The Roaring Niagara (08/24/03)

Last updated 9/01/03                                                                                                                                                 Russian translation

The blog so far shall contain one word: WOW!

Now I will expand... Niagara Falls is indeed a natural miracle, and nothing, including my story and pictures below, can prepare you for this marvellous sight. We spent a whole day at the falls, on the American side (didn't have passports to cross over to Canada) and saw the waterfalls from multiple locations: you get a view from above when standing at the observation tower, a side view from a catwalk along the falls, an extreme closeup from the Hurricane Deck where you stand about 20 feet away from the crashing wall of water at the base of Bridalveil Falls, and a full frontal view from the boat "Maid of the Mist" that goes out into the basin of Niagara River at the base of American Falls (if you can keep your eyes open under the assault of the mist a.k.a. rain a.k.a raging water stream right in your face). Whichever way you look at them, Niagara Falls are an unforgettable experience.

When you visit, notice that for the walk to the Cave of the Winds and the boat ride you get a plastic raincoat. Do not disdain this item! Be sure to put it on and carefully tie the strings of the hood (even if you intend not to wear the hood), otherwise you will get drenched throughout, underwear and all. When they called the boat "Maid of the Mist", they did not mean morning mist, or heavy fog, or even drizzling rain; when the boat goes out to the base of the falls, it's like being caught in a torrentious pouring rain. Half of the time I couldn't even look at the falls in front of me because of the power of water beating my face! No worries, the journey is perfectly safe except for the getting wet and catching pneumonia part, and leaves a deep impression. The walk to the Cave of the Winds is easier on the senses but still very impressive. There used to be a cave behind the waterfalls from which you could get a backstage view; there isn't any more, it collapsed, so instead you go on a catwalk at the side of the falls and arrive at the Hurricane Deck located so close to the falling body of water that you get the feeling it's rushing right at you. The Hurricane Deck displays a "No smoking" sign which we found hilarious because the mist/rain from the waterfall preclude any possibility of lighting a lighter, much less a cigarette, at the deck.

We visited the falls in good company of the Kadle family, old family friends who live in Buffalo, NY, a short drive from Niagara Falls. Lucky them, they can enjoy the falls any time they feel like it! Ranjana, Prasad and their daughters Rohini and Trisha made our stay in Buffallo extremely pleasant and interesting, while their dog Comet greatly added to the fun. Comet is of Havanese breed, which I had never heard of before but now believe to be the crowning achievement of dog breeding industry in the world. Havanese are small, agile, friendly dogs with two features that make them perfect house pets. First, they don't shed hair because they actually possess human-like hair, silky soft to touch and deeply rooted, and not your usual dog fur that ends up all over the house. People who are allergic to dogs will normally not react to a Havanese for this reason. Secondly, this breed lacks the standard dog smell; Comet even has fresh breath! In addition to these convenient qualities, he is just so damn cute, playful and loveable that one could not wish for a nicer dog. When we come back to California after our world tour, I intend to seriously consider the matter of getting a couple of such dogs (yes, two, because they would have fun together and not be bored when people are away). We just need to figure out the details and convince our wonderful landlord Rene of the advantages of having Havanese dogs in the house. Rene -- look at the pictures below, isn't Comet just lovely?


                            Views of Niagara Falls

                            Brave explorers getting wet

                            WET = FUN

                         Kind members of Kadle family