The year is 2002 and it’s Christmas time. Radio stations refuse to stop playing Boney M’s version of Feliz Navidad and the only four available TV stations keep attacking you with phrases like “BE THERE OR BE SQUARE!” during adverts for their Christmas parties that promise to feature terrifying mascot versions of your favourite cartoon characters like weirdly-muscular-handsy Spiderman and clearly hooked-on-meth Barney the dinosaur.
Drug problems aside, Barney looks like he needs a hug. Nigga looks like he’s going through it.
You’re excited because your parents are about to take you and your siblings out to have fun. Even though you know it’s definitely going to be one of the four places I’m about to mention, you’re still stoked because, at the time, it’s the best there is.
1) Bar Beach:
Before WHALES frequently washed up on the shore and the water got upset about something and began chasing people into THE STREET, Bar beach was the place to be on any festive holiday. Sure, you had to fight through crowds of biblical proportions, watch out for horse shit while walking, and not go to close to that white garment church group two-stepping in a circle near the rocks. But other than that, it was a chill place.
2) Mr Biggs:
Mr Bigg’s was weird because it’s not like they made the best stuff, they were just the most popular for reasons they themselves weren’t sure of. They let this make them complacent and refused to evolve while all their competitors were. I don’t know what’s become of the once-great chain of eateries but let me tell you what happened the last time I ate at one. I had a very romantic candle-lit dinner by myself on a hot September night because the branch I walked into didn’t have electricity or backup power.
3) Apapa Amusement Park:
As a kid, nothing felt better than eating copious amounts of cotton candy and fighting the urge to projectile-vomit while that basket-looking ride shook your organs in a way I’m pretty sure wasn’t healthy. Then there was the haunted house ride that 8-year-old me was super convinced had a real corpse nailed to the wall. Whew, chile…take me back.
4) TV Station Christmas Parties:
I know I made fun of them earlier but these things used to kinda slap. The dancing competitions, bouncy houses, party packs made them totally worth it.