Tag Archives: travelling

289. California Road Trip (Part 2)

Here’s the next part of my description of my recent trip around California. This is a description of my honeymoon, but I’m also going to tell you about the cultural, geographical and historical context of the places we went to, and I’ll give you some practical tips and teach you some British and American English too. This is part 2 of the California series. Let’s carry on.

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In part 1 I told you about the itinerary for our trip, some of our first impressions of arriving in L.A., some notes and advice on customer service and dealing with waiters & staff, some stuff about the car, an audiobook recommendation and California’s marijuana laws. So, let’s carry on in this episode. First of all, I’d like to give you a brief history of California, because it helps to understand what the place is all about when you learn about its history.

A Very Brief History of California Source: michaellamarr.com/cahistory.html A paraphrased and reduced version.
California is known as the golden state, because of the sunshine but also because of the gold that was found there in the mid 19th Century. But let’s go further back to consider the first people to have populated California, a long long time ago (but not in a galaxy far far away this time).

Small Donate ButtonPeople arrived in California about 12,000 years ago. They were descendents of the people who travelled across the Bering Strait from the Asian continent about 40,000 years ago. They travelled into North America to follow food – migrating herds of animals probably. At that time it seems that Alaska and what is now Russia were connected by an exposed stretch of land which later was covered over when the sea level rose, separating America and Russia (or the Asian continent). Those people became the first Native Americans. They eventually found their way to the area we now call California. They lived there in various tribes in different parts of the state, undisturbed for a long time.

Then, in the 15th and 16th centuries, Europeans began travelling across the Atlantic and America was ‘discovered’. It was the Spanish, with Hernando Cortez initially, and then other explorers who were the first Europeans to enter the area that we now know as California after fighting the Aztecs and developing a Spanish colony in Mexico. The Spanish attempted to settle in California and find a route they could use to sail their ships from the Atlantic coast to the Pacific coast, but they the failed to find one after lots of attempts, with some competition from Sir Francis Drake who to the English is a great explorer, but to the Spanish is a pirate who raided early Spanish settlements, stealing lots of their silver. The Spanish found it hard to settle in California because of the difficult access from the Atlantic side and because of clashes with the native people so they ignored California for about 150 years, although they had named the areas of America that they’d ‘discovered’ and claimed “New Spain”.

It’s not entirely clear how California got it’s name but it seems that the most popular theory is that it comes from a romantic adventure story by Garcia Ordonez de Montalvo called “Sergas de Esplandian” or “The Adventures of Esplandián” (1510). This story tells of a mythical island called California, which is populated by a race of beautiful and powerful Amazonian warrior women called the Califia who are ruled by the formidable Queen Califia. In the story, which was a very popular and well known one, the Califia were warrior women “of vigorous bodies and strong and ardent hearts and of great strength.” The queen and her warriors would go on adventurous missions, fly around on griffins (griffins are legendary creatures with the body, tail, and back legs of a lion; the head and wings of an eagle; and an eagle’s talons as its front feet) that lived on the island and would capture and kill men they come upon during their travels. Any man found in their domain they would eat. Califia or California in the story is presented as a mythical place near the real world. The island is described as a kind of paradise filled with gold and precious stones.

The original Spanish settlers who came to the area first thought that California was an island, and perhaps it was similar enough to the mythical island in this story that the settlers were inspired to use that name. The story was well known and popular enough, and some believed it was based on an older myth which was part of an oral Spanish tradition. Some people may have believed it was true and this place really existed. Maybe they thought they’d arrived there for real, or maybe they were just inspired by a good story. It’s not entirely clear, but what we do know is that, essentially, California is named after a beautiful and powerful Amazonian warrior queen, who used to fly around on a griffin and eat men for breakfast. Pretty crazy, right? It sounds like something from an Arnold Schwarzenegger film from the 80s or something. It just shows that California has had a fairly long tradition of grand, glamorous and sexy myth making and story telling associated with it.

In 1765 a man named Jose de Galvez, who was an official to the Spanish king decided it was a good idea to have another go at claiming New Spain properly, before the English or the Russians did it. He managed to convince the King to let him go on a mission there, with the intention of claiming the land and spreading the Romain Catholic faith. Although it was a very difficult mission with lots of hardship, ultimately it was successful and several missions (Christian bases) were set up on the Californian coast, including Monterey Bay and San Francisco. The Spanish missionaries managed to convert a number of the local natives into Catholicism, but this was largely due to the threat of violence or because they pacified the natives with offerings of supplies and tools that they’d never seen before, although saying that I’m sure the natives were also genuinely impressed by these new people who had arrived and may have seen them as being sent by god. Again, things didn’t go completely smoothly because there was resistance from the locals who did fight back, but in the end the Spanish were numerous enough and powerful enough to withstand these resistance movements from the Native Americans, even though unfortunately this meant that a lot of native people were killed and severely punished in the process. This is all part of the story of how the Native Americans were eventually almost completely wiped out in the long population of America by Europeans.

The Spanish settlers and missionaries built forts at strategic locations up the California coast. These were basically protected bases which helped them defend their territory against angry natives or possible invasion by other countries wanting to take this beautiful and rich land that they had managed to claim. To provide food for the people in these missions or forts, pueblos were created around them. These were basically towns with farms that could produce food. These places eventually grew and developed to become cities like Los Angeles, Monterey and San Francisco.

Then there was a war of independence in 1810 which ended in 1821. This is a similar story to the war of independence against the British which was fought on the other side of the country. The colonies in New Spain were fed up with the way they were being ruled from Spain and felt they didn’t have enough freedom or independence. The people of New Spain won that war and set themselves up as an independent government under the name of Mexico. The Mexican government took control of New Spain and decided that the missions had too much power, and closed them, freeing up the land previously owned by the missions. The priests in the missions were still allowed to operate churches there, but the land was to be divided between Mexican settlers and the Native Americans. The thing is though, the Native Americans had no real understanding of the concept of land ownership so they either didn’t want the land, didn’t understand that it could be given to them, or didn’t know how to deal with it because they’d been living in the missions so long that they were now dependent on the Spanish and Mexican settlers who ran the place. Some native Americans managed to return to their way of life, and some tribes of natives in California had managed to avoid being captured by the missions so there were still Native Americans in California at the time, but the coastal colonies continued under Mexican control. The Mexicans in California did lots of trade with people from many other places during this period, which enriched the area with the influence of different cultures. Presumably these traders came from Russia, Asia or Europe.

Some people, mainly fur trappers, managed to make the very difficult journey from the East coast by land. Remember that it took me 6 hours to fly from New York to LA? Well in the early 19th century it would have taken years to make the journey and in the beginning only the toughest and wildest people could make the journey, which was essentially a massive exploration into unknown wilderness populated by native tribes and dangerous wildlife like grizzly bears. But, some fur trappers made it to California in the first half of the 19th century. These fur trappers were really tough explorers who travelled west in search of valuable fur pelts – basically the skin and fur of different animals. Beaver was perhaps the most sought after pelt. Why? Because beaver fur was used to make top hats in Europe. You know those tall hats the Victorians used to wear? They were made from beaver fur. It’s light, strong, glossy and warm. Perfect material for a good hat, so there was plenty of demand for beaver fur as well as other animals. The first fur trappers must have been very tough guys who were almost as wild as the natives they met along the way. In fact many trappers got to know the natives and learned a lot of their knowledge to help them survive in the American wilderness. Imagine the challenge of crossing rivers, mountain ranges, deserts, canyons and forests. We’re talking about epic journeys.

By the mid 1800s the independent Nation of the USA was very keen to extend its territory to the west, in order to populate and claim that whole stretch of North America from east to west. In fact the prevailing ideology of the time was a strong feeling that the United States had almost a god given right to claim the land, and that it was the destiny of the USA to do so. This is the idea of manifest destiny – That the USA felt the land was theirs for the taking and that they had the god given right to take it. James Polk was the president at this time and he decided that he wanted to take the lands of Texas, New Mexico and California. Texas was a country in its own right at the time after having broken away from Mexico, and New Mexico and California were still owned by Mexico.

By this time – about 1840. More and more settlers had followed the fur trappers west and had settled in California. This included a man called John C Fremont who was an officer in the US army. He led a brigade of 60 men into California and met Colonel Jose Castro of the Mexican army in Monterey. Castro (no relation to the Cuban leader who came much later, I think) sent the US soldiers out of California, but this army brigade were determined and later re-entered California, gained the support of some of the settlers there and started a revolt in Sonoma, flying the flag with a star and a grizzly bear – the flag of California, and they pronounced it “The California Republic”. This coincided with the general aggressive movement into Texas and New Mexico by President Polk’s US army. Fighting between the USA and Texas had started along the Rio Grande river and this fighting eventually reached California. The bear flag rebels joined the US army during this war and fighting continued into 1848 when when the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo was signed, ending the war. The treaty brought peace to California and also stated that Mexico had to give more than 525,000 square miles of land to the USA. This included the areas between Texas and California, and marked the extension of the USA’s territory from east to west coast.

What happened next was that gold was discovered in California and this changed everything. The first discovery of gold was in 1848 in the Sacramento valley, which is between San Francisco and the Sierra Nevada Mountains, and that caused a few hundred local Californians to move there, and a thousand or so outsiders. A lot of them struck gold and became very rich. Word of this travelled quite far, and fairly quickly. By early 1849 many people around the world had heard the news about gold being discovered in the new world in California and instantly thousands of people were infected with gold fever. “There’s gold in them there hills!”

1849 was the big year for the California gold rush. Something like 100,000 people travelled to California in that year. The people who travelled there are known as the 49ers (which explains the name of the American Football team from San Francisco). About 60% of the 49ers were from America, but the rest came from other countries all around the world and many of them settled in California long term, again adding to the diverse culture of the place. The Chinese certainly moved there in large numbers. Something like 20,000 in total, and many of them settled in the nearest port – San Francisco, which is why there is a large Chinese community there in Chinatown today. 100,000 people is a massive influx in just one year, and the gold rush is certainly one of the most significant moments in American history. By the end of 1849, the non-native population of the California territory was some 100,000 (compared with the pre-1848 figure of less than 1,000). A total of $2 billion worth of precious metal was extracted from the area during the Gold Rush, which peaked in 1852. The non-native population grew by about 1000% in about 18 months following the discovery of gold. This represented a massive injection of culture, development and wealth into California. San Francisco for example, quite quickly became a large metropolis.

What about the native Americans? It wasn’t a good time for them. Essentially, The USA’s expansion west, particularly in search of gold and land just didn’t fit in with the way of the life of the natives. The two cultures just couldn’t live together, and because the American settlers were more numerous, had better technology and weapons, and because the Native Americans were vulnerable to diseases carried by the settlers, the natives just couldn’t hold on to their way of life and were either killed or forced to live in limited areas known as reservations. It’s sad, because the Natives were people who had learned to live in harmony with their environment, and then they basically got wiped out or forced off their land, and treated like animals. It’s heartbreaking really.

By about 1852 even though the surface gold had basically disappeared, lots of people continued to make the journey west in search of their fortune and a better life, and they continued to make that journey for decades as California continued to be seen as a place where people could have a better quality of life.

The 1930s saw another fairly big movement of people into California in search of a better life as a result of the great depression and the dust bowl across the midwest. The dust bowl was basically a huge drought in the early 30s in large farming states from Texas to South Dakota – a big stretch all the way up the middle of the country. There was a huge drought (no water) and so all the crops failed and the earth turned to dust. Within a couple of years there were huge storms that carried the dust into the sky and far along the ground. This made it almost impossible for families to live and grow crops so many of them just left the area and made the arduous journey west towards California in search of a better situation.

Another Audiobook Suggestion
“The Grapes of Wrath” by John Steinbeck
John Steinbeck lived in Monterey, so I thought I’d pick one of his books, and I think this one is probably his most celebrated work. It has a rating of 4.5 out of 5 on audible, which is really high, and the book is widely considered a great classic of American literature. Written in 1939 after the great depression of the 1930s the book follows the story of a family from Oklahoma who are forced to make a long journey across America to live in California. It tells their personal story of the difficulty of the journey, but in doing so it manages to capture the epic narrative of a whole migration of people into the American west. Steinbeck creates a drama that is intensely human yet majestic in its scale and moral vision, tragic but ultimately stirring in its insistence on human dignity. Here’s a quote from a listener’s review: “From start to finish each one of the characters, because they were so well formed and realistic, evoked empathy but never to the point of pity. Every character bore their share of hardship. You walk away from this experience feeling stronger for having been in their company. These were people to be admired.” R. Solomon from New Hampshire.
www.audibletrial.com/teacherluke The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck. Pick the version read by Dylan Baker. It’s unabridged.

A Brief(ish) History of California (continued)
The gold rush was a really important time for America, and the great depression of the 1930s. The migration into the west which was involved in both situations, and to a larger scale across the whole previous century of American history at that point was the embodiment of the American dream. The idea that anyone was free to start from the bottom and if they had the strength and courage they could make their own fortune by driving west, claiming their own plot of land, and delving into the rich American soil to produce shiny gold and riches, or an escape from hardship into liberty! These days people still go west in search for a fortune or some sort of everlasting freedom, but not because of gold, but in search of stardom on the silver screen. Los Angeles and the Hollywood star machine continue to be an attractive goal for many people, although it’s nowhere near the same scale as the original gold rush.

Nevertheless, California maintains its image as the golden state and is still considered to be a golden land where fame and riches can be found. Generations of immigrants have been attracted by the California Dream. California farmers, oil drillers, movie makers, airplane builders, and “dot-com” entrepreneurs like Steve Jobs, Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg have each had their boom times in the decades after the Gold Rush. California is also a very popular destination for tourists, holidaymakers and honeymooners, and dreamers. It’s still associated with the American Dream and all that it offers.

But that vision of America may eventually have its downside when you’ve basically made it across the country, you’ve made it to the golden land, the gold has run out and yet the dreams remain. What seems to happen is that people lose it a a little bit, or feel that their idealism and perhaps naivety are challenged by the final frontier – the frontier of inner space or spirituality or just general meaning to life. That may be why people are pretty ‘far out’ here – there’s lots of spiritualism, yoga, new age thinking and so on. Perhaps that’s why they’re into movie making too. It’s the dream factory. Also, there’s plenty of entrepreneurialism in business technology, especially into another frontier – cyberspace, as I mentioned earlier with Facebook and other software and social networking companies. In fact here’s a list of companies in the bay area of San Francisco: Facebook, Pinterest, Tesla, Hewlett Packard, Quora, TuneIn Radio, Google, Skype, PayPal, Logitech, LinkedIn, Groupon, Uber, Android, Intel, Apple, EBay, AOL, Yahoo.

LA Continued…
We drove downtown to have a look around, get some food, get used to the place, take it easy a bit, do some shopping.
Driving in the car in traffic.
One thing we noticed was the huge paintings and murals on the walls. There’s some really fantastic and very large artwork on the sides of buildings. It’s more sophisticated than graffiti. It’s really excellent. Check out this link to see some of the murals www.laweekly.com/arts/10-best-la-street-art-murals-of-2014-5279399
In fact there are murals in many places in California, especially the cities like LA and SF.
Downtown market
Grammy Museum – amazing music exhibition, particularly the interactive screens which allowed you to take a journey though all the interconnected musical genres.
Huge Taylor Swift exhibition, probably because she was due to perform a number of concerts nearby. In fact, Taylor Swift followed us around California. Wherever we arrived she seemed to be doing a concert and we kept hearing her hit song “Shake It Off” all the time, including in the museum shop where it appeared to be playing on a loop, all day. I can’t imagine what that did to the brains of the staff working there. I quite like the song actually. I think it’s a great pop song – and is commercial, super catchy and full of hooks and so on. I’m not sure about Taylor Swift herself. She started out as a country artist, and then recently she sort of switched over into R&B a little bit and it’s worked out for her. I don’t really like any of her other songs, but Shake It Off is just a perfect little pop song.
Hollywood Improv. for comedy + food.
Fighting jet lag.
Back to the hotel to watch a bit of American TV and then pass out.
American TV – just commercial break after commercial break, and many of them are about treatments for health conditions. So many adverts for health insurance and medical solutions. It’s really weird. It’s hard to actually find any content on TV because it feels like about 50% adverts. You flick through the channels and it’s just ad after ad after ad. Still, some of the late night comedy and chat shows are pretty good. FOX News is a total joke. CNN doesn’t seem that much better to be honest. It’s all way too glamorous and just doesn’t feel objective or incisive enough.

There’s a presidential campaign going on. Donald Trump is dominating the news. He’s basically a right-wing free market capitalist who says whatever the hell he likes and appears to be running for president purely because his ego is in overdrive. His skin is more orange than the sun, his hair looks like it should be captured and studied by scientists, and his views on immigration are pretty disgusting. For example, he recently said that Mexican immigrants are rapists and thieves and that if he was president he would start by building a huge wall between the USA and Mexico, and that the Mexican government will have to pay for it. Right. Is this the man we want to be in charge of one of the biggest and most potentially lethal countries in the world. No. Please no. Hilary Clinton will probably win, but I wonder about her connections to all those corporations. Bernie Sanders is a pretty reasonable left-wing candidate. The other Republicans don’t seem to be any different to each other. Jeb Bush is, well, he’s another Bush! But even he seems pretty normal compared to Trump. American politics is fascinating, entertaining and also a little grotesque and a bit scary. What a country.

End of Part 2. Part 3 coming soon…
California Flag

253. Rapping with Fluency MC!

Chatting and rapping with Jason R. Levine aka Fluency MC! [Download]

Small Donate ButtonI’m feeling pretty excited today because I’ve got a bit of a celebrity on the podcast. Jason R. Levine, also known as Fluency MC is something of a legend in the world of online English language teaching. He’s become pretty well known on YouTube in particular for his videos in which he uses hip hop to bring a fresh approach to teaching English. Jason raps his English lessons, and many of those raps have become YouTube sensations – for example “Stick stuck stuck” the past participle rap (over 2.5million views on Youtube), and the present perfect rap which is a full on explanation of the grammar rules for the present perfect tense, delivered in rhyme. But, Jason is not only a teacher who raps – a look at Jason’s CV shows that he is involved in a number of very interesting English teaching projects – he leads workshops, has published material and is an English specialist for the US department of State – which makes him sound like a government agent, and he has a very interesting academic and personal background which has led him to take this fresh new approach to language teaching. On the musical side, Jason raps but he also plays the drums like me, and he DJs and produces his own tunes. There’s so much to ask him and so much to talk about, and hopefully Jason will do some rapping on Luke’s English Podcast too, and who knows – I might even get involved in that as well. You can look forward to all of it in this episode. (In fact, if you listen to the whole episode you will hear both Jason and me rapping on some of my brother’s music)

I’ve never met Jason before, this is the first time I’ve spoken to him in fact. I always thought Jason lived in New York, but a while ago I was on Facebook and I saw a photo of him in Paris and I assumed he’d visited for work or for a holiday, so I sent him a message saying “next time you’re in Paris, how about an interview for LEP” and he wrote back saying “Actually, I live in Paris”. Needless to say I was pretty surprised. What are the chances of that!? So naturally, I thought I’d take the opportunity to hook up with him and interview him for the podcast, and he’s sitting right next to me now so let’s get started…

Links
Click here for Jason’s YouTube Channel
Click here for colloandspark.com Jason’s website
This is FluencyMC’s Facebook page

Questions & Stuff
These are some questions that we covered in this episode of the podcast.
I’m really chuffed to have you on the podcast Jason, because as we heard in my introduction you’re sort of a living legend of English teaching. Are you famous?
What are you most known for?
What other projects are you involved in?
Where are you from?
What did you study at university?
How does psychology come into your teaching method?
How long have you been teaching?
How did you get into it?
When did you first start rapping in the classroom? Was there one particular time when you first did it? What happened?
You travel quite a lot, teaching in different locations. Do you always rap in class?
How would you describe your approach to teaching?
How is rapping a part of that?
What are the reactions of your students to your method?
What’s collo and spark? Can you explain that?
Is it related to mnemonics?

FluencyMC on YouTube
This is the original video of Jason rapping “Stick stuck stuck” – just about 3.5minutes of one of his lessons.

Luke’s Rapping (Lyrics Below)

Here are the lyrics of my rap at the end of this episode!

The Well-Spoken MC (Lyrics)
Microphone check one two one two
Let me introduce myself to you
My name’s Luke
I’m an ordinary dude
I like food, I wear shoes
I like to watch YouTube
I’m just like you,
or maybe Doctor Who
when I’m in a good suit
I’m feeling in the mood

from time to time
I like to unwind
I Drink a bit of wine
and try to write a rhyme
and when I combine
all of this all online
then surely it’s a sign
it’s my time to shine,
cos I like to feel fine
I do it all the time
and in my mind
I’m going to get mine

It’s just a natural fact
and I like it like that
so relax and sit back
and listen to this track
It’s just a natural fact
and I like it like that
so relax and sit back
and listen…

I get dizzy
with a bit of thin Lizzy,
while drinking some fizzy
getting busy with Queen Lizzy
I’m a gentleman
With a lesson plan
I’ll Help you understand it with a diagram
Of different tenses
and complex senses
or ways of saying sentences with different kinds of emphases
Yes
You could say I’m blessed
With a CELTA and a DELTA and my CV’s fresh!
I teach pronunciation
Throughout the nation
To stop alienation
Caused by poor articulation
It’s just a natural fact
and I like it like that
so relax and sit back
and listen to this track

Cos I speak like a native
and I’m here to get creative
and I have already stated
that I’m very qualificated
I’ve got a wide CV
an even wider TV
which I’d like you to see
in Confidentiality
Because between you and me
and the deep blue sea
One day I’m going to be
On the BBC

Because I’ve got that BBC style
The one that makes you think for a little while
about the way most newsreaders speak
It sounds as if they’re trying to repeat
Sentences of information But With crazy intonation
and weird enunciation that’s clearly fascinating
And at the end of every news report
There is a summary of sorts
Of all the main sports, and some afterthoughts
Where the main news anchor
Turns to the camera
And delivers an answer
in the form of a mantra
This is the voice of the BBC,
and while you’re sitting there drinking cups of tea
We’re working away inside your TV
And on the screen you will surely see
that I go by the name of the Well-Spoken MC

Good night
FluencyMCPIC

251. Welcome to LEP / 16 Things You Should Know about LEP

The podcast has been nominated in the Macmillan Dictionary Award and the voting is now open here www.macmillandictionary.com/love-english-awards/voting-blog-2014.html

[Download]Small Donate Button
When I get nominated for this competition, I usually have quite a lot of new visitors to the site by people who are checking out the podcast for the first time. So, let me take this opportunity to say hello to any new visitors and to give you an idea of what LEP is all about.

In this episode I’m going to tell you 16 things you need to know about LEP. After listening to this, you should have a better idea of what this podcast is all about!

16 Things You Should Know about Luke’s English Podcast
1. I’m a teacher from London, living in Paris, with about 14 years of experience and both a CELTA and DELTA qualification. I’ve lived in Japan too, and I have experience of teaching adults and children at all levels of English, for general, business or more specific purposes. Students I’ve had in the past include Brazilian world cup winners, Scandinavian heads of state, top business executives and even a porn star. I now teach at The British Council and at a top university in Paris.

2. I started LEP in 2009 after taking a course in podcasting with The Consultants E. At the time I just felt like I wanted to have my own radio show, and I discovered ways of creating podcasts on my new Apple Mac laptop, and realised I could publish them myself on iTunes, and then get the word out using social networking. I started to get really busy producing episodes of the podcast. The aim was always to mix up teaching with general entertainment. I wanted to produce episodes that were instructive but also fun to listen to for their own sake.

3. I’m also a stand-up comedian, and I do try to use those skills in my episodes too, from time to time! I do stand-up comedy regularly in Paris, in English. This may not be obvious from this episode, as I’m not adding any jokes to it! From time to time I share some videos of my comedy on this website, and some of my listeners have come to see me perform my comedy live, which is great!

4. The podcast now has over 250 episodes, and I have a really loyal following. In fact, my listeners have lots of names – the LEPpers (yes, LEP stands for Luke’s English Podcast), LEPsters, LEPaholics, LEP Ninjas, PLEPS (people of Luke’s English Podcast) and so on.

5. Some of my listeners have created podcasts of their own, after being inspired to do so by listening to LEP.

6. There are various types of episode that you can expect on the podcast. Some are about specific aspects of English, for example – episodes about idioms, grammar points, pronunciation, vocabulary, and slang. In some episodes I try to keep my listeners locked-in and entertained by making up improvised stories off the top of my head. In some episodes I feature interviews and conversations with friends, family and special guests. Some episodes involve me just talking directly to my audience about whatever comes into my head. Some episodes are about films, music or popular culture, and some episodes deal with specific aspects of British culture and lifestyle. So the podcast covers a broad range of topics. Ultimately, I love the freedom of being able to talk about anything I like! The main thing is that it creates engaging content that encourages learners of English to do more and more listening!

Here’s a quick list of some of the more popular episodes of this podcast:
1. Introduction – this is the first episode I did back in April 2009 and it outlines my basic approach to LEP.
28. Interview with a Native Speaker: The Weather – this one follows on from a vocabulary episode about British weather and features an authentic interview with a teenager called Chris, and his odd views about foreigners in the UK
29. Mystery Story / Narrative Tenses – this is one of the most visited of my episodes. It teaches you narrative tenses (past simple, past continuous, past perfect) via a short mystery story that features several of the UK’s most beloved popular culture icons. The story is continued in the next episode.
71. The Ice-Cream Episode – an unplanned rant on topics such as: Amazon Kindles, robots & technology in Hollywood films and why we should put down the weapons and pick up an ice-cream instead, man.
83. How to Swear in British English – an indispensable guide to all the rudest words in British English. It’s extremely offensive, but extremely useful.
100. Going to the Pub – the guide to everything you need to know before you step into a pub in the UK.
118. Sick In Japan – the true story of how I ended up sick in a Japanese hospital. It contains loads of medical and health related vocabulary, culture shock and a story which is engaging from start to finish!
125. The Pink Gorilla Story – one of the most popular ever, this is just an improvised story that regularly makes people laugh out loud, and which I really should convert into a one-man-show stage play!
140. Ghost Stories – just some scary true stories to keep you awake at night
167. Memory, Mnemonics and Learning English – revolutionise your learning techniques with these powerful memory devices.
174. How to Learn English with Luke’s English Podcast – this is your guide to improving your English using my podcast.
176. Grammar: Verb Tense Review – this is a very complete guide to all the main tenses in English
192. Culture Shock: Life in London – this episode deals with many of those strange aspects of the English lifestyle that foreigners find so hard to understand.
208. Travelling in Indonesia – one of many episodes about travelling experiences, this one has quite a dramatic beginning.

There are plenty more episodes which are popular with listeners, in fact everyone seems to have a different favourite. But that’s just a selection of some of the most visited pages on my website.

7. Yes, my episodes are quite long, but I always explain it like this: Firstly, all my favourite podcasts are long, and I think that it’s quite normal for podcasts to be about an hour long. Radio shows also tend to be at least an hour long too, so why not my podcast? It’s better for my listeners if they listen for an extended period. Why should listening only last 15 minutes? I can’t achieve very much in just 10-15 minutes, and I want my episodes to have some depth and rigour to them. Also, listeners can just pause the episode when they’ve had enough, and come back to it later!

8. I have a transcript collaboration project on my website, which allows listeners to transcribe sections of episodes and build a whole library of transcripts for other LEPsters to use. This is good for the transcribers because it is a big challenge and a good way to improve their English, and it’s good for the other listeners because we have an ever-growing library of transcripts which they can use to help them understand episodes. The collaboration is hosted on my website and is done using google documents.

9. I have won this award three times before and that is completely thanks to my devoted audience, who every year come out in force to vote for me. I hope to repeat the success this year, but I am up against stiff competition! Whatever the result, I’m just happy to have been nominated again.

10. The podcast has had 3 million listens in just over a year, since moving to a new audio host (audioboom.com) which is amazing!

11. I also have some videos on YouTube and they are pretty hot as well! My channel has had about 2.5 million views in total, but I haven’t uploaded anything for a while. The popular videos are ones I did in 2009 and feature me interviewing members of the public in the centre of London. There’s also a video called “16 Ways to Say I Like It”, which you may have seen too.

12. I launch competitions of my own from time to time, for listeners to take part in. The last one was called “Your English Podcast” and I invited listeners to send me short recordings of them doing their own versions of LEP. I received lots of entries and votes and the winner was interviewed on the podcast as a prize.

13. These days I record episodes of my podcast in a room at the top of my apartment, where I have great views of the rooftops of Paris from the windows. I call it the “SpacePod” or “SkyPod” and it’s the podcast HQ!

14. I have another podcast, called A Phrasal Verb a Day. It’s on iTunes and on my website. That is made up of short episodes devoted to individual phrasal verbs. I give definitions, examples and explanations. It’s a great way to pick up more of those tricky items of vocabulary – phrasal verbs. My goal was to record one a day in 2014. I didn’t reach my goal, but I haven’t given up and I still add episodes to the series when I can.

15. I love playing the drums, guitar, bass and ukulele (but not at the same time) and occasionally at the end of podcast episodes I play a song on the ukulele – but you have to listen all the way to the end of the episode to hear it.

16. I put my heart, soul, time, energy, humour, money and love into making episodes of LEP. It’s become quite a big thing in my life after having done it now for nearly 6 years. I enjoy a close and warm relationship with my listeners, I always welcome new additions to the LEP family, and in the future I plan to build my service more and more until I can perhaps do this for a living somehow. The future’s bright and I hope that many more people will join me on this journey to create authentic, entertaining and interesting content that helps you not only to improve your English but to enjoy yourself while doing it. So, I invite you to start listening today and like thousands of others get addicted to LEP – it’s good for your English!

If you haven’t already done it, I invite you to vote for LEP by clicking here. Thank you for your continuing support!
vote for us_love english2

243. A Life-Changing Teaching Experience in Ghana


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Hello and welcome to another episode of Luke’s English Podcast! In this episode I’m going to interview my friend Mike Bruce about his recent teaching experience in Ghana in West Africa. Mike is an old friend and colleague of mine, he’s originally from Scotland, although he doesn’t have a particularly strong accent, and he has lived and worked in places all over the world. I’ve known him for about 13 years and he was one of the first people I ever worked with as a language teacher in Japan. Mike has an amazing CV. He’s taught in lots of countries around the world. He’s very highly qualified, and as well as teaching students of English as a second language he also teaches teachers how to teach. So, he’s pretty much a Jedi Master of English teaching in my opinion.

Mike recently came back from a teaching mission in Ghana, and judging by the Facebook photos and statuses, it was quite an epic experience for him. I thought it would be interesting to talk to him about it on Luke’s English Podcast. My aim for this interview is to have a bit of a chat with Mike, just a bit of a chat, introduce him to the LEPsters? LEPans? LEPians?LEPenese? LEPlanders? LEPish? LEPaholics? and then find out about his African teaching experience.

Below you’ll see questions and notes I used during the interview, and a slide show of Mike’s pictures.

Click here to read more about the Ghana Education Project.

Background
How do we know each other?
What do you remember about that time in our lives?

Mike’s CV
How did you get into teaching in the first place?
How long have you been teaching?
Where have you worked/lived in the past?
Which place was memorable it you? (And why)
What do you do professionally these days?

Ghana
Tell me about the Ghana experience.
Why did you go?
What was the mission? What did you expect?
What were you concerned about or looking forward to?
What were your first impressions?
What were the challenges?
What were the great things?
What did you learn from the experience?
Has it changed you as a teacher? And as a person?

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MikeBrucePODPIC

192. Culture Shock: Life in London (Pt.1)

This episode is all about common complaints made by foreign students living in London. It’s common to experience some level of culture shock when dealing with the realities of living in the capital city as a foreign visitor. In this episode I’ll try and clarify some of the confusions and frustrations relating to every day life in London. Click here to download this episode. Click here for part 2 of this episode.

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I lived in London for many years and while working as an English teacher there I heard a lot of complaints from foreign students. I also heard plenty of nice comments of course. But in this episode I’d like to focus on the complaints in order to try and explain or demystify them. Fair enough – some of the complaints are valid, but often they are the result of those students/visitors experiencing culture shock related to living in an environment that was not normal for them, or for which the cause was not obvious. It’s important to find reasons for cultural phenomena that you don’t understand because it prevents you from coming to false conclusions about that place. I don’t want people just assuming that the English people are just strange. I mean, we are a bit strange of course, just like anyone, but a lot of the things we do are quite normal when you see it from our point of view. So, what are those common complaints? And what are the reasons for these strange and annoying aspects to English life? Perhaps the Londoners have got it wrong and they do things in the wrong way, or perhaps the foreign visitors just don’t see the whole picture. Listen to find out more.

What’s in this Episode?
*There is so much to say on this subject that I expect it will be divided into two episodes!*
1. Some short interviews with my colleagues in London, in which we discuss these common complaints.
I wanted to find out if my colleagues could explain some of the weird or annoying things about life in London. You can hear our responses in this episode. Some expressions and phrases from that recording are written on this webpage (below).
2. My responses to the complaints, and some explanations.
I’ll try and explain the reasons for these particular aspects of London life as well as I can, and I’ll decide if the complaint is fair or not.

It’s not all Negative
The cup is usually half-full! Of course, foreign students in London have plenty of great things to say about the place. Certainly, there are more positive things than negative, but I find that when students have lived in London for a little while, and they start to come face to face with the realities of living here, they start to develop little gripes (complaints) about the place, which can confuse and frustrate them. Let me try and clarify!

The Complaints about Life in London (commonly said by students of English)
Here’s a list of some of the typical complaints made by foreign students studying in London, and some notes relating to my responses that you can hear in this audio episode. You might find some of the complaints bizarre – that’s normal. I found some of them really bizarre when I first heard them, but you have to remember that the people who said these things came from countries in which the situation is quite different. They’re all completely true, and very common comments. After each complaint I will judge of the complaint is “reasonable” or “not reasonable”, and then I will “reject” or “accept” the complaint. If you don’t agree with my decisions, leave a comment explaining why!

1. “Why do you have a separate hot tap and a separate cold tap? I’m always scaulding my hands.”
The old 2-taps issue! It’s due to the development of plumbing, lack of water pressure, and separate water supplies.
uk.answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20090125000341AAR51ic
Interview with Karen Robertson. Last year Karen contacted me after reading a blog post I wrote on “Two Taps in the Bathroom” on the London School of English Blog. She lives in London, but is originally from South Africa. She was studying a MA in digital journalism at London Goldsmith University, and was doing a video project on foreign students’ reactions to London’s plumbing system, specifically the two taps issue. She wanted to interview me for the project. I recorded the interview and I’ve been waiting for an opportunity to let you listen to the conversation. Karen has researched the issue a lot and is able to give some pretty good reasons for the two taps in the bathroom mystery! (Karen gave me full permission to include this interview on the podcast).

2. “Why don’t you have electrical sockets in the bathroom? How am I supposed to dry my hair after I’ve had a shower and look in the mirror at the same time?”
This is because we consider it to be dangerous and there is legislation to protect people from being electrocuted.
singletrackworld.com/forum/topic/electrical-sockets-in-bathrooms-why-not

3. “The food is so plain and unhealthy”
Why is English food so bad? Most of the famous stuff is based on ‘working class recipes’ – the recipes of poor people who had limited access to ingredients and who had to make food that would keep or was portable. This food is often specific to local regions, and naturally people are proud of their local culture and so they celebrate the food, and it becomes part of our tradition. The rich people had food too, but it’s pretty exclusive stuff and very expensive. A lot of our good food is seasonal. A lot is cooked privately, at home. Also, we have been very international for many years. English food is Indian, Chinese, French etc. We eat YOUR food, thanks very much. I think it was John Cleese who said that English food is bad because we were too busy taking over the world to focus on cooking.
answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20110123154803AAwbAhZ

4. “The weather is miserable. It’s always raining”
Why is British weather so bad? It’s not that bad, it’s just changeable. Geography – we’re far north of the hemisphere and that’s just what happens up there! Deal with it. Also, it doesn’t get foggy in London like the stereotype. That’s an old myth. We had the industrial revolution which brought lots of smoke which combined with fog from the river. The result was old victorian smog made famous by Charles Dickens, Sherlock Holmes stories and others. The weather’s not that bad really, just a bit grey and chilly. The rain means the country is very green. The weather in Paris is pretty much the same.
answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20110613075947AABr8zK

5. “Why on earth do you drive on the left? It’s like you have to do everything differently here”
Why do the brits drive on the left? We’re not that stupid actually. We’ve been doing it for centuries, ever since it was normal to ride on the left as a way of staying safe (keep your sword in your right hand to defend yourself on horseback, etc). It should make sense, right? Remember, left is right, and right is just wrong! Also, it’s not just us. Plenty of others do it too including India, Japan, Australia and large parts of Africa. Sure, most of the world drives on the right, but it would be pretty hard for us to switch. Actually, our government is considering introducing a new law so that we will all drive on the right, but they’re going to phase it in over a 5 year period. First it’ll just apply to busses, and then cars, and finally motorbikes. Those last two sentences were a joke. Well done if you noticed :P
www.straightdope.com/columns/read/634/why-do-the-british-drive-on-the-left

6. “The trains are always late, and when they arrive they are full and I can’t get on!”
This is the result of a combo of one bad decision by the government, privatisation and a powerful union for the tube.
www.gizmodo.co.uk/2012/12/what-the-hell-is-wrong-with-british-trains/

7. “Why are there so many foreigners here? I haven’t met a ‘real’ English person yet”
Why are there so many foreginers here? Oh the irony. You won’t make many British friends with that attitude, except for UKIP or BNP members but they might not want to be friends with you in return. Generally, we’re a proudly multicultural place. Also, London is much more multicultural than other parts of the UK, so it’s not an accurate representation of the country as a whole. Take a good look around before making a sweeping judgement! Also, this is partly due to Britain’s past, particularly London. At one time, the British empire spanned the globe. We’ve had interests and dealings with many foreign countries for many years. We’re tied to plenty of foreign countries in complex ways. This is reflected in the fact that we have a multicultural population. Many people have come from our former colonies. Some were invited after the war. Also, lots of people just want to come to The UK because there are plenty of opportunities here, and why should they be stopped? It’s quite hypocritical to complain about the number of foreigners in London when you’re a foreigner (even if you’re just visiting for a while). London has an appeal for many people and for many different reasons. It always strikes me as ironic when a foreign visitor turns their nose up at London saying, “there are too many foreigners here”. What did they expect? Diversity is an integral part of London’s history and identity. Do they really expect some kind of Hollywood stereotype of London in which business men with top hats wander around empty streets like it’s the 1950s, saying “Good morning” with received pronunciation accents? Wake up and smell the coffee. Welcome to the real world in the 21st century. Multiculturalism may not be normal where you’re from but London is a proudly diverse place. Regarding immigration, some people in Britain believe it has gone too far, and maybe they have a case and the local culture is somehow being swamped, or maybe they’re just using immigration as a scapegoat for other problems. Whatever the case, personally I find it very disappointing to hear students complaining about London’s diversity. The bit about “I haven’t met a real English person yet?” – well, what is a real English person I ask you? Also, if you walk around with that kind of attitude, you’re unlikely to make good friends with many Londoners, except perhaps UKIP supporters.)

Vocabulary Extracts from the Conversation with my Colleages
Look at the following language from the conversations. These are vocabulary extracts from the conversation with my colleagues in London.
Look at the phrases:
Which topics were they about?
Can you remember what each person said about these things?

Listen again to the conversation and try to notice the phrases as they are used. In the podcast I’ll explain these phrases to you a little bit.

1.
Time and time again
Maybe it’s because it’s a much drier climate
Damp
A lot of English people are lazy when it comes to …-ing
We don’t have any call for other languages
Apart from English, learning languages isn’t fun

2.
Let’s see
The server
Stuff like that
I tend to agree
I can understand that
Get run over
We’ve got that weird mentality
We’re stupid aren’t we

3.
Come up with (come up with a list of things)
What do you reckon? I mean, like, why?
In the olden days
Environmentally friendly
Have something on tap
Plumbing
To have running water
To count yourself lucky

4.
I must dash
I’m sorry Luke, really, I have to dash

5.
They’re always griping and moaning
To be honest, they do like England a lot otherwise they wouldn’t come here
Get irritated
Incensed
Now tell me if this is weird, or not, right?
Washing up liquid
That could’ve been my house. That could’ve been me.
How else would you do it?
Sorry, I didn’t catch that
You have to soap them all individually, then rinse them
It’s got soap left on! It’s got the residue!
Can I just clarify what we’re talking about?
Put them under running water
Run them under the tap

CLICK HERE FOR PART 2 OF THIS EPISODE.

186. Understanding Culture Shock – with Lindsay & Gabby

This episode is all about culture shock and culture shock experiences and I’m glad to be joined by Lindsay & Gabby from the All Ears English podcast. Right-click here to download the episode.

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Lindsay & Gabby from All Ears EnglishLindsay McMahon and Gabby Wallace are well-qualified and well-experienced teachers of English from Boston, USA. They’re also the girls from the All Ears English Podcast. Last month I was a guest on their podcast and we talked about being funny and telling jokes in English. So, I returned the favour a few days ago and invited them onto LEP. Lindsay & Gabby have plenty of experience of not only meeting & teaching foreign visitors to the USA but also of travelling abroad and living in foreign countries. In this episode I talk to the girls about our experiences related to culture shock. Listen to the episode to find out more!

At the end of this episode, Lindsay & Gabby mentioned an eBook which they’ve written and is available for you to download. It’s full of useful advice on how to integrate into a new English-speaking culture. Click this link for more information, and to download the eBook: allearsenglish.com/luke

In this episode
We talk about:
Lindsay & Gabby’s teaching experiences.
Our travelling experiences, and instances of ‘culture shock’ that we have experienced in different countries.
Examples of culture shock experienced by visitors to the USA & UK.
Some reflections and conclusions on how to understand and deal with culture shock when it happens to you.

Thanks for listening, and look out for some more episodes about culture shock coming soon to LEP.

9. Travelling in India (with Ben Butler)


Right-click here to download.

In this special extra-large podcast, I’m joined by my friend & colleague Ben.
In Part 1, I talk about the good review of Luke’s English Podcast which we got on the iTunes store (thanks to Bookshop Worker).
In Part 2, I get to know Ben with some really common social english questions. This is a great example of a typical natural conversation in which you get to know someone.
In Part 3, Ben and I talk about going travelling and our experiences in India.
Then in Part 4, I explain the useful language we used in part 3. It’s a massive 1 hour podcast this time! I recommend that after you listen to part 4, you should listen to Part 3 again because you’ll understand it more…

Useful Language from Part 2 – The Interview with Ben.

Here are some bits of language from the conversation I had with Ben. I have written explanations and advice under each bit of language.

Luke: “How’s it going?”
-‘How’s it going’ is a very common way to say ‘how are you?’
Ben: “Yeah, good. Just finished work for the day”

Luke: “How long have you worked there?”
-This question is in the present perfect tense. We use this tense to ask a ‘how long’ question for an action that someone started in the past, but is still doing now.
Ben: “I’ve worked there for 4 years now”
-Again, present perfect to describe an action which started in the past and is still happening now. ‘for’ is used with a duration of time. ‘since’ would be used for a point in time, e.g. ‘I’ve worked there since 2005’
Ben: “I’ve been teaching for about 6 and a half, 7 years I think”
-Ben used the present perfect continous. In this situation, present perfect continuous has the same use as present perfect. Listen to podcast 7 for more information.
Luke: “Where did you work before?”
Ben: “I lived in Oxford”
-I used the past simple tense for this question, because it is about a finished period of time. Present Perfect – actions in an unfinished time. Past simple – actions in a finished time.
Luke: “What did you do at university?”
-Again, past simple for a finished time. ‘What did you do?’ means ‘What did you study?’
Ben: “I studied Social Science, which is, umm, it’s quite a mixed subject”
-Ben used a relative clause ‘which is…’ to add extra information to the noun ‘social science’. Using relative clauses is very common for giving more information. They’re really useful for fluency.
Ben: “I finished there and I worked in an office for a while”
-Ben used past simple tense to describe a sequence of actions.
Luke: “Do you teach business?”
-I used present simple because I’m talking about what he does now, regularly. If I had said “Are you teaching business?” it would be a question about a temporary period. “I teach business”-permanent period now. “I’m teaching business”-temporary period now (will maybe finish in a couple of weeks).
Luke: “Umm, yeah, wicked, cool”
-‘wicked’ and ‘cool’ are informal expressions which mean ‘great, excellent, good, etc’
Luke: “You live nearby, right?”
-‘nearby means’ near, or close to here. ‘right?’ is a simple kind of tag-question. You can use it to check that something is true. Tag questions are often used when you get to know someone. You can use them to check information you already know.
Luke “Aren’t you a QPR fan?”
-This is another way to check something you already know – use a negative question. I think ben is a QPR fan, but I want to check. I could have said “You’re a QPR fan, aren’t you?”
Luke: “They’re not in the Premiership though, are they?”
-Here I’m using a tag-question (are they?) to check something, but also I’m making a joke by showing that QPR are not a very good team!
Ben: “They were taken over last year by some very wealthy millionaires”
-‘they were taken over’ means that the club was bought by new owners. If a company is ‘taken over’ it means that another company buys the majority of its shares, and then becomes the boss of that company. ‘Wealthy’ means ‘rich’.
Ben: “I live in hope!”
-to live in hope means that you are always hoping for something. In this case, Ben is living in hope that QPR will become a big & successful London football team.

The language in Part 2 is all REALLY useful – especially the way Ben & I used the different tenses (Present perfect, past simple, present simple).

Useful Language from Part 3 (explained in Part 4):

“to go traveling” – This is a very common expression which means that you visit another country and you live there for quite a long time and just travel around. It’s different from a holiday – on holiday you usually stay for a shorter time and stay in one place. If you go travelling it means that you stay for longer, and travel around to different places.
“to do / to go on a trip somewhere” – This means that you make a short visit to somewhere. E.g. I did a trip to Hampi
“to fly into somewhere” – This means that you arrived there by plane. You can also ‘fly out of somewhere’.
“it’s on the coast” – This means that the location is next to the sea, on the edge of the country.
“it’s inland” – this means it is not on the coast, but in the country. E.g. in Brazil Rio de Janeiro is on the coast, but Brasilia is inland.
“it’s off the coast of…” – This is used to describe the position of an island. E.g. The Isle of White is off the south coast of England.
“it’s in the north/south/east/west of…” -This is used to describe the position of something in an area. E.g. Manchester is in the north of England.
“it’s to the north/south/east/west of …” -This describes the location of something in relation to another place, E.g. “Oxford is to the north of London”- it is above London.

Good Things:
‘there’s a good exchange rate” – This means that the English pound is stronger than the Indian rupee, so you get more rupees for each pound when you exchange your currency.
“the pound has dropped in value” – This means that the economic value of the pound has gone down
“our economy is a bit screwed” – If something is ‘screwed’ it means it is damaged, in bad condition.
“they’ve really, sort of, messed it up” – To ‘mess something up’ means to do it badly, to make mistakes, to make it go bad. E.g. the bankers have messed up the economy.
“it’s the recession, the credit crunch” – The recession describes the bad economic situation. The credit crunch is how people describe that it is very difficult to borrow money. Businesses and individuals can’t borrow money (get credit) because no one will lend it. This is the credit crunch – a pressured situation due to lack of credit.
“there’s a light breeze’ – This is about the weather, and a light breeze is a cool, light wind. Lovely.
“what’s nice about Goa is that it’s really chilled, isn’t it?” – ‘it’s really chilled’ means that it is relaxing. ‘chilled out’ means relaxed/relaxing.
“there’s a really relaxed vibe” – A ‘vibe’ is a slang word for an atmosphere.
“before you know it, you’re absolutely baked in the heat” – ‘Before you know it’ means ‘suddenly, or before you expect it’, and to be ‘baked’ means that you are cooked by the sun. You’re really hot, basically.
“you do find that time, sort of, slips by” – This means that time passes and you don’t realise.
“speaking like a geezer – Alright mate!” – A ‘geezer’ is a slang word for a man. It also means a kind of typical Londoner who is quite confident and possibly aggressive. ‘Alright mate’ means, ‘hello friend, how are you?’
“they’re wearing these beautifully coloured saris” – A sari is a traditional clothing that Indian women wear.
“the old part of Goa was a Portuguese colony” -A colony is a settlement or civilisation of people who come from another country and take over in that area. E.g. the British colonies in India, The Caribbean, etc (became The Commonwealth). Colonial (adjective). E.g. beautiful colonial architecture.
“it’s quite diverse, open minded” -Diverse means that there are many different types of people, from different religions and ethnicities. Open minded means they are not conservative and they accept different kinds of lifestyle and. behaviour.
“you can go off the beaten track” -This means to go to places that tourists don’t usually go to. The beaten track is the places where everyone goes.
“Hampi is great. It’s like this old pilgrimage site. It’s stunning” -A pilgrimage site is a place where people make religious journeys to. E.g. Mecca is a pilgrimage site for Muslims.
“there are huge boulders” -Boulders are very very big rocks.
“it’s very strange, the landscape. It’s very atmospheric” -‘Atmospheric’ means that the atmosphere is very strong and impressive.

The Bad Things:
“there are loads of people who just keep hassling you” -‘hassle’ means disturb or annoy. In India, you are always hassled by people who want to sell you something, or offer you a taxi ride. Everyone wants you to use their taxi, or buy their products!
“just chill out man!” -Just relax!
“we’re not used to that sort of thing in London” -We’re not accustomed to that. (see podcast Episode 3 language section)
“you have to haggle for pretty much everything you buy” -To haggle means to negotiate the price. E.g. £10 – no £3! -no £7 – are you crazy? £5! – OK, £5.
“have you got a missed call?” -A missed call means that someone has called you but you didn’t answer and your mobile says ‘you have 1 missed call’.
“you’re worried that you’re going to get sick, particularly an upset stomach” -An upset stomach means that you feel sick in your stomach.
“you get, like, diarrhea or Delhi Belly” -Diarrhea is a sickness when your poo is not solid! You have to run to the toilet and do a horrible ‘liquid’ poo! Delhi Belly is the name that tourists to India use to describe an upset stomach or diarrhea.
“you might be throwing up or something” -To throw up means to vomit. When you’re sick and your food comes out of your mouth! EEEEEEEEAAAAACHHH!!
“it makes you really paranoid” -If you’re paranoid, it means that you are very worried that something bad is going to happen, or you think that something bad is happening, but actually it isn’t. E.g. “oh my god I really hope I haven’t got malaria! Maybe I’ve got malaria!” or “I don’t think John likes me. It’s the way he looks at me sometimes. Actually, I think everyone thinks I’m stupid. They’re always looking at me like I’m stupid…” “Shut up! You’re just paranoid! Everyone likes you…”
“I had to hunt it down and kill it” -To hunt something means to follow something and kills it (usually for food, but sometimes for sport)
“I went back and slept like a baby” -To sleep like a baby means that you sleep very very well.
“the malaria tablets as well can have some side effects” -A side effect is another effect of medicine. E.g. Asprin will stop a headache, but the side effect is a bad stomach. The side effect of malaria tablets is bad dreams.
“there is quite a lot of poverty” -Poverty means the bad conditions that people live in when they have no money. In developing countries there is a lot of poverty, and India is no exception.
“it’s quite depressing” -It can make you sad, depressed when you see the poverty.
“it can make you feel a bit guilty” -When you see the poverty, and you know you have lots of money, you feel responsible and bad about it – like it’s your fault, or you’re not doing anything to stop the poverty. In fact, you’re having a holiday there, but they local people are very poor.
“what you’re haggling over is the principle” -You’re not really negotiating over the money, but the fact that you just don’t want to pay more than you think is right. The principle means the point that you believe in – in this case, it is the fact that you don’t want to lose the negotiation and pay ‘too much’.
“we’re always worried about being, sort of, ripped off” -To be ripped off means to pay too much for something. E.g. “You paid £5 for that can of Coca Cola (TM)?? You were ripped off!!”
“but basically, on balance, India is great” -When you compare the good things and bad things and then get a conclusion you can say ‘on balance’.
“laid back” -This means ‘relaxed, easy going’.
“there must be a word I can use to describe the fact that I can’t describe it… err… does it make you… speechless?” -I said this because I was embarrassed that I couldn’t think of a 3rd adjective to describe India!

OK, so that’s the end of this huge podcast! I hope it has been useful. Don’t forget to email me: luketeache@hotmail.com

Photos

The first one is of Ben and me during our recording. Ben is talking on his mobile phone (as per usual!)
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Baking in the sun on Benaulim Beach in Goa:
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The view from our accommodation in Hampi:
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Climbing up to the Monkey Temple in Hampi. That’s my cousin Oliver in the picture.

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I stopped to take a photo and this boy started hassling me for money. I think I gave him some rupees, but he wanted more. Also he wanted a pen or some paper, but I didn’t have any.
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Going ‘off the beaten track’ on our scooters.
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These are pilgrims on their way to visit the temples in Hampi. They have dressed up as Hindu characters. The man in green is dressed as Hanuman, the monkey king.
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Two children we met outside one of the temples:
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The Hanuman Temple (monkey temple).
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This is a group of Indian school children visiting Hampi. In the background you can see a statue of Hanuman (the monkey king).
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This is me on the train back from Hampi to Goa. Our seats were at the top of the train and we had to lie down like this for most of the journey. You can also sit on the doorstep of the train and watch the world go by, but it’s a bit dangerous…
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