Buffalo was a hoot. The city has beautiful bones, but unfortunately much of those bones are laid bare by the economic depression that followed the collapse of the shipping and steel industries. I suppose photos will follow once I'm fully back and functional, but in the meantime you'll have to take my word for it.
This was a business trip, or as much of a business trip as possible when you and your wife are toting along two children, so we weren't there completely to see the sights, and we spent much of the time in a hotel in downtown Buffalo.
It's extremely difficult to get a six pack of beer in downtown Buffalo. Sure you can find a bar, no problem, but try to find a six pack of beer and you'll wish you'd started sooner. While they apparently sell beer in CVS stores in New York, in downtown Buffalo if you try to go to CVS after eight p.m., you're out of luck. 8 p.m. -- What sort of CVS closes at 8 p.m.? Convenience my ass.
We settled on buying five bottles of Labatt's Blue from the hotel bar for a price that would have bought us a case with some change anywhere else.
Outside our business itinerary, we squeezed in a trip to Niagara Falls, both American and Canadian sides, and were amazed both at the beauty of the falls and the utter tastelessness of the detritus that has sprung up around the falls. In a show of extremely bad taste, some geniuses have lit the falls at night with multi-colored lights, turning a natural wonder into a monument to human mismanagement.
We had a minor incident returning from Canada, because we didn't have passports or birth certificates on hand for our children. We'd forgotten that ever since the US broke diplomatic relations with the barbarians to the north, it's been a tense border situation. After hinting that perhaps we were smuggling in Canadian style Manchurian Candidates who would eventually grow up, take powerful positions within the US government, and betray us to the Canadians -- or at least make us go metric -- he let us through.
More on the Canadian bits later...