Monday, 9 June 2008

Niagara Fails

Niagara Falls: the second city of honeymoons, the tumultuous and churning divide between North American nations, the easy option when taking a day trip from Toronto. It seemed wrong, somehow, to live here and not visit the Falls. So, with a German and a Minivan as obligatory tourist garb, I departed the city.

Any journey from Ontario south will involve the skirting of large bodies of water. Five lakes border America, as if to warn,"Sure, you can come down. But we're not gonna make it easy for you." In the sleepy hamlet of Niagara-on-the-Lake, this fort remains from the internecine battle between the fledgling American nation and the Canadian colony.

Along the river which feeds the huge hydro generators, there are numerous lookout points to gaze over the river. During business hours, there is also the opportunity to drop your camera from a cable car.

While the river gods mockingly accept your pitiful sacrifice, only the local wildlife openly demonstrate disdain. Note that this is as far as a raccoon can stick out his tongue.

If you needed further proof that Americans are lemmings, this image will suffice.

After the sun goes down in Niagara, powerful spotlights illuminate the Falls. Along the railing for hundreds of metres, a huge crowd completely ignores one of the Wonders of the Modern World in order to watch a crappy covers band belt out a tuneless version of 'My Sharona'.

The mist from the Falls hangs in the air, speckling camera lenses and flattening already bad haircuts. The seething mass of humanity pivots to every point of interest, as easily distracted as children. Here is food; there is music; here are spectacles; there are fireworks. Then, their daily consumption done, they trudge back to their generic cars filled with the detritus of fast food meals, switch on the radio, and set their faces as flint against the torpor of ordinary life.

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