Tuesday, January 11, 2011

You're going WHERE? WHEN? Are you Crazy?


No, Canada---the Great White Way!

The short answer is...Yes, we ARE crazy! But, that's how WE roll!

It all started when the DH decided he needed some more frequent flyer miles for 2010 to be upgraded to gold, or platinum, or something. So, he suggested we take a short vacation before the end of the year. Okay. Cool. Sounds fun!

It was at this point that my friend Kelly (Wave and say "Hello" Kelly) said, "You should come visit ME!" Sounds like fun, right? Going to visit a friend? Close to the holidays? SURE! Except that THIS friend lives in Canada. Yep, that's right, that country just south of the North Pole. Since this was already Octoberish, there were not many open weekends before the end of the year. We found a mutually agreeable weekend in December. 2 weeks before Christmas.

Plane tickets bought, dates confirmed, and the adventure began. We went through airport security in Dallas, and while we didn't have to be groped- or go through the x-rated machines, it was requested that I remove my shirt. (Okay, so I had on a sweatshirt with another shirt underneat, and they just wanted me to remove the sweatshirt, but still!)

Because of the fact that a.) people are too stooped to understand the meaning of "1 carry on and an additional personal item", and b.) the airlines are too lame to enforce same rule, the overhead compartments were full before we boarded the plane, causing us to have to gate check our carry-on. What they failed to tell us, was that the gate-checked bag would not be waiting for us at the gate during our layover in Chicago, but would be placed in the belly of the beast, and we would have to go to baggage claim in order to retrieve said carry-on. Oops!

Upon landing in Chicago, I waited inside the airport while Gene went to baggage claim, retrieved the bag, and then returned through security. Luckily, the line for security was short on that Thursday afternoon.

We arrive in Buffalo where we were accosted, er, greeted by Kelly and her Dad. (Hi Dad!)

When we got to Kelly's house, because of the proximity to the North Pole, the dense cloud cover, and the late date, it was nearly dark. By the time we deposited our luggage, greeted the schnauzers, and loaded up for our first glimpse of Niagara Falls, it was dark. DARK DARK DARK DARK DARK. (I don't think the moon reaches Canada)

Our first glimpse at the falls! Niagara Falls, NY is in the background.

The Canada Falls---not quite as impressive as the American side, but still lovely! ;)

They heard that the Americans had invaded, and were nice enough to provide mood lighting for our viewing pleasure. (When you only get 3 tourists during the month of December, you go out of your way to make them happy!)

After a lovely Italian dinner of baby seal alfredo and whale blubber gnocchi.....(okay, not really). It was Italian, and it was awesome. We headed back to Kelly's abode where we settled in, chatted for awhile, loved on the dogs, and then headed to bed to get an early start.

After a breakfast of Non-Candian bacon, eggs, pancakes, etc., we headed out for a view of the Falls during daylight hours. The fog and the mist is incredible!

The layer of frost, ice, and snow on EVERYTHING!

During the summer, the viewing platform below is open to the public. Not sure WHY it isn't in the winter! Hrmmm.

Me and Kelly, in front of the Canadian Falls, being pelted by frozen rain. (Despite Kelly's firm belief that if her image is captured on film, her soul will be stripped from her body, she graciously allowed me to take 2- count them 2 photos of her.) Kelly was such a trooper to endure the bitter cold/rain to stand and stare at something that is practically in her backyard. Something she can enjoy during NICE weather.

I found this sign amusing, and wonder if it was REALLY necessary. If you're stupid enough to not know that climbing over the railing (especially an icy one) could result in a plunge to an icy, watery grave, then, well, that's just nature's way of putting a little chlorine in the gene pool.

Evidently, the Canadian interpretation of the this sign is a little different than the American interpretation. Darn Canadians- they don't do ANYTHING right!

We were informed that this hung in the middle of photo is a Scow- abandoned many moons ago when the crew of the scow feard for their lives. I guess they didn't *really* have to worry about going overboard, did they? I think it was a Garbage Scow, but Kelly argued with me.

We then loaded up in Kelly's little 4-door Speck and headed to wine country! Niagara-On-The-Lake. What a beautiful little town. It reminded me of the Hallmark Christmas stories that take place in a small country town, where everyone knows each other.

We got a nice little Christmas present while there. They can do that in little towns!

Of course- furniture in this small town was a bit more........rustic.

I found this sign interesting. I mean, really. Who adds sugar to beanie babies anyway?

We found out quickly that we did NOT have the appropriate attire for Canada. Far from it! No one told me I needed a moose hat!

At the end of an afternoon of shopping, we stopped in the historic "Prince of Wales" hotel for a hot toddy, where we posed for a group shot.

We spent our last evening in Canada at Kelly's parents house, eating pizza, and learning all about Kelly's deep dark secrets! (I can be bought!) We were to be at the airport for a 5:30 flight to New York City for the second phase of our vacation. The NYC adventures will be chronicled in another blog post!

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