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Beyond the Pale - A 'pale' is a fencepost. The English Pale was a boundary in Ireland marking out the part of Ireland under direct English rule circa 1450 (which included Dublin and environs). Those that lived 'beyond the pale', outside of English rule, were considered out of control and uncivilised. You decide...

Sunday, October 2, 2005

Letters from the Americas 2005 (part 12) - Canada Niagra Falls

Niagra Falls
LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, THIS IS...NIAGRA FALLS


When I got back to Toronto after Nova Scotia an odd thing happened... 

I was sitting in Mickey D's (gimme a break, I had a Mac attack) catching up with Therese who stayed in Toronto to work, so picture it, two amazing women chatting away (that's me and Therese btw) discussing something deeply profound like why coca cola kicks pepsi's a**, when, lo and behold, I spotted this woman a few seats down staring at me, who could blame her eh (kidding). She looked normal enough, perhaps she went a little loopy with the old rouge and may have slapped on her lipstick in the dark but, ya know, we all have our bad hair days. 

How wrong was I....

I'm there mid sentence, (diet coke in hand, obviously) when certifiable sue in the corner starts yelling at me "you low income degenerate criminal, you ABUSER" she kept repeating this over and over with actually a lot worse stuff added which I don't even want to put in print. She had got to her feet and was bellowing this at me, her wild eyes were genuinely that of a woman gone insane, and the hate, oh god, the hate, I have never witnessed anyone yell at someone with such bitter bitter hatred, she spate the words at me with such vitriolic venom. I was shocked into silence and couldn't even budge; I went about 50 shades of purple as the whole restaurant gawped on. Fair play to Therese, she was on her feet and straight out that door, heehee, no she didn't go out the door, she went straight up to the staff and kept asking them to do something. As predicted they all hid behind Ronald MacDonald and did absolutely nothing, but bizarrely enough, once I moved out of the mad cow's line of vision she abruptly went back to her burger and was totally placid! (Btw, I don't actually think she was a mad cow it's supposed to be a ref to the disease found in dodgy meat, gosh explaining my jokes!)

Apparently, in Canada’s past, for some reason the mental health institutions decided (were forced?) to downsize so anyone that was deemed able to survive was left to do just that, on their own. You see unwell people dubbed "crazies" wandering the streets, often it's very obvious, but a lot of the time someone looking like their mental facilities are all ship shape can be standing beside you at the bus stop and then you realise the loud conversation they've been having for the last 20 mins wasn't into a cell phone after all. Very sad.


Good knight, Josephine!


Scrumptious
Speaking of Toronto, I must mention our trip to Medieval Times, you may remember it from such movies as Cable Guy. Jeez, I never said it was gonna be a cool movie. MT is fab-u-low-so, we got to dress up as people from the middle ages, so I went as Gay Byrne, nooo, they gave us medieval frocks and kept calling us M'lady, proper order I reckon. All the staff is in costume and playing the part, it's held in a massive arena that is mocked up as a castle. There's fanfare, trumpets, pomp, ceremony, a king, a princess, knights, horses, jousting, cheering, booing, fighting, falcons flying through the crowd, a banquet with no cutlery, tearing chicken apart with your hands, slurping soup from a bowl, a wizard, wands, good laughs, good people, good times... Medieval Times :o) 

Sharon, Sheilagh and Therese at Medieval Times
Groovy
Well no sooner were we back from the banquet when the kingdom of Niagara requested our immediate attendance. If you make the trip from Niagara I suggest you take the Magic Bus, just for the tunes, classic stuff. Oh and the ice wine stop on the way down is refreshing too. The wine is super sweet though cos they leave the grapes on the vines to freeze, not really my cup of tea, or should I say verre de vin (snarfle, snarfle). 

Just before you get to Niagara there is a town outside it called Niagara by the Lake, or Niagara at the Lake, or Niagara up the swany or something like that. It's perfect, it really is, it's very much a small town but yet sufficiently big to actually look like there's something to do in the evenings when cow tipping wears a little thin. It's terribly waspish and posh of course.

When you rock up to Niagara itself, you'll be surprised, they have this weird waterfall thing :o)


Tack-arama

Nah, the surprise is that the town is Tackville Tennessee, Cheeseburg Louisiana, Gaudytown Georgia, you get the gist. The place is wall-to-wall wax works, amusements, crazy golf, haunted houses, fast food. Ok, to be fair, that probably only extends over a few blocks and the rest of the place is hotels, motels, trailer parks (ok ok, I made up the trailer park bit). But, you know, each to their own, when contemplating its title as honeymoon capital, Sharon was horrified, I was amused, and Therese was delighted!

Awesome
Maids of the Mist
The falls itself are truly awesome, it was actually the first time I uttered the word awesome and meant it in its proper form. The sheer power of the falls leaves you awe struck (yes, I get paid every time I say the awe word, no I don't, but that literally would be an awesome job!). You take this famous boat out to the falls called the Maid of the Mist, which allows you to get right up to the falls, and yes you've guessed, appreciate up close with *awe* and wonder. In the language of alcohol (for you fluent boozehounds out there, hiccup) the volume of water each second coming over the falls is like emptying 6 millions bottles of beer, so yeah, just like a Friday night for some of you! 

Just as you get right under the falls the announcer goes "Ladies and Gentlemen... This is... Niagara Falls", and as if on cue, the spray of the falls showers down (in an awesome way) and by magic a rainbow appeared (awww....sum), myself and Therese, who love a bit of drama, went into raptures. We quite happily spent the rest of the day/holiday entertaining each other by announcing everything with a clearing of the throat and "Ladies and Gentlemen... This is... Monday Morning", heehee. AWESOME!

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