01 -03 November 2010
I’d arranged to go and visit Wil’s cousin Peter in Waterloo, Peter had visited us briefly in New Zealand and I recalled really enjoying Peter’s company in the brief time we’d met. He had a nice persona about him along with an interesting background working with RIM, the makers of Blackberry. Monday morning I managed to find a rideshare lift to Waterloo and Peter was there to pick me up. We made our way back to Peter’s comfortable house right on the edge of a lake, it was very tranquil. We had a delightful dinner with his girlfriend Kim and her daughter Jaz and went through some photos of my trip to date.
On Tuesday I had a good sleep in and a late breakfast, one of the simple pleasures I’d really been enjoying since not working. Peter kindly offered to take me to see the Niagara Falls despite it being over an hour’s drive away. Throughout my stay I was very taken by Peter’s welcoming nature and generosity.
Leaving Peter’s house we passed a number of farms which Peter explained were owned by local Mennonite families; I learnt it was quite a big area for Mennonites. Wikipedia will tell you that Mennonites are a “group of Christian Anabaptist denominations named after the Frisian Menno Simons (1496–1561), who, through his writings, articulated and thereby formalized the teachings of earlier Swiss founders. The teachings of the Mennonites were founded on their belief in both the mission and ministry of Jesus Christ, which they held to with great conviction despite persecution by the various Roman Catholic and Protestant states.” The Wikipedia article really didn’t interest me much, what interests me is that the strict Mennonites manage to live in modern Canada pretty much entirely self-sufficiently, utilising horses, making their own clothes and wearing straw hats and braces. From what Peter told me it seemed the Mennonite families around where he lived were wealthy, they tended to keep to themselves, very family oriented and were generous when people where in need; Peter told of when a neighbouring farm’s barn burnt down the whole Mennonite community went and helped built a new barn. [I recently watched the 2007 documentary ‘A Crude Awakening’ which looks at the worlds dependence on oil and how the future may turn out with such reliance on a non-renewable resource. It is worth noting that many sources suggest world supplies of oil having peaked and are now decreasing. Mennonite communities would appear to be pretty well positioned with their minimal reliance on oil if a doomsday outcome were to eventuate.]
Niagara Falls I have to say was as expected, as magnificent as normally shown on photos. One of the problems I’ve found while travelling is that the famous sites are always as you expect them to be; when they are so well documented how could they be anything else? Peter and I went down tunnels, donning the touristy yellow plastic rain jackets. Looking up from the lower viewing platform we saw the torrential down pour of four million cubic feet of water per minute. Back in the tunnels we walked behind part of the waterfall and looked out from viewing arches cut through the rock face. When you are standing so close, with the constant pounding sound from the wall of water in front of us you really get a feel for its power; enough to power over two million homes ( 4 GW).
On the way back we stopped off and took some photos of the spot known as the ‘whirl pool’, and drove through a wealthy picturesque area along the river on the way to Lake Ontario. From Lake Ontario we were able to take some photos of the distant Toronto skyline.
Make plans when you have the opportunity and when plans are harder to make just take a step in the right direction but don’t waste time dwelling on a difficult situation – relax and go with the flow
Later we had Indian for dinner at a favourite place of Peter’s nearby to one of the RIM buildings where he used to work. It had been a tiring day, following a tiring few days so after a little internet time I sought some much needed sleep. I had been desperately trying to figure out what the hell I was going to do the following day but I hadn’t made any headway. In the end I gave up and decided I would just wait till tomorrow. The lesson, I believe, is to make plans when you have the opportunity and when plans are harder to make just take a step in the right direction but don’t waste time dwelling on a difficult situation – relax and go with the flow.