Freedom Tour Report - Niagara
The day began in Niagara with a bursting sun and the foliage of Niagara was sporting its seasonal brilliance. The elements being aware of this very special day had vividly painted the peninsula for the occasion.
Aleida and Irma, along with their party from the Cuban Embassy and the Toronto Consulate, arrived at the home of one our members where a reporter from one of the three Niagara newspapers was already waiting to interview them.
Irma did an admirable job of not only answering for herself but also translating for Aleida. After the interview our new friendships were consolidated by the age old tradition of breaking bread together.
The entourage then set out to view the falls and surrounding Niagara sights. The mist over the Horseshoe Falls was exceptionally heavy with moisture on this sunny day and the rainbow which is so elusive on cloudy days, performed for our guests in an opened fan of colour.
An elevator carried the party down to the tunnels directly at the foot of the Falls thus affording our visitors an entirely new viewing vantage point where tons of water ferociously explode on the rocks below the falls and only a few feet away from where our guests stood on the viewing platform.
Back to the vehicles and the party made it's way north on the parkway to Queenston Heights. After passing the massive dam complex on the US side and the power station housing the large turbo generators on the Canadian side, the party then left the parkway.
A further short drive took them to the Welland Ship Canal which runs adjacent to the river where the party viewed the giant locks which enable ships to literally climb the mountain en route to Lake Erie. No other world canal can boast of eight giant locks.
Finally, the party returned to Niagara Falls and to the last official event of the tour at the Niagara Falls Library. They first engaged in a short interview with someone from the Buffalo News which, incidentally, the editors of the paper subsequently chose not to print.
The travel worn guests shone as if it was their first appearance instead of their last. Great speeches followed by penetrating questions from the audience and then... it was all done. Aleida and Irma had done great credit to their country.
The evening was capped by an exuberant and lively little dinner at Vince Baldo's house in Niagara Falls. Someone remarked that it was just like being in Cuba. Everybody joyously talking at once. What a great way to end a perfect day and and a great tour.
Helen Santek on behalf of CCFA Niagara
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