By William Thomas, LAUGHLINES
They come to Niagara in droves this time of the year, 30 million annually, to essentially watch leaves dying and water crashing over a really big cliff.
They actually shake their heads in awe as they drive past woodlands where the leaves are slowly starving to death. And do they ever stop and offer a silver maple a sip of water as its foliage burns bright and chokes to death with malnutrition? No.
They actually oooo and ahhh as the water, a lot of it mind you, falls off the blunt end of a river into a big roiling pond below. It’s like the world’s greatest backdrop for selfies. Don’t get me wrong. Tourists are nice people – it’s just that their entertainment expectations have hit an all-time low.
They don’t ask what I would call profound questions either. Here then are the best of the strange questions tourists have asked the staff at various Niagara Falls information centres and attraction booths. The answers are all mine.
Question: Does the Hornblower take you to the Falls and back?
Answer: Yes, on a return ticket. I can sell you a one-way ticket but then you’d have to buy a life jacket and a flare gun.
Question: When do they turn the mist machine off?
Answer: They don’t turn the mist machine off. It goes off automatically when we hit the “Fail Safe” button on the rainbow. Usually around midnight unless posted otherwise.
Question: How far is Ontario from here?
Answer: Southern Ontario or Northern Ontario?
Question: Is the Rainbow Bridge the same bridge that collapsed in 1938?
Answer: Yeah it is. Except back then, the American Customs had more inspection booths open, so the lineups weren’t nearly as long.
Question: Is there an actual city of Niagara Falls?
Answer: There used to be. Now it’s more of a factory outlet mall with slot machines.
Question: Where do we buy tickets for the People Remover?
Answer: Sir, if we had an apparatus to erase people, Parliament Hill in Ottawa would be a desert. I think you mean the People Mover. Recently they unionized and now they’re on strike.
Question: Do you take U.S. Passports?
Answer: No, but you can make Canadian passports for Americans here. Get less stuff thrown at you when you travel abroad.
Question: Do you speak English? Answer: Mais bien sur.
Question: Is there an underground train that takes you to the Whirlpool Aero Car?
Answer: That would be difficult because the underground train is … underground. And the Aero Car is … up in the air. That leaves a gap. What? Yeah, it’s kinda like The Gap.
Question: Where can I get a shower?
Answer: The pressure at the very bottom of the Falls is strong. Keep a strong grip on the handrail.
Question: Does the pop machine give change?
Answer: If there’s no pop it does.
Question: Does this tour bus take you to the Thousand Islands?
Answer: Between you and me, I think it misses a few of the smaller ones. But when you consider your ticket includes breakfast and lunch on each island, it’s a pretty good deal.
Question: How do I go to the bathroom?
Answer: Show me one finger or two fingers. Okay. Good. No, no, no, not here, Sir! Please!
Question: Where are the Indians?
Question: How far does the mist rise?
Answer: Way, way, way up there. In fact Niagara Falls is the reason NASA had to put windshield wipers on the space station.
Question: What time do you turn the Falls off?
Answer: We’re very polite people up here. What time are you going home?
Question: What can I do here in 39 minutes?
Answer: Serve a three-year prison sentence for armed robbery. This is Canada, eh?