Saturday, September 30, 2006

Get thee to a Carvery! (Niagara part 2)

Casinos are designed to get you lost. You go in for a bite to eat and maybe a quick game of Blackjack and all you find is aisle after aisle of slot machines. Disorientated by the the bleeping and whirring and ringing you wander deeper into what could well be the circles of hell (everything is red: lights, carpets, faces).

So when we turned a corner and found the serious hush of the baccarat tables we were as relieved as desert wanderers reaching an oasis. Relief turned to joy as we saw, a little beyond the tables, a noodle bar. Seating ourselves in a corner with a splendid view of the falls in sunset our mouths watered as we saw the treats waiters brought to the tables of the casino's Asian patrons. Golden sesame tofu, dark beef with greens, and a beautiful fish scored fragrant with ginger all passed us by. There was no menu, and no one brought us one. Perhaps we order at the bar?

Politely, we asked the chef for a menu. He gestured brusquely to a small sheet of paper listing 4 dishes of the fried rice and sweet and sour chicken variety. No tofu, no beef, no fish with ginger and, most tellingly, no prices.

The subtext was clear. The noodle bar was provided by the Casino for the high-rolling Chinese prepared to lose fortunes at baccarat, not timid tourists. Suitably chastened, we slunk away into the bowels of the casino, to Lucky's Steakhouse, where our unrefined gaijin palattes were satisfied by meatloaf and a burger.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Isn't it Romantic? (Niagara part 1)

Despite it's cheap and tacky side (part Picadilly Circus, part Funderland) you can see why Niagara Falls is such a honeymoon hotspot. When the moon came up over the falls it was just breathtaking. For future reference the Horseshoe Falls (Canadian Falls) are the more spectacular falls to see by daylight but the American Falls look better by moonlight. You can have dinner in one of the nearby Casino's while you wait for dusk to fall (more on that anon).

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

It's easy to be cool when someone's watching you

I have a raft ‘must blog about this’ items in my mental ‘to-do list’ but what with preparing classes and getting my life in Canadia together (not to mention a number of marathon sleeping sessions) it’s becoming quite the guilt-burden.

But today I jettisoned the blog-list because today something genuinely blog-worthy happened. We had an anthrax scare.

And it was genuinely scary. There were policemen, firemen and paramedics in droves. People were decontaminated and carried away in ambulances. They closed off two floors of the building I work in, but oddly enough didn’t close the library that occupies the floors directly beneath the contaminated offices. The elevators share the same shaft system and while they closed off the ‘public’ one they didn’t close the library elevators.

Guess who spent most of her day in the library?

At first I was pretty blasé about it; bomb scares were regular enough back in my early college days. It was only on the drive home that I found myself getting a little freaked out. I think it’s because I’m really focused at work, and there’s lots of people around me. Then I drive for an hour and come back to a dark, silent, empty house.

Anyway, I just got the latest update and the ‘mysterious substance’ has been identified as whey powder. So it was just the work of deranged looper rather than a sociopathic looper.

Still, I would have been happier if they had just evacuated the entire damn building.