The Great Car Switcheroo

We crossed over to the NY side of the Falls around 11+am on 1st March and called up Enterprise from the Rodeway Inn (where we were staying). It’s a dinky little motel but once you get the heat going, the entire room keeps insulated pretty well. The mattresses are memory foam, which are as hard as cardboard in the winter (they stiffen up with cold?) but moulds to your body pretty nicely and aren’t really that uncomfortable. They had terrible toiletries but the toilet lamps and room lamps were heat lamps, which kept the room warm (Important, since we were here in a snow storm!)

The Enterprise guys took nearly an hour to arrive, which made me extremely antsy because it says on their website that the Niagara Falls branch closes at 12pm on Saturdays and it was way past 12 and they still hadn’t arrived. The Rodeway concierge couldn’t believe that they closed at noon, considering how many tourists visit the Falls over the weekend, it just doesn’t make much sense to close at noon.

There was this hispanic/indian guy handling our booking and he managed to cheat us out of nearly $100 in Loss Damage Waivers and Personal Accident Insurance. ANd LZ just initialled everything without bothering to ask if it was optional! (it was, obviously). I was FURIOUS! That kept him on his toes for the rest of the car rentals except the final rental at Logan where he booked the car through a rental website and claimed that he could not deselct the LDW. Ok. Well we are now car rental veterans, and most of the cashiers/receptionists for these companies don’t like talking to me because I think I look shrewder/more wicked than LZ :P He never so much as scratched a single car – so much for the LDW and PAI. We just got them all muddied up with the snow and everything.

The guy who came to pick us up from the Rodeway Inn to go to Enterprise was a fresh faced young chap, fresh out of college (or maybe high school?), one of those people who respond with “nice!” to everything we said. He apparently had a job offer as a kayaking instructor in Singapore. It is kind of a long schlep though. He was really nice, but his colleague who made us buy the LDW by making it seem non-optional, was not. They wound up giving us a really old Chrysler with no ipod dock. For future reference, go with Hyundais (cheaper and more modern and really not that bad a car for a short trip), or Toyota (Yaris, a compact, has the ipod dock in the glove compartment). We got back to the Rodeway around 1+, got all the crap out of the Hyundai (BLST 451) and moved it to the Chrysler (534 LGY).

As you can see the front license plate for the chrysler is missing. The Hyundai had seat warmers but the chrysler didn’t.

Then we had to drive the Hyundai back across the border to Victoria Ave to return it to the Budget Rent-a-Car there. The Canadian customs people told us to make sure we had our plane ticket back to Singapore handy, but what they don’t know is that US customs are pretty damn lax if you’ve studied in the US before! They’re usually stumped by the lack of an American visa in my passport (I just got it renewed) and question me on the dates I was studying in the US. As long as I get the year of my graduation right I’m free to roam the country, pretty much.

After returning the Hyundai – the budget guy told us we got it for really cheap, considering it was only $36.60 from Toronto Airport to his location and we had the car for about 3 days..) We went to the Canadian side (didn’t make it to the US side on account of it being absolutely frigid) of the Falls and it was beautiful!

Everything was frozen over, although not completely frozen cause you can still see the water running and some mist rising through the air.

The snow drifts look right out of a Happyland map.

There were these little huts at the base of the falls, didn’t know what they were for.

And a mini drainage pipe running out. Chris says they can turn the Falls on and off at will, especially if some silly kayaker gets in there.

Here’s the garden leading to the pedestrian bridge across the falls.

The bridge itself is not that long, but the winds blowing across it were something else! We felt like our ears might just snap off. The customs people were nice as predicted, and once we got over to the other side we headed straight to Denny’s for a hot meal. Whoosh! Glad I won’t be repeating that experience any time soon. If anything this has a valuable lesson – LEARN TO DRIVE!



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