Thursday, April 18, 2019

Reality Intrudes

Every now and then, reality delivers a crushing blow to fantasy. Take Niagara Falls.

This is the Niagara Falls of my imagination: Honeymooners go there because it’s so romantic, the power of the waterfall underlines nature’s majesty, the shared border gives it international significance. All that and the extra my fantasies add to it.

When our family was in Argentina in 2012, we visited IguazĂș Falls on the border with Brazil. It was beyond spectacular. The force of the waterfall filled every fiber of your person. It thundered through you, pounded your atoms. You had to hike trails to get to the overlooks, and it was all Nature-with-a-capital-N.

So imagine my distress to discover Clifton Hill right across the street from Niagara Falls.

No one warned me! The shock of a giant Frankenstein eating a Burger King hamburger, King Kong on the side of a tilted over Ripley’s Believe It or Not, Dracula’s Haunted Castle – it’s monster land! Then there’s Big Top aMAZEing Fun and Lazer Tag and Mini Putt. And Rainforest CafĂ© and IHOP and DQ.

“Clifton Hill: the Street of Fun at Niagara Falls.” Everything all jammed together with outside loudspeakers proclaiming the horrors within. I couldn’t imagine anything more horrifying.

This is what travel does: it opens your eyes. To wonder and beauty and novelty and awe. And sometimes, disappointment and shock that what you see is not what you imagined and just not pretty.

Tim turned to me and said, “At least we’re not here on our honeymoon.”

No, our honeymoon was spent in horrendous winds and rain on Twin Lakes. Wind so bad our tent poles bent and snapped. Wind so bad there were white caps on the lake and our pilot couldn’t get in to pick us up. Wind so bad we hunkered down under the tarp and never even dreamed of unpacking the kayak.

But at least we weren’t at Niagara Falls!

P.S. What was pretty, even very pretty: the ice to the side of the falls, the swooping cloud of birds in front, the spinning swirls of water, the mist, the Niagara Parkway, Niagara-on-the-Lake.

Beauty lurks.

1 comment:

  1. When I went to the Canadian side many years ago, it was lovely. And the American side was janky. What’s what’s that old song about paving paradise.


Sharing Button