12:50 pm, Thursday
Apologies to Youthlarge for referring to her by the nickname that Hot Tub Eric tried to foist on her a few years ago.
Anyway, where was I?
After Youthlarge napped on Monday afternoon, we went exploring. I should not have said that the hotel we were staying in was nice because it wasn't. It was a dump. But yet, foot massages were available so go figure.
We wandered out into the great unknown of the desolate stretch of a resort town. I had a ring burning a hole in my pocket. Monday was Youthlarge's and my second wedding anniversary. I decided about a year ago that I wanted to buy her a diamond ring (apologies to all the diamond haters out there but let it be known that I haven't set foot in a Wal-Mart in years). So I saved up some money behind my dear wife's back and put it in our safety deposit box that she never checks. I also decided to use saving bonds that I had held onto since my Bar Mitzvah to help pay for it. While she was in LA in June, my plan began to unfold. A parent of a former student is a jeweler and he lives just up the block from me. Over the last 6 weeks or so, I went to his house a number of times to make the purchase. I finally picked it up on the day before we left the U.S.
So on Monday, I had to decide when the best time to give Youthlarge the ring would be. And this bullshit town wasn't doing me any favors. But then I saw a bizarre sight. A huge hot air balloon with a corporate logo apparently was there to advertise and give people free rides. That might be fun. But I didn't want to give her the ring sitting amongst others.
And there, off in the distance, stood the sight of that alluring old amusement park that didn't seem to be operating. But I figured it might be nice to give her the ring in the shadow of a rundown Ferris Wheel so I convinced her to take a walk towards the looming roller coaster.
On the way, we almost decided to rent an ATV that were all the rage in this apparently near the seaside resort. Alas, we let the teenagers rule the roost on that one. Instead, we kept walking.
Finally, we reached the amusement park. Was it open? Nothing seemed to be running. The roller coaster definitely wasn't. But the Ferris Wheel almost looked like it was. Or was that just the wind gently pushing it along? We got closer to the parking lot. There was an attendant working. Could it be open? There were a few cars in the lot. We kept walking to investigate. Look! People! But where was the entrance? From behind some perfectly manicured bushes, we heard children singing a song in perfect unison. But the sound wasn't coming from within the amusement park, but rather off to the side. What was going on?
We kept walking. We were in the shadow of the quiet roller coaster. Was the Ferris Wheel running or not? There were no sounds coming from the amusement park. But as we got closer to the main entrance, an ominous yet promising sign - the unmistakeably scary piped in song "It's a Small World."
Around the bend was the front entrance. A few people were streaming out. It was open! Or was it? It still was hard to tell. Youthlarge went up to the solitary ticket seller. It was indeed open. And, yes, we could go in.
If you have ever seen the movie Westworld, you can begin to picture this place. There was nobody in the place upon entry. The stands were closed, no one was around. But as we rounded a bend and got closer to the Ferris Wheel, we began to see some people. Not many, but a few: A trio of teenaged couples, a few senior citizens relaxing on the robot dogs(!), and about two dozen frolicking youngsters. Not all of the rides were open but enough were that the kids were having a blast. No lines, ride after ride were free and clear to go.
I knew what I wanted to do - a Ferris Wheel Diamond Ring ride. It looked like I was going to get my wish. But the question still remained: Was the damn thing running? Even as we were right next to it, we couldn't tell. The thing was clearly moving but at a snail's pace. We couldn't see anyone on it. But as we came to within a few feet of it, we did see an operator. Hooray. The time had come. Unfortunately, we had to get a ticket to ride. Of course, the closest ticket seller was closed so we had to go to another one. This only took maybe four minutes, but every second was so heightened for me because I was so anxious to get going.
Finally, the time arrived. We stepped onto the slowest moving ride I've ever set foot on. We were the only people on the ride, I think. It was hard to tell because it moved so slowly that it wasn't obvious when people got in or got off because the thing never stopped moving.
So I waited a few moments for the car to actually get high enough above the ground before I decided to give her the ring. Let's just say that it was a complete shock to her. She couldn't quite believe that I had bought her a ring and that I had kept it a secret from her for so long. It was a very nice moment, hovering in the Korean air in a car of a decrepit Ferris Wheel in a near empty amusement park in a bizarre resort town.
After the ride, we headed to the completely empty arcade for a couple of games. We marvelled at the completely empty water park section that was lazily cordoned off to the public by a flimsy sign. I was tempted to go on a waterslide but ended up not doing it. We were amused by the ride based(?) on the Digital Underground song "The Humpty Dance." As we strode from the park, the closing song on our amusement park experience was perhaps the worst song ever recorded: The Beach Boys - "Kokomo."
That was Monday early evening. I'll catch up on the ensuing few days in my next entry.
Hide and Seek
2 days ago