Last weekend, my husband and I treated the interns staying with us (who are both from Europe) to a trip to Niagra Falls and Toronto. Blame it on my mother, but whenever I hear the words “Niagra Falls” I cannot help but think (and start acting out even) the old vaudeville sketch of an earlier generation… slowly I turn, step by step…
Jennifer, the intern from the Netherlands, wanted to do the iconic Maid of the Mist adventure – in which you pile into a tour boat with a couple hundred of your fellow tourists, all bedecked in blue plastic rain ponchos, and are transported as close to Horseshoe Falls (the bigger of the two) as possible without capsizing. I am always up for a boat ride, so I accompanied her even though I had done this at least once (maybe twice) in the past.
Despite the cattle-like treatment of the blue plastic line-up by the staff handlers (“Move up – move along!”) and the rush of teenagers to the better viewpoints, I have to say the experience was still awesome. Especially when you get to the base of Horseshoe Falls and the cold mists hit you full force. This makes you abandon your camera and just live in the moment (because you can’t see anything through the viewfinder except water, for one thing). I have to admit, I got a little choked up – the majesty of nature and all that.
You forget for the moment that both the American and Canadian sides of the falls are a rabbit warren of tourist traps. It is just you, and The Falls, and millions of tons of water tumbling and churning endlessly. There before tourists and Ripley’s Believe It or Not existed, and there forever exerting its endless power. The refreshment of those few moments was not all in the cold spray and the wet hair (blue plastic is not effective against The Falls). I got misty in more ways than one.