I nearly choked when the attendant told me how much it cost to get in. I had just enough in my wallet to cover it. I kept the receipt, making a mental note to try to write it off. The attendant handed me what appeared to be a small medallion which I was to wear around my neck — it contained an embedded microchip that would identify me as a paying customer.

About 20 yards past the entrance, there was a crossroads where signs with arrows on them indicated the locations of various attractions. I scanned them briefly and then, realizing that I had no data on which to base a decision, decided to just turn right. When all else fails, I turn right to get into something, left to get out. This rule of thumb usually works out well enough, not that I’d recommend it for general usage.

The first ride I came to looked like a plain, old-fashioned ferris wheel. This seemed like a reasonable place to start. The line wasn’t bad, and in maybe five minutes I was being strapped into my seat by an employee in a silver jumpsuit.

The wheel began to rotate, lifting me into the air. It struck me that the day was really quite lovely. The sun was shining and a cool, soothing breeze was blowing, accentuated by the motion of the wheel.

As I neared the apex of the wheel’s rotation, looking down at the smallish people walking back and forth below, I experienced a moment of great peace. “Kaya” by Bob Marley and the Wailers, always a favorite of mine, began to play in my head. I found myself wondering what sort of problems a place like this could have, and how serious they could possibly be.

And then the strangest thing happened.