Monday, January 12, 2009

Yes Man on East Africa's Largest Movie Screen

It just so happens that Wista’s Chalet is about a five minute walk from the largest movie screen in East Africa.  The Century Cinemax at the Mlimani City Mall was showing Jim Carrey’s Yes Man in Theater One, so I went to check it out.  

Just some observations about seeing a movie here:

The selection itself was interesting – a documentary about Barack Obama, High School Musical, Australia and Yes Man.
An absurd number of previews – probably around 10 (Seven Pounds, Twilight, Bangkok Dangerous, Underworld: Rise of the Lycans (need to remember to look up who the very attractive actress in the movie is), Transporter 3, a Clive Owen movie, Bride War and a few others.  The movie was supposed to start at 7:30 and didn’t until 8:05.
The sound system had a few glitches, but overall the quality of the experience was no different than seeing a movie at the Boston Common AMC Loews. 
Seating is assigned, and prices are flat at $8 for all seats.  No student, senior, children or other second degree price discrimination discounts from what I could see.
The attendance was tops 15 people.  Not a good sign.  
Yes Man itself was a pretty mediocre movie, but it served its purpose – getting out of the hotel room for a few hours and being mildly amused.  One thing I noticed were some pretty blatant product placements – especially the Tempurpedic mattress…

The mall where the theater is located is a strange experience in some ways.  It has a supermarket that’s equally expensive as the US – in many cases 10 or 20 times more expensive than buying things on the street.   One observation from the supermarket is that generic products really appear to stink here.  Bokomo Maize Flakes from South Africa are just dreadful – they taste like unprocessed corn meal.  

It’s quite a melting pot as well – Indians, Arabs, Tanzanians, white Americans, black Americans and Chinese are all packed in at Mlimani City.  I also met an Angolan at the money change.  
The bank line wait yesterday must have been 2 hours long.  I thought it was a bank run – but I think it was just another Saturday in a cash economy.   I saw a security guard hold up traffic until there was an actual backup all the way across the giant parking lot.  It also has four restaurants that are outside and are generally quite terrible.  It doesn’t appear that any restaurants have learned to differentiate on service here in Dar es Salaam from my experience.  

Ranking the beers in Tanzania I’ve had so far:


I haven’t had anything better than a Heineken yet, never mind the microbrews I normally like. What I wouldn’t give for a Cisco Brewers’ Moor Porter or Bailey’s Blonde right now to go with my ugali roast.  

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