Casa’s Blog

A Life Abroad

They’ve come to see you rise and fall, They’re only tearing down your walls, They’ve come to see you rise and fall, And I don’t wanna say you’ve lost control…

So the tain ride from NYC to Niagara Falls could’ve been worse.  Maybe it was because I went in with incredibyl low expectations for an 8 1/2 hour train ride but all in all it wasn’t too bad.  The 5 hour wait in New York City Penn Station or the 7 hour flight to JFK from London were both worse in my humble opinion.  Not only did we have a coach with what can only be described as almsot too much leg room if there is such a thing, but my combination of Obama’s book, iPod, SLeep and eating a packet of runts and eating Asian Trail Mix seemed to make the journey tollerable.  Although this mornign was somewhat overcast, we also got to have a look at some nice scenery – the side of New York State that most people don’t often see.

As we approached the Niagara Falls New York train station, I was surprised to see how many USA flags there were displayed so close to the border in people’s yards and windows.  Given their proximity to Canaga their patriotism seemed to multiply.  I was even more surprised when we stopped in what appeared to be the middle of nowhere, got off using steps as there was no platform and were told this was our station.

Hmmm….

Okay, well the only thing we could do was take one of the waiting taxis that were lined up and make note to tell people that Niagara Falls train station isn’t near the falls.  Unfortunately, things weren’t simple.  Although our cabbie got us to our hotel (the awesome Hilton Niagara Fallsview…more on that later), I noticed just at the end of our journey that the meter wasn’t runnning.  At the end, the cabbie turned and said Us$38.  WHAT?!  He had paid a few dollars at the border bridge, but using the fare per mile calcuations that were displaced and even including the toll it was closer to US$15 to 20 than 40.  Discussions continued.  He claimed that it is a set fare. He told us that it is always $38 from the Amtrak station to here.  He gave me the phone to speak to his boss who wouldn’t discuss anything further than say $35 +2 = $38.

Okay, for starters I dispute his maths.  Secondly while all this was going on I was calmly (yes calmly) saying that if you are going to charge a set fare you have to display it.  At the very least he has to make us aware of it sometime before or even during the journey.  My basic understanding of contract law makes that point very clear.  Joey had gone off to check us in as the discussions continued and when I chatted about it with hotel staff their were surprised at the fare at first but eventually I found one person who knew about the set fare.  As the cabbie threatened to call the police, I was close to deciding to let him if he was so inclined.  As we were still waiting to complete check in, no time was being wasted.  I knew I was in the right fand he can’t just state a flat fare at the end of a journey without forewarning us to it.  The hotel staff security eventually came to help out and said that he had seem this before.  Unfortunately all the cops do when they show up is to call the cab company to check that the usual fare is $38.  At this point I couldn’t be bothered anymore.  It was just US$20 and although I was right and the principle of the matter irks me no end as I can imagine many more people getting in to the same position, without hope of police support…we paid the fare.  We did take note of his vehicle and driver details and if I get around to it I will report the issue to the appropriate Canadian body.

Regardles of the cab issue, the hotel is AMAZING.  Our brilliant room is really a suite, with two king sized beds in separate rooms, two TVs, marble bathroom with spa bath and oh yeah…a great view of the falls.  All for the price of what we have been paying for hostels in the other cities so far.  A damn good deal if you ask me .  Only pictures can do it justice and I will add them when  get the chance.

falls bed

Although the room/hotel was so awesome, the falls were why we were here and with about 24 hours in town we were quickly out gazing at their beauty.  The USA falls aren’t as good as Canada’s but both are tremendous and just gorgeous.  I don’t think film/TV does them justice.  They probably aren’t as tall as one would expect but they are amazingly powerful.  Even on the other side of the river watching them you get sprayed with the mist so it is like constant rain.  To amke the scenario even more amazing, a rainbow formed just as we were sitting back and taking it all in.

Rainbow

Most of the attractions were closting, so they will be tommorrow tasks.  We did however have time to pay the 50 cents and walk back to the USA side of the falls.  The idea of walking to another country/across a border was so strange to this Australian.  Let alone replying “a few hours” when asked by the border police “how long before you return to Canada” or “How long since you were in America?”.  The USA side of the falls is muche more parkland as opposed to the Canadian side whihc resembles a mini-Vegas.  The many squirells, trees and open grassland is testament to this.  You get to see the falls from a different angle, including standing on a bridge as they cascade just in front of you and water flows away from you, which is good.  The view from Canada is much more spectacular though.  In short, USA great…Canada Awesome (I’m talking about the falls, but it probably applies to other things as well haha).

Niagara

After that it was cocktails and dinenr at Ruby Tuesday’s, a quick spa, swim and sauna in the pool facilities (OMG my back has not been this good in at least 6 months) and off to bed.  Actually, just before we went to bed, the now illuminated waterfalls were bathed in the lights and sounds of fireworks.  It turns out that although advertised for weekends and public holidays, our normal Wednesday in Niagara Falls was cause for a fireworks display.  All we could do is sit back and relax and watch it unfold from our Hilton suite…Jealous much?😛

June 12, 2009 - Posted by | Uncategorized

3 Comments »

  1. Hey Simon,

    Spoke to Taylor the other day (remember her – American student) and told her that if possible I would like to organise a trip to Niagra Falls while we are in New York. Her comment and I quote ” With so much to see in New York why would you want to waste time watching water falling over a rock”.

    Now after reading your blog, I am torn again, On one hand I have “NYC” – on the other I have “Water falling”. AAARRRRGGGGGHHHHH!!!!!!!

    Comment by Gracy | June 12, 2009 | Reply

    • From NYC it is a fair hike to the falls – 9 hours on a train or longer on a bus or a roundabout flight. I think Taylor may be on to something with just doing NYC. Although if you’re ever in Canada, especially Toronto😉

      Comment by casaboy69 | June 13, 2009 | Reply

  2. Jealous??!!

    All I can say is ‘Bastard!”😀

    Love Dad

    PS Hey, if you can tear yourself away from falls for one sec, check your email for some good news!

    Comment by Niranjan | June 12, 2009 | Reply


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