Saturday, October 09, 2004

Niagara, not the fall but raise of water.

Saturday 7 am, Sep 11th 2004, the third anniversary of the 9/11 incident here in US, we packed our bags, maps, directions and started our 400+ miles journey to Niagara falls, one of nature’s unparallel creation. Our car, a Mitsubishi Galant was quite spacious for 5 of us. Clocking an average of 75 mph and with a couple of stops for gas, breakfast and lunch, we reached Niagara Falls' city around 2 pm. Niagara city (or whatever its called), is a tiny city that boasts of having an International Airport is separated from Hamilton, Canada only by the falls. We had already booked our accommodation in Rodeway inn, one of the economical hotels in that area. Rodeway is run by a Gujarati family. We checked in, freshened up and off we went to the falls.

Niagara has two falls, the American falls that’s on the US side and the Horse shoe falls that separates US from Canada. I must say, it is really magnificent. The sight of water descending exuberantly from a great height with that extreme velocity resulting in tall fumes that instantly turn to vapors was spectacular. On a normal day the falls gives away 675,000 gallons of water every second. Enough to quench the thirst of whole of Chennai. We went on the "Maid of the Mist", a ferry that cruised past the American falls, to the Horse shoe falls and back. We were all given complimentary dark blue raincoats to avoid getting wet and from a far sight, the cruise boat with people in the coats looked like a basket of blue berries. First we went past the American falls; it was a dramatic view of the water dashing down and two clear and close rainbows that were ornamenting the falls. This was a starter, and now comes the main course, with water pouring at full 275 degree angle, the falls gets its name because of its shape of a typical horse shoe. Well, pouring is an understatement, it was a battle for supremacy between every molecule of water in which some succeed and jingle with the breeze as vapors, while others follow the monotonous path to the destiny. It is surprising to know that this relentless flow and the zeal is only for another month, soon there will be no battle, no pandemonium, and everything will be stilled by the unbiased yet ruthless winter. After admiring the beauty of the huge waves, tall fumes and vapor clouds, we walked up the hill to get closer to the falls.
Soon, we walked to the other side of the American falls, into the great island, near the caves. That place gave us an opportunity to get up close and personal with the flowing waters of the American falls, but somehow not feeling like getting wet, we decided to stay on top, enjoy the beauty, take pictures and sight birds ;). I had a wonderful close ups with a Russian made binocular that my dad gifted me.

There is nothing better than feeling like home. And Niagara was the best. I haven't seen these many Indian families anywhere else. There were all kinds of mamas and maamis, mostly babysitting. Listen them talk was really simply recreating.

After some hot cappuccino and French fries, it was time for the light show. The view is best from the Canadian side, and it wasn’t a big deal from this end. I didn't enjoy it that much.

Once we were done, we had dinner in an expensive yet not worthy restaurant and drove back to the hotel. Not before getting lost a couple of times before we figured out our location.

I got to talk to Ashok, one of my very good friends from school who stays 20 miles from there, in State Univ of NewYork, Buffalo. But it was sad we cud'nt meet as I didn't have an IDP and he didn't have a car that day.

The next day, it was again a reverse of y'day’s route. We reached the hotel at 3:00 pm and I discovered I had a lot of laundry to do.. I was tired and had no interest to go to work the next day. But I don't have options :( .


Echo/Lavanya said...

Hi Karthik - this is a wonderful piece of writing!

I think you have a real flair for expressing happenings and I do hope that you keep your observations as delightful as it is here. There are some specific expressions that I liked namely, 'descending exuberantly', 'rainbows that were ornamenting the falls', 'the monotonous path to destiny'.

Somehow wordplay is such a fascinating aspect of writing and I believe that good writing always leaves a part of itself with you long after you have finished reading it. I remember reading a quote that said, "Words, once unleashed, have a life of their own". How true indeed.

And Niagara is usually a pilgrimage for most Indians. I don't quite know why it is that so many Indians make it a point to visit Niagara. I agree that it is an awe-inspiring experience; anything that demonstrates Nature's magnificience is a must-see place. But I wonder why it is that Indians are more captivated by it that any other single large ethnic population. Any thoughts?

Echo/Lavanya said...

BTW, the new look of the blog is neat :)

suku said...

Karthik, i like the new look of your blog site. Neat!
Your descriptions transoprt the reader to Niagara, and that's the success of anybody who wishes to write - to be able to completely translate thoughts to words. Very impressive.

And on the Indian crowds at Niagara, could the reason be that the Niagara is one of the very few natural getaways from the otherwise mostly-concrete US of A?

PS: Seems like the Niagara inspires every onlooker to put pen down on paper, and jot down a personal travelogue. :)