This past weekend was Poop's birthday (Yay!) and since we hadn't planned any sort of celebratory extravaganza (due to all sorts of crappy stuff that's been going on lately), we made a last-minute decision to take off to Niagara Falls for the weekend.
We both took Friday afternoon off and hit the road for Niagara around 3 pm. Unfortunately, being Friday, rush hour out of the city started at about 2 pm. We were stuck in some pretty nasty traffic all the way to Hamilton (and beyond?). It was, as you can imagine, frustrating. Moral of the story for us: Always take the 407.
We had booked a room at the "Country Inn & Suites", located directly across the street from Casino Niagara. We've never stayed there before (I believe it's relatively new) but we'd definitely go back - we got a great deal (total bill for 2 nights, including tax & parking etc. was less than $180). The room was more than adequate, very comfortable beds/pillows, nice decor (though those olde tyme TVs that aren't flat actually sorta freak me out now: WHAT IS THAT THING?!! IT'S SO BIG!).
We learned, upon checking in, that there was a big "dance competition" occurring in Niagara Falls that weekend - which explained the 8-year-old girl in the lobby with the slicked-back hair and sporting eye makeup akin to Cleopatra.
We actually saw a number of hyper little girls wearing makeup (and unhappy brothers & dads caddying tap shoes & sparkly costumes) over the course of the weekend. I think several of them were in our hotel. The accomodating desk clerk put us on the 7th (top) floor, assuring us it was the "quietest" floor - and it was, til Sunday morning, when I came dangerously close to unleashing a string of expletives on the noisy assholes in the hall who woke me up...
Anyway, we arrived at the hotel around 5:30 on Friday and after checking in to the hotel, headed over to the casino for dinner & subsequent shenanigans. We tried to get a comp (some quantity of $$ from the casino) to eat at Lucky's (the "steakhouse" at Casino Niagara - Note: despite being designated a "steakhouse", they have wonderful vegetarian, seafood & pasta dishes, too), but we were informed we needed to gamble for a bit before we could get any freebies. We played for a little bit, then opted for the buffet - which was disgusting, but quelled the hunger pangs temporarily.
Friday night at Casino Niagara is ""Ladies Night" - which means they hold draws for prizes (for the women) and try to give all the ladies roses when they arrive. I had to turn down no fewer than 4 pink roses - who wants to carry a friggin' flower around all night? (Carrying a flower around all night would seriously impede my ability to gamble my money away as quickly as possible - you'd think that casino management would realize this floral gift program is to their money-grubbing detriment!)
I love Niagara Falls in general and the casino specifically. The cross-section of people is unfailingly amusing. For example, you very rarely see such a high concentration of mullets in one place nowadays. I also love the fact that I get ID'd everytime I go there - and they're always surprised when they find out my actual age.
Poop played poker for a few hours, I played some slots & some Caribbean Stud - neither of us had much good luck that night, so around 12:30 we decided to leave and get something to eat - after our wholly unsatisfying buffet experience, we were hungry again. We decided on Kelsey's - because it was nearby and because it had a huge patio (and it was an absolutely beautiful night). And while I normally try to avoid this type of conveyor-belt/chain restaurant, it was actually quite good. I had a Cosmopolitan and some sort of cheese/spinach dip thing served with crispy pita pieces - tasty & filling. Poop had a Jack & Coke and a brilliant innovation called "Buffalo Perogies" - basically, perogies tossed in buffalo wing sauce - genius! All in all, an enjoyable end to a fun evening.
We headed back to the hotel and crashed pretty quickly...and slept soundly til we were awakened by the alarm on the Iphone in the morning...Poop had set it to go off in time so that he could partake of the "Free Breakfast" that was included with the cost of our room, the availability of which ended at 10:30 (he really loves a good deal and hates to miss out). Poop went downstairs and got us some egg sandwiches and yogurts - not bad! Though he was somewhat dejected since one of the brochures promised a waffle station - he was really looking forward to making (and eating!) his own waffles. Poor Poop. Didn't they know it was his birfday weekend?!?!!
We lazed around for a bit, debating what we should do with our Saturday. We decided to go to Dave & Buster's and spend exhorbitant amounts of money so we could play games. Wheeee!
The forecast was calling for a storm and the sky over the falls was threatening to open up and pour at any second - every time I looked out the window it appeared that the velocity of the wind had increased - litter was flying everywhere and little girls in spandex & hooker makeup looked like they were going to blow away! We decided to wait for a bit before heading out, to see what was going on with the weather, since neither of us brought an umbrella nor did either of us feel like participating in a tornado. As it turned out, we didn't have to wait very long - the storm was over as quickly as it started (though it sure poured down hard for a few minutes) and we were off on our next adventure.
Before leaving the hotel, we raided the brochure area of the lobby and ripped out some Dave & Buster's coupons from one of the tourist guidebooks. We love our great deals!
Stepping outside was a bit of shock - the humidity was atrocious, particularly for early May - hot & sticky. I definitely didn't need the fleece jacket I'd brought with me!
We walked over to Dave & Busters and had a great time, playing skeeball, air hockey, a random shooting-at-monsters game (that made my hands really sore) and a basketball free-throw game where you get as many baskets as possible in a certain amount of time.
I was at a disadvantage in all of our competitions, never having played any of these games before, whereas Poop grew up playing them! He was incredulous that I didn't have any experience with skeeball or air hockey - I guess you just can't comprehend the "growing up in Dryden" experience unless you've been there...we 5-pin bowled in Dryden, we snowmachined in Dryden, we fished in Dryden - we did not play skeeball in Dryden!!
All that activity made us very thirsty (a sad commentary on our physical fitness), so we ventured out to the Clifton Hill area to grab a tasty beverage and a snack. The area is pretty much always overrun with tourists, from all over the world, but none of them annoyed me (much). I do try to be a good Canadian ambassador as much possible, you know!.
We grabbed some soft drinks (mmmm..fountain soda..) and a hard, salty pretzel (with mustard, of course!) and found a seat. We were impressed with how well they maintain the area - probably 20 or more park benches/picnic tables where we were situated and every single bench had a garbage can beside it - I know people will still litter (lazy assholes) but this certainly must reduce the urge!
We returned to D & B to use up the rest of our credits. I just assumed we'd give all pf our prize tickets to some kid when we were finished - I know I wasn't interested in anything from the "prize" area? Apparently, Poop had other ideas and the birfday boy gets what he wants! He used our meagre allocation of tickets to purchase a maple, moose-shaped sucker. He saved it for the drive home on Sunday where he proceeded to eat an entire antler & half the moose's head before asking me to take it away and never let him near it again (see pic).
After our D & B adventure, we decided to get some ice cream cones - seemed like a hot day/birthday kind of thing to do - I got a Rocky Road cone (Gross - I had no idea there were marshmellows in Rocky Road. I'm not sure what I thought it was going to be, but that wasn't it!) and Poop had something else, that escapes me at the moment, cuz I'm so upset thinking about a delicious ice cream cone opportunity spoiled by marshmellows!! ARGH!!
We went back to the hotel to relax for a while (i.e. so Poop could have a 2-hour nap) and shower before dinner. Our plan for the evening was to go to Mamma Mia's, an Italian place that we used to frequent, but haven't been to in a few years, and then go back to the casino. I was also looking forward to having a nice, relaxing bubble bath - I haven't bathed in ages (well, I've washed myself, but I only have a shower at my house, so I almost never get to have a bath!) so it was going to be a treat!
To my surprise & delight, Dirty Dancing was on the TV! And, even though I've seen it about 175 times and I know all the dialogue by heart (and it's always somewhat bittersweet to watch, since both Jerry Orbach and Patrick Swayze are with Phil Hartman now), naturally, I had to watch it. It was as delightful as ever.
We had a nice dinner at Mamma Mia's - Poop's newfound love of Eggplant Parmesan is a revelation. He declared Mamma Mia's version to be "melt-in-the-mouth delicious". My dinner wasn't spectacular, but it was OK. Here's a picture of Poop holding up the "candle" on the table (it wasn't lit, so we looked at it more closely and realized it was plastic and had a switch that needed to be turned on - classy!).
The whole weekend was a lot of fun - thanks, Niagara Falls! Happy birthday, Poop!