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Jill recounts her New York experience and Mark talks about his week of fun in the sun.
Mark: Hello everyone, it’s Mark Kaufmann here with the EnglishLingQ Podcast.
I’m joined by Jill today.
We’re actually both back from vacation.
Jill: But you’re tanned and I’m not.
Mark: Yes, well, I went to a hot place.
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With that, Jill, how was New York?
Jill: New York was fantastic.
It was beautiful and sunny every day; not a cloud in the sky.
The first day we were there it was about 18 degrees actually, which is around 70 degrees Fahrenheit, 68-70 degrees.
Jill: Very warm; we didn’t even need a jacket and we went to the Macy’s Day Parade, which is televised and it’s the hugest parade in the U.S.
Mark: Is that a Christmas parade?
Jill: It’s Thanksgiving.
Mark: Oh, okay.
Jill: It’s a Thanksgiving parade actually; but, you know what, we didn’t even stay until the very end.
I think Santa…I think it’s sort of Christmassy as well, but it’s their Thanksgiving Day Parade, so there are stars.
You know, Dolly Parton was on one of the floats and some musicians were on some of the floats and the Crocodile Hunter’s wife and his daughter were on one of the floats.
Jill: So, I mean, we kind of thought we had to see it just because everybody talks about it, but it’s still a parade and for me to… We got up at six in the morning.
Mark: To watch the parade?
Jill: Well, to get ready to go.
It starts at nine and people start lining the streets at six-thirty to be at the front to see it.
We got there at about quarter to eight and we were pretty close actually.
Jill: But waiting all that time for it to start, by an hour in we were ready to go, so we left.
Mark: For sure, I can sympathize with you there.
Jill: It’s such a huge deal down in the states though, I can’t believe what…
Jill: Well, the parade as well.
Mark: Oh yeah.
Jill: And the fact that it’s televised and people will actually sit at home and watch it on their TV; this parade.
Mark: Personally, parades, I mean, I think they’re for kids.
Mark: At least I don’t enjoy…I mean, okay, there’s a parade but, as you say, after 15 minutes I’m kind of ready to go.
Jill: Yeah, yeah, that’s how I felt.
A lot of the floats were spectacular, very well done, you know, definitely not the average parade, but a parade nonetheless.
So yeah, it was great to see it once, but I would not go again.
Jill: But, you know, Central Park was just beautiful.
The leaves were all changing colors, so it was absolutely spectacular and I could have spent a whole day in there just wandering around; it was so beautiful.
And we did just tons of shopping; 12 hours one day.
I mean, we were gone between 12 and 15 hours every day that we just didn’t stop.
And my sister – it was mostly my little sister who was determined to spend every cent that she had saved for this trip – she just wanted to go crazy and if we weren’t shopping she had a long face.
And so my mom and I…I literally only bought a few things.
I bought a couple pairs of jeans, a bag and a pair of boots and that was it.
Mark: I was going to say, you’re a pretty mean shopper yourself.
Jill: I am, I am, but I was too overwhelmed there.
There are so many stores, so many great stores, but especially that weekend being the busiest shopping weekend, being right in New York City, it was so overwhelming for me that I don’t really enjoy that kind of shopping; it’s not peaceful at all.
Jill: So it was an experience, something that I’ve never had here, but I wasn’t prepared to actually put in all the effort to trying things on, waiting in long lineups, whereas my sister was.
So I would often just sit down and let her go crazy.
She and my mom bought lots and I’d bring them stuff to try and I’d sit.
It was really something to see; it was amazing.
Mark: Were the stores open on Thanksgiving Day?
Jill: No, most of them are closed.
The big stores were closed; the department stores.
Some of the little stores were open, but most of them were closed.
And then Friday, the day after Thanksgiving the Black Friday, is when people line up.
Some of the stores open at four a.m.
Mark: I saw ads on TV for that.
Jill: Yeah and they have these big sales on until noon or one usually, where maybe the whole store is 40 percent off and things like that.
Mark: It always amazes me when I’m in the states at Thanksgiving what a big deal it is.
Mark: In Canada our Thanksgiving is a month earlier and it’s really not a big deal at all, it’s just a turkey dinner.
Jill: Yeah, you get a day off work the second Monday of every October, it’s a statutory holiday, you spend it with your family, usually having a nice dinner, but it really has nothing to do with shopping, nothing to do with parades.
Mark: There’s no real event; it’s a Sunday and it’s a nice turkey dinner and yeah.
The kids at school draw pictures of turkeys and harvest and I don’t know…
Jill: Yeah, exactly.
Mark: In the states, apparently, it’s the busiest travel weekend of the year; people all fly home.
If they’re not living at home they fly home.
It’s a Thursday, Friday is a holiday.
Jill: Everybody says happy holidays to you.
Jill: All the stores, everybody would say oh, happy holidays or if you were asking a question or they were telling you something at the end they’d always say happy holidays which, to me, is what we do for Christmas.
We make a big deal out of Christmas and I think our Christmas is like their Thanksgiving.
That’s what it is, which is just funny.
Like I wonder, it’s just funny how it’s evolved that way because, presumably, at some point things in Canada and the U.S.
were pretty similar.
People celebrated Thanksgiving and Christmas in a similar way and over the years it’s evolved in such a way that in the states Thanksgiving is their biggest holiday and for us Christmas is.
They’re similar and both countries have the same holidays, but they are celebrated differently.
I just find it interesting.
Jill: Yeah it is; it’s very interesting.
But yeah, New York was amazing; four sunny days, a couple of days were really, really, cold, but beautiful and sunny.
You know, we saw the Statue of Liberty and one of the museums and the view from the top of the Empire State Building, which is just amazing.
It’s just amazing how many buildings are on the Island of Manhattan; how huge, how tall they all are, how many.
I’ve never seen anything like it.
I’ve been to Paris, I’ve been to London and there’s just nothing like New York City; it’s really awe-inspiring.
Mark: Yeah, yeah, I haven’t been there in quite a while, but I went to university out that way and we’d go in to New York every once in a while.
I must say, I never really spent much time there.
Like you probably spent more time there then I did and I was out there for four years.
But that’s the one thing that I got out of it, for sure, was that when you drive right through Manhattan it’s like you’re driving through a tunnel and the buildings are so high on either side of you.
Jill: And there are so many.
Mark: So many.
Jill: It doesn’t end and the throngs of people everywhere; it’s just amazing.
Mark: Yeah, I mean, Tokyo is that way, for sure.
I can still remember being there in a…if you’re in Tokyo and up on the top floor of a building looking out, I mean as far as the eye can see, all you see is buildings in every direction.
Jill: Wow. It’s similar, I guess.
Mark: It’s similar and it’s certainly not like that here in Vancouver.
Jill: No and I was a bit overwhelmed and over stimulated in the beginning.
I actually miss it.
Now that I’m home, I look back and I have nothing but fond memories and I miss New York.
But while I was there my mom and my sister were always saying “we just love the city, we want to move here,” but never once did I actually think that I wanted to live there.
I thought I’m happy I’m going home to Vancouver.
It’s still a city, there’s everything here, it’s beautiful, but it’s peaceful still, to a certain extent, and you can actually drive and get around.
New York, I mean you couldn’t pay me to drive in that city.
It was just horns going constantly, people over the lines, people not obeying traffic signs.
I mean they just do whatever they want and the pedestrians are just as bad.
They walk whenever they want, nobody waits for lights and it was just unbelievable.
Mark: That’s for sure.
Jill: Yeah, that kind of chaos would just stress me out if I had to live in it, but it was really something exciting to see.
Mark: Well, that’s great. It sounds like you had a great time; you’re gushing about it.
Jill: Well, my mom and my sister are planning the trip for next year already.
Mark: Is that right?
Jill: They want to make it an annual event.
Jill: Oh, they just loved it so much.
Mark: You know I never really felt that excited about being in New York at all.
Mark: I’d be there and I couldn’t wait to get out.
Jill: Well, when you go to see shows and stuff.
Mark: I never went on like a holiday; I’d go in for something.
I had to go there to somewhere to get something and then I’d leave again.
Mark: I never went to sightsee in New York.
Jill: There’s a lot to see in that city.
There are a lot of great museums, a lot of great shows, comedy acts, talk shows…
Mark: Just a lot happening.
Jill: So much happening that you could spend a couple weeks there, for sure.
But anyway, you… It’s funny because we came back…I actually got home at about three in the morning last night.
Another plane came in just as we came in and everybody off that plane was wearing shorts and sandals and they were all tanned and I thought, well.
We all came in in our big winter coats because it was cold, so they were coming from Mexico and you just came from California.
Mark: From California, yeah, we went to visit my wife’s mother who was renting a condo there, so we thought why not take advantage and so we all went down.
She was in Palm Springs or Palm Desert, which is a desert except for where they water and so it was warm; it was warm.
When we first got there it was 30 degrees, highs of 30, but it’s dry.
It’s a desert, so it’s quite pleasant and then it got a little cooler by the end of the week it was down to 25.
Jill: Oh, very nice.
Mark: Which I think is perfect and I think that’s about where it stays most of the winter.
So yeah, that’s why a lot of people from Canada, for sure, from Vancouver, from our area, a lot of retired people will go and spend the winter or parts of the winter in Palm Springs.
That’s a very common thing to do to get away from the cold and the wet and the snow or whatever and go down to the sunnier climes.
Jill: And play golf all winter long.
Mark: Yeah, I mean it was great. We were in this little compound where she rented a condo.
You know, they’ve got citrus fruit trees all throughout in amongst all the buildings and you can go and pick grapefruit for your breakfast.
Jill: You’re kidding.
Mark: Oranges and lemons and…
Jill: You just pick it right off the trees.
Mark: You pick it right off the tree and eat the grapefruit, squeeze some orange juice; like that part of it was awesome.
Jill: Awesome, yeah.
Mark: And then, otherwise, I mean there’s a pool in that complex, right, so my kids were in heaven.
You know, it’s warm and they’re in the pool all day and pretty much that’s all they really wanted to do because, obviously, we don’t have that here.
Jill: They have to go to an indoor pool all winter long.
Mark: You have to go to an indoor pool all winter and yeah, to be there where it’s hot and sunny and swimming around all day near our place, I mean that was a real treat for them.
And then one day we drove into Disneyland in Los Angeles or in Anaheim, actually.
We went to Disneyland, so that was obviously a highlight too.
Mark: Yeah, for sure, because our kids actually have been to Disneyland in Tokyo a few times, but they were quite small and so to go back, especially the younger ones, they really didn’t remember anything, so it was a real treat for them.
It was good other than the traffic jam we hit on the way out of town.
Boy, that Los Angeles is unbelievable, the highways and the driving and the cars.
Jill: I think the traffic in those huge American cities is something else.
Mark: It’s a whole other level from here. We think it’s crowded here, but it’s not.
Mark: Which starts to get me thinking when they always say oh, in 50 years Vancouver’s population will double or whatever the statistics they throw out, I always ask myself why?
Why is it going to double?
Why is that a good thing?
I don’t think it has to because it’s just going to be more and more crowded.
Jill: I don’t want it to.
Mark: I don’t want it to either.
Jill: Our infrastructure is not set up for that.
Mark: No. And so then the alternative is all of a sudden now you’ve got these big super highways and yeah, all the buildings and I mean, to me, I prefer smaller.
Mark: Even when I was in Japan we’d go to Tokyo and, I must say…I lived in a small town in Japan in the mountains and, I don’t know, there were 20,000 people and so then we’d be in Tokyo…I must say, I couldn’t wait to get out.
Not that I didn’t…I liked being there, it was neat.
I mean it’s amazing.
All the people, all the buildings, all the hustle and bustle, but I tell ya’, I was ready to go.
When it was time to go it was just a sense of relief to go back out in the countryside, as you say, drive where you want to drive and no traffic.
Jill: I felt that way about New York.
I loved it, I loved visiting, but when my mom and sister said that they could live there I said there is no way you could pay me to live there.
There’s nothing relaxing about it, it’s just so much stimulation all the time and it was overwhelming for me.
It almost created a bit of anxiety sometimes; I just wanted to get away from it.
Jill: I mean now I kind of miss the whole excitement of it, but…even in Vancouver, you know, I live right in a busy part of Vancouver where there’s a lot going on, which would seem busy to you because you live in a very nice, quiet, suburb, which is mostly families.
But where I live in the busy part of Vancouver was not even half as busy as New York and it can’t even compare.
Mark: No, oh no, no, there’s just a whole other level.
Mark: Yeah, well yeah, I mean I certainly know what you’re talking about from being in New York or just on the East Coast.
In a way, that whole East Coast is one big city.
I mean, okay, New York, where you were, is the epicenter, but I know I prefer things a little more quiet.
Jill: So Palm Desert was a little more mellow.
Mark: Palm Desert was a little too quiet.
Jill: Yeah, I’ve heard that because it’s mostly retirees.
Mark: Yeah, it’s mostly retirees, yeah.
So, but, the weather is great and the kids had a ball and it was fun, you know.
Mark: And with that, we should probably go because we try to keep these to a reasonable length, so that people who are, whatever…if you’re doing the dishes you’re probably done by now, so you’re ready for us to leave.
So with that, we’ll talk to you again next time.
Jill: Alright, bye, bye.