Sunday, September 10, 2006

Niagara Falls 2006: Day III

The first order of the day was to shop. I've been a huge fan of Chantal Kreviazuk for at least ten years now, and her newest CD, Ghost Stories, was released in Canada last week. If I had ordered it online, it would have arrived at the house while I was away, so I just decided to buy it while I was up there.
After a bit of research, I found out about the Pen Centre, the fourth largest mall in Canada. Sounded like a plan.

So, after waking up from a (slightly) better night's sleep, we hit the road for the Pen Centre in St. Catharines. We weren't on the road long when I completely cracked up. What could possibly crack me up on the road like that? A Canadian biker.
Now, there's nothing immediately that funny about a Canadian biker, the funny part was his choice of music. Picture, if you will, a big, gruff looking older man with a grizzly beard riding a heavy duty, mean looking motorcycle. What would you expect to hear blasting out of his speakers? Probably something like Born to Be Wild, right?
Guess again.
A fit of laughter overtook me when I recognized the music to be (Everything I Do) I Do It For You by Canada's own Bryan Adams.
At full blast.
I'm not knocking the song or Bryan Adams by any means, but in that setting it was absolutely hilarious.

About twenty minutes later, we arrived at the Pen Centre.

After seeing this place, I can really see how far downhill our mall here has gone over the years. It's big, nice looking, tons of stores that are actually open, etc. Even the food court was impressive. They actually have sinks and microwaves if you needed them. It may not sound like a big thing, but it was a nice little touch of convenience.

It was strange not recognizing so many of the store names as we roamed the mall. I was pretty amused by the name of one store in particular...

They also had a giant chess board on the floor, complete with huge, movable pieces. It was kind of like that scene in Harry Potter, but less violent and with senior citizens instead of magical British children.

I eventually found my way to HMV and grabbed my copy of Ghost Stories. I also treated myself to Trailer Park Boys: The Complete Fourth Season on DVD. Mmm...Canadian goodness.

On my way out of the store, I stopped and posed for a quick picture with a poster of Chantal.

Before heading back to the hotel, we took a slight detour and drove by the Centre for the Arts at Brock University in St. Catharines, where, to my extreme excitement, I'll be seeing Chantal Kreviazuk and Raine Maida perform in November.

Back at the hotel, the sun and clouds decided to give us yet another beautiful photo opportunity.

Even more great shots presented themselves as we journeyed to the Skylon Tower.

The Skylon was cool again this year, though it was already getting dark out, so the pictures didn't come out very well through the windows. We tried to find a wheelchair-friendly way to leave that would aim us toward Planet Hollywood, but that turned into a twenty minute headache full of running around, broken elevators, and badly lit sidewalks.

We eventually got onto the right path, though I underestimated how long the walk actually was. It was long and dark and the night air was chilly. Mom even temporarily ditched her shoes at one point to ease her feet. Just after passing Clifton Hill, they started to shoot off fireworks over the Falls, so we paused to watch.

After a run in with a kiss, we continued on our way.

I'd been wanting to check out Planet Hollywood for a while, so I was relieved when we reached the end of our long walk.

Once inside, I took a quick picture with the Terminator, but that was just about it. I wasn't really into anything on the menu and the tables were too tightly packed to walk around and look at all the stuff, so our visit was relatively short.

We wanted to avoid having to go up the big hills on the way back to the hotel, so I lead the way toward the main road. At least that was my intent. About a half hour later, it was clear I had gotten us lost. Sort of. We could see where we wanted to be, but had no idea how to get there or where we were. Passing tattoo parlors, small foreign food restaurants, liquor stores, and the serial killer museum, we eventually found ourselves on a familiar street. A few blocks later, we were back by the hotel.

Cold, hungry, and tired from our several miles of walking, we went to Fridays, it's become a tradition for the last night in Niagara Falls. We split some chicken and I tackled an Ultimate Long Island Iced Tea.

Back in the room, I took a last nighttime look at the Falls. It was something I hadn't seen before, the mist was so thick, it would occasionally entirely block out the American side of the Falls. Impressive, to say the least.

Knowing I had to be up early for checkout, I headed to bed after another busy day.

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