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January 25, 2004

A night at the movies...

Lord of the Rings, Return of the King, has arrived in Grenada. It's appearance was enough to motivate me to finally indulge in a $5 movie at the local theatre. The Deluxe Cinema in Grenville is a one screen operation that is part of a national chain of theatres (the other one is in St. George's). Most of the movies that make their one week run here are b-rated films that either involve fighting, blood, karate moves or obscene violence. Little did I know that LOTR involved quite a bit of a few of these characteristics. Typically you get a double feature for your $5.00 admission. I suspect, however, the 3 1/2 hour run time of the movie had something to do with the fact that you only get "half" the movie for your buck. Perhaps it cost a little more to run than their usual fare as well. I didn't mind though because with a start time of 8:30, I BARELY made it through the thing. For those of you who might not know my movie-viewing habits as well, I have a self-imposed rule of not attending movies starting after 9:00 pm. I find it just turns into a really expensive nap. I went with JP, Dee (from upstairs) and her friend Keisha. JP and I arrived at the venue (we lost the 18 year olds to a group of guys on the street in Grenville about a block prior) and decided to go upstairs to the balcony. The theatre is very old and has a curved balcony that is reminiscient of old theatres I've been in back in the states. We spotted Mirthlyn (the principal of the special ed school) and her family and stopped to say hi and then settled into our seats. Well, we tried. The process of sitting was an embarrasing and obnoxious one of moving to at least 5 different spots--for real. The first one was too near the fans (too loud), the seconds were broken (no cushion), the third was too small (better view of our knees than the screen), the fourth was a bad view (the railing of the balcony was too high), the fifth finally met our approval. I was still distracted by the crickets that I could hear from the open window, but I had felt enough like goldilocks trying out her chairs and JP was shooting me looks. The movie started and I settled into our spot. I had been warned that Grenadians really get into the movies. Grenadians, in general, seem to believe that they have a right (and they do!) to have a running commentary on whatever is happening (drama on the bus, women walking down the street, the perils of waiting in lines). True to this tradition, they'd shout along with the fights, cheer them on, hiss them when they disapproved, and yell commands. I guess it's a bit like watching Sunday afternoon football with a bunch of armchair athletes back home. I was getting used to the shouts (and the marijuana smells drifting up) when I spotted a bird flying across the screen. OK, so it was dark, the windows were open and he had a flight pattern that remarkably resembled a bat, but I'm stcking to my belief that it was a bird. Especially when he started flying within feet of our heads. About 2 hours into the movie, there was a little screen that popped up over the film with a handwritten message announcing a 5 minute intermission. I kind of looked at JP to see if he had seen that. I mean, I've read those studies about how they flash scenes of coca-cola during movies to increase sales. As I was trying to resist their brainwashing, the movie stopped and the lights turned on for our intermission. I considered getting a beer, soda, some popcorn or chips from the concession stand but held out and finally got to "enjoy" (term used loosely) the rest of the movie (sorry to all you Lord of the Rings loyalists!).

Heading home about midnight I was struck by how absolutely dead Grenville was. There were a few people out moving and that constantly present distant thump of a bass, but no cars, no crowds, no action. Such a contrast from the packed scene of the streets 5 hours ago and the intense scene on Christmas Eve. I find it interesting how a place can change so much based on the motivations, needs and schedules of those who use it. On any given school day between the hours of 12pm and 1 and 2:30-5pm, you could swear you've been transported to a school uniform neverland where the streets of Grenville are swarmed with children of all ages proudly wearing their school's uniform. Friday nights between 5 and 7, the uniform on the children changes to look like the latest fashion from BET, MTV or FUBU. Just twelve hours later the uniform changes once again. The shiny jewlery, tight tops and oversized jerseys are replaced for t-shirts, jeans, old skirts and other work clothes necessary for the day's agenda of market vending, household chores and liming. Three very different scenes, but one Grenville--the place I'm truly learning to call home!

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