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( CNN ) — Is there any city more gristly to the mill of our newly renewed American media enthusiasm for the Far North?
We’ve got to start somewhere.
No city-based border crossers have been as magnetically attractive to eager Americans, who are looking for something more authentic.
Plus, nothing sums up this obsession more than one of Canada’s great summer tourist magnets: Niagara Falls.
The rains, the swells and the floods keep me away; the rapids and the falls are always mesmerizing.
I can’t get enough of the falls. The river dumps water over the falls that looks like big lips. A tough juxtaposition.
When the water pours over the falls, it stretches like a huge finger at the Northern Lights.
Befitting its birthplace, the falls are a giant molecular ballet.
Where else can you hop aboard a zip line and then ascend from the lower lower falls at over 500 feet?
That’s what I did in the dead of night, waving signs at tourists.
Everyone was amused, except for my mom.
Borders to nowhere
It’s no wonder America’s been so impressed with the second “land of ice and snow” since it became a friendly first among the littoral freebies of the world.
Niagara Falls. Credit: vsp
It is, after all, the only place in the United States that doesn’t look at all awkward next to tiny rocky islands that are less a full continent than half of one Caribbean.
I had three wonderful days in Niagara Falls, Western New York, last week, in addition to my visits to the City Hall, the Blue Buffalo plant and the local soccer club.
And it shows.
And it’s definitely a place to visit during the summer, when the local soccer club isn’t training for the U.S. Open and the University of Buffalo is playing big, big hockey games.
The best part of the Falls is just around the corner in Niagara-on-the-Lake. Courtesy The Huron Falls
If you want to take a drive along the scenic Canadian side and see Canada — and I mean Canada, without the Great White North, minus the Olympic-sized sandy beaches — then be sure to spend a day or two in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario.
You’ll have the best view of the Falls.
It was there, at the border crossing into the United States, that I discovered my commonality with Americans.
When my American friend asked me which Canadian town I’d recently visited, I stammered and half-dared her to announce it. “Maybe I’ve never been to Niagara Falls?” I asked.
“What?” she said.
I gave up.
Bold international assumptions
Niagara Falls is magnificent. Credit: CNN
I guess I’m not from there.
“Canada,” she said, sounding suspicious.
“Well,” I responded. “But not really, I lived in the United States.”
“That’s right,” she said. “What are you going to say?”
“Somewhere,” I said, taunted by the possibilities.
“Well, good for you,” she said. “Look at us up here.”
“Wait,” I said, not really enjoying being the grist to the mill for the American media.
“Hold on,” she said. “My husband is a missionary. His first stop was the Philippines. The second stop was Haiti. The third stop is Iraq. I’m trying to catch up, brother.”
“When are you going to Niagara Falls?”
“I’m just going to take you over,” she said.
“Good luck, my friend.”
No doubt the American news media are onto something.
Niagara Falls. Credit: Ted Chervin
So glad I say, Good luck, my friend.