Caribbean Barbie

No, I’m not talking about a new model of Barbie doll. We were invited by our friend AR to a barbecue (aka barbie) at the Caribbean Gardens yesterday (July 10) to celebrate her son’s sixth birthday. The place was a bit far from where we live at about 40 minutes drive east from St Kilda but the traffic was pretty light so it wasn’t such a bad drive.

I haven’t been to the Caribbean Gardens before yesterday so I didn’t know what to expect. I was thinking it was probably just another park but it was actually nicer, I thought. Even though there was a $2.50 entrance fee for each adult, I thought the fee was well worth it. There was a barbecue area, playgrounds for kids, a chairlift ride that takes you across the lake and to to the other side of the park, a jungle cruise on the lake, a train that takes you around the perimeter of the park and my favourite part, the market.

Caribbean Gardens Lake.

Anyway, the invitation said that the party starts at 11 am so we decided to leave St Kilda at 10 am which should give us more than enough time to get there on time. I picked up Sentinel and L from South Yarra and we then took the Dandenong Rd route to Ferntree Gully Rd. We got there at around five minutes to 11 am.

There were a lot of people that Sunday morning at the gardens but not too much that you can call it crowded. It was a lovely and refreshing atmosphere, actually. We didn’t know where in the gardens the barbie would be so we just decided to walk in one direction and hope we bump into AR. Fortunately, not a minutes had passed when she saw us from afar and then she waved her arms to get our attention.

We were early it seemed. Her relatives weren’t there yet and the rest of the gang weren’t there yet. AR suggested we go to the market while she prepared the food for the actual party. The market was very similar to Paddy’s in Sydney or the Queen Victoria Market in Melbourne or the Kingston market in Canberra. They sold a variety of items for cheap whether they be fresh food, confectionary, gadgets, fantastic swords and knives, rugs, and much much more.

At one end of the market was the Computer Swap Meet area where they sell new and used computers and computer parts. I saw there a Pentium 3 450MHz box for $60 and a Pentium 2 box for $30. Sure they probably aren’t very fast but if you just want a PC to use for surfing or typing then these machines would do just fine. That and I was really just interested in the 4 GB hard disk in them. I was thinking of buying the $30 box just so I could get the hard disk and then dump the rest of it.

Fortunately, at the same table that sold the cheap old PCs, were individually sold 4GB Fujitsu hard disks for $10 only! Well, I couldn’t pass that up so I bought one at least. I certainly need an extra 4 Gigs of space on my PC to store my personal files. I asked the seller if it has any bad sectors on it. He said there weren’t. But then, should I even take his word for it? I have yet to test it though. I hope it actually works.

There were a few tables that catered for XBox and PS2 repair service. Sure. “Repair,” huh? Anywan, according to the signs, they “fix” the consoles for you right then and there all within a span of an hour. It sure is tempting to have my PS2 “fixed” but I probably wouldn’t risk losing my one-year warranty just yet.

Soon, after meeting up with some more of the gang, we left the market with our wares and took some photos of the lake and its surroundings. A little bit of posing here and there. We even got on the $3 chairlift ride over the lake and across the park. I have this terrible fear of heights and I thought it wouldn’t be a problem because the chairlift didn’t seem that high above the ground. But when the chairs began ascending, I then thought to myself that it was a big mistake to get on the rickety thing. I just console myself to the fact that I only had to ride the thing one-way (we only paid for one-way).

The rest of the morning and noon was mostly spent taking pictures from the chairlift, from the orange bridge on the other side of the park, from the bridge just before the japanese gardens area… from everywhere. Soon, it was almost 1 pm and we were getting tired from walking about, not to mention hungry.

We soon trekked back to the barbecue area where we met up with the rest of the gang. Apparently, the party really hadn’t started yet. When we got there, some of AR’s relatives started coaxing everybody to start getting food from the makeshift buffet table. There were prawns (aka shrimps), barbecued chicken wings and pork, pancit, salad, paitan, ube, bread, rice, buko pandan and more.

It was an enjoyable Sunday lunch picnic of sorts with friends. We got to catch up with what’s going on with everybody. I haven’t done something like that in ages and it was a definitely a welcome change. Soon, it was time for the birthday boy to blow the cake. Then, the party was over.

I really have to thank AR for such an enjoyable Sunday. I wouldn’t have thought of going to the Caribbean Gardens if she hadn’t invited us there. I certainly wouldn’t mind driving all the way to that park again one of these days.

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Published in: on July 11, 2005 at 9:22 pm  Leave a Comment