A couple weeks ago, Ron and I headed out to Miramar (美麗華百樂園, mĕi lì huá băi lè yuán) in Neihu to watch The Dark Night on the Imax screen there. The Miramar complex is also known for it’s very big ferris wheel (摩天輪, mó tiān lún, which literally means feel the sky wheel). Ron and I bought a combo deal where we got a pair of tickets to the film, tickets to the wheel and some snacks for roughly NT$1000 (I forget the exact amount, but it was quite reasonable).

First, we went on the ferris wheel, where I rapidly remembered that I am morbidly scared of heights. Only I would be so dandermuffined that I would forget such a thing, and surrender myself of my own free will to a small cage dangling off one of the tallest ferris wheel in the WORLD. Here is a picture of the torture contraption with my (very tall) fiance for size comparison.

Miramar Ferris Wheel
Hey Ron! Look like you met someone whose ge zi is taller than yours, shorty!

My contemplation of my own mortality was mercifully interrupted by a smashing view of the golf driving range next to Miramar.

Miramar Ferris Wheel

I love golf driving ranges! One of my happiest memories of New York City is an afternoon I spent with my friend Naureen at the golf driving range in Chelsea, which we followed with Kobe beef mini-burgers in the West Village. Golf is quite expensive in Taiwan (there isn’t a lot of land to go around setting up huge, meandering courses), and I was so happy to see this range that I nearly started crying. I’m sure my father would be proud. He used to take my brother and me to the golf driving range when we were younger, and one of the best hints he gave me was that I need to relax and loosen up in order to put some power into my drive. I think that’s a pretty apt metaphor for life. I can’t wait to go back and spend a lovely afternoon loosely whacking balls into the horizon. Too bad I’ll probably have to make do with Sushi Express instead of Kobe beef burgers!

After we finally made our escape from the evil wheel of doom, Ron and I played a few games at the arcade right below the wheel. Ron scored in the top four of this racing game twice!

Ron scores in the top 5... twice!

Ron said it was because he’d loved playing racing games when he was younger and so he had had a lot of practice.

That’s funny. I spent my entire childhood hitting things, and I still failed miserably at this Taiko drum game! That sad look of triumph on my face in the second to last photo is when I actually thought I had won. I hate it when arcade games taunt you like that!

Me losing miserably at the Taiko Drum game

Here’s a photo of my arch enemy:

Taiko drum game

As we were headed into the theater, I caught sight of a Democratic Progressive Party VS. Kuomintang boxing game. I was so intrigued that I overcame my fear of ringworm and stuck my hands into the disgusting boxing gloves. Seriously, the insides were kind of damp and the lining was pilling. At least I hope to God that was pilling! Alas, it was probably some kind of insect larvae cocooning itself as it prepares to hatch into a swarm. Ick. After blindly pushing at some buttons I couldn’t read, I ended up doing battle against Chen Shui-Bian as Lien Chan, Chen’s opponent in the presidential elections in 2000 and 2004. Well, I didn’t do so well. The third to last photo in this collage is of me gloating right before I found out that I only managed to get Chan’s glasses knocked straight off of him!

Me losing miserably at the KMT vs. DPP boxing game

While I was attempting to punch the daylights out of Chen, a security guard bounced up to me and said “要用力一點!” (yào yòng lì yī diăn, or “Just a bit harder!”). I turned to smile dorkily at him and noticed there was a crowd of eight people standing there, just watching me! I was incredibly embarrassed. Fortunately, public opinion of Chen is extremely low, even among DPP supporters.

Speaking of which, Ron and I have to register for our absentee ballots by the end of October. As an expat, I often feel like I am losing touch with U.S. culture and society. It’s a very lonely feeling sometimes, being here and having to live vicariously through the Internet. Sometimes I wish I could jump through my computer screen and be back home, even if just for a second. I miss even the stupid little things. You know how there are those television commercials that people talk about because they know everyone has seen them? Well, I would be out of the loop if someone brought up a commercial that aired over the past year. This year’s presidential election is important to me anyway, but voting and keeping track of election news also helps me feel like I still have the same frame of reference as my friends and family back home. That, and downloading Gossip Girl off iTunes. I can’t wait for the new season to start!