Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Thanksgiving In Canada

"Are you leaving because Donald Trump won the elections?"

A girlfriend asked (in a concerned way!) when I told her I was going to Canada for Thanksgiving weekend. Okay, I AM pretty bummed that my first vote didn't really make a difference - but then again - nothing I ever do or say ever does. The world is too rotten. So, NO, I was not going to Canada to test waters in case life became miserable (God forbid) in the Trump era. It was a simple family reunion happening at my brother's in-laws' place - imagine the extent of my interest. Mum wanted to tag along because of a suddenly aroused love for Niagara Falls. 

Our destination was Mississauga (I still Google the spelling!). My childhood friend Maryam moved there when we were in post high school days. And ever since I have been trying to get the name of her hometown right! 

So we boarded our family SUV - Sara and I crammed up in the backseats - and got going. The road trip from Maryland to Mississauga is at least 10 hours. Sara and I are family famous for managing the road trip food service all the way from the backseat. Backseat Girls Food Service! Believe me we're as exciting as the food trolley on the Hogwarts Express. The car is usually swaying wild on the highway when we pull food bags in from the trunk and execute our "Snacks Bar" with our bums mid-air. It was pitch dark this time because we were traveling after sunset. We worked our way using our iPhone torch light this time. 

The women in our family have very weak backs and bums so we broke the journey. Williamsport in Pennsylvania was our night stay. Our hotel was the Holiday Inn Express and the sole reason we choose this on-the-way hotel is because of its express breakfast. 

I made myself an egg sandwich for the road. I get hungry man! Pancakes were our binge for the day. Everything on the breakfast menu is actually highly processed and pretty fake. The egg sandwich tops the list. 

And we just had to take a selfie with mountains in the background, the next morning. 

It is a scenic mountainous route to Canada from the East Coast. Highways wind left, right, high, and low right through the terrain. Scattered snow had accumulated on the hilly tops. I was reminded of our Euro trip to Norway. The difference was that Norway had snow piles several feet high and mountains had glaciers!

I twisted my back to snap a shot of this emerald colored river!

>>>>>FAST FORWARD>>>>>>>


Wok 'n' Roll Hakka Chinese

I was dining a fine Hakka Chinese cuisine a day later with an old school-days friend, my sister, and her college-days friend. I cannot bring myself to remember when was the last time I had Hakka Chinese. Just because my family and I are such sugar conscious freaks we flee at the sight of sugary Chinese deliciousness. I indulged while I chatted away with Maryam (my school time buddy). There were SO many things we talked about over Chicken Corn, and Hot 'n' Sour soups, sweet 'n' sour chicken, chili chicken, chowmein, and fried rice.

It "became" Maryam's treat because she secretly paid the bill for all of us while she went to get food packing boxes! OUTRAGEOUS! Us 4 girls began arguing right there! This was not how I had planned the lunch! Alhamdulillah for such great, big-hearted friends though!


Summertime Fatness & Ice Cream and Cake at Caffe Demetre

To even the deal Sara and I decided to go to Caffe Demetre for dessert. We were OUTRUN again by her friend Yaman who ordered desserts and then super-insisted that we were guests and she would not ALLOW us to pay! Man! I have never been in such a situation before. It felt like we were freeloaders! HAHA. But it is heartwarming to receive such hospitality.

We had these 2 insanely rich desserts that diet-conscious girls like us can only dream of. Okay, no! I would stay away even in my dream sequence from the fear of a potbelly (I already see one developing). Summertime Fatness has to be my ultimate favorite. There was some magic chocolate cake in there ... melting and oozing with liquid goodness. And there was ice cream.

By the time dessert was over it was time for our trip to Niagara Falls. Phew! It was ONE eventful day.


I was fourteen when I screamed my lungs out inside one of the haunted houses on the main street of the city of Niagara Falls. The place is a carnival with a full and running gianormous ferris wheel, spooky scare houses, sweet shops, fun museums like Ripley's, and so many diners.

There are live actors inside these haunted houses. Sara and I went into one of those when I was fourteen and was nine. It was horrible! The scary part is the walking around in the dark. And there are live actors that come out and poke and boo you. I remember being so terrified because they were reaching out and grabbing our legs, blowing air into our ears, screaming like mad, and waving webs and what not in our faces. At one point I actually grabbed one of them by the stick he was using to wave a torn cloth in my face! He stuck his tongue out at me because he was busted. I would never go into one of those ever again.


My first time at a Rainforest Cafe was in London. The ambiance was more dark and there was more rain, definitely. The theme is the rain forest of course. You actually sit and dine in a make belief jungle full of wilderness everywhere you look. Safari guides are your servers.

Maryam (baby niece)'s 2nd birthday had just passed. Sara and I wanted to make the deal sweeter and add to her birthday safari theme. There was no better way to do it than at the Rainforest. The menu had very few but delicious vegetarian friendly choices.

Every few minutes the clouds would rumble (surround sound effects), lightning would flash, and rain would fall. The herd of elephants (animatronics) would go crazy, the lions and tigers would roar, and the gorillas would chatter.


Niagara Falls scares me. Go figure the workings of my mind. The expanse of the monster fall, the force of the water sending up a giant mist upwards into the sky, and the furious gushing sound that it makes just overwhelm my senses. It was past hours and the Fall wasn't lit up in colors like I had seen on earlier trips. To me, this particular place is very depressing. And any water body for that matter just disturbs me.

 Niagara Falls by Night


I love living in the US - it is a proud American thing. Canada has something very alien about it. Maybe because I don't live there and each time I have been there we had to go see that big waterfall that depresses me. It is being said that political stringency ahead in the US is making people considering crossing the border and going to live in Canada. My friends were very happy because they are thinking I might just move. Phew! The only appealing thing to me is the Cineplex and Caffe Demetre, folks!

Let's see what happens!

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