Thursday, September 27, 2012

Niagara Falls, Canada

We had some free time after the roller derby tournament finished for the day, so we thought we’d go check out Canada. We needed some poutine, after all. D.Rough, Scar, A-Wow, DorkyBarb, Shug, Rita, and I ran for the border.

Getting to the border wasn’t a problem at all. Intimidating, but not a problem. In fact, the walk across the Rainbow Bridge is pretty lovely (and much quicker than driving). And you can get pretty awesome photos of the falls from the bridge, as well. However, once you got to the Canadian border patrol, the officer working the counter yelled at us for being too loud and then refused to stamp our passports to prove we went there. The guy went way past being “not friendly” and I’m glad none of us ran our mouths to the guy – it’s been known to happen.

Our first stop was at Pizza Pizza. You’d think it was a Little Caesar’s pizza place, but it isn’t. It’s more of a pizza and snack shop. We heard the poutine was pretty good, so we grabbed a couple of orders for all of us to split. It honestly was really good. Everything was good – gravy, fries, and curds. There were a few mumblings that it was better than the stuff we got at the Minnesota State Fair, but I won’t mention which people said that. If you get a chance, it’s probably worth grabbing some poutine there. And maybe singing some metric karaoke outdoors while being video’d.

Since Niagara Falls (both sides of the river) has wax museums every block – I’m not kidding – we thought we’d better hit one. We went to the Criminals Hall of Fame. Pretty amusing, but nothing to write home about. A couple of interesting facts, as well as a sign that says something about these people NOT being heroes – they’re criminals. Yes, I know. And thank you for the photo I needed to do my derby face paint tomorrow!

We walked across the street to grab some food at Casablanca – it’s sort of a middle eastern place with a pizza parlor at one end of the building. You can get kebobs and gyros and hummus, but if you want pizza, it’s totally another counter. Of course I wanted pizza. But I got shwarma pizza, so it was totally worth it.

The restaurant also provides hookas for the table if you want. Obviously, it’s just plain tobacco and not opium, so don’t freak out, mom. We got some double apple stuff and had an awesome dinner and an absolutely fabulous time just hanging out.

Due to some time constraints we were unable to go to the awesome-looking dinosaur mini-golf course. I was crushed, but I’m sure I’ll live. Instead, we hit the duty free shop at the border. There are weird restrictions on how much liquor you can bring back across the border to the US, which was fine, since we only bought pure maple syrup. (Oddly enough, it was in a bottle that looked like a fifth of whiskey – honestly, it WAS syrup!!!) And then once you make your purchases, you go to a pick-up window and the store clerk walks your bag to the other side of the border. I’m not sure what good that does, but red tape is red tape. On top of this, it will cost you $.50 to get back through the Canadian side. Really? 50 cents? Bet they’re making a killing. Weird.

Once through the border crossing and headed back to the US across the Rainbow Bridge, DorkyBarb noticed the border patrol officer was different than the mean original one we had. Through a series of hilarious gestures and international signs (I’m pretty sure those Canadian border patrol guys speak English, but I could be wrong), she got the guy to stamp all of our passports!!!! She’s a Real American Hero.

Once back across the bridge, we had to go through American customs and the people there were much nicer and helpful and chatty. You get asked the regular questions about how long you were there, what you bought, and such. And then they usher you down this long hallway with a door at the end. You have to touch the door and then wait about 30 seconds for a light to go on and then push on the door again to open it. I’m sure it’s just some elaborate hoax to videotape people either crashing into the door (like I did) or thinking they’re now trapped because they didn’t push on the door a second time. Thanks for the well-explained directions, America!

A super fun trip to Canada, and I may or may not have been quoted as saying, “Niagara Falls, Canada looks like Wisconsin Dells threw up… in metric!” Fact!

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