We decided to stay in Canada, after hearing that it was nicer than the U.S. side. I had been anticipating kitsch; had even been excited for cheesy tourist standards, like cheap gift shops, over-priced tours, neon lights, hotels with heart-shaped beds. These things were all there, I think. What I did not expect was the completely dingy, run-down, dilapidated state of the entire area. Trash blew all over the place, among the tourists, and onto the few areas left unpaved next to the falls. Between seedy hotels and tattoo parlors, houses sat in various stages of decomposition, most appearing abandoned or majorly neglected.
We walked to the edge of the falls just before sunset. They were beautiful; so magnificent and powerful. Someone had told us that Niagara Falls was one of the reasons Roosevelt began the National Parks program, and it was easy and really sad to imagine what Niagara would be like if it had been a protected wild space instead of the cesspool of gross consumer tourism it is now. After dark the falls were lit with cotton candy colored lights, just to rub it in.
A word to the wise: please never ever ever ever see the Niagara IMAX movie, ever. Please, for your own sake. It is a dramatic reenactment of extremely dubious historic accuracy, to say the very best.
Niagara Falls had some very good points, like our takeout saag paneer, a bottle of ice wine, and the view from our room in the morning as I sat watching the falls ignite.
A side note to my fellow DFW readers. I finished Infinite Jest while driving back from the Great Convexity/Concavity. We have much to discuss. Upon completion in the car I screamed “That’s it?! That’s it?! Noooooo!”. Five stars. And in Canada Reese’s isn’t possessive.
I am soaring down I76 as I write this, entering our Colorado, thinking about this great voyage, and about the fantastic people who welcomed us along the way, and feeling very fortunate and grateful indeed.