Monday, April 04, 2011

Bowling in the new year

It's April, but I'm still writing about the Christmas/New Year holidays. Yes, I'm a bit behind.

If our holiday trip to the states had a subtitle it might be: American Bowling Alley Tour 2010/2011. We literally went bowling four times over the course of the holiday, first at our beloved 4th Street Bowl (aka Ghetto Bowl) in San Jose, then again in Diamond Bar and Parma, Ohio and finally somewhere in Ventura County enroute to LAX.

Though Mickey's a good bowler, I can't say that we're particularly attached to the sport (we own neither our own shoes nor ball). So, why did we go bowling four times over the holiday? Well, there actually is some logic to it. When you get together with family and friends over winter holidays, you can only go out for meals so many times. At some point, you want to do something mildly active, but the weather doesn't always permit it. Going to the movies is a great option, but it's not very social.

And that's when bowling becomes your go-to holiday activity with friends and family. It's indoor, bowling alleys are everywhere in the US, they're cheap and they have something for everyone. Competitive and/or athletic? Stick to the bowling. Can't stand bowling and/or your family? Well, the bowling alley probably has a bar. Teetotaling or entertaining little ones? They probably also have a jukebox, arcade and nachos. See? You just can't go wrong with bowling.

After touring the four bowling alleys, I noticed a slightly disappointing trend, attempts to renovate and modernize. You may wonder why a bowling connoisseur such as myself isn't excited about replacing the clunky CRTs with flat screens at bowling alleys across America and it's because 'slightly dingy' and 'retro' are the descriptors for which every bowling alley should aim.

Have you ever been bowling abroad? I've been bowling in Zurich and Sydney and the bowling alleys there are all wrong: bright colors, loud music, high prices, menus with items like sliders and satay skewers and way too clean. No, if you ask me, plastic seats, cheesy graphics and cheap cocktails are part of the American bowling alley's charm.

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