As i'm sure most of you know by now, I took a trip up to Canada with my girlfriend and a few of my friends this past weekend. I don't really know if anyone coming to a horror blog wants to read about my personal exploits, but i'd kinda like to write about and document those exploits, so deal with it! No one's making you read it!
Instead of cluttering this post with a dozen pictures, i'm just gonna link to specific pictures when I discuss what is being shown in the picture so if you see a link, click it and you'll be taken to a picture! Just to set the stage and give you a mental picture of me and my group, here we are! Starting on the left that's Stefan, myself, Monkey (Pump King), and Jon and this is of course my lovely girlfriend Jen. Now that we're all acquainted, lets head to Canada, eh!
Thursday night around 7pm we began our 9 hour journey up to the great white north, crammed in the back of a Prius, which surprisingly was never really uncomfortable. We planned on driving (or Stefan planned on driving, rather) a good 6 or 7 hours on Thursday night and then crashing at a seedy motel for a couple hours so that we could get up bright and early Friday morning and coast right into Canada in a couple short hours and that's exactly what we did. Now i've always had a kind of fascination with seedy motels and to my recollection, I don't think I had ever actually stayed in one for the night. Well let me tell ya, we got the full seedy motel experience on Thursday night. We found a small dirty building in Syracuse, NY run by a barefoot Indian dude and it was just about as seedy as they come. Holes punched in the walls, makeup and spoons left behind from past tenants (I guess they don't clean the place!), obscenities written on the walls, the whole nine. We're talking the kinda place where you pretty much contract crabs just by walking into it. But we wanted the seedy motel experience so that's exactly what we got. It's really not worth staying at a nicer place and paying a higher cost just to sleep for 3 or 4 hours. Everyone slept in full hoodie, pants, and socks and a disgusted Jen even went so far as to wrap her hood around her head, leaving only her eyes visible. Wish I had snapped a picture of that. Think Kenny from South Park. At one point during the night, we heard loud gutteral screams coming from somewhere in the motel which suggested that a young woman was being raped and dismembered, but we never found out her fate. I ended up getting about a half hour of sleep and as soon as I began to slip into a deep slumber, the alarm rang and it was time to head out there and head up to our (hopefully) far nicer hotel.
Woke up around 7am and headed off to breakfast. We were initially going to eat breakfast at the little diner right next to the motel we stayed at, but we thought better of it and decided to high tail it out of that location at once. Thanks to the trusty GPS, we found out there was a Denny's right down the road, so Denny's is where we went. This was the first time I had ever actually been at a Denny's and my life feels a little bit more complete now. It's long been a dream of mine to eat there (how sad is that?) but there aren't any in my immediate area. Turns out, it was quite delicious. Jen and I split some breakfast burrito mcgriddle style thing and a country fried steak, smothered in that tasty white gravy sauce, which I so appreciated and enjoyed given I tried to make country fried steak and that white gravy sauce a few weeks back and it did not turn out well at all. Ate our breakfast, won Jen a little stuffed mouse from the Denny's claw machine, and hit the road up to our destination.
A few short hours later, we were there. I had visions all week about what it would be like at the border getting into and out of Canada. I'm talking horrible visions. Here's four bearded and (for the most part) long haired men trying to get into Canada, presumably (to the cops) with anything but good intentions. I envisioned cavity searches, serious grilling, and just about everything else bad one can envision about ones rights and ones anus being violated. I speak from experience here. Last year, Jen and I went to Georgia and on the flight home we were pulled aside and searched for a good hour, as part of a "random" search. Now I can't confirm that this search was not totally random but the only people pulled aside were an arab dude with a turban on his head and the long bearded messy haired me and Jen. How random could that be? So I envisioned pretty much the same thing about getting into Canada and thankfully, I built it all up in my head for no reason. The guy asked us a few questions, such as where are you staying and where are you from, and within 60 seconds we were into Canada. We didn't even get ID'ed!
We were staying at a hotel in Niagra Falls, right next to Niagra Falls, and we had no idea how built up and touristy it was gonna be and I say that in the best way possible. All within walking distance of our hotel was a whole plethora of stuff to do that would surely keep us busy for the two days we were staying there. I'm talking haunted houses, casinos, food of every kind you can imagine, and even a Frankenstein approved Burger King! I was shocked at how much horror related stuff was going on over there in Ontario. Dracula's Haunted Castle, House of Frankenstein, and about four other haunted houses not to mention a criminal wax museum! I was in heaven! But first things first....
Before we explored the sights and sounds, we had to check into our hotel (which was thankfully thousands of times nicer than the motel we stayed at the night before) and stock up on beer. The beer situation in Canada is kind of a pain in the ass. The alcohol over there is controlled by the government and you can't just go to any old 7 Eleven and get the stuff whenever you please. There's basically one beer store in the whole Niagra Falls area, it's called The Beer Store, and it closes at 9pm. If you don't get your beer by then, too bad, you're shit outta luck! So naturally we had to snatch up as much as we could so we'd be covered for the weekend. The other shitty thing about the beer over there is that The Beer Store is fucking ridiculously expensive. It's a glorious looking place with the finest selection of beer I think i've ever seen but my god, we ended up paying $40 for a 28 pack of Coors Light. Yes, I said 28. But ya gotta do what ya gotta do, right? So we picked up a shitload of beer and headed back to the hotel to stock it to the gills. We got two seperate rooms at the hotel, one for Jon and Stefan and one for me, Jen, and Monkey. Their room became the shower room whereas our room became the party/beer room. We filled up the tub with our goodies, covered it in a nice sheet of ice cubes, and started drinking and planning our day.
First stop was Niagra Falls. It's a beautiful thing and all, but after looking at it for a few minutes, I kinda got over it and wanted to explore other areas. Before I go on, here's a picture of Jen with the falls behind her. (I don't want to risk getting yelled at for leaving her out of pictures!). Jon and Stefan decided to take the boat tour around the falls (which turns out Brad Pitt also took with his kids the next day) and Monkey, Jen, and I opted to instead leave the falls and walk around exploring. We ended up finding a Duty Free shop, which is basically a place that sells alcohol and perfumes tax free and for a really low low price. Only catch is, you have to purchase the stuff and then pick it up as you leave Canada. As in, you can't buy the cheap alcohol and drink it in Canada. Talk about a bummer! We knew we'd have to head back there on our way out on Sunday and stock up....
Met back up with Jon and Stefan and decided to head over to find the liquor store. Hey, we're alcoholics, what can I say! We ended up driving around for about 20 minutes trying to find a liquor store to no avail. Turns out the liquor is also controlled by the government and there's only one liquor store called LCBO (Liquor Control Board of Ontario). Thankfully, the prices there were about the same as the prices everywhere else. We got a few small bottles and stopped for lunch at Tacos & Tequila, a mexican bar/restaurant right next door. Jen and I got a heaping plate of nachos which weren't that good, but they filled us up just the same.
From here, i'm a little fuzzy as I can't really seem to recall what came next and it's not because of strong drink it's because of bad memory! I think we went back to the room, drank a bunch and chatted for a while, and then went out for the night. I know there's some stuff that went on between our mexican dining and going out for the night, but I can't seem to place it. Stefan, Jon, or Monkey, if you're reading this, can you fill me in?!
At nighttime, Jen and I split up and did our own thing while Stefan, Jon, and Monkey did their own thing. I believe they went to a bar and we went touring around checking out the haunted houses in the area. We ended up at Nightmares Fear Factory, which was billed as being the best in the area and they also proudly stated that 90,000 people were too scared and opted to end their journey through the house early. If you scream NIGHTMARE they let you walk out of there, but not before they sound the "Chicken" alarm and make a fool out of you. Sounded like my kinda haunted house! Turns out the thing was actually very fuckin scary. It was pitch black in there the entire time and you had to follow little red lights on the wall around to even navigate around the place. I ended up running face first into the wall a few times and asking the costumed staff members where the fuck to go. I'd be met with a "TO YOUR LEFT!!!!" in a creepy still in character voice, to which i'd reply "thank you, sir". You'd think that'd make the place less scary but oh no! This place was fucking terrifying and awesome. At one point Jen was on the floor in a corner screaming, while a man swiped at her with a chainsaw! If you ever head over to Niagra Falls, you must check this place out. They also do that thing that many amusement park rides do where they snap a picture of you at a certain point and you can buy it once you get out. I normally don't go for that sort of thing but the picture they snapped of us was so badass that we had to buy it. I really wish my scanner was working right now so I could show you guys.
After that we met up with the crew again and watched some drunk fools make asses of themselves in the form of karaoke and then the two of us split off again and grabbed some Burger King. Fries covered with gravy seem to be a big thing over in Canada and I wanted to try some in BK but they were all sold out. I guess they're a REAL big thing! Grabbed some mini burgers and fries and headed back to the room to drink some more before going out to gamble at the casino, conveniently located directly across the street from our hotel.
Jen had never gambled in a casino before and I go to Mohegan Sun a couple times a year for wrestling events so it was nice to be able to show her the ropes and let her gamble some of my (newly converted to Canadian) money away. This turned out to be one of the highlights of the weekend for both of us. She quickly turned $10 into $30 and our excitement must have looked to outsiders like we just hit a serious jackpot. We gambled for a few hours and then were going to meet up with the guys, returning from the bar, but they never made it. Turns out Stefan went missing and everyone was on the hunt for him. We all got a bit worried but then found out that he was safe in some random guys house having a grand old time. We were all a little bit pissed off that he got blackout drunk and wandered off and worried us all but after that blew over we realized that that's what a vacation is about. Getting drunk and having a good time! Speaking of which, Canada gets fucking ROWDY after about 2 in the morning. I thought it was a really peaceful place but once those bars close and all the drunks are unleashed on the public, all hell breaks loose. Cops everywhere, people screaming obscenities at us, calling Jon a "gay Jesus" and threatening to violate Jen. If this were our town we probably would've done something about it but we were in a foreign land and we were not about to get arrested in Canada so we decided to call it a night and head back up to the hotel in one piece and without the police on our tail and pass out for the night.
Found Monkey asleep on the toilet in the morning. The night for him did not end when it ended for everyone else (as usual). He went out and partied some more and I guess poured himself a nice rum and coke and then passed right out on our toilet, thankfully with pants on! Jen woke him up, went back to sleep, and then he came back up to our room an hour or so later bearing free continental breakfasts in bed. Now that's a good friend! We ate some gray sausages and egg patties, decorated Jon and Stefan's doorknob with a "nanna" and some bear claws, and then headed back to bed to sleep for a couple more hours.
Jon and Stefan decided that they wanted to head into Toronto, about an hour away, to check out the sights and sounds there so they went off and did that. Monkey wanted to go to the indoor water park (not joining is the one regret I have from the trip), so he went off and did that. And Jen and I wanted to check out the Flying Saucer restaurant, so we went off and did that. We shopped around and checked out all the little shops on the 45 minute walk up to the Flying Saucer and finally arrived at our destination : the UFO themed Flying Saucer Restaurant! We saw this place the day before when we went out to get beer and immediately knew we were gonna have to make a pit stop here. Not to mention Monkey had walked up alone earlier in the morning and vouched for the wings at the place. The menu was designed to look like an old newspaper reporting on a UFO landing in Niagra Falls, which was really fuckin cool. I got a massive three pattied burger topped with pretty much every side on the menu, Jen got a heaping plate of those famous Canadian gravy covered fries, and we split a plate of wings as an appetizer. And Monkey was right, the wings were fuckin amazing. And fries covered in gravy? Delicious! I ended up eating so much that I had to head downstairs to the Flying Saucer's bathroom to clear a pathway for more food and I ended up being full for most of the day from the meal, which is rare for me. I'm usually hungry an hour after eating a big meal, but not so with this food! Hung out there for a little bit and then made the long trek back to the hotel, but not before stopping off at the liquor store to procure some more treats! The walk wouldn't have been so bad if it weren't for Saturday being the windiest day I have ever experienced in my entire life. We were literally getting blown into the street the whole way back but i'm just glad we went all the way out there to check out the Flying Saucer.
Came back to the hotel to find Monkey passed out on the bed and we followed suit, taking a nap for a good couple hours to recharge our batteries. Woke up, met back up with everyone, and headed out to explore some more. We checked out The Criminal Hall of Fame, which was not as cool as it sounded. It was a walk through a building full of a bunch of shitty looking wax figures of famous criminals, along with misspelled info about them. This was supposed to be Charles Manson and this was supposed to be Leatherface and Michael Myers. I did get to meet Hitler and strap my girlfriend into an electric chair though, so I can't complain.
Details fuzzy. Drank a bunch more at the room and headed back out the falls to see how they look at night. They light them all kinds of cool colors, so it was pretty badass and made looking at the falls fun again for a couple minutes. It started getting shitty out so we went back up to the room and drank for several hours till it cleared up. The fellas then went off to bar hop again and Jen and I headed back over to the casino to gamble some more. Got up about $30 again but ended up losing most of it and spending the rest on shots of Jager for Jen and I at the casino bar. Met up with everyone again at the casino and then Jon and Stefan decided they were gonna go back to a bar, get another drink, and then pass out. It was only 12:30 or so so Jen and I decided to go out and explore some more.
Finally got to hit up a Tim Horton's which i'd been dying to try out since arriving in Canada. Timmy Ho's is basically a Dunkin Donuts style place that's far better than Dunkin Donuts and far better than Krispy Kreme too. I've heard Kevin Smith rave about it for years so I had to see what all the fuss was about and i'll tell ya, the donuts over there are some of the best i've ever had. Filled up on a few (there actually is a picture of me "filling up on a few", but its too unflattering to post) and then ended up playing some blacklight mini golf until the place closed and then got a text from Stefan asking if we wanted to head into the pool/hot tub area of the hotel after hours. It was closed, and we'd have to climb the fence, but that was the fun of it! So we jetted out of there and went back to the hotel to grab some beers and slap on some bathing suits or things that would substitute for bathing suits (underwear). Within minutes of making our way into the pool, we were kicked out by hotel staff and were threatened that we were "this close" to getting kicked out of the hotel. Fun while it lasted!
Jen then convinced Jon and Stefan that we were on vacation and we should be living it up instead of going to bed in preparation for the drive home tommorow. It worked, we got dressed, and went back out to meet up with Monkey and his new "girlfriend" he just met. When we finally found him, the girl was gone and the bars were all closing so we hung out on the streets a bit chatting with the locals while Stefan "cut his teeth" in an effort to meet some women. He ended up getting a kiss (for the mere cost of one Canadian coin dollar) and with that success, we went back to the room to sleep...or at least most of us did. Monkey attempted to walk back up to the Flying Saucer (which was closing in about 15 minutes...its a 45 minute walk....) and he ended up at some motel where a guy was chasing people around with a hatchet. What'd I tell ya! Canada gets fuckin nuts at night!
Woke up around ten and checked out. Hit up the Duty Free shop, where we all got a bunch of cheap liquor to take back home. Jen and I picked up two big bottles of Absolut vodka (peach and ruby red) and one bottle of Beefeater gin all for only $30. These bottles cost $30 a piece around here. They even have Absinthe over in Canada and i'm talking the real Absinthe, not the watered down fake stuff we get in New York. Monkey snagged up a bottle of that and we were off to the border, where'd we surely be hassled hardcore. Again, not the case. We all had to show our ID's and birth certificates, got asked a couple questions, and we were set free back to America. The ride home was long and full of traffic and delays at times but it went by pretty quickly. Stopped several times on the way for pee/food breaks and to pick up some fireworks in PA and before we knew it, we were back home and not happy about being back home.
It was an awesome trip and one of the best times i've had in a long while. I've been filled with a need to get out more and explore the world more. I've been in my tiny Hampton Bays, NY bubble for way too long and i've seen so little of my own state not to mention the entire world out there and I think it's time I get on some of that. I feel like this trip really changed me for the better and bonded all parties involved and like I said yesterday, I desperately need to get a (paying) job so I can continue to do shit like this! Money may not buy happiness, but it sure as shit pays for the things that provide happiness!
If you made it all the way down here, congratulations and thank you for reading! I hope you enjoyed my virtual debuachery filled trip through the great white north!