Have you been wondering, "Where's Amber? How can I go on living in the doldrums of life without a video of Allie laughing?" The answer to question one is: Canada. The answer to number two is: Bacon.
I've been in the lovely Niagara region of Ontario attending a conference with my team. It was the first time in a year I'd seen most of them after the Canada-Appendix-Debacle of 2011. It was so nice to have the camaraderie of a team for a few days, something you miss while laying on the couch eating bon-bons and watching Days of Our Lives...I mean, "working from home."
At the end of the trip, we had a chance to go to Niagara-on-the-Lake and Niagara Falls, and I finally got to be a tourist in Canada. Niagara-on-the-Lake is a pretty little town rebuilt after the Americans razed it in the War of 1812, damn them! It was funny to see forts and memorial plaques and murals of Canadian redcoats and think, "Hmm, they're shooting at Americans," but I digress.
On Tuesday night we went to a restaurant in N-o-t-L called "Grill on King." The front was lined with flower-boxes spilling over in blazing color and the thought I had over and over while seeing their flower-lined streets and canopies of green was, "Oh yeah, they have water here. How novel." At Grill on King, I had a scrumptious lamb shank and we enjoyed a sunny late afternoon on the patio. (I didn't have a camera, so my photos are limited to iPhone shots my
coworkers have sent me. Hopefully I'll get some more Niagara Falls shots
The next morning, we had breakfast at The Little Red Rooster, then headed to one of the many wineries in the region, Konzelmann's. The building was gorgeous.
On the winery tour, we got to see Mr. Konzelmann himself, an 80-year-old man who nearly ran over my toe driving a forklift through our tour group. They offered the non-wine drinkers some of their personal grape juice which was delicious! Why do people let such happy grapes rot into nasty wine when they're so delectable as juice?
After the tour, we strolled about Niagara-on-the-Lake and I kept thinking that I should convince my mom to visit. Such pretty old architecture and fun shops and approximately 72 ice cream shops in two blocks. We had lunch at the Angel Inn, a haunted pub built after those damn Americans burned the town, circa 1814. It was low and dank and the perfect spot to eat fish and chips and Yorkshire pudding.
We strapped on our blue ponchos as it is wet. As we drew nearer to the falls, it got wetter and wetter and windier and windier until our blue ponchos flapped like mad seagulls and the angry mist blinded us and Sara (right) shouted, "WHAT IS THIS? THIS ISN'T EVEN FUN!" But it was amazing to feel the falls' power and size up close, even if we were wet and blind.
After the falls, they took me up Clifton Hill, a circus of over-the-top, gaudy shops for tourists, a street, as they said, "to make Americans feel at home." Then we ate dinner where Canadians go when they aren't sure where to eat, Kelsey's, and enjoyed one last evening out on the sunny patio.
Now I'm just waiting to fly home. I've already pictured the reunion with my daughter at the airport: I run and embrace her and she squeals with delight and snuggles into my neck, finally at home. More likely, I'll run to her and cry like a nincompoop, and she'll give me that "What's your problem?" look and elbow me in the neck while trying to climb out of my arms and pull out my hair. But I'll take it. See you soon!