Niagara Falls - Maid of the Mist
Niagara Falls Travel Blog› entry 16 of 16 › view all entries
Not at any single moment during our stroll through America did I begin to take our travels for granted, however I couldn’t help but feel a tinge of anti-climax as we entered Niagara. We were greeted on our Greyhound bus by an unkempt, dishevelled shadow of a town, composed predominantly of rundown buildings and litter covered streets. I think it’s fair to say this was inconsistent with how the area is portrayed as home to one of the natural wonders of the world. That said, careful how you focus your camera when taking pictures of The Pyramids outside Cairo though, because contrary to most photographic evidence, a large, polluted city lurks in the background complete with dusty Pizza Hut and McDonalds restaurants.
Nevertheless we recovered the hostel booking information from our backpacks and grabbed a taxi. Now, if we thought the hostel in Washington was peculiar, it had nothing on the one we were about to stay in. Right from the outset we harboured suspicion that something wasn’t right, as the building was isolated from the rest of the others at one end of the street. It was visually decrepit, and I think the construction company may have given themselves the afternoon off when it came to completing final safety-checks. ‘Another f***ing Hotelling International’ I said under my breath as we checked in.
An odd, middle-aged lady, perhaps of Chinese origin, welcomed us in and gave us bedsheets and washing equipment prior to a tour of the complex, and showing us our dormitory.
Walking to town discussing whether or not blood stained sheets are something you should be apprehensive of when checking into a new hostel, we were approached by a recently released prisoner who was $2.
Regrettably, our reservation at Hostelling International was only for one night, and so after frequenting Hard Rock Cafe for lunch, we relocated to our new hostel. This had been secured using what I believe is referred to as ‘dial up connection’ internet, complete with modem, which I don’t believe has been used in the UK since circa 1998.
I held an inkling this wasn’t an ostensibly tourist friendly part of town and that, on this basis, myself and Kev wouldn’t be very popular. So to endear myself to the local population, I set about loudly expressing my dissatisfaction with the child in front of me on our bus into town, who, to my mind, was playing his accordion much more loudly than he needed to. Part of the problem was that he wasn’t very good, so I considered whether I should have a word with his mother, to recommend an appropriate punishment for her child for his unnecessary exhibition. To my horror, the child turned round, his ‘mother’ became his ‘carer’ and it became apparent he was with a large group of other people on the bus. At this point I realised that I had secured myself a first class single ticket straight to hell. There must have been 30 of them, and each and every single child had Downs Syndrome. Of course they did. There were deep inhales of breath from other passengers, just to make sure, as if I hadn’t realised already, that they were absolutely disgusted with me. Looks of ‘Does this guy think he can come over to the United States of America, and insult disabled children?’ rang round the bus as me and Kev got off. Due to looking down whilst walking off the bus, I did notice that one of the seats was actually a park bench, which I thought was very odd.
Whilst trying to re-assure myself that I was a decent human being, we boarded the Maid of the Mist and took a boat tour around Niagara Falls. At this juncture, I feel I should highlight that if you plan to visit both Niagara Falls and Iguassu Falls, make sure you visit Niagara first. This is not to say it is disappointing, but it will not compare with the sheer scale of Iguassu if you have visited Iguassu already. That said, you do get free flip-flops from Niagara, so it’s swings and roundabouts.
The following morning, after watching Top 20 Celebrity Meltdowns, we boarded our bus to Toronto. We eventually left, but that was not before we’d informed the bus conductor that his beard was almost as good as Xabi Alonso’s, and we’d watched a man abseil down the side of a skyscraper for no apparent reason.