An ice-cream in the break at Rarotonga or Musings over theatres and travelling
It’s a small world these days, isn’t it? There isn’t a corner of the world that is so far distant that Harry Potter doesn’t find his way to it. The logo of the H&M store looks the same in London and San Francisco as it does in my hometown and it makes me a little sad. It takes something away from the joy of travelling.
But even if the repertoire sometimes is close to identical, the cinemas aren’t. And that’s why I love to include a visit to a theatre when I’m abroad. Not so much to enjoy the movie as such – I could as well watch it at home – but to inhale the atmosphere and see the differences.
The Cook Island Experience
In the end of the 80s I turned up spending three weeks on the Cook Islands in the Pacific Ocean, which wasn’t anywhere near as enjoyable as it sounds. Not if you were a budget traveller and spent the entire visit fighting creepy insects in a shelter that was cut off from the less-than-impressive beach by the airstrip on the island. When we weren’t suffering from strange jungle flues, one after another, we were bored out of our minds, having a way too small travelling budget to experience anything that was close to what we had dreamed about. It was a sobering experience, forever curing me from having romantic ideas about paradise islands.
There were two things that brightened our days though. One was the local beer, which was cheap and tasty.
The other source of comfort was the local theatre, which was situated in a simple hall with simple wooden chairs to sit on. I think they showed movies either in a 16 mm format or using a video projector that could as well be something you had in your home. The ticket price was laughably low and always included two movies, one after each other with a break in the middle, where everyone, old as young, went out to buy locally produced ice-cream in an effort to cool down in the dense, black tropical night under a starry sky before heading for the next show.
As I remember it, it was always crowded, – which really wasn’t strange, considering what a small choice of entertainment there was. And best of all – there wasn’t a single tourist around, apart from us. Going to the theatre it suddenly felt as if we came a little bit closer to the real inhabitants of the island and had a look into their everyday life.
US – a heaven for movie lovers
It’s been over 20 years since I last visited the theatre at Rarotonga and I don’t know what happened to it. I suppose this island too, however remote, has been included in the digital revolution in one way or another. Do they even need a cinema anymore or is everyone located to their own homes, watching their own big-screen television? I don’t know, but I hope not. I hope there’s still a cinema around to add some local flavour to the latest Harry Potter movie, fighting the heat with ice-cream.
Over the years I’ve examined a few more theatres during my travels.
So far I’m by far most impressed by what I saw in the US. The chairs were huge and comfortable, with plenty of space to stretch your feet, and a wonderful inclination. Even a short person like me could see the entire screen without having to peak between the heads of the giants sitting on the next row. Compared to what I’m used to, it’s a heaven.
My next trip goes to Scotland and and will mostly consist of hiking. But I wouldn’t be surprised if I’ll manage to slip into a theatre as I’m spending a couple of days inEdinburgh.
I don’t know what approach the Scots have to movies, but I’m sure there will be something that will remind me of that I’m still far away from home, even in this era of a shrunken world.