Niagara Falls + A Faux Pas

We went to Niagara Falls last weekend with Dan's mom and Luke. It was a long long drive, and we stayed at a Quality Inn that wasn't. Ever since I heard some 20/20 expose on what goes on in hotel rooms, I find it difficult to sit on any available surface in a hotel room, imagining that it's teeming with feces and bodily fluids of dozens of strangers.

Clearly, Dan does not share my fears. Also, this is totally staged. Luke posed like this on purpose.
We did a few of the touristy things, such as going to the Caves of the Winds (on the way down in the elevator, a young tour guide got on at the last second and turned toward the rest of us to say in a monotone voice, We are now descending 475 feet to the basin of the mountain...The elevator was so crowded that his nose was almost touching Dan's. I laughed out loud and Dan closed his eyes and I knew he was controlling himself to keep from laughing too).

They give you a little poncho and these free suctiony sandals, but I will tell you that death does not see that far away when you're standing on the rickety platform inches from the falls. I learned later that Niagara Falls is the second most common public space for people to kill themselves, with the Golden Gate Bridge winning first place. I also read about how a recent suicide that was called a copycat suicide b/c it happened just after another guy jumped (and lived). That made me feel kind of bad for the one who succeeded--even in death he was considered less than original.

Pamphlets like these were on hand in case you were considering jumping.
We also waited in line for 1,500 hours to get soaked on the Maids of the Mist boat tour where we learned that a lady had gone over in a barrel and survived.

Next, we went to the aquarium and saw some penguins stuffed into a smnall, man made terrarium. Later, we went to a 50th Wedding Anniversary where the husband sang, "I Did it My Way"on karaoke. Then home again. I'm glad I saw the falls--I am--but I think both of us would've been happier at a B&B somewhere, though there's still the problem of the bedspreads.

Some more random photos from the trip:

We stayed at Dan's mom's house on the way out. This is Sheeva. I bowed her.
Lillian and Dan.
Luke and giant pancake. Best meal ever at the Red Roof Inn.


The other thing that happened recently was that I signed up for a graduate class at Penn called something like, Madness in Italian Cinema. I imagined we would sit around and eat Italian ice and watch Fellini films. It was cross-listed in cinema studies and the Italian department. So, on Wed., I found the classroom and sat down. The teacher hadn't started class yet, but she was talking to one of the other students. They were speaking in Italian. I said to the friendly-looking redhead next to me, "Oh, they're speaking in Italian." She blinked back at me and said, "The whole class is in Italian."
 I said, "Okay, it was nice to meet you," and left. Don't worry, I found another class to take and I'm pretty sure it's in English.

Here is your moment of cat: