Wednesday, September 14, 2011

It All Ends: Part 2

One morning while walking to a bus stop in Datong, Z and I turned the corner to find that there was a "movie theater" (see the accompanying picture) right around the block from our hotel! Leaving Mommy and Daddy in our dust, we took off to find out the movie times for the Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows--Part 2 in 3D...all of which turned out to be in the middle of the day. Z told me to ask if it was showing in English, but I was afraid of the answer and pretended to forget.

That afternoon, we showed up for the 2:50 p.m. viewing (the latest one of the day), bubbling with anticipation. We made it to the ticket booth with a minute to spare, and found a lobby bustling with the biggest crowd Datong could muster...about 40 people. Before we could enter the theater, we had to leave a 100 kuai deposit for each pair of vibrant red 3D glasses, which were so bulky they almost broke our noses.

Not knowing what a Chinese movie theater could possibly be like, we entered what looked like a grungy theater where one might go to see acrobats. On the stage was a relatively small movie screen that reminded me of the pull-down screen we use at school to show PowerPoint presentations.

And then, all of the sudden, the movie started. Period. There were no advertisements, no warnings to turn your cell phone off. Not even the green screen that tells you what the movie is rated. We were suddenly just staring into the face of Severus Snape, desperately hoping that the movie was in English. But, to our dismay, the Chinese had apparently spent the two months since HP came out in the rest of the world translating and recording like crazy because Luna started speaking in tongues.

Despite our disappointment, Z and I had a great time in the theater. With the Mandarin we have, following along was no problem and Z could fill me in on the topics I hadn't read about yet. We certainly missed the English accents, but getting a taste for the movie theaters of China was worth the sacrifice. That old lady who yelled at me for eating candy when we saw that lion movie in DC would certainly despise all the chatter that echoed through the seemingly empty theater! But it did not at all take away from the spectacular defeat of He Who Must Not Be Named!



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