Friday, July 4, 2014

Falls, Not Gorges

My day began in a rather unexpected manner, when at five in the morning I answered a banging on the door and found out that my roommate was supposed to be awake and off to NYC with her friends. She immediately woke up and ran off, and I went back to sleep until a bit after seven. Then I got up, checked that I had everything in my backpack necessary for a long and potentially drenched day, and ran up to RPCC, having neglected to calculate breakfast time into my morning schedule. After a very rushed meal, I was the first person at the RPCC lobby, where we were meant to meet Mr. Chan-Law at eight. 

After a quick stop at a nearby Starbucks, we were on our way with nothing to do but play music and otherwise entertain ourselves in the car for three and a half hours. Although in theory I was rereading Pride and Prejudice and Zombies on my Kindle, in reality I was mindlessly watching the scenery go by. Although we saw two Amish buggies go by, otherwise it was mostly very green land underneath very blue sky and very white clouds, with occasional groups of horses or cows and houses. 

Once we'd arrived at Niagara Falls, we glanced over a few souvenir stands on the street and I had my first ever meal at a Hard Rock Cafe. My Caesar salad, fries, and black tea were not bad, but the atmosphere was much more exciting. The walls were covered with memorabilia from various rock stars, and TVs stationed around the room played music videos mostly from the '80s that corresponded to the music playing from the speakers. 

the view while waiting in line
While we were waiting for our food Mr. Chan-Law had purchased our tickets for the Niagara Falls experience, so after lunch we took a quick trip back to the car to grab things we'd forgotten and then went to stand in line for the steamboat ride. After a longish wait we were handed huge blue ponchos of a thin, sweaty plastic, and let onto the upper deck of the steamboat. There was stiff competition for spots at the rail, but we managed to secure some. The ride took us very close to the falls, so that the mist soaked any exposed hair, skin, or clothing. The wind was also strong - it blew my poncho's sleeves up, exposing my arms, and later blew the bottom up Marilyn Monroe-style. My purple Converse were soon dampened. In the twenty-minute ride, we got quite close to the falls. I'd never seen such awe-inspiring natural power. 

After we'd been properly astounded, we were taken back to shore, put our ponchos into recycling bins, and waited in another long line to take the huge elevators up again. We spent a bit in the gift shop, where I bought postcards, and then bought ice cream cones from a stand that was out of vanilla. Our next activity was a short movie about various legends and stunts to do with Niagara Falls, but we had time to kill before the 5:00 showing, so we sat on a bench and ate our cones. I bought a couple more postcards from another gift shop. 

The half-hour movie was very interesting. We learned about the Native American myth surrounding the Falls, the first man to tightrope across, the retired schoolteacher who went down in a barrel and survived, and a young boy who accidentally went over with only a life vest for protection and also survived. 

After the movie we spent a while in the outdoor flea-market-style souvenir stalls. Everything was very cheap, so I bought a punny t-shirt for myself ("zombies - eat flesh" in the same style as the Subway logo "Subway - eat fresh") and various little things for my family. After a final trip to the bathroom, we got back into the car and started the journey back to Ithaca. We played a few car games and had a long conversation about what TV we'd watched as little kids. 

In Ithaca we had a lovely dinner at ZaZa's, an Italian restaurant of high quality. I tried fried mozzarella as well as an apple-walnut-gorgonzola salad for appetizers and found both delicious, but my main dish, pumpkin ravioli with caramelized onions, was off-putting. The ravioli was nice, but the overwhelming onions looked like worms to me. Furthermore, I was too full to properly enjoy my tiramisu, and I was so tired that I had to order black coffee because I was literally nodding off at the table. 

After dinner we drove five minutes back to campus, and Mr. Chan-Law dropped us off close to North Balch. It was almost time for the 11:45 check-in. I made arrangements with Jun to do laundry together tomorrow morning, but both she and I are dubious that we'll be able to wake up early. We'll see. 

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