Monday, April 8, 2019

Winter in Niagara Falls, Ontario

The sun didn't show up. My aunt told me that she would pick me up at past 7 AM. Thankfully, she showed up on time, and I was very excited to visit Niagara Falls. The steady and soft drops of rain started to fall from a sky of gray velvet. It softly hit the car windows as we drove south of Toronto. Despite the weather, the rain calms me.

It took us two hours before reaching Niagara-on-the-Lake, a quaint town of Ontario near the famed Niagara Falls. Since the Winter season doesn't offer a lot of activities, there were only a few people around. At 10 AM, the entire town screams silence–it was deafening. After a quick tour, we continued our journey to the falls. The scenery was just spectacular. As the car engine sang to the lone country roads of Ontario, the wintry trees showed resilience. The leaves may have fallen, but they are so proud as if their silvery-brown skin was their glory all along.

Where my homies at?

More and more people and cars came to our view as we neared Niagara Falls. We walked towards the famous horseshoe falls. A force of nature, both beautiful and brutal. Tranquil from a distance but deafening up close. It was simply spectacular, the most magnificent sight we had ever beheld. We made our way to the very edge of the cliff and looked down. We could hear the water dashing, splashing and roaring as if angry at the small space through which it was forced to pass. Standing right in front of the mighty Niagara Falls was just surreal. Frozen, but stunning.

Covered in ice. Still stunning.

There were numerous shops and restaurants around, even a theme park a few blocks away. The streets wind over the hill, surrounded by modern buildings. The walk became more difficult as gale-force winds started to pick up. Braving the cold weather and strong wind, we made it to Cliffton Hill. Colorful shops, entertainment arenas, and a house of horrors surround the street. We rode the Niagara SkyWheel to have a better view of the entire falls. As we rose higher, all we can see was gray, white, and blue. Everyone was right: The Canadian side has better views than the US. I can't believe that I'm less than a mile from the border of the United States of America. So close yet so far. By one thirty, we drove to a nearby Chinese buffet restaurant and ate with so much gusto. Finally, I ate something close to home.

Skylar Tower.

American view versus the Canadian view.

With eyes at rest in the way of dreams, I hear the quenching rain. The percussion of the given water varies according to the surface it wets. There are the drums that are the car windows, the cymbals that are the highways, and the soft, soft maracas that are the music of the grass. The triangles are the puddles on the street, a high note to pick up the mood. This was the perfect time to reflect. I stared blankly from the car window and let every moment sink in as it was not going to last forever. Vacation's about to end.

Traveling to new places makes you realize a lot of things. There, I could be anyone, or perhaps no-one at all. The people flowed like rivers, never stopping for obstacles but swirling around them. On those wide avenues with wilted trees, their leaves curled and fall on a cold December night. On days like this, I crammed in with more bodies than I could count even in a photograph. I tilt my head to the sky–the empty gray void gave me the strength just to walk at the pace of the crowd and just be myself.

Author's note: Special thanks to my Ninang Jessica Lozada and her family for taking the time to tour me around Niagara. I really, really had a great time.

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