Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Transitions 6

Going to the movies is one way we can find entertainment. Just recently (about 2 years ago) a theater was built inside the large mall called,"Akropolis". The theater is called "Cinnamon". It has 6 screens but they are pretty small theatres compared to the large ones we have come to expect from our megaplexes in California. Movies come out here a few weeks to a few months after they are released in the States. All English made movies are viewed in English with Lithuanian subtitles (unless they are animated). It is a good way to watch and read Lithuanian at the same time to see how they are translating the phrases we often hear. Half the time we feel like we need to take in a pen and notebook paper to take notes while watching:)

The seating is assigned, so you get your ticket and look for your seat assignment, like "G6" or something, then begin hunting. One thing we have noticed about this is that no matter how little the theater is filled you will see all the people clumped into the middle of the theater without an open seat between them. It is rather outside of our comfort zone to be smashed in like sardines when it is not necessary, so we often will move to another row and stretch out. I need a seat for my bag you know:) Lithuanians don't seem to crave the same amount of personal space that we have become accustom to and practically demand and feel we deserve:)

Because the theater is located inside a mall they are not as hyper about you bringing in bags with you and we have not noticed any bans on outside food. But the menu items they have to offer are not entirely unreasonably priced. The fun items you find at the snack bar (and the same place where you purchase your theater ticket) are nachos with cheese sauce(as close as you get to Mexican food in this country), traditional movie theater popcorn, candy bars, soda and of course beer. Yep, you read right, beer! What would a movie be without a beer to enjoy it with:)

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Transitions 5

Going out to eat is a challenge in and of itself. Lithuania has not embraced the American Motto," The customer is always right", but more like,,"If you don't like it....tough." Most menus, we have observed, are translated into English, but what that may mean is still a mystery. Our favorite wrong translations are "Shrimps" and "Fruits". You can really find some good entertainment reading the menus. "Almonds" on the menu are almost always peanuts when you get them and nothing seems to arrive looking the way you imagined it would look. Anytime I see something that sounds familiar I never order it because it never comes the way I think it should. We usually find stuff we like and stick with it forever! Though you will never get the same thing twice, even if you order it day after day. Somehow they always make it different:) It keeps you from getting into a rut or depending on filling a food addition craving. Well, you can just forget it, you will be disappointed every time:) You learn to just appreciate what you get and if it is exceptionally good, well then you just enjoying it:)

Nothing feels like home in the restaruants here. The glasses are small, the drinks are warm, you have to pay for water and it is never enough to quench your thirst so you must buy your refill. The place settings are given for the amount of food dishes ordered so we are always having to ask for more forks and spoons. There is no salt on the table and ketchup cost 50 centu. The food comes out spuratically and you may get your appetizer at the end of the meal. The check does not come unless you ask for it and the waitresses rarely smile. Regardless of all these things it is still quite a privelege to go out to eat because for a Lithuanian it is very expensive. We take the family out to eat, maybe once a month.

Some of the nice things about going out the eat are: The atmosphere is wonderful. Most places are layed out for you to stay for a while. The check doesn't come until you request it because the waitress doesn't expect you to eat and run. Many of the nicer restaurants have couches and low tables, though it isn't convenient to eat at, when the meal is over it is quite comfortable to lounge around and visit.

Lithuania has a flare for laying out a dish too. Even at an average restaurant it is no surprise to get a plate that is garnished beautifully. A gourmet look at a reasonable price. The food here is good too. Potatoes come in every way shape and form and are fresh and delicious. Mayonaise is used in just about everything, especially in the salads. Salads here do not consist of lettuce at all. In fact, a lot of time, the lettuce is the garnish that holds the salad often made of shredded carrots, cabbage and raw garlic. Oh and of course mayo:) Along with cut up tomatoes, cucumbers and pickles (made fresh usually) on the side.

There are only a few fast food restaurants here. McDonald's of course and another new burger place called "Hessburger". And a couple of places that serve "Kabobas" , which is meat in a pita. We haven't eaten there yet. It is very expensive to eat at these places so we generally don't eat out with the whole family. There is no Mexican food to speak of around here and we miss that more than anything:) So we have taco night at our house every few weeks. We pretty much eat at home these days. I am really loving to cook too so that is good eh?