Last week in Sao Paulo, I had a new experience - or rather, an old experience in a new setting. One of the lab chemists at the plant convened a group to go bowling one night in a nearby city. I found out later that she'd never been before but always wanted to, so it was cool that we could make that happen.
The venue was like so many alleys in the US -- bowling, billiards, beer, music, and food. However, such establishments are not a dime a dozen there like they are here. This place was hoppin'!
We arrived between 9 and 10 pm, and there was a huge line outside to get in. After a wait, we entered and got on the waiting lists (yes, waiting lists) for both pool and bowling. We sat for maybe an hour, got to play some pool, and finally made our way to our bowling lane at approximately 12:30 am.
The experience was quite interesting. The eight (I think) lanes were equipped with automatic pin setters, ball returns, and electronic scoring, but they were old and not working very well. Also, there were no racks of bowling balls from which to select. Instead, each pair of lanes had a half-dozen or so balls allocated to it, and from those, you just grabbed whatever reasonably fit your hand. And while there were a few bowling shoes available for rent, most there bowled in their bare feet (as did everyone in our group, including me -- when in Rome...). It may not have been the most elegant setup in the world, but we had fun.
I also managed to perform quite a tricky feat. In one particular frame, I knocked down nine pins on the first ball (No, that's not it. There's more.). The pinsetter grabbed the lone remaining pin, swept away its fallen comrades, and laid the pin back down -- along with another one. If I recall, the 10-pin was replaced with the 3-10 split. Despite the added degree of difficulty, though, I managed to clear away both pins with my second ball.
As I mentioned, there was automated electronic scoring. Sure enough, it gave me credit for nine on the first ball and two on the second. While I did not get credit for the spare (because the total didn't add up to ten, I guess), I did get credit for eleven pins in the frame.
That was certainly the first time I've ever bowled a "9-2," and it will probably be the last.