falls from the rainbow bridge
Up early and i drove into town along buffalo avenue and parked up on 3rd street opposite a souvenir shop which has a small 'Dare Devil' museum in it , i ask the guy and he says that the street parking is free there , which is a result considering it is $10 per day a few hundred yards along past the Information Centre. I leave the car and head off on foot towards Rainbow bridge which links the two Niagara Falls and is a border crossing .It is a 10 minute walk into Canada , the border guard checks my passport , Canada being part of the British Commonwealth , there are invariably good relations and little hassle with entering such countries , the guard is friendly and chatty , seeing a few India Visas in my passport he remarks that i am well travelled to which i jokingly reply that the older i get the more travel will be required until a stroke or heart attack which might put an end to all of that .
Maid of the mists boat trip
As i walk into Canada Niagara falls i can see a number of casinos , some large expensive hotels and lots of colourful arcades and fair ground type rides .There is a big Hard Rock Cafe .It all seems a bit tacky but clean and with no litter or mess around .
Not surprisingly there are lots of tourists around , many taking guided tours , there are especially lots of asian indians , most of the women wearing saris , on the american side i had noticed several indian restraraunts and cafes .
I wandered around uphill looking for an internet facility and there wasnt one , there are many hotels and it is clear that this town is geared towards tourism and providing facilities for tourists .
I got talked into buying a guided tour ticket for a hop on-hop off bus which included tickets to several of the attractions .It was $48 American .One of the other TB blogs had recommended visiting Niagara on the Lake , but when i enquired they said that the bus tour did not go that far west and if i took a taxi from the western most end of the tour , it would cost $30 one way . There are plenty of tourists and we all just kind of herd around from one attraction to the next one , there are quite a lot of familes with kids .
The accents seem to be the same on both sides of the river , the Canadian falls are best and generally better views and better tourist facilities on that side .Most of the tourbus drivers are women , they also provide the commentary , i take the Maid of the mist ferry ride into the spray of the Canadian Falls , we are given blue plastic see-thru raincoats which are very neccesary ,i do not bring my camera out and we all get nicely wet , its a warm day.
canada horseshoe falls
We get to keep the rainmacks if we wish .Here are seabird colonies nesting on the American side and what looks like Cormorants or Shags nesting in the few trees on the banks.I keep on expecting to see Superman and Lois Lane , we all take the walk behind the falls where there are a few 'portals' cut into the rock at the rear of the falls . After about 5 hours or more i wander back over the rainbow bridge , on the Canadian side there are large numbers of youngsters looking for excitement.Both here and in Usa generally quick foods is available everywhere and , of course , quickly , there is a tendency just to get something when you are hungry , rather than at set times , probably my food intake is 30% more than my normal daily intake .
It is cooling down , back on the Us side i see an Internet sign on a large glass building , the Welcome Centre ,anyone spending $5 or more in the T shirt shop there has free use of the Internet , since there is no one else using it , the assistant (who has got his Itunes running on it) , says i can use it for as long as i like .This is the only place i found on either side with a PC and Internet available for the general public
Welcome Centre , niagara Usa , contains two cafes , an information point , a T shirt/clothes store and Internet access
I get a Niagara Falls T shirt for $10 .
He is a friendly off-beat hairy type and we talk as i check out my emails , he tells me that Niagara Falls Usa was used as part of the 'Manhattan Project' (which was the developement of the atomic bomb used in 1945) and there is a rumour of radioactivity there , this may explain why the Usa side is underdeveloped and with some empty buildings .
He likes music and i show him an Amy Winehouse Utube which has had a cool 13.8 million hits !! , he is on duty of course and his female boss is keeping an eye on him , there are few customers . I use the internet for about 90 mins , it has an old version of IE running , but thats no real problem .