Post 188: Niagara Falls, New York State
Here in America, the first question that most people ask is; 'Did you ship your bike here from London, England?'. In Oregon and California they wanted to know about Europe, The Balkans and Russia, ... perhaps that was simply because I hadn't then seen anything of America. Through Central and Eastern America they seem to have little interest in anything other than the upper 48 States , .... it feels that in these parts, the rest of the world could just as easily be a distant planet from a different solar system. They tell me that the distance between New York and Seattle is huge, .... they can't seem to grasp that I've already come that way. As for traveling through Russia, ..... they just seem to skip through that part, probably wondering why anybody would ever want to do such a thing in the first place.
Staying in a Motel, I get to see some late night television, ... mostly watching the News Channels. Perhaps the rest of the world has suddenly become all loving and peaceful, ....... the time allocated to 'International News' here is basically Nil. I understand that it's election time and that takes up large segments of air time, .. I'm sure it would be the same in the UK, .... but surely something must be happening elsewhere in the world? If, and I fear that it might be true, the News Channels simply don't cover International News, .... then it becomes easier to understand how Sarah Palin gained all of her International knowledge by standing on the Alaskan shoreline with a pair of binoculars. This seeming lack of International awareness is at first quite becoming, ...... but then if you think about it, ..... it's also very bloody scary.
Anyway, with a slight rise in the outside temperature and a massive fall in my own, I ventured outside to take a look at Niagara Falls. There was still snow in the air, but it wasn't settling, .... the roads were dry and clear. At the bottom of Niagara Falls Boulevard, I turned left into the Falls car park, ..... if I'd turned right and ridden for another 300 yards, I would have arrived in Canada. It was quiet, it felt as if I had the Falls all to myself, .. but boy it was cold. The mist that looks so beautiful on film, ...... in these temperatures just freezes on your skin and burns like crazy. It's only when your walking away from the Falls that you notice the pain, .... while your watching you just look on in awe at the power and force of nature. It's stunning and beautiful, I would love to have seen it in summer, .... but then in summer I'd be fighting with a mass of other tourists, ... I'll settle for this Winter sunshine.
One thing that dose surprise me is just how many 'empty' buildings there are here on the US side. Niagara almost looks like a City in decline, .. perhaps the tourists come here to view the Falls but stay and spend their money elsewhere, .... possibly on the Canadian side. I'll take another look at the Falls from the Canadian side when I cross the border tomorrow. I understand that it's quite different, .... but I'll let you know in a couple of days.
Over the last couple of days readers have been donating to St Teresa's Hospice through my Just Giving page. The 'Top Box' is now full, ... so I've started adding the names of donors to the Panniers. Many thanks from myself and St Teresa's to those who've donated, .... many of you twice. It really is appreciated and is a constant reminder for me to stop cocking about and to just get on with it. I'm still short of my charity target but there's still plenty of room on the bike for more of your names, .... I'll make sure of that. Thank You, ... Geoff