I made a resolution at the end of the summer that I’m going to go on a trip every month until at least January. Preferably out of the state of Ohio. The main reason for this is simple. I love traveling and seeing new places but I never quite make it to the places around me. I wait for grand trips and ignore the simple, or not so simple, things within a couple hours of driving.
So, as I have previously stated, ad nauseam, I went to Niagara Falls a few weeks ago.
In fact, I’ve meant to get on here and say something about it for about as long as I have been back, but things don’t always happen in the timely manner they are meant to. So anyway, that takes care of October. I had been to Niagara Falls once before, when I was little. Somewhere around ten years old. Actually, it was right about the time when my parents split up and I was, and am, pretty sure that my sister and I went away with just our mother so that we could get used to the idea that our dad wouldn’t always be there. I remember the falls, the tunnels behind them, and the Maid of the Mist. But the most overwhelming memory I have of being there was getting in a car accident while we were all distracted trying to sniff Shredded Wheat in the air. That and a haunted wax museum that scared the shit out of me. The later, really, isn’t so ridiculous a memory given the fact that there are about fifty of them of Clifton Hill.
Oh Clifton Hill. I love cheesy ridiculous things. The tackier the better as far as I’m concerned. This is why I love places like Las Vegas. Places that are there for tourists and tourists alone. I had to take a picture of the joint Burger King and House of Frankenstein to send to K just cause… well, who doesn’t love Frankenstein’s monster chowing down on a whopper with cheese?
In the tourist sense, Clifton Hill does make a lot of sense. Located just nearby is a natural phenomenon attracting hoards of people every year to watch gallons of water pouring over a cliff. They’re bound to want something else to do. So we get fudge shops, WWE Emporiums, an IMAX Theatre, Ripley’s Believe It or Not, and of course the wax museums; Louis Tussaud’s, House of Frankenstein, Dracula’s Haunted Castle, Rock Legends, Criminals, Movieland, and there are probably more. Why wax museums? I pondered this, honestly, and I think the answer is just the fact that they’re tacky. There’s nothing tackier than a wax museum. And natural beauty obviously fits with tacky tourism.
But anyway, we’ll start at the beginning of my weekend. I had planned to leave Saturday morning for a totally of two majority of days exploring the place. But my trip coincided with the first week of my new position at The Job (which is going fantastically and far more interestingly, by the way) and it seems the Education Coordinator is meant to be at the Education Open House which I found out about four days before it happened. So I set of around four in the afternoon reaching Buffalo around six forty-five, the Canadian border by seven fifteen and, after forty-five annoying minutes floating on Rainbow Bridge, Ontario by eight.
I had booked a room at the ACBB Hostel Niagara.
I am a firm believer in hostels while traveling alone. There are several reasons for this. One being that they are far, far cheaper than hotel rooms, and second because, if you’re of the inclination, you can always meet people there. I went all through Europe by myself in 2004. It was a fantastic trip, but the cities where I stayed in hostels tended to be far less lonely than the ones where I stayed in hotels. Sure privacy, new sheets, and private baths are sometimes worth the price, but if you’re alone and you’d like to make a friend or two hostels are the place to do it. Everyone there is in the exact same boat as you. Everyone’s young, everyone’s traveling, some are traveling alone, and everyone is generally up for meeting new people. So I booked a room at the ACBB Hostel Niagara. The place was a little hilarious, they didn’t seem to have any sort of office, and I paid a girl from New Zealand my twenty seven dollars straight into her hand. I waited until she’d handed over my clean sheets, blankets, and towels first though, just to make sure she wasn’t an errant traveler looking for a couple extra bucks. The place was clean, which is pretty much all you can ask from a hostel. If there aren’t any clumps of hair in the shower or a guy jacking off in the bunk above me (I swear to god, that really happened in Munich. I’m not a fan of mixed dorms) then you’re pretty much golden. It’s not like the place has too much atmosphere, but for twenty seven dollars in a fantastic close-enough-to-walk-to-the-Falls location you can’t ask for too much. It also had free breakfast, WiFi, computer usage, no curfew, and free parking. All and all, pretty good. And since I can’t exactly imagine that October is Niagara’s high time, I was in a room by myself. I settled in and then journeyed out in the crisp Canadian evening past quaint neon signs and a row of chain restaurants. I got this crispy Buffalo chicken thing at a chain called Kelsey’s and two piña coladas, which were really coconuty and deceptively strong. I was a little tipsy when I left and in this state I decided it would be a fantastic idea to get on an enormous ferris wheel:
Even though I’m afraid of heights. Of course in my semi-inebriated state I didn’t think of this until I was locked away in a revolving pod being shot a hundred and seventy-five feet in the air, gripping the bottom of my seat and resisting the urge not to pass out completely. And it went around five times. Every time it reached the bottom I wondered if I could actually bring myself to pound on the glass door and make them stop the ride to let me out. Sobered up I went down to the falls and got a couple of photos of the falls at night.
Part Two is far more showing than telling:
The next morning I did my real exploring. I made my way down to the Falls early
and went to the Journey Behind the Falls, where I could go through the tunnels behind the Canandian Horseshoe Falls, see the water thundering from several feet away, and pretend I was Marilyn Monroe in the film Niagara.
Except without the dying. After that it was to the Maid of the Mist where I couldn’t stop laughing as water slicked my face and I had to hide my camera beneath my extra sexy blue poncho.
I saw an exhibit on the daredevils who attempted to make their way over the Falls in barrels and metal capsules. I walked so many times around that little town that the joints in my hips started to hurt. I went to the White Water Walk to walk along a wooden boardwalk near the Niagara river rapids.
I drove a little further down the road to see the whirlpool… which was really not all that impressive.
And then finally at around five I realized it was time to get back in the car and head home. It was a short trip, but I felt like I got to do everything I wanted to do. And I didn’t spend all that much money either. Which was a plus since I didn’t have any. Mostly importantly though, I had a ball.