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Living in a city

Part 3

This episode's vocabulary

  • To mingle (verb) - to move around and talk to other people at a social event.
  • Novelty (noun) - the quality of being new and unusual.
  • Rural (adj.) - in, of, or like the countryside.
  • Pull (noun) - something that attracts people.
  • Urban (adj.) - of or in a city or town.
  • Tourist trap (noun) - a crowded place that provides entertainment and things to buy for tourists, often at high prices.
  • Kitschy (adj.) - connected with art, decorative objects, or design considered by many people to be ugly, without style, or false, but enjoyed by other people, often because they are funny.
  • Recruit (verb) - to persuade someone to work for a company or become a new member of an organization, especially the army.
  • Aspiration (noun) - something that you hope to achieve.


Questions and Answers

M: Rory, why do some young people like to live in cities?

R: Well, I would imagine the greater variety of just about everything. You have more choice and resources, places to live, ways to live, people to mingle with, young people tend to be greater fans of novelty compared to older people who are more set in their ways. So it's easy to see what would draw them to such places.

M: Do most older adults live in the city or in the country?

R: Well, I suppose it depends on individual people, to be honest. So rural areas tend to be quieter, and until perhaps they're more suitable for older people with a more relaxed pace, or a preference for a more relaxed pace. As for cities, I mean, it's possible that some older people are just creatures of habit, and they grew up there. So they feel more comfortable because they don't really know anything else. I think it depends on the older person.

M: Is it good for the elderly to live in cities?

R: Assuming they have the infrastructure to cater to them and are comfortable there, it's hard to imagine why they wouldn't. I mean, doesn't everybody want to live in such circumstances? It's possible to make the same argument for rural areas, though.

M: Would you agree that living in the country is healthier for the elderly?

R: I can see why people would say that, but it could also be healthier to live in a city. I mean, if you think about a massive city, like Moscow, for example, there are parks, which are just as open and free as the countryside. So I think really the context, it depends so much on that.

M: Do you think young people who live in the country want to move to a city?

R: You would have to ask them. I'm not an expert, but if I were to guess I'd say there's a definite pull from the city, in terms of the novelty I mentioned before, and a push in terms of the lack of novelty and perhaps a lack of jobs in the countryside. But that's just a guess though.

M: But do you think in the future, more people, more young people will move to cities?

R: Well, there's is this, or at least there was this trend of people moving to urban spaces. But I wonder with the pandemic if that started to reverse or even, well, it's evened out by now.

M: Do you think well developed tourism will have negative effects on local people and communities?

R: It's understandable why many people would think this. Especially since turning places into tourist traps tends to make things a bit, I don't know kitschy. Though we're well aware of that now. And we're also aware of ways to fight against it. Tourists themselves can be recruited to support local cultures and insulate them from the worst effects of this kind of trend. I would say there are more positives than negatives by quite a long way.

M: What advantages can tourists bring to a city?

R: Well, obviously money, but also an aspiration to provide better and better services, greater variety in terms of services, and it could bring awareness of certain issues which societies face. That's one of the benefits to countries like Haiti, when people go there, people like tourists, they see people, their local people, and they want to help them. I still have a dream of running a teacher training course there. So that is one an example of a benefit that could be provided.

M: Do you think that in the future cities will change?

R: Well, yes, because everything will be different in the future, everything changes with time, so they'll probably get bigger and hopefully the infrastructure will improve to meet the increased demand of having a larger population as well. But that's only if the previous trend I mentioned continues. I have no idea, I'm not an expert.

M: Okay, thank you very much, Rory! The city Rory.



M: Right. So, what do we have here with cities and living in the city versus living in the countryside. Okay, dear listener? So live in the countryside or in the country. Also, we have rural areas in the countryside, rural, rural. And urban areas in the city. Okay? So urban areas - cities, rural areas - in the countryside. So why cities? Rory said because of the greater variety of everything, just about everything. So you can get just about everything in a city. But you can't get just about everything in the village, where Rory is now living. Or shall I say staying?

R: Yes, because people don't live in this town, they exist. Oh, God, get me back to Moscow.

M: Aren't you bored, Rory? What do you do when you're bored?

R: I'm incredibly bored. I talk to you, I talk to you and I insult Vanya on telegram. Those are my pastimes.

M: Okay. There's nothing else to do. Okay.

R: I read, I do. I've done so much reading since I've been back. So that's good.

M: Oh, well done. Well done. Okay, good for you.

R: Thank you!

M: Then we say, we have more choice in resources in cities, more places to live, and then also more people to mingle with. So if we mingle with other people, what do we do? Mingle.

R: We're being around them, being around them, talking to them, sharing ideas and spaces.

M: Yeah, for example, in, in a club, you can talk to one person, but if you talk to different people, so you kind of mingle. Mingle and talk to different people.

R: If you can talk, because clubs seem to have this rule where you play music that destroys your eardrums. And somehow this is supposed to encourage a social experience. I'm not really sure of the logic behind that.

M: And then some people tend to be great fans of novelty. Right? So when we talk about cities, you can say, young people might be great fans of novelty. So novelty, something new. That's why they prefer cities. When you talk about the countryside, you can also talk about the suburbs, because usually kind of we talk about rural areas, and a city has suburbs, which tend to be green, or not green.

R: Well, suburbs. I think it depends on the place, doesn't it?

M: It does. Yeah.

R: Some suburbs are really nice. Like there are some suburbs in Moscow, for example, that are like small cities. Though, they have lots of greenery.

M: Yeah, greenery, right?

R: Yeah.

M: And you can say that rural areas tend to be quieter. That's why older people might prefer living in the countryside. And the countryside might be more suitable for older people, because of their relaxed pace. So pace like speed. So older people usually have more relaxed ways than young people. Again, not true for everyone, but again, usually.

R: Yeah.

M: And then Rory said that older people are creatures of habit.

R: Yes. So that just means that you like your routines and doing things that you're used to, or have become accustomed to. Because you grew up there and you feel comfortable.

M: Yep. Rory, for example, is a creature of habit. How old are you, Rory?

R: Not old enough to be considered an old person. Thank you very much.

M: Not yet? Okay, good.

R: You're so rude to me.

M: Yeah, then we can also talk about infrastructure. So the infrastructure, and also about the elderly people. The elderly can live in cities, if the infrastructure is there to cater to them. So certain infrastructure to cater to their needs, to cater to them.

R: to support them, like, well, what kind of infrastructure do older people need?

M: Hospitals, special transports, facilities.

R: Oh, I was thinking about, like, you know, ramps in their houses, so they don't have to walk down stairs. Not entire buildings, because everybody needs hospitals. Railing to hold on to.

M: Railing. Or ramps.

R: A walking stick making shop. Very important.

M: Okay, oh, wow. What infrastructure do you have in Dundee?

R: For old people or in general?

M: Yeah.

R: Well, I think like a lot of it has to do with like disabled access. So for example, if you're older, then you're not really capable of walking upstairs with as much stability as younger people. So there's lots of work done to increase access with lifts or ramps, if we talk about buses have been modified so that they can extend ramps so that older people can walk on with greater ease. So it's just small things.

M: Yep.

R: I'd still rather live in Moscow.

M: Really? Oh, good. Good for you. Good for Moscow. Good for you. Yeah. Good for people.

R: Everyone should go there.

M: And then when you describe the infrastructure, you can say, for example, in Moscow, for example, in Dundee. You see, so it's perfectly fine to talk about different cities and make examples to support your ideas. Okay? Yeah, in his answers Rory talked about Moscow. For example, Moscow, parks, blah, blah, blah. Okay. Cities have a definite pull. Or there's a definite, there is, there's a definite pull from the city in terms of the novelty.

R: Yes, but that's the pool is just what attracts you. And the novelty is just newness. There are new things that you can do in the city all the time. Laser tag, axe throwing.

M: Axe throwing... Actually, yeah, we do have such places, where you can throw an axe. Nice.

R: I know.

M: Oh, what, you've been there, haven't you?

R: I haven't been there in Moscow. I went there in Newcastle.

M: Okay. Right. So when the examiner asks you about young people and moving to a city, you can say, well, suddenly young people may want to move to a city because there's a definite pull from the city. Not a swimming pool. Like pull. Pull from the city in terms of the novelty. So everything's new, lots of resources, people to mingle with. Yeah. And you can also talk about lack of novelty. For example, in the village, there is lack of novelty, lack of people. Lack of everything.

R: Yes.

M: Then we talked about tourism, and you said that some places can turn into tourist traps.

R: Yes, but that just means it's a place that's designed only for tourists to be in. And there's nothing real or authentic about the place at all. So let's think about this. Are there places that are tourist traps?

M: I think it's like a tourist trap is something like, okay, you found a rock, and then you put huge rock, and you say, oh, it's the rock of wisdom. It was found, I don't know, on the shore of some sacred lake up the mountains. It was brought here by the giant.

R: And now we're going to charge you 300£ to breathe near it.

M: To touch it. 400£ to kiss it. 1000£ to hug it.

R: Yes. And if you want to buy a bottle of water, which would usually be 1£, well, now it's 10£ for the same bottle of water.

M: Yes.

R: Because it's a tourist trap. It's more expensive because they want to tourist money. It's an extraction operation.

M: Yeah, there you go. Okay, dear listener? I'm sure you kind of you understand what we're talking about. So yeah. You said that, so certain places could be turned into tourist traps to make things a bit kitschy.

R: Kitschy.

M: What did you mean by kitschy?

R: So that's just something that like people like because it's, it's like it's popular, but it's not really very intellectually stimulating. It's not for clever people. It's quite limited. It's lacking and it's bland, it's boring.

M: Yeah, it's like a simple rock. Yeah?

R: Well, no, it's not even that. It's like if you go to, like, people come to Russia, and they're like, oh, let's just buy. Let's just, I don't know, what's something that's really lowbrow in Moscow. It's like, let's buy...

M: A t-shirt.

R: Yeah, let's buy a t-shirt with, with Russia on it. And, and, and buy a hat with ears. Yes, that's authentic Russian culture right there. It's so boring. That's kitschy. Or if it's like come to Scotland and wear a kilt and... And listen to the bagpipes, that is Scottish culture. That's kitschy. Because it just reduces it to like, just stuff that anybody could listen to, then it's not very great, to be honest.

M: Yeah, so something which is kitschy is connected with art, decorative objects, design, and some people consider it ugly, without style. But people kind of enjoy it because it's funny.

R: It is.

M: It's kind of like, on the one hand, it's ugly. But on the other hand, it's funny.

R: Yeah. Though like you go to, if we talk about style, like you go to Russia. A country with hundreds of different kinds of vodka and you drink like the cheapest nonsense that you can find there and just say, oh, we drank Russian vodka, it's like, well, that's not really a great experience. If you wanted to focus on that you'd focus on like different kinds of vodka and understand how they're different and the history behind it. Or if you want to go to, I don't know, if you want to go to Africa and understand like how different kinds of local clothes are made. Or you could just like buy something that's mass produced in China like that's quite kitschy.

M: Yeah, for example, like, people can look kitschy.

R: Absolutely.

M: If, yeah, like some, I don't know, funny mustache and funny hair. Yeah. Okay. And then if the examiner asks you a question about advantages and disadvantages, you can paraphrase with positives and negatives. So you can say, oh, there are more positives than negatives.

R: There are positives than negatives.

M: Yeah. There are always more positives.

R: Assuming people just don't blindly say how can we get as much money from these tourists as humanly possible.

M: Oh, you know what? I think in I've been to South America, and it was Bolivia. No, but not Bolivia, no, no, no.

R: You've been to Bolivia?

M: Oh, yeah, yeah. Yeah, I think it was Bolivia, and close to Peru there is this Lake Titicaca, Lake Titicaca. Yeah, and a half of it is Peruvian and half of it is Bolivian. And there there is an island. And I think it's a tourist trap because they charge double from foreigners. So locals are okay, but foreign people have to pay double for a room. And also they charge you to take a walk around the island.

R: What???

M: Yeah, you get there by ferry. So you get onto this island. I'm going to take a walk in the middle of the island, okay, so you start walking towards the middle of the island, because you can kind of it's quite small, so you can cross to the other side and see the lake again. So you start walking and in the middle of the freakin island, there are some people who will charge you to continue your journey. You have to pay to continue your walk.

R: What are you going to do, what are they going to do if you don't pay?

M: I don't know. I don't know, but I think like they're so poor. And they say kind of it's to support the community of people who live on this island. So they kind of they take money from you to just like take a walk on the freakin island. And there's kind of nothing there. It's just like nature. There are no attractions. Nothing much. You just don't... You just take a walk. It's beautiful. Yeah. So... Bushes, plants.

R: I don't know how to feel about that.

M: And then I was with my friend and my friend refused to pay. He said no.

R: Good for him.

M: He's from Peru. And he just started shouting and like, he got really angry. Like, no, you can't do this. So yeah, I said like oh, come on, come on. Like I really want to go and let's just, let's like be peaceful. So I paid. I think he didn't. Yes. And he said, no, we're going back. I'm not going there. And I had to convince him to continue. He was so angry. Yeah. Dear listener, are you excited about my story?

R: I am. I find that, there's a moral message there. I'm just not sure what it is. But I don't think I would have paid. I don't think that's like a great way of...

M: So you would have paid, yeah?

R: No. No. Like, of course to support a local industry, then yes, because that's a service but just being allowed to walk around? No. However, I say this coming from Scotland, where we have this right to go anywhere we like, then this is like part of my culture.

M: Freedom! They are free!

R: Yeah. If they were like, if it was a service, like, oh, we'll show you like different places on the island and explain the history, then that's okay. But not just a walk around.

M: And it's funny because kind of, they don't charge you upfront. But it's like you walk to the middle of the island. And there is just one more half left for you to cross the whole island to enjoy the scenery. And they charge you right in the middle. You know... You're just halfway there and then like, ah, let's go back. Well, no, let's continue. So yeah.

R: Teah, that's tourist trap for sure.

M: Yeah. And then in Bolivia, after this lake, I got ill. And at the kind of place where we stayed. The woman that would charge me for hot water. I had to take my medicine. And I go like excuse me, can I have some hot water? And she goes like, oh, 10 Bolivianos. So she'll kind of wanted money from me for freaking hot water. Can you imagine that?

R: How did you wind up in Bolivia?

M: I went travelling around South America for about three-four months.

R: That's cool.

M: Yes. Dear listener, we are so sorry. We went on a huge tangent. It's just it's interesting to talk about things like that.

R: In order to explain very important things like why things are kitschy and what a tourist trap is.

M: Oh, yeah, we started with a tourist trap and kitschy, and ended up with Bolivia. Again, I love Bolivia, I really enjoyed this time there and Salar de Uyuni, the salt desert is amazing. And other places too. So it's just like, interesting experiences. Okay, thank you very much for listening! And we'll catch you in our next episodes! Bye!

R: Bye!


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