There are a number of things that either straight up do not exist or barely exist in Guyana. I’ve been planning to write a post about some of these things for some time now. Unfortunately, this post is not that time. One of these things, however, that I will be mentioning in this future post, is movie theaters. Movie theaters currently barely exist in Guyana. There used to be a few movie theaters, I’ve even seen the skeletons of the buildings that used to be home to two separate screens, but now, in the entirety of this country, there is one movie theater. I don’t know if the experience of being able to go out to the movies is going extinct in Guyana or if the owners are just unable to afford to keep the theaters running. Nevertheless, there is still one movie theater in this country and, for the first time, I was able to get to it and watch a flick yesterday.
The theater is located about a twenty minute bus ride outside of Georgetown. In order to get there, you have to meander through the Stabroek Market and into the lineup of buses. Then, you have to travel through an area of the city that does a better job than most of Georgetown really representing the stereotypical third world. This is a little disheartening considering the movie theater is located inside the (likely) nicest building in the country which is the Princess Hotel and Casino . When I first stepped inside it, I felt a little sick to my stomach. It’s not that I’ve completely blocked out the fact that buildings like this exist in the world. No, the problem that I had was that this building, in all it’s upscale glory, towers over run down houses and the typical Guyanese existence around it.
Inside, the Princess Hotel boasts an enormous pool, a casino, an arcade that simulates the days of Discovery Zone, and the country’s only movie theater. As is custom in Guyana, I had to trek out to the hotel the night before to buy my ticket for the movie playing the following day. I don’t know why this is necessary, but it is.
I’m writing this post because, after picking up our tickets on Friday afternoon, my roommates and I were so very excited to go to the movies. In fact, we were so excited that the only explanation for having reached such a level of excitement was that we hadn’t been to a movie in over nine months. Since moving to Guyana in August and committing to a life of simplicity we haven’t found the time (or the funds, really) to plop ourselves down in a movie theater. I went to bed on Friday excited about the movie, woke up the next morning excited, and continued to look forward to the film throughout the rest of the morning and the afternoon. All of my roommates were excited too, so I didn’t feel like my feelings were out of line. I really enjoyed the fact that I was spending so much energy thinking about a movie that I wouldn’t be watching for almost twenty-four hours. I think this means that over the course of the last few months, I’ve learned to appreciate some of the things that I used to take for granted, or do all of the time. I probably saw ten movies in theaters over the course of 2014, but now, having spent all of 2015 in Guyana, going to a movie theater to watch a film on the big screen is really a treat.
The movie theater only seated about 150 people, a fire alarm went off for about a minute in the middle of the showing, and when people got up to move around, their shadows were cast across the screen, but it was a movie and it was enjoyable! By the time the whole day wrapped u,p I was so happy for the whole experience. Looking forward to a movie, actually watching it, and then leaving the theater giddy after having viewed it was a cool experience. Never have I put so much thought into a simple outing. Also, it was a unique experience sitting in a theater filled with Guyanese people. The movie we were watching, Pitch Perfect 2, was comical, but the audience found different parts of the film more comical than others. For example, the crowd would roar with laughter over the slap-stick stuff and the jokes about sex, but my little group and I would be the only ones laughing at some of the jokes that really only Americans or well studied geographers would understand. The vibe of the theater was completely fun though. I always love being able to roar with laughter with a crowd of people who think watching people get pulled up into giant bear traps is funny.
It was a nice afternoon of denial. And refreshing to know that something so simple from back home can still be so, so special.