Sunday, April 02, 2006

Another attraction of Ouagadougou is the American Embassy Employees’ Recreation Center, more commonly known as The Rec”. It’s name is misleading, as it is open to anyone who pays a membership fee. It boasts a pool, tennis courts, fitness room, video club, bar (open only sporadically) and a video rental club. There is also a restaurant that features creative re-creations of American-ish food: cheeseburgers, pancakes, taco salad and all that exotic fare. You can see JP and the kids in today’s photo patiently waiting for their food to come- a necessary virtue at the Rec Restaurant. Fast food it ain’t.
My favorite feature is the lending library. It serves as an informal book-exchange for the English-speaking community.
I think the kids enjoy the movie afternoons on Sundays. The Rec tries to get a recently released film to show for kids at 2pm on Sundays. They get them through the Embassy- they are tapes for the US military bases. Every once in a while “NAVY” shows up at the bottom of the screen in huge letters.
Today’s film was “The Chronicles of Narnia”, which we had all been looking forward to. All my kids love the books by C. S. Lewis and we have had a dvd of the BBC version for a long time. Cheesy as it is, we are actually pretty fond of the 1988 made for television production. It was done on the cheap, but so earnestly and faithful to the books. And we get such a laugh making fun of the beavers’ costumes. They look like giant, furry Tootsie Rolls waddling around. It never gets old. But I guess we are pretty easy to amuse..; don’t get out much.
That said, I also like this new, splashy version. I had read that Lewis deeply wished that his books never be made into a plays or films. But as I watched, I kept thinking that he would have been so very pleased with this movie. I think he had been afraid of how talking animals and mythological creatures would look in a film- very fake and silly looking with the technology that existed in his day! But the animals in this film were all fabulously realistic, even while speaking. This CGI stuff is amazing! Anyway, I left thoroughly convinced that Lewis’ fears would have been laid to rest after seeing this film.
Now I’ve got five kids out on the terrace near my window acting out their own version of the film. It sounds pretty good, but noisy! The evil White Witch has just commanded that prisoners must eat a fluffy bunny rabbit! She demands that King Peter chose the victim for slaughter. Luckily, the forces of Good have risen up against this outrage and the fighting has begun in earnest!
Are French people allies of the White Witch? They do eat rabbit……

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