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Arno
Our recounting of our Canadian adventures would hardly be complete without mentioning the second most overwhelming thing:

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Niagara Falls. Niagara Falls is fairly close to Toronto, only a bit more of an hour's drive if you know where you're going. And so we set forth, again chauffeured by Robert and guided by G.I.N.A. the homicidal GPS system. We made our way there quite painlessly, in fact, and then spent twenty minutes for Kessalia and crew to come find us at the Niagara Falls tourist information center. I can't blame them that much for taking so long; the tourist information center was a little shack that probably started out as a toll both and simply worked its way op the career ladder. It was that small. And wooden!

Now, I did not have much of a mental picture of what Niagara Falls was like. I sort of imagined this soggy grassy spot (every place in the world is like The Netherlands to me until proven otherwise), next to a giant waterfall. Instead the gateway to the falls, the town of Niagara Falls, was a tourist trap, with theme parks, haunted houses and dinosaur golf:

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Fortunately, the Canadians were wise enough to leave this stuff where it belongs: away from the main attraction. As we approached the falls, all we saw was a big mist and a monument and, finally, the falls.

Sadly, it wasn't a perfect day; it was kind of rainy, which was a shame because the place was wet enough by itself. Fortunately, our ever prepared side-kick Robert came prepared with a pair of pre-historic umbrellas in somewhat working order, and we were glad for them. Those were two more umbrellas of any kind that Team Kessalia had! Go us!

For the uninitiated: the Niagara Falls are named in plural for a reason; there are two of them. Just before the falls the river splits in two, with one half falling down the Candian side and the other down the American side. When we arived we were pretty much where the top picture of this comment was taken. This is actually the smaller of the two. From there we walked along the basin to the very edge of the other fall, the Bridal Veil:

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We were quite glad for Robert's umbrellas during this walk. In the rainy weather we might have gotten wet!

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But after all this came the best part. Dubble and Jenn had talked us into going on a Maid of the Mist cruise. This is a little cruise on a boat along the two falls. Granted, I did not need much convincing. I wanted to go. for $16.50CAD, what could be more fun than cruising along the falls on a ship and taking pictures? who could have any objections against a little boat ride...

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In hindsight, maybe we should have known better...

Don't get me wrong, though: I thought the boat ride was awesome! Beedoo! less so; it only worsened her throat ache, which would come back to haunt us later. Still, I'm glad we went...

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Beedoo!
Arno took more than 3 hours putting this page together with all his pics and things. I should really review what he puts up before he does, though. Also, don't tell someone to pose when they're carrying an umbrella. That's just stupid. Pics of me should be disallowed!

Kess has a tendency to lose us. When we stopped at said "visitor center" (which was hardly a landmark), though, it took them ages to find us because they weren't looking. They went to go see an attraction (a hole, I believe... oh boy...) on the other side of the road, and didn't tell us. After regrouping, they lost us again by turning into a parking lot. It was a good trick, and I still don't know hoiw they did it, but at least we had a cheap place to park.

As you can see from some of the photos, it was very drizzly and the weather literally changed every five minutes or so. When we first arrived at the falls, we could only hear them, as there was a huge cloud of mist obscuring everything from vision. Luckily, the sun chose to come out for a little while and the mist dissipated, at least temporarily... so we at least hit that little window of opportunity. However, with my cold worsening and having also yelled and sung a lot during the wedding, my throat made me pretty miserable for most of this trip, and I was in a foul mood. The falls were very pretty, but I should have known better than to go on the boat ride when Jenn and Cleo suggested it. I don't like cold, and I don't like water, and the combination of the two creates an exponentially worse synergy. I had hoped that the plastic-bag rainslickers we were given would sort-of stave off the cold and keep me warm, but no. The rushing water created such a lot of wind and mist that there was no hope of keeping ANY body heat... and barely keeping the slickers on at that! It was very pretty, and a bit exciting, as we were practically driven into the waterfalls. There were a couple of Aussie tourists near me, still looking at the Bridal Veil when I pointed out to them, "Look behind you!" as we were almost under another fall they hadn't even been aware of. They turned around and went "Aaaa!" That was fun.

Even so, breathing the mist didn't do me any good, and I was half-dead for the rest of the day. My impression: yeah, it's water. I've seen it. Now we can go.

Ironically, Kess said the mist did her a world of good. Maybe she's more used to having water in her lungs than me, not coming from a deserty place.



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