Sunday, July 06, 2008

A post from Nairobi: Saturday night at the movies

Well Saturday night at 8 o'clock
I know where I'm gonna go
I'm gonna pick my baby up
And take her to the picture show
Saturday Night at the Movies
The Drifters

So granted it was my literal baby and not the other kind, but yes there we were. In a movie theater. On a Saturday night.

Popcorn - check
Sodas - check

Front row seats - check.

A real movie theater! Plushy seats, surround sound, the works. Cool. Neither Ashes nor I could really adjust to the fact that we were actually going to watch a movie that was not:
  • bought in Osu from the 'open source' vendors. This is usually accompanied by fingers crossed and hoping when you get home that the quality was good and that there was in fact a movie on the damn CD!
  • a hundred and one re-run of some movie on DSTV that you were so tiered of watching - but yes, it was either that or the open source movie guys;
  • a movie that we had bought from the non-open source community that we had also watched a million and one times before.

Get the point? There are no movie theaters in Accra! Perhaps I need to re-phrase that. None that I would go to. There is one that I pass on the way down to Makola that seems to be showing all these kung-fu flicks, but yes, not my scene. Then there are also the '
converted' houses where you can rent a room and your own big screen TV, but again not the same. I do wonder about some of these set ups though. Remember seeing a flyer once where there was the 'red room', 'blue room' etc. Made me wonder what exactly was to happen in those rooms. Hmmm.

The last time we went to the movies in fact was all of two years ago before we moved to Ghana. The idea of a movie theater (or cinema as they call it here) was something that we always took for granted.

Back to the movie. So there we were, tickets bought for Hancock - definitely not one of Will Smith's best movies. Seats in the third row - a move we would soon regret. We were ready! Had the usual previews of upcoming shows, the national anthem (yes stood for that too) and the movie started.

About 20 mins in I realized that I was feeling quite nauseous. There was just something about seeing Will Smith's pores super-enlarged in live and living colour that was unsettling my stomach. Usually seeing any part of him does unsettle me, but no, not like this. It got progressively worse as the action scenes flashed by in a blur of colour. I just couldn't understand. Was it something I ate? I thought back to what I had for breakfast and lunch. No couldn't be.

And then Ashes said she was also feeling sick.

Panic! Argh! We were allergic to the movies!

Ok, of course not.

Remembered feeling like this once before when trying to play a video game and thought, this must be related to where we are sitting. Of course googled later to see what I could find and found that we were actually suffering from simulator sickness which is a bit similar to motion sickness in terms of how one feels. It's actually quite interesting. In a nutshell, a computer-driven virtual environment can fool the body enough to cause some of its most basic support systems to be confused. Basically what happens is that your eyes think you are moving but your body is stationary. This fools the nervous system and causes this disorientation and confusion. Sitting in the third row with our faces literally plastered to the screen must have been a contributing factor.

Of course we sat out the movie! Stumbled out out into the lobby afterwards looking like we were both victims of substance abuse. Just thankful that it wasn't one of those epic movies that would have taken three hours or more! Not sure if we would have survived.

Moral of the story: we need a cinema in Accra!
Withdrawal from such an activity will manifest itself in various ways once the '
subject' is re-exposed to the phenomena after a long period in absentia.

Will be better prepared this time - will take seats all the way at the back (hmm, note to self, wonder if we could suffer from vertigo?) or at least somewhere in the middle. But yes, will go to the movies again with my baby before we leave Nairobi.


Sijui said...

So glad you guys are enjoying Nairobi :) I'm curious to know where you have visited already! Anyway isn't NUMETRO opening a 5 screen movie theater at Accra Mall?

Anyway can't wait to go to Accra Mall and compare/contrast with what we have in Nairobi.....personally I love both cities, they each have their unique attributes :)

Nana Yaw Asiedu said...

Awww, I just love the lovely glimpses of Nairobi I'm getting from you. Hopefully, some Kenyans will read it and resolve never to let violence mar their beautiful country again. There are quite a number of readers from Kenya in our circle.

Denise said...

Hi Sijui, curious - are you Kenyan or Ghanaian? I agree with you both, both cities have their own appeal and charm. Lack of cinemas aside I still love Accra. Have been waiting with baited breath for the new cinema - not sure when the due date on that is.
Will be heading to the Masai Mara and Lake Nakuru tomorrow and will be off for the rest of the week, but yes will give you an update on where we have been when we get back. Thanks again!

Denise said...

Nana Yaw, it's not just food for thought for Kenyans but really for all the African countries. Those that I have had the privilege of visiting are each beautiful in their own way - from landscapes, culture, people, music, food and everything in between. Pity we can't seem to appreciate 'us' for who we are.

Sijui said...

Denise, yes I am Kenyan married to a Ghanaian so I have the best of both worlds :)

You will be in the Mara at the best time, LUCKY DEVIL!!! The Wildebeest Migration will be at full throttle......sigh....wish I was there....anyway which lodge are you staying at?

I have my favorites of course, Mara Serena definitely is wonderful but if youi want to splurge Kitchwa Tembo or the Governor's Camp I know you'll be back to Kenya :)