Twenty-eight: Mark and Jill Have a Friendly Chat
Mark: Hi, everyone.
Welcome back to the EnglishLingQ Podcast; Mark Kaufmann here. Today, Jill and I are going to have another chat about a variety of things. This is natural conversation which, we think, is a very good way of learning a language. First of all, how are you today, Jill?
Jill: I'm well, thank you.
Mark: Oh, I do want to remind everybody to make sure to visit our website at thelinguist.com in order to get the most out of this Podcast by reading it, saving words and phrases and, of course, you know, talking to our tutors, writing, the whole ball of wax, as we say. What's new, Jill?
Jill: Well, it's March 1st and it happens to be snowing outside right now in Vancouver.
Mark: Which makes me happy; I don't know about you. I think you like snow, too.
Jill: I do.
Mark: I don't know what it is. Whenever I see snow falling I get excited.
Jill: Well, I think we may have talked about it when we were talking about skiing in the past; but, just that it's not very often that we get snow in Vancouver and so although this winter we've had a lot more than usual. It's kind of a novelty for us and we usually just get a whole lot of rain and I think the snow is a lot prettier than the rain, so.
Mark: Absolutely; absolutely and I think and, as you say, this winter the weather has been a little cooler than normal, I think; although, I don't know. I mean, the last few years before this year were abnormally warm so maybe everybody's been spoiled; I don't know. But, we usually don't get very much snow so when we get it, yeah, we are definitely excited.
Mark: A lot of people now are grumbling because they're, you know, ah, it's so cold.
Jill: But it's not really that cold. I mean, it's not minus 10 or something.
Jill: It's pretty close to zero. It's almost, you know, in some areas of the city it is only raining. It's not even cold enough to be snowing, so it's very borderline. And I find that often it feels colder when it's 5 degrees warmer than this and it's raining than it feels right now.
Mark: I agree with you except I really notice the temperature when I'm riding my bike to the office. The last few days have been cooler, but I like it because it's not raining. I much prefer it, as you say. Riding my bike in the rain is less fun. Although riding in the snow is lots of fun.
Jill: So, anyways, yeah, I think March is people typically think of it as the beginning of the spring. We usually, in Vancouver, start having some flowers come up in February, in fact; you know, crocuses, daffodils, those sorts of things. And so, if we get snow or cold weather in March people don't like that very much because spring is supposed to be here.
Mark: And we think we live in the
Jill: the tropics or something
Mark: lotus land portion of Canada when, in fact, actually, we're quite far north.
Jill: It's still Canada.
Mark: That's right.
Mark: What I often think about when we talk about our weather here or doing stuff, especially winter activities, I think about people our members who live in climates where there really is no winter.
Jill: Like Taiwan.
Mark: Yeah, or even the southern U.S. or Australia or Hong Kong, I mean, parts of Japan. There are lots of places that really don't get that cold in the wintertime. I often wonder what they make of our conversations about snow and winter and skiing and probably things that they have very little experience with.
Jill: I think we're kind of lucky, actually, that we get to experience different seasons. I really appreciate all different seasons for different reasons. Spring in Vancouver typically is quite rainy, but I like it because there are lots of flowers out. The city just smells beautiful. Everything looks beautiful and fresh; the promise of summer. So, I like spring. Summer, of course, is great with the sun shinning, you know, you can go to the beach, you can sail, you can golf, you can do all the things you want to do. And then fall; the leaves are turning colors. They are beautiful. And then winter with all the rain. Not so great, but, you know, you get the snowy days in there that are kind of neat. I like that we have seasons.
Mark: I agree with you, but I think you may be an optimist. I think there's a lot of people probably that would be quite happy to have nice, sunny, summer days every day.
Jill: Probably; probably.
Mark: It explains why a lot of people from the rest of Canada, especially, but even from Vancouver, spend a significant part of the winter down south like in southern U.S. or places where they get?
Jill: Well, retired people, anyway.
Mark: Retired people. That's right.
Where there's more sunshine and warm weather.
Jill: Right; less winter.
Mark: Less winter, yeah. I think, over time, people get a little tired of the winter. But I agree with you. It's nice to have the changing of the seasons maybe partially because we're used to it; I don't know. That's what we've always had.
Jill: Yeah, that's right.
Mark: Speaking of the weather, though, given that it is a crummy time of year, I know that you are planning on going to South America.
Mark: Central America in April and I'm going to Hawaii in ten days or so. So, we can't love the weather here that much, I guess.
Jill: Yeah, well, yeah. It's nice to get a break; to have a break.
Mark: It definitely it's a real treat I find to go somewhere warm after, you know, it's been coldish, cold, since October, you know, really. I mean, in October you're not running around in shorts. September is about it for shorts. So, it's been many months now and especially our springs as we've talked about in the past. Our springs here can be
Mark: cool and wet, really. Like March, it's not uncommon for us to get snow in March and for the mountains to continue to get snow in March. The skiing in March is excellent and, actually, at this time of year instead of going somewhere warm, I'm just as happy to go skiing; both are a treat. But this year we're going to Hawaii, which is going to be great.
Jill: Hawaii is always great. I don't think I've ever met somebody who doesn't love Hawaii who's been there. It's beautiful and they've got, I think, one of the best climates in the world, you know. It's one of those places that is always warm, pretty much. Yeah, they have maybe a rainier season, a rainier time, but it's never cold and I find it doesn't get so hot that you can't bear it. You know, like some places just get so hot and so humid that you don't even want to be outside, whereas even in the middle of summer, yeah, it's very hot, but it's not unbearable.
I mean, their temperature range -- if you look at it -- their range is, I don't know, 25 to 30. Like that's perfect. I mean, that's you know?
Jill: What else could you ask for?
Mark: What I always say is everyday in Hawaii is like our best day of the year here in Vancouver, you know.
Jill: That's right; that's right.
Mark: It's the same temperature and not humid,
Jill: lots of sun.
Mark: Really lots of sun and, yeah. And, you know, anytime you go somewhere for the sun, you want to be pretty much guaranteed that you're gonna get it. There's nothing worse than going somewhere for the sun and having it rain the whole time.
Jill: That's right.
Mark: It can still happen to you in Hawaii, but rarely, I think.
Jill: I think there are certain months. I do know people who have gone and had quite a lot of rain. So, I think I forget what it is. I think it's sometime in the fall. I think it's maybe October, November, somewhere in and around there where it is a bit rainier. But, you know, I think
Mark: I don't know what we will do there if it rains on us. I guess we'll find stuff to do, but that's not ideal.
Jill: Well, I think it's common, too I went one time, I think in March, and it did rain I think once or twice and poured; it rained very, very hard one time. It was just literally like, I don't know, a foot of water within an hour; it just poured. But, it was a shower and then it was over. It was an hour or two hours long and then it was sunny again and it was nice the rest of the time, so.
Yeah, I mean, I think you can get a bit of that. I think when we've been in the past we've had a bit of that; but, like you said, you get a brief rain storm and then it clears up and back to the sunshine again, so.
Jill: And it keeps everything in Hawaii lush looking, you know. They definitely get rain, but that's why it's so green; all the flowers. There are so many bright flowers everywhere. It's not like the desert, you know, other hot places where it's so dry that everything is brown and not very pretty.
Jill: So, the rain is a good thing.
Although, there are parts of Hawaii, you know, that are in the rain shadow. Meaning, I think, that they get a lot of rain; I don't know the difference. The rain shadow either means you get a lot of rain or you don't get any. But, they have both sort of types of microclimates in Hawaii where one side of the mountain gets all the rain and the other side doesn't get any.
Jill: Right; that's right.
Mark: But, in general, yeah, you're right. It's very lush and smells great and it's just paradise.
It's a great place.
Mark: Speaking of great places, you're going away.
We are going to Central America. So, there are seven countries in Central America and we are going to go to four of them.
Mark: I thought you were going to say and we're going to see them all.
Jill: Well, yeah, we're going to four out of the seven,
Mark: That's pretty good.
Jill: which is still a lot of traveling around; hence, the reason I am only allowed to take one backpack -- not a suitcase -- not more than one backpack.
Mark: I sense a little resentment.
Jill: No, no.
It's just this is how my boyfriend likes to travel. He doesn't like to stay in any one place for too long. He wants to go to a country and see it. He doesn't want to go stay at a resort somewhere and just hangout, which is great. I agree.
I'm glad that we're going to see different places. It's just, yeah; I can't pack as many shoes as I'd like to pack. I can't pack as many clothes as I'd like to pack. You have to be you just have to pick and choose what you take and you can't take too much, which means you're washing things more often; sometimes just hand washing, you know, with soap or shampoo in your hotel. This is what we did last year when we went to China for two and a half weeks. I found that I definitely needed my clothes washed at one point. I just couldn't stand it anymore and they got quite dirty in China. There's a lot of dust and stuff. And so at one hotel there was laundry service. I think a lot of the nicer hotels there's laundry service and so we got it once and it was extremely expensive, of course. Any kind of service like that at a hotel is going to be very expensive, so you don't do it very often.
You might have been able to find some kind of a laundry.
Mark: Laundromat, I don't know, but some kind of a laundry service. Presumably, they have them. I'm sure the locals don't go get their laundry done at the hotel, if they're not going to do it themselves.
But, yeah; so, we'll be going to Costa Rica, Honduras, Guatemala and Belize, so. And Belize is on the Caribbean, you know.
Mark: Yeah, I've heard it's really nice.
Jill: Beautiful, balmy weather; big barrier reef there; great diving, snorkeling, sport fishing and all sorts of things. In Costa Rica, of course, the rain forest, the cloud forest, lots of surfing, jungle hikes. You know, we'll see monkeys and snakes and God knows what else.
Jill: I'm a little scared to tell you the truth. But, yeah, it should be very interesting.
Mark: That will be fun. I mean, I know it's, I think'my wife and I used to do more of that kind of traveling before we had kids.
Jill: Yeah, of course.
Mark: And now with kids, we, yeah, kids aren't so keen on being dragged around everywhere.
You've got to do the cushy kind of stuff, I guess.
Mark: So, especially when they are not that old they really don't appreciate any of that.
Mark: But, yeah, it's fun to go and see and do a whole bunch of different things and really see a lot of wherever you go.
Jill: Be active and be immersed in the culture.
Even in Hawaii this time I think we'll try and do a few more things because the kids are a little older.
Yeah, there's some nice like waterfall hikes that aren't too difficult that you can do.
Mark: Exactly. Go and try and do some hikes and, yeah. In Maui, where we are going to be, there's one side of the island that's a lot more lush because it gets a lot more rain and there's a really windy road to it. But, apparently, there are lots of neat, little pools and falls and hikes and stuff. So, we'll try to do that, I think.
Jill: Although, you know, kids are always so happy just being by a pool or at the beach, 24/7.
Mark: You know, they're happiest. You drag them off somewhere, especially if it's not on the water, then all of a sudden it feels a lot hotter and they're seeing something they don't really care about
Jill: That's right.
Mark: wondering why we just didn't stay by the pool.
Jill: That's right.
Mark: But, on the other hand, we're there, too. So, we like to go do a few different things and it will be good. But, your trip sounds like it will be great.
Jill: Yeah, I hope so. It will be. I know it will be. I'm a little worried because we're not really planning where we are going to stay other than we first arrive there the first four nights. After that, it's just we're sort of winging it. We don't really want to have a schedule we have to stick to. So, we'll stay in Costa Rica for however long we want and then we'll move on. We've got a general idea of how long we want to spend in each place to see the things we want to see. But, you know, we could end up wanting to stay one place a day longer or a day less or whatever. So, we're not booking hotels or anything in advance and this is how Chris always has traveled. He likes that. He likes spontaneity. He's not big on rigid schedules. He just wants to do what he wants to do, which is fine with me; except for, that I just worry. It's a busy time of year there. April is the best month. March and April are the best months in Central America for weather; January to April. But, March and April, in particular and then it's also Easter. And so, I'm just a little bit worried that in some of the more touristy places like Belize, for example, there might not be a lot available. And I'm just worried that we'll end up being in some, I don't know what,
Mark: cockroach infested
Jill: bog infested hammock somewhere. I don't know.
So, on the beach' Mark: Yeah, but that's all part of the journey.
Jill: Well, that's what he tries to tell me!
Mark: As you're camping out on the beach in a rain storm because there are no hotel rooms available.
Jill: You know, you look back on it and can laugh; but, at the time, it's not so funny.
Mark: It's not funny at all.
Jill: No, no, it's true. Those make the best memories; the best stories. But, at the time, you're just cursing every minute.
Jill: So, I'm just worried that might happen. But, I guess, you know, it's not that big a deal. It's not the end of the world.
Mark: Well, I guess you'll always find somewhere to sleep, theoretically. At least it's not cold there.
Jill: That's right.
That's what he says. He says, I mean, if there ends up being only a very expensive place that has rooms left then, you know, it's not like we don't want to spend that kind of money, but it's not like we can't. It's not like if we had no other option we couldn't.
Jill: By the same token, if there are only crappy places available then, I guess,
Mark: there's only crappy places available.
Jill: That's right and you've just got to deal with it.
Mark: Yup. Oh well, hopefully, it all goes smoothly. If not, as you say, we'll be treated to some great stories, I am sure, when you get back.
Jill: Well, it was funny. I was talking to my friend the other night about the trip and I was telling her when we get to Costa Rica what we're gonna do and go for some hikes in the rain forest and I was so excited about this. It is going to be so beautiful and seeing different, you know, trees and animals and stuff that you would never see here. I thought it just sounded awesome and I'm so excited and all she could say was you couldn't pay me any amount of money to go hiking in the rain forest in the jungle. That's how she feels. That the thought of hiking through forests where there is snakes, tarantulas, whatever,
Mark: who knows what kind of bugs and
Jill: which I hate just as much as the next person; probably more than a lot of people, but, I guess, the positives outweigh that for me.
Jill: But, yeah, she just couldn't believe it. It was just not something she would ever be interested in doing.
Jill: So, it's just different strokes.
Mark: Yeah, and I guess it depends. I think there is probably different levels of rain forest in terms of I don't know, maybe not. I mean, presumably, rain forest sounds like you're in the middle of, yeah, the jungle. I always picture the rain forest in Brazil where you've got these, you know, the natives.
Jill: Picture the Amazon.
Mark: The natives with the, whatever, piece of bone through their nose and
Jill: Very stereotypical view of the rain forest, I think.
Mark: I just picture that kind of a rain forest being somewhere, yeah, where there's snakes and, I don't know what manner of bugs and piranhas and I don?t know what and thinking, ooohhh. But, probably, like all these things because we have no experience in that environment it just sounds like ah, you know, not just
Jill: .so foreign
Mark: the end of the world. I mean, it's so foreign. I mean, I think, I would imagine that people there if you told them they could come here and wander through the forest and there's bears and cougars and whatever, other things, I mean, there's all kinds of animals in the woods.
Jill: And we go in our forests all the time and don't think anything of it.
Mark: I think, probably, the worst thing in the rain forest, assuming you're not bitten by a poisonous snake, which, I'm sure, doesn't happen that often.
Mark: Probably, the worst thing will be bugs just like here in the woods. The bugs are a nuisance.
Jill: Mosquitoes and things like that, yeah.
Mark: I mean, we're used to that here, so.
Mark: I mean, it will be neat.
Jill: I mean, it's become a touristy thing to do now anyway. So, I mean, they have guided tours; there's trails. It's not like you're bushwhacking through the jungle and breaking trail and camping out, you know.
Mark: Although, that would be fun, too.
Mark: Pith helmet with your machete.
Jill: No, I'm not into that, but, yeah, I think, you know, generally now, you go as a group with people who know the area, know what they're doing; there are proper supplies. I think it's fairly safe.
Mark: And are you going to do this thing I've seen this thing they show on TV. They've got the platforms up in the treetops with the zip line between the platforms.
You know, I don't think so because it's very expensive.
Mark: Oh, it is aye
Jill: Aye and I don't it's not that big of a thrill. I've read about it in Costa Rica and I've read lots of what people have said and said yeah, it's definitely not worth the money. It doesn't take very long and it's not one of the most spectacular areas, you know, and Chris has done things so much more exciting than that in places that are so much more I don't know what the word is, but just that just doesn't really appeal to him and to me it just doesn't appeal because I don't even like heights. So, I don't want to be dangling from something over a gorge or whatever.
Mark: The zip line part of it doesn't appeal to me either, but maybe, being up that high up in the tree would be neat, I don't know.
Mark: Supposedly, you see all kinds of different wildlife up there that you wouldn't normally see, but.
Jill: Yeah and I've read things too and maybe that's true, sometimes you do. But I've read other people who've said no, it was a disappointment and I didn't see anything that special so, who knows.
Mark: And, of course, with any trip there's always a range of options; a range of things you can do, some more expensive than others, and you have to figure out the ones that are worth doing.
Jill: That's right.
Mark: You know, so much of being in a different place is achieved or, at least, you get a lot or the most out of it just by being there, just by meeting with the locals, eating what they eat, seeing what they do, you know. You don't have to be doing some kind of super adventure trip, whatever. You know, just by being there and seeing how people how they live in their part of the world is so interesting.
Jill: An adventure in and of itself.
Mark: Yeah, exactly.
Jill: Yeah, just being somewhere totally different. It's a foreign language, different food. Although, Central America, I mean, they eat a lot of chicken and rice, just like in South America. It's not like it's food that's extremely different than we would encounter here.
Jill: But, still, yeah, of course, the customs are going to be different, the language, definitely the weather.
Mark: And just what the country's like. You just don't know what a country's like. You don't have a feel for it at all until you actually go there. And just how they live, what their houses are like, what cars they drive, how they dress, how they talk, what they eat, what hours they keep. I mean, it's just sort of the flavor of a place that you just can't imagine without going there.
Jill: Yeah, that's right.
Mark: Like, I've never been to South America or Central America or Mexico for that matter. So, I have an image in my mind of what those places are like, but I'm sure it's a far cry and they are all, obviously, probably quite different from each other. But, I should go. Costa Rica I have a grandmother from Costa Rica.
Jill: That's right.
Your mom's mom is Costa Rican.
Mark: Yeah, so I think I have family there, actually.
Jill: Well, yeah, I would imagine. Has your mom ever been?
Mark: I think my mom might have been once, yeah.
Jill: Well, it's really become quite a popular place.
Mark: Yeah, it has.
Jill: I mean, I have a friend who started going there a few years ago with her family and they ended up buying a couple of places there. It's become quite lucrative. People are buying up land. My boyfriend's sister, about five years ago, bought some land there with some other people and it's just skyrocketed.
Mark: Land or with, in fact, a house on it?
Jill: No, they just bought land and they are going to build on it and then rent it out and go and stay there for a month out of the year and rent it out the rest of the time.
Jill: So, real estate there has really been going up as a lot of foreigners are coming in.
Mark: And how can I ask how you get there? Like, do you have to fly to Miami?
Jill: We are going from Vancouver. We have a fairly direct flight. It goes from Vancouver to Houston and then from Houston right to San Jose the capital of Costa Rica.
Jill: The other option from Vancouver is through L.A. So, Vancouver to L.A. to Costa Rica, but that was going to actually take longer. I can't remember for what reason, but maybe the layover was longer. There was just something about it that wasn't as good, so we went the Houston route. So, yeah, it's a three-hour layover in Houston then you get to Costa Rica. And San Jose there's two airports there Liberia and San Jose. Most people or the area of Costa Rica that is the most famous for the surf, so where most people would probably want to go, is sort of a little is obviously on the coast and a little further south not in the northern part, so it's actually a five-hour drive from San Jose.
Mark: From the airport.
Jill: Or you can catch -- which we are going to do -- another half-hour flight down there for like $75.00 a person to get to the actual
Mark: on Air Costa Rica?
Jill: I don't know what the airline is. It takes you to, I guess, Tambour, which I'm not sure if that's the name of a city or more the name of a province, a region. I'm not quite sure. But then that's sort of where everybody then catches a taxi -- another 50 minute taxi ride -- to their different hotels and whatnot.
Mark: I'm sure you'll give us a geography report when you come back.
Jill: Yes. I think it's quite a production to get there.
Mark: Well, sure.
Jill: It's going to take a long time.
Mark: From here to Houston is probably four hours.
Jill: Yeah, I think it's about four hours.
Mark: And then from Houston down there.
Jill: It's not very far, actually. If it was a direct flight from here to Costa Rica, it would have only been something like eight hours.
Jill: Like it's seven or eight hours, but because there's a three and a half hour layover
Mark: it's still pretty far.
Jill: Yeah, it is. Yeah, it's like going to Europe or something.
Mark: That's right.
Jill: But, because there's that layover and then when we get to San Jose we have a layover for an hour and a half, then we get on another flight and then we have to get a taxi. So, all in all, it's going to end up being about probably a 14-hour day.
Mark: At least. By the time you, you know, you get up, get to the airport early and everything, by the time you roll into your hotel it's probably longer, yeah.
Jill: Like 15 hours, yeah.
Mark: You'll be happy to hit the bed. Hit the sheets.
Jill: Hit the hay, yeah.
Mark: Yeah, well, that will be good.
Jill: The good thing is it's only a two-hour time difference. It's two hours ahead.
Mark: That's nice. That makes a big difference, you know.
Jill: A big difference.
Mark: Even with us going to Hawaii'I don't know what the time difference is, but it's two or three hours or whatever it is.
Jill: It's behind two hours.
Mark: It's not that big a deal; whereas, if you go to Europe or you go to Asia the time difference really takes it out of you for a few days.
Jill: Yeah, it really does.
Mark: So, it is. It's kind of nice not to have to worry about that when you are only talking about two-three hours time difference.
Jill: Yeah, yeah and coming home it's very hard also. You're so tired coming home and then you've got to adjust. But, two hours is really not that big a deal.
Jill: You know, in one day you'll be adjusted to their clock and it will be fine.
Mark: Exactly. I think I've heard people say it's basically a day per hour of time difference that it takes you to recover. I think that's probably fairly accurate.
Jill: Yeah, I agree.
Mark: So, yeah, that is convenient, yeah. I should really get down there some day.
Jill: Well, there's lots of time. Maybe when the kids are a little bit older and they, you know -- teenagers even -- so that they would actually sort of appreciate some of the jungle experience. I mean, to me, personally, to go somewhere like that if you're just going to go to sit on the beach, which a lot of people do and, I guess, that's fine for them, but for me personally if I'm going to do that I'm going to go to Hawaii. Why am I going to go to Central America where there's such a variety in culture, history, language -- it's so different -- just to go sit at a resort on a beach. To me, that doesn't make a lot of sense.
Jill: If you are going to go somewhere like that to get the cultural experience out of it and to go to the rain forest and to do all of those things. So, if you've got small kids where you are probably not going to be able to do those things and you're going to spend a whole lot of money to get there.
Well, that's the thing. They don't appreciate, as you say any of the cultural experiences they don't appreciate at all, really.
Jill: No, no.
Mark: They know what they know and they know that they like it nice and hot and they like it in the pool and that's all they need. So, yeah, like you say, to go somewhere exotic is going to be more expensive and more of an ordeal getting there, more difficult when you are there and, you know, yeah, we might enjoy it a little more, although not necessarily if everybody else isn't enjoying it.
Jill: Yeah, that's right.
So, I agree. Probably as we get older we will definitely start to go. You know, we should go to Europe, we should go to Asia, go to Latin America, South America, different places to see things, but not until the kids are old enough to appreciate it as a group.
Mark: Because they you know, everybody's plane ticket costs pretty much the same.
Jill: Yeah, that's right.
Mark: It's expensive, yeah, but well worth it. Anyway, I think that's probably good. Just want to remind everyone again to come visit our website and I know we look forward to hearing a report from Jill on her adventures after she gets back.