November 12, 2008

It's Always an Adventure ...

It's hard not to have an interesting day here, at least when I leave the house. I imagine at some point, soon, the novelty will wear off, but it hasn't yet.

Today I had to make myself scarce for a few hours this afternoon so I decided to go to the movies. It is, in fact, fairly easy to get there and back, as I discovered on my way back.

I thought I'd take the bus down the hill and see where I landed. The schedule said the bus would stop at the Central MTR and I wanted to go to the IFC mall so that worked out nicely. But it's a bit difficult to gauge where you are in this city because everywhere, especially in the Central district, you are at the bottom of many very tall buildings.

Through a maze of skyways and walkways and mall-insides I found myself at the IFC mall, an expansive, expensive shopping center with luxury stores aplenty. I haven't experienced a movie here, but had been told by a colleague the experience was first-rate.

The theater isn't exactly your regular mall theater. There is a cafe adjacent to the ticket sellers (they aren't secluded by a booth, but are behind a counter) and the whole atmosphere feels like an art-house theater. There are books for sale, film books perhaps? and posters advertising the upcoming films and film festivals.

I decided to see Quantum of Solace, the new Bond movie. It was playing in more than one "house" as they are called here. The "house" I was in was quite small, perhaps 8o seats. Eighty leather, comfortable, wide, spacious first-class airplane-like seats. With cup holders. It was luxe.
Plus, when you buy your ticket you buy a specific seat. This is mostly good but a little bad. There is something to be said for walking into the theater, assessing it, and then choosing a seat. Especially if it's crowded and you don't want to sit next to someone.

But I digress.

The lights dimmed promptly at 3:25, the time that was listed. There was a preview and then the usual ads. What amused me about the ads was that there were the usual admonitions not to talk or use your cell phone, but they added one for no recording. As if, I started to think to myself. Then I remembered the pirated DVD we watched the other day and said, oh, yeah.

The experience was grand. The sound was too loud for my tastes, but it was a Bond movie. I had a perfect sight line, and even if the theater had been full, nobody would have been in my way. And if someone had wanted to walk past me with their popcorn, that would have been fine, too, because there was an enormous amount of leg room, and even some very large Westerner would have fit by easily.

There was no matinee price: Tickets were 75 Hong Kong, or about $10. There is a senior price for those over 60 and a discount for Tuesdays, at 50 Hong Kong. As it happens, the next few times I will have to clear out are, in fact, Tuesdays so it looks like more movies for me.

After the film I wended my way through the mall, stopping to look at this or that, and finding a very nice bakery in the fancy CitySuper grocery store. That shop is much like a Bon Marche, filled with very pricey imported goods. The bakery is Western and I had a just-out-of-the oven garlic bread.

I was a little concerned about getting back. It had gotten dark, and I was sure the commuters would be packing the streets and escalators. As it turns out, the IFC is exactly at the bottom of the escalators, so you only need to make your way across the main road by skyway, turn left and you're at the base of the escalator. Amazingly easy.

I can't wait to do it again next week.


Char Ham said...

Do they have discount prices on matinee shows? Are HKers avid movie fans?

Leah said...


There are no matinee prices, but prices are lower on Tuesdays. Judging from the number of theaters, or lack thereof, I would have to say HKers are not avid movie fans. On the other hand, there are at least two film festivals going on right now ... so there's that.