To change things up a bit around here, I thought I’d go do some things in Canada. Dave came along, too.
We usually vacation at the beach, where our walking involves getting from the bed to the pool to the buffet. Repeat for 6 days. But although there are very nice beaches in Canada, we wanted to see more. This meant walking. A lot.
At Niagara Falls, there is no way to avoid The Hill. It’s so steep you have to kind of trot down it. Walking back up? I seriously hope you didn’t buy souvenirs down there. Any excess baggage (including shopping bags, your purse, hat, and possibly pants) will have to be discarded for the trip up The Hill. As you drag your ass up, entertain yourself by watching the variety of people happily making their way down: old ladies, really fat guys, someone on crutches. What goes down, must come up!
We saw pretty much all of Toronto on foot.
My favorite places? Queen Street and Chinatown. The Harborfront is nice, too. Question for Torontians: When the pedestrian has the right-of-way, that’s really a joke, right? Because cars turning right on red were mowing me down at every intersection.
On the flight home, my bunion throbbed so much I had to take an ADDITIONAL sedative.
After riding on the Maid of the Mist, we stopped at a handy Yogen Fruz for a refreshing watermelon “fruity ice,” or what I would call a “slushie.” My first indication that something was dreadfully wrong was Dave asking, “Take a sip and tell me if you think it tastes like watermelon.” The flavor was familiar: not terrible, yet not appropriate. I couldn’t quite put my finger on it. Then I got it. We were drinking Tomato Paste Slushies.
Canadians may have their watermelon and tomato paste mixed up, but they do junk food right. Ketchup potato chips? Maybe later, after I sample the intriguing Ruffles “All Dressed” variety. There was no description of what “all dressed” meant, but the large-sized bag had a picture of a vinegar shaker, a red pepper, and an onion. Translation? DEE-licious.
Sign the petition to bring Ruffles All Dressed to the US!
I may have picked up a few Canadian candy bars, too.
Do not, I repeat, do not miss Tim Horton’s.
I Experienced Cultural Differences
Everyone is friendly in Canada. Maybe it’s because nobody’s drunk. Dave wanted to buy beer and was told there are two Beer Stores in the entire city and the closest one was already closed. At 9 PM. This was incomprehensible to me and infuriating to Dave, who, the following day, trudged about 6 blocks to the closest store AFTER we’d already walked 70 miles.
Canadians talk funny! I asked for a “car-mel” latte and was given a “care-a-mel” latte. And the Canadian Olympics coverage actually focused on countries other than the US. Did you know Trinidad and Tobago won 2 silver medals for track events? Did you know Trinidad and Tobago was even in the Olympics?
I Got up Early
Niagara Falls is best viewed between the hours of 6 and 8 AM, when you can walk along the promenade without tripping over strollers or getting in the way of large families taking home movies. But if you ever go to Niagara Falls with Dave, don’t get him up at 6:30, even if he specifically asks you to. You’ll both be sorry. And don’t expect to find any bathrooms open at that hour. Crabby Dave, 6:30 AM, no bathrooms. A worse combination you will never find.
I Met Kathy
I swear, I’ve probably used a cell phone twice in my entire life, but on the drive to Toronto, Kathy and I were texting every 5 minutes. Of course, being the language sticklers we are, we insisted on using complete sentences, proper punctuation, and appropriate capitalization. When we met, we did what we do best: eat and talk and laugh. And complain about our poor feet. Along with Kathy’s sister Ann and niece Regan, we had great conversation and lots of laughs over lunch, ice cream, and dinner. You think Kathy’s blog is awesome? You should meet Kathy in person. As the Canadians say, she is ZE BEST!
One of our favorite Falls attractions is the Cave of the Winds, which is on the American side. At one point, we gazed down to the river below. “Look at the monkeys!” Dave yelled. “Oh, my gosh!” I responded. Sadly, there were no monkeys. They were just large brown sea-birds. Apparently we forgot which continent we were on. Also, we may be blind.
Like all good tourists, we rode the terrifying glass elevator up the CN Tower. At 1,122 feet, the observation deck offers great views of the lake and the city, provided you can elbow enough people out of the way. Yeah, I’m talking about you, granny. There is also a section of the floor made of supposedly reinforced glass. You can look straight down all 1,122 feet to a certain death below. Some people sat on the floor; others actually laid down on it.
Folks, I stood on the glass floor. I did it so you wouldn’t have to. I took a deep breath and put both feet on that glass. And I would’ve taken a picture of me standing on the floor, but I was too busy fainting.
The binoculars Dave always brings on trips (and always leaves in the room) came in handy. We could see where we’d eaten lunch the day before. Our hotel was easy to spot: just look for the construction site. I wish we’d had the binoculars when we thought we saw monkeys on the riverbank.
I Bought Stuff
If you want souvenirs, go to Chinatown. They have everything you could ever need or want, and it’s all cheap. Look! On your right! I got these two awesome bags for a total of $12. I don’t know what they sold at JD Gifts, but I doubt they had ANYthing under $12.
I Did Nude. And Gay
We hopped aboard the ferry to Hanlan’s Point, one of the three Toronto Islands. The islands are beautiful and a nice respite from the city. Rent bikes at Center Island (avoid everything else there unless you have kids—then it’s paradise) and ride around the connected islands.
Yes, there was a nude beach; it was also a gay beach. That’s fine with me. If a bunch of men aren’t going to stare at my naked body, I’d rather they were gay. I never thought I’d prefer to see an old guy naked, but the one wearing a straw hat, white T-shirt that didn’t cover enough, white socks, and black shoes—and carrying his wallet—probably should’ve just kept it all off. Unfortunately, I missed the guy who pulled a boat up to about 8 feet from shore and proceeded to blatantly stare at the beachgoers thru his binoculars.
I Got My Comeuppance
No more joking about being poisoned. We’d had several delicious hot dogs served in a paper envelope with the adorable Schneiders logo. But guess what. On our way to the airport, we heard about some tainted meat that resulted in an outbreak of “listeriosis,” or, as Dave insisted on calling it, “mysteriosis.” When we heard that one of the plants in question was SCHNEIDERS—the makers of our beloved hot dogs—we simultaneously clutched our stomachs and screamed. The terrible news got worse. “Symptoms may take one to ninety days to occur,” said the grave radio announcer. Dave was distraught. “Three months? I can’t wait three months to find out if I’ve got mysteriosis!”
What else did I do? I missed Gus and Pru, called my mom twice from a coffeeshop, dipped my aching feet in Lake Ontario, sat in some tar, got a killer suntan, left my beach towel behind, and slept really well on a strange pillow.
Let me know if you’d like me to go anywhere else for you!
Look at more pictures.
I could use a smile.