I took advantage of Megabus $1 ticket promotion and went to Niagara Falls,NY today.
The bus I took has a wide glass ceiling up top which gave me a great view of Toronto’s skyscrapers.
Wi-fi on board of the bus works well. After 1.5 hours, we were on the Peace Bridge waiting to go through U.S. Customs and Border Protection.
The nightmare begins.
One arrogant fat lady agent asked me a lot of questions. She even claimed that I had been out the Canada for more than one year and asked for an explanation. I denied that claim. She pointed at two U.S. entry stamps in my passport and said one was the time I left Canada via the U.S. and another one was the time I came back via the U.S.
In fact, I got those two stamps from two separate trips.
I got one stamp in 2008 when I fly to the US from Toronto airport. No stamp for flying back to Canada from the US.
I got another stamp in 2010 when I flew back to New York from Asia. I took a bus to New York before I flew to Asia. They don’t stamp my passport when I take a bus across the border. So I only got one stamp at the airport when I flew back.
She thought I’ve been away from too long and questioned my source of income. When she saw my entry records for UAE and Oman, she got more upset and took my passport to the small room at the back.
After a few minutes, she came back and searched my backpack. She asked my more questions and asked me to sit down on a chair at the back of the hall.
She then began to process other passengers and sometimes asked other passengers if they knew me. They’d better start to run a zoo there.
After she finished processing other passengers, I was called back to stand there. She took out a pen and started to exam all the stamps in my passport and write down my every entry/exit record in every country, including the date and location.
I was wondering how long this process will take because there were a lot of stamps in my passport. So I said to here, “I entered the US just last month…” “Inspection is different!”, she interrupted me and just gave me my passport back.
I was finally released.
The nightmare was not over.
There was a south Asian male passenger from our bus was held there, searched and questioned by a short old lady officer for at least 10 more minutes. He was before me in the queue.
I don’t want to visit the US ever again, not even for flight transit.
Finally, I arrived at Buffalo Metropolitan Transportation Center.
The security was tight and some police with guns took a dog to sniff everything from bags to telephone kiosk there. There was a change machine and a local bus ticket machine. I got my day pass there. The cost was $4. A one-way ticket would cost $1.75.
The Megabus coach stops at gate No. 13. Local buses to Niagara Falls use gate No. 14 right next door.
Tourists can request to get off the No. 40 bus as soon as they see the Official Visitor Center. I got off near the Rainbow Bridge which is another popular drop-off point.
Tourists should however get on the bus at another location which is right in front of the casino.
Bus No. 40 goes back to Buffalo. Bus No. 50 and No. 55 goes to Fashion Outlets of Niagara Falls and Walmart.
I entered Niagara Falls State Park from the 1st St. bridge behind the Official Visitor Center.
I strolled to Three Sisters Island where I saw some small falls as well as the mist generated by the Horseshoe Falls.
Ducks and seagulls here try to pick up some food from the river despite the danger of falling down the (tiny) falls.
There was nothing to see at the Horseshoe Falls U.S. side. I found the highlight of the park should be the Bridal Veil Falls.
I guess there’s a rainbow or rainbows everyday here and that’s why the bridge behind it is called “Rainbow Bridge”.
The upstream of Bridal Veil Falls is also very beautiful.
The access to American Falls observation tower is free of charge. You can have a good view of the falls up here.