Basil Fawlty and Manuel
Trip Start Apr 18, 2007
64Trip End Jun 29, 2007
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I must have looked like Hugh Grant in "Four Weddings and a Funeral". Or Basil Fawlty in his Torquay dining room.
The day trip to Niagara Falls left here at 9.40am. I woke up at 9.42am
I had set my alarm and packed the night before. Really.
But I hadn't wound the alarm clock on my mobile phone forward since Banff - 2 hours behind. Frantic phone call to the concierge...
"Oh, if they said 9.40 ma'am they would have left by now."
I pulled on yesterday's clothes and was out the door in record time. After all, Niagara Falls was why had sat on a train for three days. The concierge made three or four calls to the bus company in case it was still nearby doing pick-ups, only to discover that they hadn't been here yet!
He ran with me to the correct one of three entrances to this hotel just as the bus pulled in. There is a god.
That's where the excitement ended though. We eight remaining Rocky Mountaineer people completed a busload of tourists at the mercy of Eddie, the tour bus driver. He could talk. More even than Monica (who had saved me a seat next to her...) He talked drivel for the entire hour or more it took to drive around Lake Ontario to Niagara. And he wasn't always correct with his facts. Even we tourists knew Norway wasn't the most expensive city in the world ahead of Toronto. His instructions to us were variable, he regularly hit the brakes and he did the hard sell on the winery where we stopped for tastings (he emerged with a bag of bottles too) and the helicopter rides over the Falls (only CAD$85 for us, normally $100.) He omitted to tell us that we were also stopping at the cheaper gondola ride over the Niagara River rapids.
Still, I got there. Took some photos. Was unprepared for the extent of the commercialisation. Filed down behind the Falls with all the other lemmings. Ate an average buffet at the Sheraton which must trade solely on it's fast lunches for tourists in a restaurant that looks out over the falls. Listened to school girls squeal as they got sprayed with mist. Was impressed with the amount of water pouring over the edge. Decided that the falls weren't as high as I had been expecting (although it is early in the spring and the little boat to the base wasn't yet operational.) Slept most of the way home.