Saturday, August 21, 2010

Road Trip: Niagara

After hitting the wings in Buffalo, we pressed on to Niagara.

Well, we TRIED to press on to Niagara.

Figure: Instead, we hit every red light in Buffalo.
No really, I counted. EVERY light. In a stick shift car. It was painful.

But several hours later, about 7pm, we made it to the American side of Niagara. I would like to note that Eehern didn't actually know where Niagara WAS, he thought we would just punch it in as a "Point of Interest" in the GPS.

I consulted a map.

We got out at Niagara and walked around the Niagara side first.

Figure: Observing from the spot where the first French guy saw the falls

Figure: Picture of me in front of the American falls
Figure: Large photo without me cluttering up the view
We walked around the island in the middle of the American side, across the river that feeds the falls.

Figure: Me trying to be artsy. Do you see the spiderweb? I want credit for the spiderweb.
Figure: Looking back at the American falls side.
After we had our fill of walking around, we headed through customs to the Canadian side. I had my passport out and ready, prepared to answer whatever questions the guard thew at me.

The customs agent started with the easy ones - where are you from, where are you headed. Then he threw this out there:

"That's a lot," he gestured wildly in the direction of the car, "of STUFF in there." Peering into the windows, he continued, "What all do you have?"

I turned confidently to Eehern, waiting for the answer.

"Uh...." he stammered, "Well, I have a lot of.... clothes.... and, um, clothes...."

Craning his neck toward the stuffed back of the car, he tried to recall what in the world he had packed in there.

"Oh!" he exclaimed, "and a laptop... computer.... and, um..... clothes."

Thankfully, the guard let him go at that. I have no idea why all of a sudden Eehern could no longer recall what was in his car, but I (and the guard) can only assume the boy has a lot of clothes.

Once through that hurdle, we stopped quickly as the light was fading to gaze at the Canadian falls.

Figure: Or, you know, gaze at me in this pictures.
It is indeed true - the view is prettier from Canada. The horeshoe falls are gorgeous. (So like America to call it the "American falls" while Canada calls theirs something useful....).

Figure: Apparently, they turn the falls off at night to harvest the water. Strange to think of all that power being shunted away. Go engineering!
Tired after the long day (and I had run out of my roadtrip drink), we headed to the hotel in Niagara.

I was in charge of booking the hotel. I picked a "Travelocity Top Secret" hotel, which means you get a great deal and they don't tell you which hotel you are getting until you buy. We got this one, which works because we aren't picky.

I noticed this sign on the way in:

Figure: It was a passing thought, "oh that's nice."
The friendly hotel receptionist at first couldn't find our reservation, and then to apologize (and since it was a slow weeknight) he offered to upgrade us.

Well sure!

So, upgraded room key in hand, we parked the car and gathered our bags.

Well, I gathered my bag. Eehern dug around for 15 minutes trying to find a shirt. Apparently he didn't think to put a change of clothes in a reasonable location....

Then we made our way to the room.

Let's see... one bed? Flowers on the table?

And what's that in the corner? Oh yes, a heart shaped jacuzzi. We'd been "upgraded" to the honeymoon suite of sorts.

Figure: Oh yes. Those are mirrors. Eehern considers this turn of events.
We decided to put aside the matter of the jacuzzi, and head to the casino. Eehern was convinced I was a good-luck charm, since I had never played craps before.

So we played craps.

Well actually, first we watched for a while as I tried to understand the rules. Craps in an insanely complicated game! I played for a bit, couldn't figure out what was going on, and promptly lost.

So we wandered around the casino, observing the local night life while I tried to iron out how the game was played. Buoyed by new understanding, we hit the craps table once more.

This time, I understood EXACTLY how I lost.

Apparently, I am not a good luck charm. Sorry Eehern!

But the night did end well for somebody. On Eehern's last roll, some guy at the other end of the table bet $800 on the "Do Not Pass" line. As I understand it, that means if the shooter craps out, you win.

Eehern sevened out.

The other guy won $800.

So at least somebody was happy!

Back at the hotel, I took a shower to rinse off the long day. When I came out (and I swear my showers aren't THAT long), Eehern was already fast asleep on the bed. I had brought my bathing suit, and I was excited to go swimming. 

But when I tried to fill up the jacuzzi, it turns out there was no drain plug! So any water I put in just drained right out. Not useful at all!

So sadly, there was no jacuzzi. I went to bed.

But all in all, Day 1 was packed full - an excellent start to the trip!

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