If Aladdin's Cave was located in Hobart, rather than the ancient East, and there were beguiling wares for sale rather than just an old lamp wanting a bit of a rub, then that cave would have to be none other than Babylon Bookshop.
Like all good New Age bookshops, Babylon, located in the slightly out-of-the-way Victoria Street, behind Centrepoint shopping centre, is less about the books and more about the whimsy. You'll find more incense than you could poke a levitating guru at, dozens of tie-dye harem pants with matching sandals, and a bewildering mass of candles and lamps. The sheer dazzling of the sparkling shelves of crystals is enough to have you reaching for your sunglasses. These lovely little tumbled stones aren't just for looks however – they promise everything from helping you find love to curing a nasty case of bronchitis – simply by rubbing them or carrying them in your pocket.
You will almost certainly buy something at Babylon if you happen to be walking by. Why? Because the wafting scent of patchouli combined with the hypnotising pan flute music, fortified by a golden glow that emanates from the store, seems to have a magnetic pull to any passer-by. And once you're in there, you will feel so utterly Zen and peaceful, that you won't really want the feeling to stop. Even if you wear a suit every day, you may feel a strange and sudden urge to reinvent yourself as a sarong-wearing hippie who likes to go barefoot and wear toe rings. It's all part of the experience, man.
Buddha is a well-represented chap in this part of the world. You'll find him in every corner at Babylon – from the all-knowing, serene dudes made out of wood and keeping a quiet guard at the store's entrance, to the light-up mosaic fella sitting on the front counter, to the mystical Mona Lisa-effect eyes that follow you from the front of notebooks.
If you happen to make it past all of this entrancing peacefulness, and if your nostrils are not too distracted by the gloriously intoxicating potions that seem to waft around the store, you might find yourself in the literature section. Here you will find books on every subject from out-of-body projections to at-home herbal apothecaries to DIY witchcraft and paganism.
Books with answers to questions you couldn't even dream up.
Babylon could fall into the trap of a million other New Age stores that sell cheap n' nasty pieces and some falsified, Westernised version of Eastern philosophies, but it's just not like that. It's a glimmering, jewel of a store, and a visit is worth more than its weight in crystal. And like Aladdin, you might find more than you bargained for.