Caribbean Gardens is a market and "fun" park in Scoresby. The last time I visited the Gardens was about twenty years ago: I distinctly recall (successfully) badgering my Mum to buy me a block-mounted Star Trek: The Next Generation poster. We made a return visit this morning and I was quick to note that the passing of time had changed the Gardens barely a whit. Minor - very minor - superficial improvements aside, it's the same mix of cheap-and-not-so-cheerful rides (a chairlift, a miniature train driven by a surly teenager in Oakleys, a "jungle cruise" on the man-made lake), play equipment (including, bizarrely, two decommissioned tanks), and overpriced tat.
The market was as I remembered. Some of the stalls were in exactly the same location as twenty years ago, and many seemed to have exactly the same stock as they did then. Only the ephemera of pop culture indicated the passage of the years: instead of AC/DC patches and Van Halen silk screen wallhangings there are 50 Cent t-shirts and Ed Hardy jackets, presumably fake but no less nauseating than the real thing. Likewise the toy stalls, where Ben 10, Bratz and the like have replaced the (again, presumably fake) Transformers and Ninja Turtle figurines I used to covet as a child.
At first I found the market fascinating but eventually the grinding awfulness of it all wore me down. There are plenty of stalls selling useful stuff - food, pet supplies, home-made clothing and accessories. But for every one of these stalls there are five selling knock-off shoes, obnoxious/offensive t-shirts, bongs, "ornamental" weapons, wretched and in some cases quite possibly illegal toys, etc.
What little girl wouldn't want to play dress-ups with their Fantasy Sheila? According to the box, "We are you of friend let us bring you the happiness."
"Smoking paraphernalia" is popular, doubtless only for its kitsch value...
Children are never too young to start wielding swords.
These pointy "ornaments" were displayed behind a glass screen, upon which was affixed an indignant note arguing for the validity of decorative weaponry as a hobby. Can't say I was convinced, but I wasn't about to start a debate.
Bi Bi Loveable and Swellish Baby vie for your childrens' affections - and their souls!
"THEY ALL MET TOGETHER IN HEAVEN"
This cheeky toy computer wants to learn English: will you accept the challenge?