The Ghosts of Aruba

I could see the top of the rusted water slide above the trees. It was the color of cream with blackish-brown spots on it, aged from weather and abandonment. I had to explore.

I was in Aruba. My family and I were about to hike Hooiberg, the second highest point in Aruba. Sitting next to the entrance of the hike is an abandoned water park. My love for abandoned buildings would not let me miss out on this opportunity to check it out. I have been to abandoned asylums, houses, catering halls, mansions, and green houses. I just find them so fascinating, the way they were left the day they were abandoned, years ago, a moment frozen in time like a Polaroid picture.

The water park was creepy. I shimmied my way through a broken part of a fence and walked inside. The whole time I was thinking what I usually think when I get myself into these situations: this is exactly what I yell at people in horror movies for doing all the time. I couldn’t help it. There was something so eerily remarkable about this abandoned water park that I had to explore it.

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Everything was overgrown. There were mushroom statues, animal statues, rusted stair cases. Weeds twisted around the statues marking their place. Cacti acted like security, their spikes shining in the sun, protecting the park from intruders like myself. There were puddles of water spread out on the ground. There was a tunnel that looked like it was supposed to be a type of fun house that was pitch black inside. I stepped about an inch in before deciding it would be unwise to go any further. It smelled like an old jacket that has been buried in the back of an attic for five decades.

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It was silent. I couldn’t see my family anymore; they didn’t follow me inside. I climbed up one of the statues, jumped onto the top of the tunnel, and looked at the other side of the park. There was a pool from what I could see, and decided to walk around to the other side to investigate more.

The pool was filled with brown murky water, and there was a large water slide with pieces missing that went into it. A fence was hanging off of the top of the slide, hanging on for dear life as Mother Nature made her way into the metal, slowly torturing every last piece until it broke off.

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Standing for a few minutes, I pictured what this place may have been like. Kids running around, parents following them. The park looked undone, stopped mid project. I had never seen a fully functional water park with a couple of slides and a pool. After a few moments, I started convincing myself that some ghost child would appear and run into me and push me into the pool, so at that point I decided to leave. I turned around and jogged to where I had entered. I took one last look at the park, saying goodbye, as I would probably be one of the last visitors for a while.

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