At the end of our Australian adventure, we had three days in Melbourne. We chose our hotel because of its proximity to the Queen Victoria market. I love a good market and this one truly was the queen of all markets, as well as the largest outdoor market (17 acres… that’s some serious shopping) in the Southern hemisphere.

We cursed ourselves for having shopped the night before at the crappy corner grocery store. We’d purchased ramen and peanut butter and jelly for our hotel room. This was an idiotic move, considering that the Queen Vic offered not just souvenirs, but every type of food in the world that is better than ramen and peanut butter and jelly. Everything was fresh, homemade, beautiful, cheap, organic, so much so that I imagined us moving to a Melbourne apartment to live within walking distance of the market. A market that good makes you contemplate such things.

Yes, please.

There were seafood vendors, butchers, bakers, cheese makers, a stall dedicated entirely to spices, and one for fresh pastas. And still the market offered anything else you might need, clothing, pet supplies, hardware, luggage, jewelry, flowers, toys, remedies, and home decor. I found and purchased a handful of woven headbands, because the nomadic nature of our trip had lessened my normally obsessive standards of hygiene and forced me to fully embrace my inner dirty hippy.

I took over 600 photos during our trip. Did I take any pictures of the incredible vendors and their wares at the Queen Vic, of the fire juggler at the night market, or the gourmet decadence on display during the day? I did not. I took one picture during our visits to the market. And here it is:

Meet Pretty Girl, suitable for ages three and up. She can be yours for only $22AUD, which is about $18 in US currency. But you’d think for that kind of money, she might come with enough fabric to cover up her breasts. And if you are going to include breasts, why omit the nipples? Without the nipples, breasts aren’t very useful, unless you use them to catch errant crumbs while eating in the car, or employ your cleavage as a pocket if you find your clothing is without one when you really need one. 
It’s hard to tell in the picture, but Pretty Girl apparently makes a light and a sound when you press on her belly (or the spot where her belly should be). I didn’t do this because honesty, I was a little frightened of Pretty Girl, or rather frightened of the makers of Pretty Girl and anyone else who might have touched Pretty Girl. But I did wonder what sort of sound she might make. Did she moan with pleasure? Ask to borrow a sweater? Quote Shakespeare? Lament the poverty that reduced her to life in a cardboard box? 

Mike and I decided to purchase each of the girls a souvenir from the Queen Vic market. Needless to say, Pretty Girl didn’t make the cut (in truth, I shielded them from even viewing Pretty Girl). Instead, they each picked out a ring. Emilia’s was a silver band which she lost in less than 48 hours, while Ivy’s is a purple bunny which, against all odds, made it all the way back to the US with us.

I wonder about the fate of Pretty Girl. If someone does spend twenty-two Australian dollars purchasing Pretty Girl for a child, I can only hope that child bestows upon Pretty Girl a proportionate set of nipples along with a frock of some kind with which to cover them. Because if Queen Victoria were here, I daresay she would not be amused.