EFTELING

Somewhat spontaneously, I took the day off today — having my birthday only had a lot to do with it.

It began as I sat at my office desk yesterday with not much to do, a rather frequent occurrence of late. My discussion the night before with Alex, an American friend currently based in Amsterdam, about going to a Dutch theme park this weekend was continued, and I half-jokingly suggested why not do it sooner. After quickly finding out the weather forecast and if I could take off at short notice, the plan was set. A day at Dutch Disneyland was it for today.

It’s been forever since I’d gone to an amusement park, last I recall was in Orlando three years ago, and since Eurodisney near Paris is metaphorically out of reach – Teko would rather willingly visit a dentist than schlep all the way there plus pay a small fortune – the local diversion will have to do. Calling it the Dutch Disneyland may also be a bit much from what I recall, but I’ll take what I can get.

Also at the last minute, Teko decided to come along. Whether this day turns out reasonably okay or a complete disaster, either way it’s going to be interesting. Let the amusement begin!

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After seven hours, five rides, about three hours in queues, two snack breaks, and a strawberry slushy, I was spent. It was the most exhaustive theme park trip I’ve done in recent memory and if I had a way to measure the distance we covered, it would easily be halfway across the planet. Amazingly, even after seven hours of amusement, my energetic friend Alex appeared to still be up for more, and Teko, ever so patient when we stood endlessly in lines, just waited in the wings and was in his best behavior. Our time in Efteling ended perfectly with the clouds clearing up showing the park in full summer glory.

Safe to say I’ve gotten my fill of theme parks for a while and as far as birthdays go, this was memorable. For someone who ‘celebrates’ this day in mostly prosaic fashion – dinner, dinner and a movie, dinner and a movie and a new shirt – it was an unusual choice with some likely and unlikely suspects. Happy birthday to me.

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