First trip with our new addition to the family. She just turned 11 months on Dec. 17 and we are ready to roll back to our travelling mode. Granted we went with her to Montreal and Quebec City (as well as Niagara Falls and Kingston) but this will be her first passport stamp to another country. Finally made the decision to go to New York City and made a reasonable Christmas schedule there to see most of the highlights in a leisurely pace. So after, and by some miracle, we were able to fit two large suite cases, the baby stroller, the toddler seat, the folded up cot (not knowing we will get one in the hotel), my son’s skates and helmet for Rockefeller, the baby chair, and a few other bags (some genius engineering went into fitting it all in the trunk like playing Tetris).
We headed off to the border, all was smooth right up to Niagara Falls. At Rainbow Bridge it ground to a halt and took us a good 25 minutes to reach the customs guard (with a growingly antsy baby in the back. Then came the dreaded statement “we will need you guys to step out for more information”. Not realizing how long that would take we parked our car and just left everything in it, headed to the border patrol building, and some imbecile guard told us to go to the second floor without asking us what we were there for, nobody told us what we were there for. We were packed with a huge crowd into a small room, I was sweating, son was getting really tired and bored (no cell phones) wife also getting uncomfortable due to the overcrowded and under-ventilated room, people all over the world were being called out by a sub par speaker, could barely understand what they were saying, and our baby started throwing a tantrum overheating and her face turned red. I had to leave to get her formula and a pacifier, after shooting back some attitude back to the police I went out and got the stuff, almost two hours later, blowing air into my baby’s face to cool her off, trying to keep my son before he starts to throw a fit too, dealing with the sweat and not knowing anything, someone finally comes to me telling me we should be in the lower floor for customs, apparently we were in immigration (did I mention that first guard was an imbecile!) delayed us two hours for nothing…I guess it could have been worse.
Finally made it out and into a Tim Horton’s on the New York side. Had a break, although they got our three sandwiches, two coffee order wrong at least three times for some reason, we headed to the car. Found out I don’t have roaming and couldn’t access Google Maps (didn’t have any other map). Finally got in touch with Virgin and good a quick roaming package (service was great actually but set me back another half hour). Made the three and a half hour drive to Corning as our mid-way stop. Obviously didn’t have time to see the Glass Museum because of our delay but happy to have reached. Had another quick heart attack not finding our passports (forgot I put them in a small compartment just over the hand rest in the car – it was like a hidden compartment). Rested then went into the town for a quick dinner at this Indian thali place, food was okay, mild and gave us our fix. Headed home for a draw down after a long day, baby still trying to sleep, she had quiet the rough day and our boy as well. Hopefully tomorrow will go smoother, although I’m dreading the drive into Manhattan, and apparently there are highway tolls, not sure how I can pay those – will figure it out I guess. Didn’t get a chance to go to the glass museum – and the glass blowing session that I wanted to try is a no-go on Sundays (the ‘Make your own glass’ workshop would definitely have been a highlight). Probably better to rest up before the drive to the City tomorrow. (Staybridge Suites, Corning, New York, Dec. 21, 2019 – 10:20p.m.).
Quick stop at Corning
Today was mostly a drive to Syracuse with a good three and a half hours in Destiny Mall (a good 2 minute walk from our hotel, which apparently was built to be right next to the mall. The hotel suite felt like an actual hotel we would stay in Dubai with wide pen airy corridors and fancy lobby. Had a good rest, got my fill of Arby’s Roast Beef Sandwiches (two of them), got a little advent calendar of cosmetics for the misses (50% off after Christmas sale) and something for the little guy (sky projector at 60% off). Went to Lego store, and the wife got a bag form Kate Spade and my son ended up playing at the VR pop-up. Now resting and getting ready for the slightly longer drive back tomorrow – off to home we go! Hopefully the border passing will be less eventful and go more smoothly, and hopefully not many pit stops for the kids (Embassy Suites Hotel, Syracuse, New York, Dec. 30, 2019 – 6:45p.m.).