Somewhere along I-190, just past the city of Buffalo, there seems to be a portal, a kink in the time-space continuum, a gateway into an alternate universe where the denizens of the Indian subcontinent seem to have taken over at least a swath of land bordering what is now, Canada. In that alternate universe, this area seems to be attracting a large number of visitors from India, particularly the southern parts and these entrepreneurs from the sub continent seem to be making a huge deal of money from catering to the culinary interests of these visitors. This area seems to be devoid of most locals, who seem to have been banished to some hinterland beyond, with just a few being employed as minions. And the sign boards leading to this place all bear the name – Niagara Falls.
And that is just where I was this past weekend, out to spend the weekend on a road trip that started on Saturday and ended early on Monday, including a brief couple of hours spent strolling on Times Square in the full glare of the billboards.
We reached Niagara close to 8 pm on Saturday after an 8 hour drive and after a brief break in our hotel, started walking around and saw the light show ( see pics here and here, taken with my trusted V300). Then we got in to this balloon ride office and bought tickets from a hot Asian looking chick who seemed to understand what a stir she was causing with all those undone buttons on her shirt. Not that I looked (and I swear that my eyes were looking into hers and they were mesmerising!), but she certainly carried it off with the knowing looks of one who knows she’s being ogled at.
Anyways, a few years back, a single level 5 roller coaster spoiled my whole visit to Kings Island and that incident was still fresh on my mind. So I took the mind numbing decision to excuse myself, in spite of the two ladies with us who were all enthu about seeing Niagara from the sky. Hell, I am RC enough to think objectively about anything and I decided not to risk any chance of hurling which was bound to happen with all that movement up there. Thankfully, the guys understood, with M, having been with me on that aforementioned Kings Island trip. So they went on up and once they came back, it was back to the office and the hot chick (for the refund), where I attempted a few smooth jokes to gloss over the fact that I was the one who had chickened out.
After a take out dinner from one of those roadside desi run dhabas, we hit the sack in our hotel room by midnight. Got outta bed early and got to the Maid of the Mist just in time for the first ride of the day. After a few pics against the backdrop of the falls from the viewing platform, we were then browsing through the Maid of the Mist Souvenir store, when N got this brainstorm of buying identical t-shirt and cap sets and wearing them for the rest of the trip. We changed in the nearby rest rooms and wore the outfit for the rest of the trip.
We made a complete fool of ourselves in front of the handy-cam that U and N had brought. I think I did my worst ever imitation of Thalaivar in Baasha. I also got into a heated discussion with M about whether some of Thalaivar’s mannerisms where actually inspired by Michael Jackson. That was as close to sacrilege as M has ever gotten. U also got into the act, playing the air veena, doing what Chiru does in one of his songs in Indra.
In doing all this, we made our way to the Cave of the Wind area when we experienced the second incident of what we were warned/informed about - the fact that we'd meet someone we know (the first being the fact that Niagara would be like mini-India). Ya, we met F and her hubby. F had been a fellow student at OU and we were totally amused.
At the Cave of the Wind walk through, I promptly got wet, having left my poncho untied. We were jumping up and down like kids in the water as it cascaded. And the view was exhilirating! We then did a brief walk-through close to the Horseshoe Falls and decided to hit the Top of the fall restaurant to blow a hole in M’s pocket. And that was when the rain started. We had beautiful warm sunshine till then, but we did not bother too much, since we were ready to hit the road back again, with the Canadian side being out of bounds for us just graduated, to be graduating students and the sole "non-immigrant worker" visa holder. So we hit the road to NYC at around 2 pm, encountering brief thunderstorms from time to time.
We reached Times Square at 10 and walked around till 12:30 when we shared a pizza at Sbarros. On the way back, I caught this nice ad in front of Toys or Us featuring Geoffery, the Toys R Us mascot. The sight of Geoffrey the Girafee peeking out from the billboard was hilarious. U also caught a nice snap of S (his bro) against the backdrop of the billboards on Time Square, just as one of the boards was flashing an ad that read “Hit me baby one more time”. Purely a coincidence, but hilarious indeed, considering that he had us all in splits through the weekend with his impression of Britney Spears singing "kottu kottu, inka oka saari" (or something like that in Telugu)! We then hit the road back again and dropped back to Newark at around 2:30. In short, it was a weekend of all round fun.