Saturday, December 31, 2016

Talking about Hungary

Today’s topic was about Hungary. The teacher Krisztian who is from Hungarian city Szeged told me about his country.

It is a very interesting fact that Hungarian moved a long time ago from Siberia to Eastern Europe. This is why the Hungarian language is so different from languages of neighbors countries. As a guide on Youtube video said, Turul is the mythical bird of the Hungarians who migrated out of the plains of Central Asia. In 896, the bird dropped his sword in the place of modern Budapest.

His opinion that Budapest includes the most interesting sightseeings for tourist. Being on the short of The Danube River the tourist can see a lot of different architectural styles.

Here are the top list of tourist attractions:
The Hungarian Parliament Building lies on the bank of the Danube. It is currently the largest building in Hungary and still the tallest building in Budapest

The current building of Matthias Church was constructed in the florid late Gothic style in the second half of the 14th century.

Fisherman's Bastion is a terrace in neo-Gothic and neo-Romanesque style situated on the Buda bank of the Danube, on the Castle hill in Budapest, around Matthias Church.

St. Stephen's Basilica is named in honor of Stephen, the first King of Hungary (c 975–1038), the whose supposed right hand is housed in the reliquary.

The City Park is a public park close to the center of Budapest and the Széchenyi Medicinal Bath in Budapest is the largest medicinal bath in Europe.

About traditional food:

Goulash is a soup or stew of meat and vegetables, seasoned with paprika and other spices.

Pörkölt is a meat stew which originates from Hungary but is eaten throughout Central Europe and the Balkans.

I heard lots of good responses from people who visited Hungary. Many people compare it with Paris arguing which city is better. Luckily, now we have the opportunity to know about the place which we are going to visit not only through media but communicating with locals. And this online school is a convenient platform for exploring the world.

Thursday, December 29, 2016

The Thing Which Unites Russians

The New Year is coming. And this a time for watching the movie Irony of fate. The New Year itself is associated with this movie, it is one thing which unites people on former Soviet Union space.

The plot is simple. One bachelor after party with friends in banja (like the sauna) randomly flew from Moscow to Leningrad (now it is Sant-Petersburg) and appeared in the apartment with the same address as in Moscow. This is a home for the young woman who is unmarried and she planned to meet New Year with her potential groom. After the series of the funny episodes, they became falling in love. 

This movie presents the usual New Year's concerns like preparing the salads, the thoughts about the New Year's resolutions combined with beautiful Russian winter, Christmas tree, and love. It seems that TV's entertainment is merging with reality. The magnificent songs, great expectations add this scenery.  

The actors are not just playing, they are living of life of their heroes. There are lots of phrases from this movie which became almost proverbs for Russian people.

Even if I know the plot in details, I consist of turning the TV to a channel where this movie translates and then I started to realize that New Year is coming ...

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Talking about New Jersey, the USA

The teacher Cristian, who gave me today's on online school, grew up in New Jersey. Here are some facts which I learned during the class.

New Jersey is a green State with beautiful landscapes. It is the most densely populated of the 50 United States. Tourists like this state for its location. It is close to New York and the State has zero percent tax for clothes. Tax exemptions include most food items for at-home preparation, medications, most clothing, footwear, and disposable paper products for use in the home. It makes sense for New Yorkers to come for shopping to New Jersey because of the tax for clothes in New York 15 percent.

Cristian mentioned the amusing park. Six Flags Great Adventure in Jackson Township is the world's largest theme park. The Kingda Ka is the world's tallest rollercoaster.

I asked the teacher about the medical system in the USA. How would I feel if I was the ordinary citizen of the US with less than the average income in case of necessity to apply to the hospital? The teacher answered, "Say goodbye to all your savings".

If a mother, who is going to give birth her child, doesn't have insurance, the cost of one night in the hospital could be 2000$! 8000$ for three nights is the usual price ... Wow !
But if you have the insurance, you would pay 2000$ in a year and in that case the person doesn't make additional payments for being in the hospital. For calling an ambulance car for delivering to the hospital the price would be from 200$. 

Back to New Jersey. Here are the cliffs of New Jersey overlook the Hudson River. 

Most of the people link the Hudson River with New York city but it has natural shores with green trees.

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Talking about India

The teacher Tanmay, who is from Jaipur, India started his story about India.

The hometown of the teacher, Jaipur is the capital and largest city of the Indian state of Rajasthan in Northern India. Jaipur is also known as the Pink City of India. I looked at the photo of this city, it has a really pink color.

Udaipur is a major city in the Indian state of Rajasthan. Udaipur is a very popular tourist destination. Nicknames of this city are Venice of the east, City of lakes. This image of the palace with its reflection in the water demonstrates it:

One the most important attraction is the Taj Mahal. It is an ivory-white marble mausoleum on the south bank of the Yamuna river in the Indian city of Agra. It was commissioned in 1632 by the Mughal emperor, Shah Jahan, to house the tomb of his favorite wife, Mumtaz Mahal.
Taj Mahal in Agra

I remembered my trip to the USA where I visited the casino Taj Mahal in Atlantic city. This casino belongs to Donald Trump. The teacher said that he saw the documentary movie on TV about how passionate was Donald Trump in his wish of buying this casino.

Tanmay advised visiting India in the winter time because in summertime the temperature can reach 50. This fact recorded CNN:
(CNN) India recorded its highest-ever temperature on May 23, 2016, when the heat in the town of Phalodi, in the western state of Rajasthan, shot up to a burning 51 degrees Celsius (123.8 degrees Fahrenheit).

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Talking about Barbados

Today's class on was managed by the teacher Bados, who is from Barbados. Barbados is a country (tropical island) which is located on the southeast of the Caribbean region. It is a small island, it needs only half or one hour to reach the beach from any point. It has fantastic beaches. The temperature of the air is about 28 degrees Celsius.

Bridgetown is the capital and largest city of Barbados. Harrison's Cave is a massive underground cave stream system located in the central uplands of Barbados.

English colonized this island and they ruled the country the long time. During that time were built many beautiful buildings in Victorian era style. Most of the tourists in Barbados come from the United Kingdom. They call this island the old little Britain. This video clip shows to an audience the atmosphere of old Britain on this island.

Babos gave this link to one Barbados’ newspaper:

Christmas Story with Controversial Ending

During Marga's class at the Reading Circle in Cypris Village we read the Christmas story. 

The plot is:
The groom comes to his bride for meeting the Christmas.They decided to keep their money for the future life together. He was a little late and the bride refused to give him a kiss but after his made a joke everything was going well, they had a fabulous walk in the park. After they come back home he pulled out of the bag the old lamp and presented it to her as a Christmas gift. She was offended and said that it is just garbage and asked him to leave the house.  

The full story is divided into two parts and it is available for reading here:

We discussed a few possible options of this story:
1.) They don't have deep feelings, their relationships are shallow, they shouldn't marry.
2.) Throwing old stuff away before New Year is a tradition in some cultures, they would reconcile, no problems at all.
3.) The plot demonstrates the interaction between the rational and emotional parts of human relationships. It is natural.

Probably an adding the two sentences could prove happy end. For instance:
He said that there is a genie in this lamp and this genie would fulfill all her wishes after they got married. She laughed and kissed him. 

Friday, December 23, 2016

Talking about cheap trips and a little about London

We had a free conversation class in English online school today. The teacher William grew up and studied in university in London but currently stays in the Dominican Republic. As it appeared we have two very similar hobbies: computer technologies and traveling. Traveling was the main subject of this class.
We shared links where tourists could find cheap tickets.
From the teacher:
I compared prices on these two sites for the roundtrip from 6th to 9th May 2017 from Moscow to Zurich. Here are results:

As we can see the site with my recommendation won this competition!

The recommendation of using site had given me my coworker who is very passionate about traveling for the cheapest price. He knows right places.

I had a little experience of visiting London, I was there less than one day. I remember Tower,  the view to Buckingham Palace from the river Thames … not so many sightseeings.

The view to Buckingham Palace from the river Themes

And one picture stayed in my memory. We got stuck in a traffic jam near 5 pm in the center of London. Sitting in the bus we observed lots and lots on office clerks (men) were walking down to one direction/ They worn very similar suits: white top and black bottom.

The clerks in rush hours in London

The teacher recommended me next time to see some tourists attractions like the Museum Madame Tussaud, London eye etc. When William asked me if I tried fish & chips, he was surprised my no answer.
fish & chips

It doesn’t look like healthy food but I remember this advice, being in London to buy it.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Criticizing a celebrity

Write a criticism of a celebrity. It can be a particular celebrity or the whole idea of celebrity in general. 

This conversation happened during the English class a few years ago. The teacher suggested us to watch a clip on Youtube and express our opinion about the plot of this video. 

This video was about how one eminent Hollywood's actor visited Haiti after a very strong earthquake and helped the inhabitants to cope with disaster. The teacher started the discussion with an idea how good this action was. 

Then students started to develop this idea, saying how good for celebrities participating in the charity events and so on.

But one student turned the conversation in the opposite direction. He said that he saw only self-interest of the actor who decided to use the public attention for promoting himself. 

And we looked for this video in another light. We noticed that the creator of the video used a very didactic and solemn voice telling about heroic deals which this actor committed being with Haitian there. The main subject of conversation became the discussion about the reasons why celebrities devote their time and money to the good causes: is it a sincerely concern about others or just a conceit of rich person. The true reasons could be to hold down public attention, to show the audience how good they are. 

Some people concluded that even this action used as a kind of advertising for this actor, the video stimulates followers to make good deals.

We left the class being agree and disagree about the clip and purposes which this actor had when he was making this video.

You can make your own opinion about this subject after watching this video

This exercise was corrected by teacher Anjali S from online school

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Talking about Mexico

Could you guess what was the first name of Mexico city? The teacher Homar told me about it and gave a lot of other interesting information during our class on

When Spanish came to Mexico 200 years ego they named the city New Spain. The city was set on the huge lake. 

Mexico city has many touristic sightseeings. There are museums, art buildings, government offices, parks in Mexico city.

One of the greatest ancient places is located near capital city Mexico city. Teotihuacan is a vast Mexican archaeological complex. This site represented the civilization of Aztecs during the pre-Columbian era. Tourists can walk down to the Avenue of the Dead and look to the Temple of Questzalcoari, the Pyramid of the Moon and the Pyramid of the Sun.


The teacher recommended me as a tourist's sightseeing the Plaza de la constitution. But this place has a different name in Wikipedia. The Zócalo is the common name of the main square in central Mexico City. Prior to the colonial period, it was the main ceremonial center theAztec city of Tenochtitlan. The plaza used to be known simply as the "Main Square" or "Arms Square," and today its formal name is Plaza de la Constitución (Constitution Square). However, it is almost always called the Zócalo today.

Monumento a la Independencia or in English the Angel of Independence is a victory column.

The Plaza de las Tres Culturas ("Square of the Three Cultures") was named in recognition of the three periods of Mexican history reflected by buildings in the plaza: pre-Columbian, Spanish colonial, and the independent nation.

Guadalajara is a city in western Mexico. It's known for tequila and mariachi music.

If you are dreaming of visiting the intriguing Maya ruins, you need to visit the Yucatán Peninsula which is located in southeastern Mexico, separates the Caribbean Sea from the Gulf of Mexico, with the northern coastline on the Yucatán Channel. 

Chichén Itzá is the most famous Maya ruin and a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Cancún, a Mexican city on the Caribbean Sea, is known for its beaches, numerous resorts and nightlife. Merida is the capital and largest city in Yucatan state and the cultural and financial capital of the region. 

Oaxaca (pronounced wa-hah-kah), a city located about 300 miles south of Mexico City. Rich in history and culture, Oaxaca is a fascinating destination where tourists can appreciate ancient civilizations, colonial art, and architecture and vibrant cultural traditions. 

Let's agree with the fact that the tourists who like exploring the history of civilizations need to include in their top list of the most attractive distinctions this fabulous country - Mexico.

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Talking about Trinidad and Tobago

What season do you prefer? Teacher Teenesha asked me.
Summer - I answered.
Here, in my country Trinidad and Tobago, summer is every day - she replied.

Trinidad and Tobago is a country which is located geographically in South America close to Venezuela. But it is not the Spanish-language country, people use there only English. After 200 years under British rule, people who came to this country forgot other languages (Indians don't speak Hindi for example). When I asked teacher which language does she use in her family, she answered - only English. Even her great father spoke English.

The population of Trinidad and Tobago is very diverse. People of different races white and black, Indian, African, European, American - they came to the country long time ego and peacefully live together.

The island Trinidad is more suitable the business.

Port of Spain, also written as Port-of-Spain and known in Spanish as "Puerto España", is the capital city of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago.

Trinidad and Tobago is very developed country. The economy of the country bases on the Oil and Gas industry. BP Trinidad and Tobago is one of the leading oil and gas production companies in Trinidad and Tobago. Asphalt industry in Trinidad is also very important.

The Pitch Lake is the largest and most significant pitch lake in the world. The liquid asphalt is black and viscous, but the surface is semisolid, and can be walked on.

Trinidad and Tobago is the third richest country by GDP  per capita in the Americas after the United States and Canada.Wikipedia.

Healthcare there is completely free (no insurance forms)
Education up to high school is also free. As a sign of the country wealthy, the teacher told the every student can take a free laptop. The government assumed the cost of college tuition during the time when Teenesha studied there and now it there is no tuition.
Teenesha described inhabitants as easy going people who like organizing carnivals, they are very laid back. The Trinidad and Tobago Carnival is an annual event. The event is well known for participants' colorful costumes and exuberant celebrations. The carnival is held from February to March.

The country is located the Caribbean region. The Caribbean region includes three parts: English, French and Dutch Caribbean. Trinidad and Tobago represents the English part.

There are many beautiful beaches with yellow and white sand

Next tourist attraction is coral riffs

Tourists expect meeting with nature. And they can find untouched nature in the island Tobago. Waterfall is one of them. Bird sanctuaries are next.The country has some locations where giant turtles lumber onto the beach at night to lay their eggs. Some tourists agencies organize nightly trips to the beaches during the season. As Teenesha said they are like a car in size!

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Talking about Albania

Today’s class gave me a possibility to load to the atmosphere of the almost unknown for many people European country - Albania.
The teacher Inald lives in the capital city of Albania Tirana.
One of his hobbies is photography and he shared with me lots of beautiful pictures about Albania.  

This is a center of Tirana.

Inald likes photography. And next picture is the perfect example how photography can highlight the beauty, in that case of building.
The trees are on the top of this building and the building looks like the tree.

It is strange but for the time when we spoke the temperature in Moscow and Tirana was the same: minus 3-5 degrees Celsius. But the usual temperature in December is minus 10 for Moscow and plus 10 for Tirana. Inhabitants of Tirana see snow one in four years. Only on North of Albania falling of snow is usual.

Before the class, I read tourist’s comments about Albania and all of them were positive. Great nature, friendly people and affordable prices attract tourist. Inald displayed some pictures from the coast of Mediterranean sea.

The infrastructure for tourism is good enough and it is improving constantly. As Inald said more than 90% of infrastructure as roads, hotels are new. Here are some tourist sightseeings:

Palasë is a village close to the Llogara National Park in the Albanian Riviera. In classical antiquity, there was a settlement of the Chaones, one of the three major ancient Greek tribes of Epirus, named Palaesti. On January 4, 48 BCE during his pursuit of Pompey, Julius Caesar landed in Palaeste.

Dhërmi is a village which is built on a slope of the Ceraunian Mountains at approximately 200 meters in altitude. Vuno and Ksamil  are the villages on the Albanian Riviera. Buthrotum was an ancient Greek and later Roman city.

Lake Koman Ferry is a passenger ferry service operated by several local companies along the Koman Reservoir in Northern Albania. The line is known for its breathtaking views of the mountain gorges, unscheduled stops along the way for serving locals, and the peculiar atmosphere of both locals, foreigners, and even animals being fitted on board up to full capacity.
Theth remains remote. It is most easily accessible by a 25 km unmade road from the village of Boga which is impassable during the winter months and is not generally suitable at any time of the year for motor vehicles without off-road capabilities.

Tropojë is a municipality in Kukës County, northern Albania, near the border with Kosovo.

Valbona Valley National Park, also called the "Albanian miracle of the Alps", is a part of the Prokletije mountain range. Clean air, high and characteristic mountain peaks, lakes, numerous water resources, forests, mountains, flora and fauna provide conditions for profitable ecotourism.

Inald shared with me the video about Albania which he made this summer. Here is the link”

As a photographer, Imald takes pictures of landscapes, portraits, weddings. The photo can keep a moment that’s gone forever, impossible to reproduce.  Captured moment of life remains with us forever.

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Talking about Bosnia and Herzegovina

The main subject of the class in online English school was the country Bosnia and Herzegovina. Teacher Miroslava told me about the country where she lives.

Bosnia and Herzegovina is a small country which was formed on the part of the territory of former Yugoslavia. The capital city, Sarajevo, is a place where the World War started. In fact, Sarajevo has a lot of historical places. Sarajevo is surrounded by mountains, hiking is a very popular sports activity there.

Before the class, I read about Bosnia and Herzegovina on the Internet. Wikipedia described it as the poorest country in Europe. During the class, I had an opportunity to ask the teacher about some economic characteristics of the country. Here they are:
Unemployment - it is a very difficult to find a job there especially in the countryside. Elementary education is free, the cost of high education is very low. The year's tuition of studying in university is about 25 euro. Medicine is not free.

Bosnia and Herzegovina has a very small lot on the Mediterranean Sea. Neum is the only town to be situated along Bosnia and Herzegovina's 20 km (12 mi) of coastline, making it the country's only access to the Adriatic Sea. This place has a very good potential for developing as a beach's place due to the cheapest cost of living. I remembered this fact in the case of the future vacation.

English is not so common language there but it is used widely in touristic places as hotels or so on. Here are some mountains which teacher recommended to see me if I decide to visit Bosnia and Herzegovina:

Bjelašnica is a mountain in central Bosnia and Herzegovina. It is found directly to the southwest of Sarajevo. Bjelašnica's tallest peak, by which the whole mountain group got its name, rises to an elevation of 2067 meters. Jahorina is a mountain in Bosnia and Herzegovina, located near Pale in the Dinaric Alps. Igman is a mountain plateau in central Bosnia and Herzegovina. Wikipedia

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Talking about South Africa

Today's class with teacher Niel in online English school was dedicated to South Africa (officially the Republic of South Africa).
 Niel lives in Cape Town, it is a capital city of the country. He described this city as a very beautiful place.
South Africa is the multiethnic society which includes many cultures and languages. There is no official language there but most of the people speak English (at least in Cape town). Afrikaans is also commonly used language.

(Afrikaans (/ˌæfrᵻˈkɑːns/, /ˌɑː-/, or /-ˈkɑːnz/) is a West Germanic language spoken in South Africa, Namibia, and to a lesser extent, Botswana and Zimbabwe. It evolved from the Dutch vernacular of South Holland (Hollandic dialect) spoken by the mainly Dutch settler. Wikipedia )

The cost of living is very high, especially in Cape Town. But for foreigners, it is more affordable. It is because the domestic currency is weak. When euros or US dollar convert to domestic currency ZAR, everyday expenses don't seem so high.    
The South African rand (sign: R; code: ZAR) is the currency of South Africa.

The main must-see cities are Cape Town, Johannesburg (the largest city) and Durban.

The most attracting for tourists places are:

Robben Island where former President of South Africa Nelson Mandela was imprisoned for 18 years.

Century city and Canal Walk (a shopping center in Cape Town, that was built around a canal).

GrandWest Is the only casino in Cape Town

Gold Reef City is a theme park and entertainment destination in Johannesburg

Kruger National Park is one of Africa's largest game reserves. Its high density of wild animals includes lions, leopards, rhinos, elephants and buffalos. 

For my question about beaches resorts, Niel asked me which temperature of water I prefer. As it appeared tourist could choose:
warm water - in Durban or
cold water - in Cape Town

Here are some links to newspapers and magazines from South Africa and Cape Town 
which Niel gave me:

Monday, December 12, 2016

Writing about robots in society

Write a paragraph describing how robots are being used in your country. How do you feel about them? In what ways will they positively and negatively affect society? 
There are a lot of places where robots can be used.

Robots are used in a nuclear power industry. Loading a nuclear fuel to the reactor is a good example of using robots there, where people can't be due to dangerous environment. Russian government believes that domestic producing of robots for this purposes lead to keeping an independence nuclear companies from economical and political issues, so robots are produced there by Russian industry.

Humanoid like robots are not common in Russia, they could be used only for entertainment as a "cool stuff". The robots are used often in manual routine work. In that case, the choice between worker or robot depends on the economical estimate (where expenses lower).

Pilots of the planes use a special automatic navigate system "autopilot" which is also kind of robot. Vendor machine represents the robot for selling some goods. When we hear recorded voice as an answering-machine for telephone calls we say "robot answered". Even when we are repeating words inside the application for studying English with voice recognition we may feel as if the robot is teaching as. Robots are everywhere, robots are among us... It sounds mysterious and a little scary.

This story was written as a homework and corrected by teacher Terezia M in online English school EF English Live

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Talking about Guyana

Today I had an opportunity to speak with English teacher Mike from Guyana in online school Guyana is a small country in the South America with a tropical climate. It is a rainy season there now and it will continue up to February.

Guyana is a very diverse country. Guyanese people is made up of six main ethnic groups: Amerindians, Africans, Indians, Europeans, Portuguese and Chinese. Ninety percent of the inhabitants live on the narrow coastal plain. Most of the territory of Guyana covered by forest.

It is a developing country. Tourism, agriculture, and mining are Guyana's most important economic activities. Producing sugar and rice are a very important business there.

Tourists come mostly from the USA. The teacher called as the main tourist sighting Kaieteur Falls.
(Kaieteur Falls is the world's highest single drop waterfall, located on the Potaro River in the Kaieteur National Park, in Essequibo, Guyana. Its location is in the Amazon forest. It is 2 meters high. Wikipedia)
Wild life is one of the most attractive thing for tourists.

The capital city is Georgetown.
English is an official language in Guyana. People use the dialect which is called Creole English. It is a mixture of East Indian language and English.
(An English-based creole language (often shortened to English creole) is a creole language derived from the English language – i.e. for which English is the lexifier. Most English creoles were formed in British colonies. Wikipedia)

Guyana celebrated 50 anniversary of independence from Britain this year.

Education free up to secondary education (when students reach the age 18 years old). Tertiary education is organized by CARICOM. It is not free but with students loans it is affordable.

( Established in 1973, the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) is an organization of fifteen Caribbean nations and dependencies. CARICOM's main purposes are to promote economic integration and cooperation among its members. The secretariat headquarters is based in Georgetown, Guyana. Wikipedia)

(Tertiary education, also referred to as third stage, third level, and post-secondary education, is the educational level following the completion of a school providing a secondary education. The World Bank, for example, defines tertiary education as including universities as well as institutions. Wikipedia)

Here are two links to the additional resources about Guyana: