriend Penny
(yeah, we totally had sex...)
She showed me there's so many
Different muscles I can flex:
There's the deltoids of compassion,
There's the abs of being kind.
It's not enough to bash in heads-
You've got to bash in minds!"
-Cpt. Hammer, from Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along-Blog

1 comment:

Rachel Teagle said...

That song definitely made me think of you. "but home is where the heart is. so your real home's in your chest"