Then there are the 'craft' markets. These vary widely in the quality of their goods. You can buy everything from fantastic quality wooden toys (that children incidentally never like to play with) down to those awful floral handtowells with crocheted edges, or toilet roll and tissue box covers. I'm not a fan of these as much of their merchandise is either over priced because it's 'hand made' or simply so gauche that you wouldn't be seen dead sitting on a loo with a pale green knitted toilet seat cover and matching mat.
Then there's the carnival of carnies. The mother of them all. The copycat King . . .the large permanent rented-stall and undercover markets. In Sydney we have three. Paddies at Flemington which during the week is a genuine wholesale market and great for flowers and veg but during the weekend it turns into one of those copycat T shirt, mobile phone cover, tiger rugged, cheap perfume 'what the hell is that toy' and 'who the fuck would use one of those' markets. There's another Paddies in the city, same vein but has a direct factory outlet above it which is great value if you're a size 8 and don't mind last year's fashion. Then there's our closest. Parklea Market.
Just around the corner, on the site of an old drive-in movie theatre looms this enormous white colourbond building. Around the perimeter is carpark and within, the most amazing (not in a good way) conglomeration of rip offs and bric-a-brac. In this den of eniquity you can have a Chinese massage if you don't mind being a tad public (16 at a time). You can have your Tarot or fortune read . . . Eat the worst of junk food, fill the kids with fairy floss and barter with Chinese and Arabic store holders who smell as if their entire diet comprised garlic cloves.
It's frequented by the choicest of Sydney's West and here my snoberry kicks in. The working class, Tongans and Maori, Lebanese and the Caucasian poor. The thing is, these people aren't wealthy, far from it, but they spend so much money on frippery and lounge around the foul smelling place eating dagwood dogs and kebabs. Again, the fruit and veg is cheap, fresh and good quality but any place that has pets and cheese in the same aisle?
Happy children wonder out of the darkness with pink twirly things and glo-sticks or barking clockwork puppies on wheels when they could probably do with a few new books or a little tutoring in maths
So how did I find myself there? . . .I went with ClareBear because there's a guy who has a stall who does laser and vinyl prints on T shirts and she wants a one-off as a thank you to her soccer coach. It's close and cheap but man what an experience. Although I'm slamming it here, it is a good place to buy say, cane laundry baskets, essential oils and incense or pet supplies but I want to know who buys:
- Large synthetic rugs with pictures of Elvis on them
- Yoda bongs
- Copycat perfume
- Rubber breasts with silicone filling (I kid you not!)
- Chinese lace tablecloths
- Plastic clogs
- Replica African artifacts (plaster Giraffe and Elephant legs and Tutenkhamun heads)
- A plaster wall hanging of the Virgin Mary and John the Baptist
- Bright pink and blue mother of pearl door streamers
- Dream catchers (made in China of course)