Monday, September 05, 2011

Hedgehogs Abroad . . . For About Six Hours

Ivan and I went to Canada last weekend. Mainly to get maple sugar candies, but also they have these giant waterfalls there that we thought we might as well look at.

We looked at them from the outside.

We looked at them from the inside.

We looked at them close up.

We looked at them far away.

We went shopping.

Niagara Falls has to be one of the most horrendously commercialized tourist hotspots in the world. I'm basing this claim on the sheer amount of crap in the fifty-seven tourist shops closing in on the falls. If they sold quality souvenirs, I would be the first to defend them. I love tourist traps. There is nothing I like more than a museum shop . . . even, sometimes, the museum itself. But these tourists shops were selling things for $12.99 that clearly cost ten cents for someone's eight-year-old to manufacture in their basement. Or they were just scams, like the Niagara Falls Souvenir Water ("This water survived a plunge over Niagara Falls.") It comes in water-color and "illuminated," which means it has food coloring in it.

I ASK YOU. WHAT IDIOT WOULD BUY THIS?! As Ivan pointed out, that can't be real Niagara River water, because there is no disgusting foam-sludge in it. And if it IS real Niagara River water, you probably don't want it in your house, because there is a whole episode of This American Life about the chemical plants that dump terrible things into that water when nobody's looking. Or something. I have a bad memory. Anyway, if you shouldn't be drinking it, why would you want it? What are you going to do with it? There isn't much to do with it except keep it around to remind you of a Lesson Learned: stop buying useless crap at tourist traps! Buy maple sugar candy instead!

I developed an obsession with soft maple sugar in Vermont, when I saw some and was suddenly seized with a desire to EAT IT ALL. My sister and I used to get them in our stockings at Christmas, but I hadn't had any for many years. Now I've discovered that one a day keeps the cookies away, because it's so sweet you cannot possibly eat anything else afterwards. Perfect end-of-meal treat.

Ivan and I thought we were going to have to content ourselves with overpriced boxes that only had five in them, but then Ivan discovered "the mother lode."

The hedgehogs returned to their native land very happy indeed.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The Falls are awesome - something that one could stare at for a long time. Maple sugar candy is awesome. Tourist schlock is awesome in that it exceeds all of our worst expectations of what could possibly be sold to anyone.

Thanks for the photos and commentary.