Friday, March 4, 2016

Canada: Land of the Shiny and New

I just got back from Canada. After seeing the falls from the Buffalo side, I had to plan a trip to see it from our neighbor's perspective. It would be my kids' first time out of the country, we could break in our new passports, and according to the Groupon ads, everything is shiny and new in Canada.

In the distance is the promised land!

The last time I had been to the Falls, I had squirmed uncomfortably as I rode through the ghetto that surrounded our national treasure. Instead of feeling like there was a permanent red carpet rolled out for one of Nature's most amazing creations, it looked like someone had tried to tidy up the foyer, but then let the dog in--the one with the muddy feet and weak bladder who was constantly chewing on everything.

There were throngs of tourists walking over the Rainbow Bridge. We watched them, our noses and cheeks pressed against the dirty glass of the observation deck as bodies elbowed us on all sides. But without a passport or enhanced ID, my family could not join them in the promised land of the grass is always greener in Canada.

The NY Falls are beautiful!

Still on the NY side.

Finally, after five years, we loaded up the car for an overnight trip, sure that we'd be there in time for breakfast--waffles and eggs that were fluffier and more delicious than ours because everything is better in Canada!

Eight hours, three pee stops, and some over-salted Roy Rogers chicken later, we rolled into the edge of New York. First, I pissed off Border Patrol by planting myself way over the designated stop line. It was like a pharmacy, where every visitor was given his own private consultation and the rest of us were supposed to keep our distance while they discussed embarrassing things like incontinence and excessive gas.

I was told to back up, and by the time my front tires were behind the white line, I was beckoned impatiently to come forward. I knew I had been bad and that made me nervous, so I forgot to change gears and almost rammed into the person behind me--an elderly couple who I was sure was Canadian and therefore nicer than us Americans. Until they beeped aggressively and gave me the finger.

Finally, I pulled up to the booth and tried to explain myself to a completely uninterested border patrol guard who frowned and demanded that I take off my glasses and roll down the back window--because I obviously was hiding my son--who had passed out with his mouth open and had drool flowing from his new braces like the Niagara River.

When he asked me what I did for a living, I launched into a full job description like I was in the most important interview of my life. Halfway through my second sentence, he waved me off as if saying, I'm done with you, please get out of my face before I punch you in the throat.

We drove over the border, windows still open. Crisp, clean air filled the car, pushing out the stench of stale french fries and hours old coffee. The rush of The Falls greeted us like new neighbors, and we all smiled, lost in our own thoughts:

- Me: I can't wait to see the Buddhist Temple!
- Bella: Maybe there's a place to hike all the way down to the Niagara River!
- Max: I wonder if they use Canadian bacon in the Crunchwraps at their Taco Bells?

Fry Coma

CF Winn is the award-winning author of The COFFEE BREAK SERIES, a quirky group of short stories meant to be read while on break or in the waiting room of the doctor’s office. Her first novella, SUKI, has been grabbing hearts and hugging souls all over the United States. 

You can now order SUKI at BOOK REVUE, one of the nation’s largest independent bookstores, by email at Learn more about SUKI at BOOK REVUE.  

Her blogs have been syndicated on multiple sites including The Masquerade Crew. More posts like these can be found at Humor Outcasts and The Patch where she is a regular contributor.  

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