Wednesday, 15 July 2015

After a day of travel - LA to Detroit, Detroit to Syracuse - we were met at the airport by Kat and Jon. Kat was one of Jesse’s best friends in high school and the two fall into the same speech patterns and reminiscences as if they were never apart. Jon and I left them to hug while he paid for parking and I found a bathroom that was bigger than a closet. Jon is American, very American to my eyes, with a square jaw and khaki pants, like a picture of an American. I like both Kat and Jon immensely. 

“You’ve packed light!” said Kat, “For coming halfway around the world, for six weeks.”
“We don’t want to carry it,” I said, thrusting the two kilos of chocolate she’d requested at her, thus lightening my own load considerably. Jon shoved our bags in their tiny car (“Does it ever make you feel emasculated?” I asked before I could stop myself. “Sometimes, yeah,” said Kat. 

Kat drove for four hours, and then we were in Canada. It was 1am. Jesse and I had flown out of LAX (which was the hell everyone predicted it would be) at 9 the previous morning. The Holiday Inn had a Pillow Menu which delighted us, but we were all too tired to take advantage of it. 

We walked a mile the next day in search of breakfast, but everything was shut, except the funeral parlour. There were tulips planted alongside picket fences - tulips everywhere. 

It wasn’t until we headed back to the hotel to get the car to get breakfast that we saw the falls. We’d been walking with our backs to them all morning. 

They were almost too big to comprehend, too big to photograph. 

Up close, the water was very clear, and made you dizzy to stand too near. 

We looked at them from every angle, and took a boat ride to get closer still. 

We wore raincoats to avoid those environmentally unconscionable ponchos, ignoring what affect all those flights, all that driving, would have on the environment. 

There were large ice floes at the bottom of the falls, whorled brown with dust and time. 

The sun was hot - we were all wearing shorts - but the mist that rose from the falls was cool. 

It was beautiful. A beautiful a site as you’ll ever see, i reminded myself, and opened my eyes wide to the mist and the falls. 

We went to a gift shop - I take a great delight in gift shops - and bought post cards and looked at stuffed moose.

There were black squirrels hopping around the lush parks and green spaces which boarded the falls. They delighted me almost as much as Niagara. “I WANT one!” I said, “Why haven’t they been domesticated so I can hug one?”
Kat, a biologist, took me literally: “They’ve tried, and it doesn’t work. Squirrels are just the worst."

We ate poutine, and 20c chicken wings, and drank craft beer, and the next day it was time to go back to America, and that was Canada, for now and for us. 


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