Niagara Falls

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August 29th 2006
Published: October 15th 2006
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We had started out in Chicago the night before & caught an overnight Amtrak train through Toledo, Cleveland arriving in Buffalo in the morning. The train was spacious & the seats reclined without invading other passengers space but they were not very comfortable & very hard to sleep on. When we rolled into Buffalo in the morning we realised that most of the passengers alighting here were also on their way to Niagara but rather than catching a local bus for the forty minute journey to Niagara they were waiting seven hours for the next train there instead. They had settled on the wooden benches in the waiting room & did look slightly more comfortable than they were on the train. We caught the bus into town through the run down areas & then another onto Niagara, being Saturday morning lots of kids were getting on in full American football gear ready for practice or possibly just safely navigating their way home.
The border crossing had no-one in on the American side & we walked alone across the Rainbow Bridge which gives a great view of all the falls. The guy at Canadian immigration was a little disappointed that we were only going to be in Canada for six days & remarked that 'We had been around a bit!' when trying to find space in our passports for the stamp, but apart from that we didn't have to sign anything to waive our rights or say whether or not we had ever had thoughts about blowing ourselves up.
Having already visited Victoria & Iguazu falls on our adventure, Niagara was a little disappointing. There was plenty of water gushing over it & great plumes of spray all around it, but it looked a little manufactured. Even ignoring the huge Vegas-style casinos & hotels, the numerous wax museums & video arcades that surround it, the falls looked like they had been carved out by man. The American falls were straight & uniform crashing down onto the rocks below & the Canadian falls a perfect horseshoe, there were very few other natural features surrounding them. Not to say that they are not impressive just a bit synthetic.
We were staying at Lyon's House Hostel (the owners from the north of England were very hospitable) & once we had settled in we checked out what there was to do in Niagara. Once you've seen the falls from the bridge, the Maid of the Mist & walking behind it that's pretty much it for Niagara, so we took $20 to one of the arcades got ourselves a bucket of tokens & spent the evening trying to tickets. It took us a good couple of hours to spend our tokens and we ended up with whole bunch of tickets that we swapped for a Cookie Monster Chef toy, some temporary tattoos, a model glider & some plastic frogs that we nearly lost within seconds of picking them up having flicked them onto the carpet while testing them out. It was very tacky but we enjoyed it.

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