Today I lived a childhood fantasy. I became Charlie Bucket in Willy Wonka's world for a day. Yes, I went to a chocolate factory.

Taking a Memorial Day weekend trip to Pennsylvania to spend the remaining days in the US, G and I (along with her sister and close friends) went to Hershey Park. Although relatively close to NY, driving to Penn was long and tiresome. I traded the driving chore to Christine, a family friend and slept the road trip away. But as soon as lampposts with bulbs that resemble huge chocolate Kisses emerged from the mid-afternoon view, I became a kid again with plenty of energy to spare and spend away. The environment made my endorphins go berserk as did my chocolate cravings.

The park was huge with a theme park, museum, zoo, golf course, hotel, spa, and of course, the chocolate factory to explore. The place was dreamlike, like a mirage in the middle of a dry desert — although this one is for real. Imagine having a spa treatment out of chocolate! Free chocolates were also given away throughout the tour that my early cravings were replaced by a considerable degree of addiction at the end of the day.

Of course one should learn something from an experience, especially those as momentous as this one. Today, I learned chocolate from Hershey's comes from cocoa beans shipped from Indonesia and Ghana. I am therefore indebted and bound to pay respects to my Indonesian and Ghanan friends back in the University. I also learned that Hershey's is not purely a business affair but a charitable company dedicated to special children and supporting and supplying essentials to soldiers in times of war.

By the time we reached NY, I was extremely exhausted. But I was also intoxicated by the chocolate overload I've lived through the day. And judging by the bagful supply of chocolates G & I bought, I probably will be for a few more days…