Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Trip to Toronto part III

Originally uploaded by AviatorDave.
Late Monday morning we checked out of the hostel, picking up a discounted pass for the CN Tower. This third time we toughed out the queue, only about 35 minutes, and went up the speedy elevator to the top. The observation level, at 342 m (1,122 ft) is clean and attractive, and the walls are full of fun facts about the tower. A most unique feature at this level is a large semicircular section of tough (one hopes!) glass floor. Even after reading the sign on the wall that says the floor was built fully four times the required strength, and could support 14 hippopotami, it takes a moment to nerve yourself to walk out onto the glass. If you are looking down - and how could you not - the sight of the sheer quarter-mile drop below you confounds your brain. I walked right out, thrilling at the insanity of it; Gail must have better instincts for self-preservation, it took her a few minutes to try it. We took lots of pictures, from there and from the normally-oriented windows on the observation level. Unfortunately the summer haze and smog had returned, reducing the visibility; the previous two days had been crystal clear.

Later we stopped by Sergio's apartment, to pick up some of Gail's things that she had brought east for me to take home. Then we drove around Toronto for a bit, looking for a place to eat, and eventually headed down towards Niagara Falls. The long-weekend traffic was congested, and it took us over two hours to get to the Falls; we decided that Gail would take a later bus and I would delay my trip home so that we could tour the falls and take some photos. The car was a liability - they shake you down for $18.00 to park near the falls - so we parked it for free near the transit terminal and took a city bus to the park area.

Niagara Falls
Originally uploaded by AviatorDave.
We began to take photos of the falls, and the wheeling gulls, and then - shamefully, for us two - we both ran out of electricity! I had left my spare battery in the console of the car, and Gail had mixed up her recharged and discharged cells. So we finished out the day with a quick walk around the area, and a jaunt up the brazen tourist-trap of the Canadian Midway. Niagara Falls is a major attraction, but the commercial glare of the casino and the garish neon are really at odds with the natural beauty of the area. At least they keep the worst of it at arm's length; the area immediately by the falls is kept green and natural.

All too soon, it was time for Gail to take the bus back to Toronto, and for me to head south back to the U.S. We heard the Fourth of July fireworks from down by the falls, and said our goodbyes. With luck, we will soon be travelling together again, instead of travelling to see each other; but as always, I had a fine time.