Heijen, Netherlands: Centre Parks , Good Times – by Caleb

Finally we meet family! My cousins Lana & Liam, my aunt & uncle, Kim & Bill, my other cousins, Ellie, Chloe, Molly, and Ruby, and my other aunt, Christy, along with my grandma, Freda and Christy’s mom and brother. We met up with them at a campground in the Netherlands. Ellie, Chloe, Molly, and Ruby and Christy went home a few days after the campground but Kim and Bill and Lana and Liam are still with us right now, (May 12, 2016). The campground was called Centre Parks and for me, after staying in a place like Travellers House for example, this place was a luxury.

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We stayed in cabin 369 that was in the woods just off the road through the campground. The cabin was small but it served our needs perfectly. The cabin had two double beds in separate rooms, a bunk bed (where Connor and I slept), two bathrooms (one right at the entrance, the other beside my room), a kitchen and a living room. There was wifi the speed of light (compared to other places) but since this was a five star campground, you had to pay for it, as you did almost all things.

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My aunt gave us a few coupons that we could use to do an activity that usually costs money, for free. The options for these activities were ziplining, wall climbing, outdoor laser tag, paintball, cool factor (a bunch of missions), and mini golf. Connor, my cousins and I chose laser tag because cool factor was fully booked. We had fun though.

The laser tag arena was very small with lots of crates randomly placed in it for you to hide behind. They gave you these guns that were heavier than usual so you had to use two hands to hold them up. The guns were big and black and had the shape of a sniper. They looked really real. The only difference between a real gun and these were that these had small prisms on the top of them that were the receivers. Since you didn’t have suits on you had to shoot the receiver to get someone out. Second difference was that the gun obviously shot lasers instead of bullets. The lasers were infrared lasers so you couldn’t see them, which kind of sucked but we had a good time.

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Throughout the hour of laser tag we played, we played different games such as every man for himself, doctor, and teams. Every man for himself is just plain every man for himself; doctor is when you split into teams and you pick a doctor. Once you tell who your doctor is to the man supervising the laser battle, he will program your doctor’s gun so that if he shoots an enemy, then that enemy is out as usual, but if the doctor shoots a team member’s gun, that team member regains a life. And teams are just teams. That certainly was one of the highlights of Centre Parks.

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Another highlight of Centre Parks was their water park. The water park consisted of an indoor wave pool, a toddler area, a hot tub, an outdoor pool, and ice pool, and three water slides. The water slides were rated on how steep they were, and how dark they were. There was a tube slide that was semi-dark but wasn’t that steep. It was rated 2 out of 3. The other two water slides were wicked. They were rated 3 out of 3. The first one was nothing special. It was seriously a big sheet of metal tilting downwards. But when I say downwards, I mean, like, 75 degrees downward. You’d kill yourself landing in the pool below if you landed on your butt. That is why it was rated a 3. The other slide wasn’t really a slide. It was more like rapids. The whole thing was a big metal trench with water in it.

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At points, the trench would dip and then rise again making you shoot through the sky. At the end of this trench (you’ve already been battered and beat enough that you’re just on the verge of drowning) you shoot down into a deep pool and then the current pulls you under! This happens at many points throughout the rapids and it was fun, but this was just deadly! But, I made it through the rapids once and then went multiple times because despite the probable high dead count on this slide, it had a small element of fun hidden in it. Though I had to stop and take a break one time because my cousin Liam dared me to go down head first which is when I hurt myself so bad I couldn’t go down the slide again for a very long ten minutes.

My cousins and I made it tradition that you had to jump in the ice pool before going on the rapids. The ice pool was so cold, I was surprised there wasn’t a thin sheet of ice on the top of the pool. Worse, we had to go under, head under and all, for ten seconds. Don’t laugh, this is harder than it seems because the water is so cold, when you jump in, you gasp because it’s freezing. But since you have to go under for ten seconds, you can’t gasp, so your under there, practically drowning, and people are amused by that. Anyway, after I went under the ice pool for ten seconds, I wanted to breath but I was so cold that I had to jump in the normal pool first. So I jump in the pool, (and now I’m really drowning) warm myself up in the water, rush to the surface, and inhale so loudly that the whole country can hear me. So picture this: I just jumped in the ice pool, I’m a bit limp cause my body is confused with the sudden temperature change, then my cousins, heave me onto the rapids and let me go down. By the time I reached the bottom, I was pretty much dead. And I did that more than a hundred times. You can imagine how easy I got to sleep that night. Anyway, I’m not going to spend all my time talking about the water park cause there is one other great thing to do at Centre Parks.

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The jungle dome was a great memory of Centre Parks. The jungle dome is a massive dome (obviously) but inside it was hot and humid and misty and everything jungley. There were trees and leaves and bushes and even exotic birds flying around, such as macaws and parrots. There were also a bunch of flamingos wandering through the dome! In the centre of the dome was a massive labyrinth with a long slide in the middle of this maze. The maze was not only on the ground but you had to climb over obstacles and get to the fifth floor. Connected to the labyrinth were lots of rope bridges and rope courses, which you did without a harness, making the experience that much more thrilling.

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There were rivers flowing through the dome with fish in them. I of course had to fall into one of the rivers accidentally and soak my day clothes. It sucked at the time but we all had a laugh and I still think it’s funny right now. After all, I got soaked way worse at cross country one year with my school. A certain one of my friends knows what I mean. Anyway, we explored the whole dome. And in doing so we found a cave that had been built but it was well hidden and was about two feet tall and two feet wide and the cave went into the rock quite deep so you could get stuck. This was one of the best experiences I’ve had with my cousins in my whole life!

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