IN MY OPINION
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WATER, WATER EVERYWHERE
27 June 2007
....and not a drop to drink.
There is something wrong with standing at the edge of a roaring waterfall, surrounded by thousands of gallons of water per second and not a single water fountain in sight.
There are many ways to view the falls and the folks of Niagara have made use of every single one of them. You can walk the promenade which parallels the waterfalls. You can fly over them in a helicopter. You can go up in a tower which overlooks the falls. You stand on a platform that overlooks the falls.
You can see them from atop a high ferris wheel.
You can pay $20 to ride a tethered helium balloon that ascends but never really goes near the falls.
You can walk behind the falls. You can walk alongside the falls (and get very wet). You can see them from a horse-drawn carriage, a plane, or a cable car. There is some sort of tram car and a jet boat. You can see it on an IMAX screen or 4D (whatever that is!) on a different theatre screen. You can buy video, DVD, and screen savers.
If it can show you water, you can do it at Niagara.
We opted for the famous "Maid of the Mist" boat ride which takes you right up inside Horseshoe Falls and lets you experience the power of the falls. We decided to be smart and take the first boat of the day, which turned out to be a good idea.
The weather was much hotter than yesterday, and the way it works is that you're already sweating, with salt water dripping into your eyes and they ask you to put on a plastic bag to keep dry. It's not so bad when you're being sprayed by the falls, but waiting for the boat to start is likely to sweat a few pounds off of you.
For obvious reasons, there are no pictures of the tour itself. To do that you need either an underwater camera, or plans to buy a new camera very soon! I also removed my glasses, afraid they would slip off my wet face.
So you'll have to take my word for it that it was absolutely fabulous. Everything I hoped it would be. I have a little bit of video that I took, but I'll have to wait till I get home before I check that out.
But to return to my story, after the boat ride, we started back up the ramp and noticed that a lot of the arriving people were pointing at me and laughing. I'm sure I don't know why.
There is, of course, a cafe and gift shop at the exit, so we went for breakfast. I sent this photo to Linda and Earl of the Maxfield Inn.
I told them that the breakfast may pale in comparison to Linda's gourmet meals, but the view was vastly superior!
After checking out of our hotel, we crossed back to the U.S. via the Rainbow Bridge, which took about half an hour (less time than we anticipated). We walked around a lot to look at the falls from different angles. I especially loved standing at the top of Horseshoe Falls and just watching the power of all that water (that's the picture at the top). I also got a good photo of what we probably looked like on Maid of the Mist.
We started the long trek back up to the top, after seeing Horseshoe falls close up and just when I was talking to Walt about thirst and heatstroke, a beautiful park ranger woman in a beautiful park ranger vehicle stopped and asked if I wanted a ride. I told her I loved her. She deposited me at the "Top of the Falls" restaurant, where Walt and I had lunch.
From there on it has just been traveling from one airport to another. We had the very longest line ever at the Buffalo airport, going through security. Probaby a good thing I was not wearing my Stewart/Colbert shirt there. Those guy didn't look like the hugging types. And now, we are wondering how long we are going to be in the Twin Cities. I am almost finished reading my last book, so I will have to go searching for a new one. And I'll bet the farm that our luggage will not be on the plane to Sacramento with us.
Stay tuned. One thing about travel days, I'm philosophical. I always expect them to be horrible so I'm pleasantly surprised when they are not and not at all surprised when they are. It just "is" these days. As long as I have a book, a meal, and occasionally access to the Internet, I can cope with just about anything.
PHOTO OF THE DAY
From the Canadian side--you can see the balloon, the American Falls (behind
the Canadian flag)
This is entry #2646