Sunday, September 10, 2006

Niagara Falls 2006: Day II

After an oddly restless night's sleep, I woke up around 11:30, which, if you know me, is actually really early. I took some time to wake up, enjoy the view from the room, and call home while Mom got herself ready.

First up for the day was Marineland. It was another overcast day, which was actually pretty nice, since I got sunburn the last two times we went there. The park itself seemed strange though, there was hardly anyone there and we only saw one concession stand in the whole place that was actually open. I'm not complaining though, it's always nice not having to battle a crowd.

We got right up to the killer whale viewing area in Friendship Cove, which was nice. They were constantly moving around this time as the mother nursed the baby. It was really amazing to watch.

Since it was pretty cool last year, we tried to check out the deer park area, but decided against it when the deer seemed to be somewhat overly social. There were a handful of them right up at the gate when we got there, if we tried to get in, they would have gotten out.

I've never imagined a deer growling before, but I'm pretty sure I heard one doing that to some guy inside the enclosure. We even saw a couple of them knock over an empty baby carriage by the gate. So, we decided to go somewhere a bit more tame. The bear pit.

We watched them horse around a bit and wait for people to throw food in, but the smell of bear gets old really fast, so we didn't hang around too long.

Next was the beluga area, Arctic Cove. I'm always surprised at the number of them in there, always clamoring for food.

A really cool sight, much like at Friendship Cove was a mother nursing her baby. Yes folks, I saw Baby Beluga in person.

While eating lunch, it became apparent to us who was actually in charge of the park. The seagulls.

Wherever you look, where you would expect to see park employees, you'd instead see seagulls patrolling the area. Remember the Goodfeathers on Animaniacs? It was like that, but with seagulls instead of pigeons and in much greater numbers. I never noticed how cocky the walk of a seagull is. Never trust a seagull.

As if that's not enough avian fun, we had a strange sparrow encounter as well. As we picked at our fries, we heard a slight "thud." A sparrow flew right into the window. From the inside. He wasn't hurt as he was going relatively slow. The bird hovered down to a chair to take a breather, moved down to the next window pane, and once again, "thud." This went on, pane after pane. A blind Canadian sparrow with OCD. Probably a spy for the seagulls.

We headed back to the hotel for a few minutes to gather ourselves and the sun finally broke free from the clouds in an impressive way.

By some strange coincidence, Maria and her boyfriend, Steve, were visiting the Falls at the same time we were, so we made plans to meet at Tony Roma's for drinks.
I noticed how good the music they were playing was and thought back to hearing a Corrs song played in there last year, a rarity around these parts. I casually said to Mom "I'll freak if they play Chantal this time." To my surprise, mere seconds later, I heard the opening notes of Chantal's latest single, All I Can Do. As promised, I freaked. Well, it wasn't so much of a freak out as it was a stare that said "Holy crap."
*Sidenote- To my amusement, the Moby waiter was there again!
A few minutes later, Maria and Steve showed up. It was a nice couple hours of drinking and catching up.

Hoping to ride my luck from the previous night, I headed back to the casino. I sensed the vibe wasn't there after a few minutes and stopped before the fun was taken out of the experience.

Despite the fact that it was dark and cold out, Mom and I wandered down to check out the Falls and take some pictures. Again, the area was pretty empty, so the walk was nice and leisurely. We got some pretty cool shots thanks to the lights they use to light the Falls. Also, the camera's flash combined with the nighttime mist produced a really funky orb-like effect, see for yourself.

Chilly, damp, and tired, we returned to the room. I played with the laptop a little to see if it had sorted itself out and to get some driving directions for the next day. I got the directions, but lappy was still cranky. Adding "frustrated" to my list, I rolled over in hopes of a better sleep than the night before.

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