It was nearing eight in the night when we started from Toronto towards Niagara. No doubt we had had a good time enjoying the sights of the city of Toronto but the process had put considerable strain on our legs and had burnt more carbohydrates than what had been consumed, dipping into the reserves.
It is possible that Sir Henry Pellat did not move around much beyond the limits of his favourite sitting room (in which he is said to have enjoyed many an evening chatting with his architect friend), the dining room, the smoking room and his bedroom during the decade that he lived in his castle, but the visitor is obliged to leg it around dozens of bedrooms and half a dozen halls, dining rooms, library, garden and what not, walking through long corridors and climbing up and down multiple stairs. And, if one is interested in getting all of his/her twenty dollars entry fee worth, one is compelled to trudge along another half a kilometre through the underground tunnel and see the stables, garage, pool and the potting shed putting additional strain on the legs and burning more carbohydrates.
The morning breakfast was a simple bread, butter and jam/ ‘Chatni pudi’ (a life saver, made using grams, peanuts, dry coconut, red chillies, jaggery and many more ingredients ground to a coarse dry powder form, which can accompany any staple food like rice, breads, pancakes and anything you can think off. Needs no refrigeration, remains for months and forms part of emergency rations of any sensible vegetarian south Indian who is not sure of the type of food that he/she may get during travels.) in the hotel room and the afternoon lunch was some sandwiches and pastries which the cafeteria at ‘Casa Loma’ could provide. By the time the six of us had gone through the menu considering every single ingredient, decided the best combination to suit all tastes and placed the order for Mediterranean grill, green salad and fruit rolls, the M Grill was over and we had to re organise ourselves and come up with alternatives before the counter closed. The south Indian tongue had not accepted the bread majority in breakfast and lunch and had sent only enough quantity in to the stomach to keep the legs moving around Toronto. The mind, in its excitement of running around the CN tower and the Bata museum had not taken the stomach into consideration at that time and as a result as we started from Toronto we were more concerned with the Niagara of gastric juices in our stomach than the Niagara formed by the waters of the great lakes.
After the American breakfast and lunch, the vote was in favour of an Indian restaurant (there are plenty of them in Toronto) but there was no time to search for alternatives and ‘Saravana’ was on our way to Niagara. Since we had experienced the place the previous day and knew what to expect and what to avoid, we decided on that for dinner and were happy to leave the hotel with a somewhat better experience. We had to reach the falls before the illumination was switched off at eleven in the night and Vishwa had to put more pressure on the gas than he liked. It was easier to put more pressure on the gas than bear the pressure from the back seat and he did deposit us before the falls well in time to enjoy the sight. The roaring waters changing into blue, green and orange every few seconds from the flood lights focused from the shore was indeed a grand sight and we could leave the place only because we were anticipating more of it the next day.
We reached the hotel ‘Embassy suites’ a little after eleven on the night of Saturday, 12th of June. The lobby of the hotel was bubbling with activity, full of excited people who were there to have a good weekend. The night was just beginning in the casinos and night clubs situated close by and groups of eager youngsters filled the sidewalks and porticos. This was what I saw from the car window on our way to the hotel and I was keen to go around on foot and get a close up of the scene. Even though the rest of the party was not interested, Bhanu was ready to join me but once we checked into the comfortable suite and saw the well made beds, the will to go out into the mild drizzle of the chilly night disappeared. Moreover, she had specifically booked a suite with a view of the falls and was not ready to accept one with a view of the streets however comfortable the beds looked. She went down to take the reception desk to task and we shifted to another suite with a beautiful view of the falls. The last thing I remember of the night was the children heatedly discussing time limits for the use of Jacuzzi and Bhanu mediating. I do not know the results of her mediation. I was asleep minutes after that.
In the portico of 'Embassy suites'
Niagara 'village' as seen from the 11th floor of ES
The 'Falls View' before the early morning mist cleared. By the time the mistcleared, we had cleared out of the 'Suite'.
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