(image from www.allposters.com)
Good Morning Xuan and Readers,
Xuan – I hope the student blogger portal is fixed and that we can hear from you again soon. Don’t forget the task that I set you in my last blog. And please tell us about where you live in Vietnam. Are you in the north or the south?
Another early start for me today, hence the image at the start of the blog to describe how I feel! It’s 6.30am, I have a wonderful cup of coffee in my hands and I am at my desk typing away. Talking of coffee, I caught the end of a really interesting programme on the History Channel about the history of coffee. I didn’t know this, but instant coffee was invented by an British guy, George Washington (not the American president) who went to live in the US and founded his own company called Washington coffee. The popularity of instant coffee really took off during the 1st and then the 2nd world wars, when it was included in American soldiers food ration packs. By the time of the 2nd world war, there were 6 companies making instant coffee, including Nestle and Maxwell House. After the war, the popularity of instant coffee further increased and it became mass produced using a freeze-dry process. It is now drunk by 70% of all coffee drinkers around the world. It’s even more popular than ‘fresh’ ground coffee, especially with those over 50 and people in their early 20s. Well, it’s a long time since I was 20 and I have 15 years to go till my 50s, so I am going to enjoy my nice, fresh, Columbian beans until then. I don’t watch much TV, but I really enjoy programmes like that, that teach you things you didn’t know about common, everyday objects.
Anyway, talking of enjoying things, I had a really good time last night (after the coffee programme) reading all of your comments, to my and Xuan’s posts. We have a great international following on this blog, and I was amazed to see new comments from bloggers in Toronto, Singapore, Brazil, Slovakia, Costa Rica. Thanks for all of your comments and please keep them coming.
I enjoyed reading all of your ‘magical moments’. In answer to James’ question, you can say either magical or magic moments. Both words here function as adjectives to describe the noun ‘moment’ (although the word ‘magic’ can be a noun as well). Silwal, how incredible that you met the king of Nepal! Habooba, congratulations on your wedding anniversary. Monkia, I would love to go to Barcelona. Here is a new expression for you. When you wrote, ‘I couldn’t say a single word’, you could say ‘I was lost for words’. To be lost for words means that you are unable to speak in a given situation. Beatriz, I don’t think you need to prepare your blogs in advance. Just type freely. I enjoyed your description of the GLACIER. And well done Hooda, I should indeed have written ‘repellent’ (not *rapellent)
Thanks also for the comments on the ‘spirit house’ post. To answer Cris’s question (hello again Cris – how is 1984 going?), Buddhism is the main religion in Thailand. But Buddhism and animism somehow coexist side by side. Paulo from Brazil, your question about ‘start’ and ‘begin’ is not a silly one. Thank you for raising it. In some cases, these words are synonyms, and mean almost the same thing. For example, if we use them as verbs we can say ‘to start a journey’ or ‘to begin a journey’. However, both words cannot be used in all contexts. For example, we can say ‘to start a company’ meaning to set up a new company, but we can’t say *’to begin a company’*. ‘Start’ can also be used as a noun, e.g. ‘at the start of the day’. But begin cannot be used as a noun as well. The correct noun for begin is ‘beginning’, so ‘the beginning of the day’ (not *the begin of the day*). Whenever you learn words such as these, it is always useful to write down a few sentences which show you how to use the word in context.
Here are the answers to the vocab challenge I set you. The verb synonyms for walk/run were:
(1) To race for cover (to run fast, here to avoid the rain)
(2) To pootle back to the room (to amble slowly - informal)
(3) To plod down (to walk with a heavy step)
The noun synonyms were ‘trek’ and ‘hike’.
The vocabulary definitions
Hordes of mosquitoes – lots of mosquitoes
Peppered with bites – absolutely covered all over in bites (ouch!)
Lathered in insect repellent – absolutely covered in repellent
Cosies – slang for swimming costumes
Ardous – difficult
Gear – specialist equipment
OK, the kids are squeaking now so I need to go and get them up. I promised you some details about our holiday – I think this will have to wait until next time. In the meantime, here is a shot of us leaving our apartment. We took this deliberately – we take so many photos once we arrive in a place, but we don’t take many of the journey, so we decided to take a shot of us and the car before we even left home. Josh is wearing his new Thomas the Tank Engine hat, so daddy hat to wear his hat too.
And here are Rachel and I in the garden of the resort, with the swimming pool in the background. I was having a very bad hair day.
Have a great day.
Caught the end – saw the very end of a programme
To take off – here, means to start to become popular
To coexist – to exist together at the same time
Squeaking – making a noise (like little mice…)
Bad hair day – a day when your hair looks really bad (do you ever get these?)
Thanks for all your contributions. This blog has now closed and can no longer accept new comments.