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Niagara Falls and Toronto

Top of the falls from the US side

I have been reading, well actually listening to, a book called the Abundance Project, which has reminded me to keep as many channels as possible open, leading to a fuller life. It was in that spirit that I took off for Niagara Falls this morning, having had it on good authority from quite a few people that, as kitschy as it seems, taking a ride on Maid of the Mist is a lot of fun.

The signage for parking and getting to the falls was abysmal, and when I did walk the mile there, I found lines longer than those at Trader Joe's during COVID (remember?). And the sardine-like atmosphere I could see on the Maid was not something that seemed worth waiting half a day for. In fact, you really couldn't pay me enough. Kids were screaming, couples fighting, old people getting knocked over. I guess it's good to know your limits.

Sardine Can of the Mist

A tiny bit of the line to get on the Sardine Can

Many years ago when a boyfriend and I took a private boat from Kos to Bodrum, one of us, I won't say who, might have hidden a tiny bit of a cannabis derivative in a place where it would unlikely be found. At Bodrum, we were surprised that there was a little passport control booth with a man in uniform who had a thin face and dark hair like Adrian Brody, with a pencil mustache and a beige, flat topped cap similar to those of the French military. And of course he had a hooked nose. Although Wes Anderson wasn't making movies back then, this inspector must have inspired him. He looked at my boyfriend's American passport and let him through, then took my British one and for a very long time, looked at it, turning every page, examining it very closely, looking at me, looking again at the passport. During the minutes the went by, scenes from Midnight Express, not that I'd seen it but I'd heard enough about it, went through my mind and I became a bit sweaty on the forehead. Eventually, he shrugged and let me through, telling me that there were initials on my passport that were his, written as he would write them, but there was no Turkish stamp to accompany the initials. I was not able to enlighten him. Once we were out of sight, I found the first bathroom. The contraband was not there.

Now don't get the wrong idea, I wasn't some kind of crazy smuggler, or drug addict, actually, though I certainly am guilty of making a few sub par decisions. There was also a time that, when arriving back from a Caribbean island late at night, last person in line going through customs, the doggies told their handlers that my bag was a good one to check. Long story but after a free ride to Area D at Logan, some blackened finger tips and bail money exchanging hands, I was released and ended up not being found guilty and was told the arrest would be erased from my record.

The line at the Canadian border was short, though the van in front of me got the runaround, with the inspector coming out of his booth, opening all the doors and looking generally skeptical, reminding me of that high tension scene in We're the Millers. I breezed up. handed the guy in baseball coach sunglasses my passport and said hello. He assumed what I'll politely call an unfriendly tone.

What are you doing in Canada? Visiting for a few days.

Where? Toronto.

What will you be doing? Oh, I don't know, exploring the city, just taking a few days off.

Will you be working? Well, I might do a little work on my laptop.

Are you authorized to work? Oh, gosh no, OK, I will do no work!

On and on it went, his hostility increasing with each question. And then. he asked:

Have you ever been arrested?

All the lights were flashing and my system was starting to shut down.

Yes. OK, you're going to need to get a criminal check, pull over there, park your car and do not get out of the car.

I was seriously prepared for a cavity search, this was payback for past crimes for really, all I was bringing in were the parmesan crisps. Instead, a gentle, mid-western looking boy came over with a kind smile on his face

I'm sorry to delay you ma'am, we just need to verify a little information. I won't keep you long

A few minutes later

Here you go, thank you. You enjoy your time Toronto. Do you know where you're going?

Night and day. And off I went. And asked myself why.

Toronto is cool. It's a real city with lots of people living here, doing their thing. An interesting mix of both shiny and new and old and funky buildings, no abandoned streets, no boarded up shops, all busy busy busy. I saw every kind of person imaginable, even more variety than NYC because in NY there aren't a lot of German origin/midwestern types. It seemed like everyone was under 35. Can't wait for tomorrow.

View from room 4101, nice upgrade

Kensington Street Party; sights, smells, sounds, lots of jo

Wares on offer at Kensington

More wares on offer

A different kind of planter. Strawberries...

Bike delivery guys at McDonald's, waiting for their orders to be ready

Ladies waiting more patiently than I for their Juicy Dumplings


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