Sunday, December 16, 2007
Buffalo in the winter turned out to be not so bad at all. We spent the time between breakfast and David's game at Niagara Falls.
We wandered the American side of the river, me towing the camera and snapping way too many pictures, even though I know from experience that no photo ever does justice to the falls.
Crossing into Canada required no more than showing a driver's license and answering questions: where were from, where we were born, where were going, and why? No birth certificate required, and no physical check of the car.
The woman agent who quizzed us at Canada's crossing appeared to have a bit of the Niagara River flowing through her veins--no smile, no "Welcome to Canada, enjoy your visit"-- glaring suspiciously as she leaned slightly to look past my husband at me in the passenger's seat of the car.
"And where was she born?" she asked my husband, keeping her eyes locked on mine. Conscious of my tendency to make wisecracks at inopportune moments, I said nothing, and we were waved in with an impatient flick of her icy fingers.
In the winter the park closes access to the "up close and get wet" viewing areas near the base of the falls, but the view is still spectacular from the higher vantage points, and the number of tourists competing for the view is greatly diminished compared to the summer time.
Reentering the US, the agent peered into the car and asked, "Only two?"
"Only two humans," I replied.
Bruce winced, but the agent laughed. "We don't care about the aliens," he said.
A little more small talk, the "W" questions, a few more chuckles, conversation about the basketball tournament we'd come to watch, and then he asked to see my license. I reached into my pocketbook with deft fingers and handed him the card.
Suddenly he bent down and peered more closely at me. "Why are you giving me your VISA card?" he asked, smile gone.
"Oh, darn!" I fiddled for my license. Bruce sat silently, just shaking his head slightly, probably trying to indicate to the agent that I could be ditzy, but wasn't in fact trying to bribe my way back in to the country with my ATM card.
"Just habit," I said. "That's the only card I ever pull out these days." I laughed, a genuine laugh at myself. "I've handed my VISA card to the librarian by mistake, too." I shook my own head to indicate that I was indeed a ditz.
He laughed then, and waved us in. "Wish your son good luck with his game," he said.
Many a calm river begins as a turbulent waterfall, yet none hurtles and foams all the way to the sea. ~Mikhail Lermontov