“Do you want to see the Wheel of Fortune?” Edgar asked me.
“Wheel of Fortune?” I ask, puzzled, thinking of Pat Sajak, Vanna White and the opportunity to win valuable prizes.
“Yes, we have the country’s largest wheel of fortune here,” he says, “and it was just built. It’s at ‘Angelopolis.'”
“Angelopolis? Wheel of Fortune?” I think to myself. “What the heck is all of this?”
But I agree to go along as he seems enthusiastic, though I’m puzzled about what exactly it is that we are going to see. Though I consider myself to be pretty fluent in Spanish, there are those times when I understand every single word that has been said, yet still remain completely clueless about the meaning. I figure this is one of those times, and that I’ll just play along. “Just keep in mind I don’t gamble,” I say to him before we set off. Only later do I realize how completely ridiculous this comment turns out to be.
It’s approaching sunset, and we hail a taxi. It turns out “Angelopolis” is a good ways from the city center and it takes us about a half-hour. When we get there, it starts to become clearer. “Angelopolis” is a new-ish, upscale mall. “Oh no,” I’m thinking. “I’m sure he’s proud of this shiny, new mall, but I seriously have zero interest.” I try to feign enthusiasm, exclaiming how lovely it all is with its posh shops and well-dressed people. But this mall could be anywhere, and the US is full of such places. We wander around a bit. We stop in a pet shop. We talk about how he’d like to open his incense-crystal-eastern spirtuality bookshop-etc there. Finally he says, “Well, do you want to see the wheel of fortune?”
“Yes! I’d love to,” I reply, full of curiosity. We walk out of the mall, and suddenly it all becomes clear. The “wheel of fortune” turns out to be an enormous Ferris wheel, 80 meters high, completed only 9 months ago, and christened Estrella de Puebla. It is festooned with LEDs which flash, creating patterns of light. At the base sits a fountain not unlike that at The Bellagio in Las Vegas, with varying patterns of flow and lights, all coordinated to music playing from speakers around the plaza. I don’t know how I missed this thing as we drove into the mall, but it is a very pleasant surprise, and I’m delighted that it has nothing to do with any kind of TV show or gambling of any kind.
The wheel is quite impressive, measuring 80 meters high, with a design not unlike that of the London Eye, though the 54 gondolas are of a more traditional design, but fully enclosed and air-conditioned. And unlike the London Eye which will set you back a good £20 GBP ($30 USD), the admission to the Estrella de Puebla is a highly-reasonable 30 pesos, about $2.20 USD. We board, and are treated to a marvelous view of the Puebla skyline, Cholula, and the volcanoes Iztaccíhuatl and Popocatépetl. An entire circuit takes about a half-hour, and we enjoy the romance of the ride, holding hands and whispering sweet nothings into each other’s ears.
“Have you been on this before?” I ask.
“No. I was saving it for a special occasion,” he replies.
And I reflect on the fact that this “wheel of fortune” turns out to be my wheel of amazingly-good fortune. I thank the gods for another wonderful day of Mexican adventures and for the charming, handsome man at my side.