Artículos de Enero 2008

The first floating city

Jueves, 31 Enero 2008

    It sounds like a science fiction story - a city, one and a half kilometres long, sailing slowly around the world. Well, it isn’t a science fiction story, it’s reality. The floating city is going to be called Freedom Ship, and a company is going to start building it in Honduras very soon.

It’s going to take three years to build Freedom Ship. When it’s finished, it will be the largest ship in the world. It will be nearly a mile long, 220 metres wide and 100 metres tall. There will be space for 40,000 people in total - 10,000 people will work there and 30,000 people will have homes. There will be a shopping centre, a swimming pool, a gym, and even an airport. And the inhabitants won’t need to worry about their children’s education. Freedom Ship will have its own school and university.

Freedom Ship won’t move around all the time. Every few weeks, it will stop on the coast of a country - a tropical island in the middle of the ocean, for example - and it will stay there for a while. One complete journey around the world will take about two years.

If you visit the Freedom Ship website, you’ll find a lot more information about the project. You can look at a plan of Freedom Ship, and listen to an advert, too. Of course, the home is Freedom Ship won’t be cheap. You’ll need to pay $150,000 for the smallest homes. If you want to buy a larger home, you’ll need $$0 million! And you’ll need to hurry if you want one. They’ve already sold 15% of the homes!     

(Text from HOLIDAY ENGLISH   4º ESO   -  OXFORD) 



If you want to know more about Freedom Ship, click on:

I see what you mean

Jueves, 31 Enero 2008

Have you ever watched a conversation without listening to it? The speakers move their hands, their heads and their bodies. These movements are called “body language”, and every movement has a meaning.

Some gestures are universal among human beings. You don’t have to learn how to laugh - you do it naturally. However, a lot of body language is different from country to country. Before you visit a country, you should learn about any important differences so that you don’t offend anyone!

So, body language can be confusing, but don’t worry too much. Remember - everybody understands a smile!

A British scientist called Desmond Morris has written books about body language around the world. To collect the information, he had to visit hundreds of different places and observe the local people. Here is some of his advice for travellers.

  • In many places, holding up your thumb means “OK”. However, in some places - Sardinia, for example - it is extremely rude.
  • Making an “O” shape with your thumb and index finger has a lot of different meanings. In America, it means “everything is OK”. In France, it means “zero”. In Japan, it means “money”. And you certainly shouldn’t do it in Tunisia, because it means “I’ll kill you”!
  • In Turkey and many Eastern countries, you should never sit with the soles of your feet towards another person -  it’s very impolite.
  • In Austria, you shouldn’t point with your index finger - it’s rude.
  • In Bulgaria, nodding your head means “no”. To say “yes”, you have to shake your head.

So, body language can be confusing, but don’t worry too much. Remember - everybody understands a smile!



Cliff-diving in Acapulco

Miércoles, 30 Enero 2008

Acapulco is a popular holiday resort on the west coast of Mexico. Thousands of tourists from the USA and other countries visit Acapulco every year. They sunbathe on the beach and swim in the sea.

At a place called La Quebrada, young Mexican men and women practise an amazing but dangerous sport. The sport is called cliff-diving, and the divers are called clavadistas.

The clavadistas climb up the cliffs and then dive into the sea. They usually dive from rocks about 25 metres above the water. However, a clavadista sometimes dives from the top of the cliffs, which are 35 metres high! This is very dangerous, because the sea is only four metres deep near the cliffs. When a wave comes in, the clavadista jumps!

Cliff-diving is a big tourist attraction in Acapulco. There are competitions every year. Of course, the tourists don’t take part - it’s too dangerous. They only watch!



The New Year

Jueves, 24 Enero 2008

New Year’s Eve is on 31st December, the last day before the New Year begins. In many places, people go to parties, bars or restaurants with friends in the evening. Sometimes they meet outside in a big square. In New York, thousands of people go to Times Square; in London, they go to Trafalgar Square. Just before midnight, people look at the clock, and together they count the last ten seconds before the New Year begins: “Ten, nine, eight…”

At midnight they stand in a circle, join hands and sing an old song called “Auld Lang Syne”. A Scottish man called Robert Burns wrote the words of this song about two hundred years ago. It is about remembering old friends.

Many people drink a glass of champagne, light some fireworks, or dance until the sun comes up.

In Scotland, New Year’s Eve has a special name: Hogmanay. At Hogmanay, there is a tradition called first footing. The first person to come into the house in the New Year is the first foot: if he is a tall, dark man, and someone you do not know, he will bring good luck. He must carry some food, some money, or a piece of coal for the fire.

In Edinburgh, there are house parties and street parties, Scottish music and dancing, parades and lots of fireworks.

People often eat special food at this time. The traditional Scottish food for festivals is haggis, which is like a large round sausage, usually made from sheep meat.

New Year’s Day is 1st January, the first day of the New Year. It is a holiday for most people, and the banks and many shops don’t open. Many people stay at home on that day and rest. Most people go back to work on 2nd January, but in Scotland they have tow days’ holiday and go back to work on 3rd Janaury.

At this time of year, a lot of people make New Years’s Resolutions. They decide to do something different to be a better person. For example, they say: “I’m going to stop smoking,” or “I’m going to learn something new,” or “I’m going to work harder.”

The shops are very busy in January with January sales. This means things are cheaper than before Christmas, so it is a good time to buy winter clothes.

The first time people see friends in the New Year, they usually say “Happy New Year!”

(Text from Seasons and Celebrations  OXFORD BOOKWORMS 2)

Festivals old and new

Jueves, 24 Enero 2008

In Britain, Canada and the USA, in each of the four seasons, people enjoy different festivals and celebrations.

Thousands of years ago the people of Britain were pagans. In their religions, the sun, the moon, the winds, rain, animals and trees were all important, and they had festivals for them. When Christianity came to Britain, the people wanted to keep some of their old festivals, so many lived on, but as Christian festivals.

Hallowe’en, Christmas, Saint Valentine’s Day and Easter are all examples of this. Today, many people (even people who do not usually go to church) celebrate these festivals, and also many other festivals which did start in the church.

Food, family and flowers are an important part of most celebrations. Most people have a big family dinner at Christmas; Canadians and Americans get together at Thanksgiving too. A lot of people give chocolate and other sweets as presents at Christmas, Valentine’s Day and Easter, and some festivals have special food. Restaurants are very busy on Valentine’s Day and Mother’s Day, and flower shops sell a lot of flowers on these days.

People today often live far away  from their families, so they send greetings cards at special times like Christmas, Mother’s Day and Easter. The cards say things like: “Thinking of you across the miles”. Post offices and telephones are very busy too.

Times change, and festivals change too. But people have celebrated many of these festivals for hundreds of years - and will still enjoy them in many years’ time.

(Text from Seasons and Celebrations OXFORD BOOKWORMS 2)

Ken Follett

Miércoles, 23 Enero 2008



On the day after Halloween, in the year 1327, four children slip away from the cathedral city of Kingsbridge. They are a thief, a bully, a boy genius and a girl who wants to be a doctor. In the forest they see two men killed.

As adults, their lives will be braided together by ambition, love, greed and revenge. They will see prosperity and famine, plague and war. One boy will travel the world but come home in the end; the other will be a powerful, corrupt nobleman. One girl will defy the might of the medieval church; the other will pursue an impossible love. And always they will live under the long shadow of the unexplained killing they witnessed on that fateful childhood day.

World Without End is the sequel to The Pillars of the Earth. However, it doesn’t matter which you read first. The second book is set in the same town, Kingsbridge, but takes place two hundred years later, and features the descendants of the original characters.



In a time of civil war, famine and religious strife, a magnificent cathedral is built in Kingsbridge … this is a sensuous and enduring love story and an epic that shines with the fierce spirit of a passionate age.

British thriller author Ken Follet gets statue in Spain

Best-selling British thriller writer Ken Follett, seen here in 2003, unveiled Thursday a life-size statue of himself in the northeastern Spanish town of Vitoria whose cathedral he says inspired his latest book.

Best-selling British thriller writer Ken Follett unveiled Thursday a life-size statue of himself in the northeastern Spanish town of Vitoria whose cathedral he says inspired his latest book.

“I am very flattered because it is the only statue of me in the world,” he said after unveiling the bronze figure before dozens of applauding local residents, the Europa Press news agency reported.

Local officials commissioned the work from Basque sculptor Casto Solana. It lies in the medieval Plaza de Burullerias square, by the imposing Santa Maria cathedral.

Follet, 58, has said the cathedral’s restoration work was exemplary and it inspired him to write “World Without End”, a sequel to his 1989 top-selling novel “The Pillars of the Earth” about the building of a cathedral in England in the Middle Ages.

“The Pillars of the Earth” has been described as the novel most read by Spaniards for the past 20 years, with more than 5.5 million copies sold.

It was the number one book in Britain and Italy and spent six years on the German best seller list, according to Follet’s Web site. It still sells about 100,000 copies a year in paperback in the United States.

The sequel, Follett’s 18th book, features a photograph of the author taken inside Vitoria’s cathedral. It has sold 750,000 copies in Spain since it went on sale in the country on December 28.

In an interview published Thursday in top-selling Spanish newspaper El Pais, Follet said his first ten books “were not good.”

“My first best-seller was ‘Eye of the Needle’ and with this book I realized that it is indispensable to plan, investigate and slow down the story. I realized I was going too fast and that wasn’t good,” he told the paper.

Julian Beever

Martes, 22 Enero 2008

Julian Beever is a British chalk artist. He travels around the world drawing three-dimensional pavement pictures. Look at his pictures from one direction and they seem very real. Look at the pictures from another direction and you can’t understand what they are.

Julian can draw a pavement picture in three days but it isn’t easy. When Julian draws a picture, he also uses a camera to help him “see” the picture.

Unfortunately, Julian’s pictures don’t stay on the pavement for a long time because they can’t survive rain or snow. So Julian always takes photographs of his pictures to keep a record of them.

(Text adapted from Burlington PASSPORT for ESO 3 )

If you want to know more about this pavement artist, click on: