Saturday, May 3, 2008

Jeg er Iron Man! Going to the movies in Trondheim.

Peter's birthday is coming up in a few days, so we decided to splurge on taking him to a movie. We haven't yet been to the movies in Norway, so this was also a chance for a new experience.

First challenge: buying the tickets. The preferred method, we understand, is to purchase them over the internet. This requires navigating the website and creating a user account, all in Norwegian. This is the sort of thing that would have given me fits a couple of months ago, but I'm starting to get the hang of it, so it wasn't too bad.

After creating an account and selecting which show you want to see, you then get to choose your seats. Yep, seats are reserved at the movie theater the same as at a live performance.

The site shows a map of the seats and fills them in with little people icons. Pretty cool.

We decided on the Saturday afternoon matinee – the tickets are 10 kroner cheaper. Instead of costing 85 kr., they only cost 75 kr., or about $15 usd. Yikes.

Then came some credit card trouble. It wouldn't accept my credit card because my Trondheim address didn't match my U.S. billing address. But it wouldn't let me enter an address outside of Norway. I battled with this all evening the night before the film. After each attempt, it would give me a "processing" message with the note: "Please wait until your status changes to 'failed', and then try again." How's that for some old-style Norwegian pessimism!

Finally, we decided we'd just have to buy our tickets at the theater, even though it might cost more.

So Saturday we dropped Anna for a sleepover at her friend's house, parked downtown and walked to the Nova Kino, the city's big screen theater. There was no problem buying tickets at the window, except for the 20 kr. service fee. Yes, it's a bother for them to actually sell you the tickets, so you have to pay for the privelege of paying. (Weird? We've seen these fees a lot, especially at the bank, where you practically have to pay to get in the door.) There were plenty of seats available.

Since this was an "experience", we decided to go whole hog and buy popcorn and soda. Here was a surprise: all of the popcorn was in "warmers", just like the coolers you'd see at the local 7-11, but instead of keeping things cool they kept them warm, and instead of being stocked with overpriced bottles of soda and energy drinks, they were instead filled with overpriced buckets of dry popcorn and horrid looking "bacon snacks", which I think are fried pork rinds colored to look like strips of bacon. Sorry, even though we were going for an authentic Norwegian movie experience, there are some limits to what we're willing to do for culture. The pork rinds stayed in the warm fridge.

We got settled into our seats right at 2:00, eager for the film. Unfortunately, first we had to sit through 20 minutes of commercials first. Apparently, it's not enough that you pay the price of DVD for each ticket, they force you to watch commercials as well. I should have asked for 10 kr. back.

Well, the movie was very good. The theater was very fancy. And with the final bill for 4 tickets (Anna didn't come), popcorn, soda, candy, and parking, totaling more than $100, it even had the feel of a high-priced fancy event!

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