Simon’s sister, Lauren, is in town for the week so we had dinner with Lauren and Pauline last night. Today, as we had planned to hire a car to go to the peach festival at Niagara on the Lake we took Lauren with us (Pauline was at work, at the new Mulberry store in Yorkdale). The plan had been to drop Lauren off at Niagara Falls – and leave her at the mercy of the crowds of tourists to do the Maid of the Mist, while we drove back North up to NOTL and ate everything made of peaches.
I don’t recall who recommended the peach festival to us. They described the most amazing festival full of everything you could think of, but with peaches in it. All to “celebrate” the peach harvest from local farmers. Dan picked up the hire car this morning while Lauren walked past me (I got a coffee in the Starbucks on the corner – last star until Gold), as I walked away from our unit to collect Lauren from the subway. By the time we’d all found each other and both Daniel and myself ran back upstairs to get something else we’d need, we decided that as the past two months of “festivals” has shown us, it was probably just another few closed off streets with a million stalls, most of which had things of mild interest, but we’d probably be done in an hour.
We left downtown Toronto at about 10:00 (an hour late) and got to Niagara on the Lake at 11:20. Daniel had managed to drive on the right hand side of the road, with me squirming in the passenger seat (that really feels like a driver’s seat, coming from Australia) as he occasionally drifted right, then swerved back to centre-up every hundred metres or so for 118 km. Unlike in Ireland the GPS (Google Maps) actually worked (it helps if the GPS matches the road you are on), though it really bugs me that it doesn’t let you zoom in and swipe across to preview the journey, without unexpectedly zooming back to your current position. Daniel and I managed not to break into a nuclear war, probably because Lauren was in the back seat. Our best car moment was driving back, when we passed a couple that I wondered out loud if they were Amish, but Dan thought they looked more like some other cultural group, and I suggested perhaps, “Leggish”. A good minute later Lauren suddenly exclaimed, “Oh! I just got it!” The best bad jokes are when they get delayed responses. The car erupted with laughter. And Daniel swerved back into the lane.
At the Peach Festival we stuffed our faces with the yummiest peach custard tarts and muffins, probably just full of butter and sugar. I bought a peach pie, which is currently mooshed into one blob, having swerved in the boot to Niagara Falls and back. We had a very quick lunch (our parking ticket, given by a generous stranger when Dan parallel-parked in a single pass, was due to expire 30 min from when we sat down).
Having not planned to wait in line for 20 min in the shade then 40 min in the sun at the Maid of the Mist Dan and I sport fresh slight sunburns, again. I was prepared this time to get entire families pushing in front of me, prams in my ankle, elbows in my side. I was able to ignore them, and all the phones being held up in front of my view. I just watched the falls and enjoyed the partial view, from behind a balding head. We didn’t make it to the top deck this time, but got second row on the bottom deck right at the front. I wore my contacts today, so I could actually see something at the horseshoe falls. Last time my glasses were covered in water droplets. It was like trying to look through chicken pox. The mist cleared a bit enough to see the water from the Canadian fall coming over the edge. The kids in front of me were laughing with sheer joy, which made me smile. Such a different experience to last time.
Today my shoes didn’t get wet. I brought plastic bags, and wrapped my feet up, like when I was in high school and had to walk from the bus stop in the rain.
After the boat ride Dan ran back to get the car (we’d parked in a “$5 a day” spot where they demanded $5 an hour but we negotiated $10 for three hours). I walked Lauren up to the edge of the Canadian falls. It was great to walk with somebody that walks fast. We made it there quickly. Lauren took pictures, on Dan’s canon because hers got wet under the mist.
We waited for Dan on the road, and were pointing out cars trying to recall what colour car we’d hired and I pointed to a 4WD and said, “I think it’s a 4WD maybe that colour but more brown” when Dan started waving back at us. The traffic was bumper-to-bumper so we ran across the street and into the car.
On the drive home we stopped at a Metro store somewhere midtown and bought groceries. Lauren has some fresh vegetables now. We have insect repellant.
Dan had planned to maybe drive 2 hours North tonight to see a meteor shower, but after 4 hours driving today we’re all too tired for another four hours. Especially with a return journey at 1 am to 3 am. At this stage it looks like Dan, Pauline and Lauren will go tomorrow night, because I really want to sleep before going to work on Monday. Instead Pauline and Dan have gone to pick up Lauren from Pauline’s apartment to come back for a sleep-over, so we manage to go for breakfast and Taste of the Danforth tomorrow morning on time. And because we have peach pie, peach custard tarts and peaches to eat for dessert. As long as Pauline doesn’t conscript us into her Sunday morning yoga plans.