Saturday, January 12, 2008

Travelogue: An American theatre experience

Evenings I would do my best to catch up with the Simpson’s half hour episode on TV; it’s been a very long time since I saw the Simpsons. Then by 10pm or so it would be time for offshore communication which could go all the way past midnight as well. We’d squeeze in some dinner in between at home. That was pretty much how the typical day went at onsite.

Next up on my “to do” list was watching a movie in a US theatre. We went to the AMC theatre one evening and decided to go for Spiderman 3. I had seen most of part II on some US channel – it had already been repeated twice. Since many a days I was alone at home I would spend a few hours watching movies on TV at night. The theatre building looked small from the outside. In the ground floor there were a number of ATM style ticket vending machines. Pick your movie, swipe your credit card and the machine printed the ticket for you; completely self service – eliminate labor costs! All the screens were located on the upper floors and I soon realized that the theatre was much larger than expected. There were numerous floors and each floor had multiple screens. The escalators to each floor were very lengthy and steep. Once you entered the upper floors you could basically step into any screen – the ticket checking was only at the entrance of each floor; so if you were fed up with one movie and there was another running nearby you could walk into that and there seemed to be nothing in place to prevent you from doing that. My colleague said that he had in fact tried it out a couple of times! The popcorn bags were huge just like everything else – the family size was actually like a small bucket.

The movie was good though not typically American movies –it was more of emotions than a thriller. Add a few songs and you would have had an Indian Spiderman movie! There was no intermission – I wondered why because that would be a good time for the catering business. So it is a straight two hours for a movie; buy all the snacks and drinks you want at the start and then enjoy the movie without getting up from your seat. You could walk out and walk into the theatre any time as you wished – no restrictions. We wrapped off the day with a burger and some soda – you never got bored of eating burgers in US!

The next item on my “to do” list was going to Atlantic city – the little Las Vegas present in New Jersey. The city has a lot of history attached to it – Mike Tyson fought many of his fights here. Two of my colleagues visited the place frequently on weekends. And casinos were something I wanted to see – you see them in movies as posh places and dream of wanting to be there at least once!

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