Melissa Williams Portfolio

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Wednesday, July 23, 2008

CANADA- Quebec and Niagara

7/16/2008_12:05PM CMT

We are driving through Wisconsin, on our way to the South Dakota Badlands and Mammoth Burial Grounds. Exciting, eh? Canada was nice, in a confusing 87 cents to the US Dollar kind of way. Montreal had plenty of art throughout the city, and Poutine was tried by Melissa and I (a Canadian delicacy, consisting of French fries soaked in beef broth gravy and topped with whole cheese curds). The rural areas of Montreal were pretty, and home to long stretches of agriculture and forests. This happened to be a great season for mosquitoes as well, with our Scrabble games being played in our van with the windows rolled shut and fan circulating. Smokers take note: this is the place to eat indoors and fill your lungs full of that sweet. sweet carcinogenic splendour. Mmmm...nicotine and tar.
Getting into Toronto, we met up with Melissa's friend Jon, whom she met on an African/ European trip. He showed us around the less busy district of the city, taking in the local bakery and some great Thai food at a decent enough price! We had to cut our visit somewhat short, due to his body building competition the next day. He proudly displayed his purple-velvet G-String, twirling it around his finger in an incredibly non-intimidating manner. Lake Superior is beautiful! It has a beach!
Moving right along...we trekked on to Niagra Falls, one of the largest falls in the world. We read about the first barrel rider to go over the falls (a widow and schoolteacher. She took a kitten with her and sustained no serious injuries!) and took in the new amusement ride which simulates the long geologic formation of the falls (it's lame, stay well enough away from “The Fury”. A person pays fifteen bucks for what appears to be an informative experience and gets an animated child story and wet clothes). The highlights of the falls included seeing them at night, with the coolest fireworks display anywhere (every Friday, Sunday, and on Holidays!), and the Journey Behind the Falls Tour, where EVERYTHING gets drenched by the immense volume of water of Horseshow Falls (100,000+ gallons per minute!). Walking up river was serene, with many ducks waggling their tails at us, and geese swimming and eating. One other highlight of Ontario: watching Melissa play miniature golf. Frustration and laughs abound as no golf-ball is spared the vicious onslaught of cross fairway walloping.
Onward! Into Detroit, Michigan! Customs took all of eight minutes. Literally. What a relief this was, for us, the customs agent, and our tightly secured van. Driving into Detroit, one thing kept springing into my head: what happened? We quickly set up camp at a local fairground and took in a movie at an IMAX theatre. Next stop: Kalamazoo, where the mosquitoes devoured us yet again, and Melissa took the Scrabble game by a narrow twenty point margin. Suspicions of tiles being hidden up her sleeves have yet to be confirmed, due to a consistent behavior pattern of short sleeve t-shirts being worn. However, I continue my investigations with an optimistic outlook.
We've ventured into Chicago, enjoying the city and its beautiful Millenium Park. Chili dogs here are fantastic, as are the Chicago Works (consisting of tomato, onion, pickle, mustard, spicy peppers and relish on a Polish Sausage or Dog). It's a fairly clean city, and I've always wanted to see the aboveground CTA train, and found out there's a subway as well. Bonus. We procured an audio book copy of Dante Alighieri's Divine Comedy. A fitting masterpiece to soundtrack the scenic splendours just over the next horizon. We stayed with another of Melissa's friends she met on her tran-atlantic excursion: Nate. We were served upside down Chicago style pizza with a few bottles of bitter brew, and were treated to some fine piano work and great conversation. Good times are sad to say goodbye to, but it's rumored that our paths shall cross sometime, somewhere, in the SouthWest. We haven't come across any of the MidWest flooding yet, and are navigating around it (hopefully) on our jaunt across Cheese-Land, USA. More updates from the front lines coming soon.




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