Sunday, July 05, 2009

Playing hookey

I looked out at the deck. It sat there, mocking me in its ugliness.

"You'll never get rid of me" it said. "There will always be more pressing projects."

"But I hate you." I said to the wood and brick monstrosity.

"I know, but it's too late to do anything this summer anyway. You open Great Lakes in a weeeeeeeek" it hissed at me.

And then I got the crowbar and screw gun.

In a couple of hours the railing was gone and I was working on the flooring. But the weather kept threatening rain. Also, tearing out the deck turned out to

"We need to get out of here!" I said.

"Are you talking to me or the deck this time?" my wife asked.

"What? You, of course. Pack a bag. We're leaving."

And so we did. We grabbed our passports, some money and a change of clothes and took off for Niagara Falls. It's been many years since my last visit and I've never done a lot of the touristy things there. That was about to change. We took the more western Peace bridge and sailed through customs. Then we drove along the lovely Niagara Parkway. Once we hit the town we parked and set off for adventure. We rode the Maid of the Mist, which was awesome. In the morning we drove North into wine country. We visited a butterfly conservatory, a printing museum, bought some fresh cherries and indulged a dream of mine, a helicopter trip.

You know how I've blabbed that I wouldn't have a problem sitting next to a 'brown person' on an airplane because fear mongering in stupid? Well, I got the chance to put my money where my mouth was.

It seems a nice Muslim family wanted to take a helicopter ride. Ok. Cool. But then the men didn't want to go along. Just the wives (wearing burkas) and kids. Ooookay. Then the fuss started. You see, any time you go to an attraction at Niagara Falls, someone will snap your picture for the inevitable souvenir photo at the end. I knew this wasn't going to go well. The dutifull young woman tried to take shots of all of us and the women kept trying to tell her that they DID NOT want their picture taken. It was, in a word, awkward. Once the copter arrived we piled in. Strangely, they put one of the mothers in the front next to the pilot, and me, Rossana, the other mom and the two kids in the back. Why not keep that group together? Why not put the one male adult in the front? I don't know and there was no chance to debate when there are whiling blades of death above you.

Off we go, and it was AWESOME. I took some video with the new phone which I'll post soon. It was a trip flying high above the Falls. The helicopter was buffeted a little by the winds which gave it that slight roller coaster feeling. I can't tell of the ladies enjoyed the trip, and the one little boy sitting across from me spent most of the trip eyeballing ME as if I might do something crazy.

We crossed over to the American side and parked on Goat Island. I wanted to visit the cave of the winds (where you walk right up to the bottom of the waterfall and can also go behind it. But the wait was between 2-3 hours. Fail.

We strolled to the Amercian and Horseshoe edges before deciding to head home (with a quick stop to the Anchor Bar in Buffalo for some take out wings, of course).

I'm glad we took the trip, it's our last chance before the season starts and it's all work.

Update! Pics are Here.