Hello, hello, and welcome to another episode of the BigAppleSchool podcast. Where the goal is to help you improve your English through listening. My name is Benjamin, and today I'm joined by three wonderful guests and our first guest today is...
So today's topic is dangers of urban life. And this is actually a very big subject of many different parts to discuss. So if there's a particular subjects that you guys like to let us know in the comments, we would love to produce more podcast episodes on interesting topics. So dangers of urban life, how to stay safe in the city. The first area we're going to talk about today is, of course, crime. So crime in Novosibirsk. Well, so Natalya you've lived in Novosibirsk for a long time. What would you say crime is like in Novosibirsk?
I don't know. That's an interesting question, actually, but I've never faced any kinds of crime like in my life. I think, especially.. Except for maybe like my purse was stolen once. But in Vietnam. OK. And that's it. I think I should probably knock on wood.
Yeah, touch wood. It's really amazing because people.. Before I came to Russia, people said, Oh, Russia, is this dangerous country, be careful Ben, what are you doing, you're going to.. You're going to get killed or something... But I came to Novosibirsk and I was so surprised how safe it is here.
Yeah, there is this stereotype, you know, like Russians always wear guns or something like that or knives at least. But I don't know...
Maybe in the 90s it was probably.
Yeah, it was. I don't know about Novosibirsk, but the city I'm from, Новокузнецк. It was pretty dangerous and during the 1990s. Of course, I maybe wasn't aware of it because I was a teenager and my parents used to protect me from this. But still, now I know that there were cases.
And why do you think Russia has become like a pretty safe country to live in? Why do you think that this has happened?
Because maybe the economy developed and like people started to be more interested in doing things? I mean, in working, educating themselves and so on. And because.. I guess that most crimes happened because people just don't know what to do and how to entertain themselves. I mean, young people just hang around the streets and doing nothing. No sports, no culture. And that's why a lot of crimes arise.
And, Ugur, you're from what.. You're from Istanbul.. From Istanbul itself. So Istanbul is a safe place generally? Or would you say no?
Generally, it's a safe place. But there are some parts of the city that you shouldn't just get there alone, especially during nighttime. So the crime rate is kind of high on that particular part of the city. But in general, it's the safe city.
Is anything personally happened to you in town?
In Istanbul? Yeah, I was robbed. One of that areas in the city. So yeah, they.. They got to my wallet forcefully. Yeah, it was kind of six or seven years ago.
Yeah. Did they use a knife or a weapon.
Yep, It was a knife, a big knife. So, all right, guys, just leave my wallet and leave me be. That's what happened.
And Istanbul, you would say, it is like a economically developed city. It's an advanced modern city. And yeah, I mean, because London too is obviously a very developed city. Of course it is. But I've been so many times, people have come up to me with knives and said, Give me your stuff, give me a wallet and stuff.
Oh yeah, with the knife. Yeah, many times and sometimes with bike chains, sometimes with other stuff.
And they say Russia is dangerous...
London is actually surprisingly edgy. Is pretty dangerous sometimes.
Does it depend on the place? I mean, the district.
Yes and no. There are times when I walked around.. What I used to live in a nice part of town, Wandsworth. It was a nice part of town and like.. I've, well.. I've been successfully robbed, I don't know, like two or three times, but I've been approached like at least 20, 25 times like over my life.
So what did you do? Like.. Did you run or did you fight?
Well.. What the last time it happened ... I just had enough. I just had enough and I was just so proud. And yeah, and I was just, Oh wicked, this is amazing. I was sitting in the park on the bench, and this dude just came up to me and said, Give me your stuff and I put my hands up like in this like protective way, like say, Yeah, you can take my stuff and then I just beat him up.
Wow. And then you decided, OK, now I can go to Russia.
Exactly. Yeah, but before, yeah, it has.. The first time I got robbed, it was scary. That was scary. Yes, as you could probably say. So, well, tell me more or so.. When you first got robbed, what happened?
All right. There were like four guys. They were considerably drunk or high. And they were looking for money for sure. And I was the one. I was the victim who was passing by over there. And they said, All right, we need money and you need to give your wallet to us. And after I saw the knife and I said, All right, hands down, I'm giving you my wallet to you and all right see you guys and then nothing happened.
'Cause if you have a knife to you and there's like a few of them, there's nothing..
Whereas if there's one person, may be sometimes you can do something.
You can run from one person, maybe... But three or four. So it's not possible to just get rid of..
..You screwed. You have no choice.
Wow. It's reminded me of, for example, when mobile phones just appeared. It was.. Well, I don't know, not 20, 20 years ago, I guess, in Russia, for example, a lot of people started to have mobile phones and again in Новокузнецк.. I don't know kow about Novosibirsk. But a lot of people just stole phones from people in the street because people used to maybe show off like, Oh, I have this mobile phone, it's looks red and nice with all this nice buttons and everything. And so I know, for example, I have a friend who had been robbed about four times. I mean, she got a new phone and in half a year it was taken from her.
Actually, that reminded me, yeah.. I somehow forgot, but I got phone stolen like three times.
But I just forgot actually.
She just blocked these memories.
Well, was it a pickpocket or was it..?
Yeah, Exactly. I didn't see anything. I didn't like feel anything. It was just like, I go in a bus like with the phone, and then I didn't have it. It was like, Ok, twice, twice. Yeah, it was on the bus.
Yeah, it's so creepy when..
Exactly, you know, it's like, Ok where's my phone? Where's my phone? And you don't have it. Kind of, yeah. I was like 16 or something. So it was just the beginning of this time where everybody had phones.
Yeah, It's a real art being a pickpocket. Like, it really takes a lot of skill to do it professionaly.
And they didn't cut anything. They just took it out somehow. Kinda an amazing and impressive.
Yeah, if there is known no knife or nothing. OK, we can.. We can respect this smart piece of art.
But what about burglaries? Has anyone been burgled before?
You know, again, in the 90s, a lot of people used to use this metal doors to protect their flats. Because like the usual door is wooden and then people started to install this metal big second door with maybe some tricky locks.
Yeah. When I first came here to Russia, I was so impressed by my front door and by other people's front doors. And I love how.. I noticed that here in Russia front doors open outputs, whereas London most front doors open inwards.
Which I think it's mostly because of this fire protection. Because like in case of fire, if you open the door outwards, you're like.. You have more chances to survive.
So I have no idea why front doors are inwards in the UK, and I guess..
It does make sense, actually.
Yeah. And the harder to kick in.
Yeah, and Thailand too, actually. Yeah.
Well, in Thailand, they open outwards or inwards?
In China too, actually. Yeah, and in Indonesia too.
And in Vietnam, too. In Indonesia, too.
It's all about Asia, I think.
So Russians are geniuses with this. It's like, why didn't any other country just think of just opening doors outwards like this.. This is hilarious some other thing that Russians...
That's much harder to break in.
Well, Russian space or Russian cosmonauts, they apparently.. The Americans spent billions and billions of dollars inveting penin space.
I thought it's just an anecdote. Is it true?
Oh maybe. Maybe it is an anecdote. But I remember when I was a kid for Christmas or I think for Christmas, I got a.. An astronaut pen and it was a really cool little gift. And then I read about it and I saw this one..
So how was it different this pen?
It's.. I can't explain to be honest, it just is..
It can yeah, it's conducive to the flow of ink. I can't really explain it. No pens.. Ben the pen scientists. But yeah, it was an interesting pen. Anyway. So no burglaries. I don't think I have been burgled. What about Istanbul? Was there any?
London, there're actually quite a few burglaries.. Actually I'm thinking about.. I had a semi burglary. My mum left the front door open when she for some reason.. She just went.. Quickly went outside and someone.. She left a handbag on the front table and someone took the handbag from the table. But if that counts as.. Would you count that as a burglary?
It is a theft, yeah. It's probably.. It's a theft, yeah.
Well, we are not in court, we don't know how to judge.
OK, so we talked about aggressive muggings, pickpocketing, burglaries. What other kinds of crimes could you face in the big mean city.
Well, maybe internet fraud or something like that, cheating on the internet or with your credit cards or something like these. So I think it's pretty common nowdays.
Breaking into cars and stealing stuff from cars. It happens all the time in Istanbul.
Yeah, to be honest, we don't really have too much of this in London. Breaking into cars.. People who still mopeds. That's a really big crimes, moped theft and.. And also you have moped muggers, people who just go on the mopeds and they snatch handbags. D you have that in Istanbul?
It happened. It happened to me in Jakarta.
Oh, yeah, yeah. With your handbag?
Not handbag. But it was kind of a small thing that I hanged on my neck and they just ripped it off. And yeah, it was.. It was kind of scary. I was breaking my neck in a way. So yeah, like this. I was on the motorbike, by the way. Oh, they were on the motorbike, too.
All right. So was their motorbike much faster or something?
Yeah. So they just speed up and just gone.
Yeah, yeah. This is really big also in Brazil as well. Yeah, I've seen a few videos on YouTube of Brazilian. But there was this one video of this Brazilian police officer who shot this. You saw this video?
Yeah, yeah, that's kind of impressive.
It was, actually. Because this guy was waving his pistol around the people and the police officer took care of him. So yeah. Anyway, this is a topic we can talk about for absolutely for ages. It's a really interesting subject. So do let us know if you'd like to hear more about the subjects of crime in the cities. We always appreciate your comments. So anyway, the next topic we can move on to is homelessness. Would you consider homelessness to be a danger in cities? And is it a problem in Novosibirsk?
I don't really think so...
Yeah, maybe it used to be, but...
Yeah. How do homeless people live in the winter? I don't...
Like under ground. I mean, not the metro, but under the ground, because there is this.. What do we call it..
Yeah, basements and this warm.. Where all this plumbing systems go under the ground and they find their way there and..
Yeah and it's warm there because of the pipes.
Well, I used to live in Vegas, as many of you may know. And there was this huge underground network of sewer tunnel. And it was literally like a hole of a city underneath. And I lived next to an outlets. And you can see all these homeless people just coming in and out of it. It's like a whole city inside a city. Yeah, it's dangerous. You don't want to ever go around and go inside. What about Istanbul?
People are usually living in the parks, but like under the trees or in the trunk of the tree. If they're..
Yeah, we have large, large trees in Istanbul parks, so they ... the trunk of the tree.
And yeah, they just put themselves in. They're just trying to stay there for as long as they can.
Yeah. So that.. That sounds pretty imaginative, like the.. Like a little tree house.
Yeah, that's kind of thing. But yeah.. Do you think it's kind of convenient in the wintertime? I don't think so.
Mayb no. Well, if you had to be a homeless person, where would you sleep? I thought about this many times.
Not the best downshifting idea.
Yeah. Well, I would probably live somewhere high above ground.
Yeah. Because the ground usually the coldest.
Maybe to find a building like to be a squatter.
Squatting. Yes, squatting. This is a big thing in England. People love to squat. It's like a national hobby. There are a lot of people who squat. Who don't actually need to squat. Which is quite interesting. It's like a lifestyle for..
Because they want to be rebellious or what?
Yeah, kind of. Yeah, and it's.. It's fun. Maybe. I dunno. But what? Obviously, other people do have to squat out of necessity, and obviously that's not so fun. What about Russia's squatting thing here?
I don't think so, because if their house is abandoned, so there is no hot water, no electricity, no central heating, which is.. Which is bad in Russia. During the winter.
And what about Turkey? Is that.. What's the law about squatting in Turkey?
It's not happening so often, I guess. Mostly outside people are just place themselves outside because the climate is not that harsh in Istanbul. So even in wintertime, you can just stay outside for a short time in a way. I don't know.
Yeah, you could just bum around on the street.
Yeah, that's.. The thing is, all places like Istanbul where you have really great weather most of the year. And Los Angeles, of course, which is the.. I would say it's the global capital for homelessness.
I read about it and I watched videos and yeah..
Yeah, Skid Row. It's absolutely insane.
And a lot of homeless people, I guess as I read, they are a bit like mentally, well, disabled or have some mental issues and they are not put into hospitals if they don't want to. It's like against the law, as far as I know, and they can be a real danger for people. They can be aggressive.
It's absolutely crazy. My brother lives outside of Los Angeles and before I move to Vegas, I stayed in Los Angeles for, I think, three or four months. And yeah, I was hanging around downtown quite a lot and nearby Skid Row, and it's just absolutely wild. Like my brother took me for like a little drive down Skid Row just to show me. And it's literally like...
Like the city of extremes.
It's insane because you have the wealthiest of the wealthiest and you have the poorest of the poorest, and it's just.. It's nuts. And there's like no way that this problem can be solved because the weather's nice there. They're not going to go anywhere else. And the local government just keeps throwing lots of money at the situation.
Doesn't the government understand where they are leading to? I mean, it's like.. It's leading to nowhere.
Yeah, I know it's been like this for 40 years or something. Like you see tents everywhere on the pavements or they say sidewalks in America. Yeah. Well, Asia. Tell me more.
Yeah, actually, I was going to say about that. Surprisingly in Thailand I just remember one homeless person. Like literally. I lived there for a year and I just remember one guy. He was always next to 7-Eleven. You know, maybe he expected somebody to give him something, or maybe people actually gave him a load of things, I dunno. So and he was like, really old. And I don't know, he was sitting there all the time, literally. Speaking of Scotland, by the way. There were a lot of homeless people I would say. They're just sitting there in the street in blankets, you know, just asking for money or something. And it's kind of strange. I was surprised because it's kind of.. It's a developed country, I mean, with so many homeless people.
Yeah, in London we have quite a few, too. Yeah, Scotland is.. Yes..
But it's a bit colder. So.. And that's why they're actually using a lot of blankets.
Yeah, it's pretty chilly up in Scotland.
Not as cold as in Russia, obviously.
You're talking about Edinburgh or Glasgow?
Edinburgh, yeah. And it's a beautiful city as well. And then you see...
And ok, beautiful architecture. Imagine that. Yeah. And then there is a homeless person sitting there like oh... I dunno, ugly looking. It's kind of a contrast again.
Yeah, huge contrast. Yeah. So basically, it's not the most ideal place to be homeless over here in Siberia. If you had to be homeless, where would you go? So I told you.. When I asked you before which spot in the city, but which country would you go to if you had to be homeless?
Vietnam, indonesia or Thailand. Yeah, the weather's always fine. Warm.
You can live in a street.
In a street, yeah. You can sleep.
I could get food from the trees.
Threes are the fruit mostly.
So you can leave, actually.
I'm just thinking this, if you had to be homeless, where would you go? It's like I'm felling my flat, to be homeless in any part of the world. That's how it works, I guess. Some warm, warm part of the world. Yeah, but not extremely hot. Just moderately warm.
Because you just need to find a source of water. Yeah.
Yeah, Africa sounds like a good idea.
No, not Africa. Not Africa. Maybe like Australia and New Zealand. I don't know.
Oh, come on. All these insects imagine.
If I'm a homeless person, yeah, ok. In New Zealand there are no insects, I guess. Only in Australia.
Where would I be a bum? Where would I..? Let's say.. Maybe Greece. Greece sounds like..
But it's cold in winter. Zero or +5 or something.
Yeah, I did hear you do get snow like in the mountainous regions. Yeah. Oh yeah.
Nine months straight summer in a way. Eight months, nine months temperatures are high.
I guess It also depends on how dangerous local people are if they are ready to give some spare change to you or if they're not.
Maybe that's why Asia? Yeah, because people just like giving things.
Maybe go to Scandinavia, even though it's not hot. Like Scandinavia people just scoop you up and put you in a homeless shelter or something.
Then you need to find a hot water stream nearby to get you worm. To keep you warm.
Yeah, Iceland sounds like a good idea.
Just a good idea. Iceland is just a good idea.
Well, I love hot thermal springs. So then maybe, have a bath every day. Yeah. All right. So let's move on to the next topic. Traffic, road accidents. And yeah, because obviously, Novosibirsk, I've noticed that people drive pretty crazy.
Oh, really? Do they? I guess Siberian riders are pretty polite.
Yeah. For example, in Moscow, the traffic is heavier and there is more disrespect..
To other drivers, especially if you are driving a very expensive car here. But it also maybe depends on what car you are driving. Because when I used to drive a small car, which was pretty green colour and nobody like.. And so it was a woman in a small green car, and I could feel this kinda, you know, disrespect or something. Then I drove a bigger car like crossover and it looked more brutal and I felt this difference in attitude. I mean, seriously.
Maybe if you drive a red car, it's like a bull. And it's like..
Makes you angry. Well, maybe I've only noticed like while drivers on the major roads, because yeah, улица Фрунзе, which is quite a big road in Novosibirsk. Whenever I crossed the road you always have to look because people won't stop.
Did you use the crossing?
At the crossing like drivers still.. There's always.. Yeah, you noticed this.
The thing is that, for example, drivers here don't respect cyclers. People who on bicycles like.. And they feel annoyed.
Is it illegal to ride your bike in the streets or can you..?
It is legal. You can do it. It's a vehicle so you can use the same roads, the same rules.
Right? So I was thinking of riding my bike to work recently.
Yeah, I mean, if you ride a bike, you are like, not a driver, but you are the person who should obey all the traffic rules. But if you just take your bike beside you, you are a pedestrian. So you follow the rules for pedestrians, which is different.
But what about the rules on the pavement? Can you ride your bike on the pavement ligally?
Plus the scooters. They're riding scooters on the pavement.
'Cause scooters ride on the roads. Like can you go down улица Фрунзе on a scooter?
Yeah, on the road itself I mean.
I've never seen. I've never seen scooters on the roads.
I've seen on the smaller streets, but not..
I think it's quite dangerous.
Well, anyway, so it's pretty dangerous to be a cyclist, I guess, in Novosibirsk. What about Istanbul? Is it dangerous to be a cyclist there? And what is the general traffic like there?
It's like hell. Istanbul is always kind of jammed. So you have a specific time period that you need to avoid being into traffic like between like 4:00 in the afternoon and like 7:00 in the evening.
And would you say the drivers are particularly aggressive?
Aggressive, yeah, exactly. They're aggressive. They don't have any patience to just wait for the street lights or just honking the.. Honks.
Is it a thing, for example, you come to Istanbul and you rent a car, or it's not for tourists? It's not a.. It's not a good idea?
No, no. It's a good idea. It's a good idea. Instead of paying for the taxi for like an extreme amounts of money, it's better to rent a car from the airport for 10 days package with all included, all that insurance and everything. It's much more cheaper than the taxi.
Yeah, but what about this rules? You said, like no rules.
You need to just be careful about while driving the car and have a traffic. That's it. Just to be aware about your surroundings. That's it.
Yeah. And well, here in Novosibirsk, I was going to talk about potholes. Obviously, the temperature change here really extremes that the holes in the road surfaces itself. Obviously, the temperature here in the winter is can get to minus 40 in the summer, plus 35 sometimes. So obviously that expands and contracts the surface of the road. Do you think anything can be done about the quality of the roads in Russia? Because potholes are pretty dangerous. Yeah. I think anything can be done.
I guess it can be done because if people just care, I mean, the government, the local government, because there are countries with extreme weather conditions and they have better roads. I mean..
Yeah. Well, I've also heard that some city.. Maybe you know a bit more about this. Have you been to Kemerovo?
So I've heard the roads there are really good. I mean, someone told me that they have much better roads.
The city is smaller. Maybe the smaller the city is, the better maintained it is because the local government just.. Well, you can't hide, maybe from the people. I don't know...
Yes, maybe. Yeah. Well, so potholes.. Have you seen..? Did you see the sinkhole last year in October? So this was..
Absolutely incredible. I also saw in October just before you came here because you said you came in December. So in October. So we have this road, улица Семьи Шамшиных, which is the road you go down to on the way to the BigAppleSchool. And there were two cars parked just on the side of the road as normal, not illegally. And they collapsed into this sinkhole.
Yeah, they collapsed into this sinkhole. It was absolutely insane. And I was walking back from school one day and I saw all these emergency services around the end of the road. And I just I couldn't believe it was absolutely insane. These two cars, like deep in this hole in the middle of the street.
Like all this apocalypse movies.
That was like apocalypse scene, but this happens everywhere.That happens in America, too is not just the Russian thing that happens,
But yeah, so you don't want to be walking down the street and then get eaten up?
Oh, come on, it doesn't happen so much. Just once.
It happens in Tokyo, especially, I think..
So, yeah, any other dangers on the roads itself? No, I think it's obviously cause of the main, the main danger.
Speaking of Asia, of course, the traffic is hectic, it's crazy. But somehow they don't have a lot of accidents and they have kind of a habit to ride the bikes or I don't know..
Did you ride a moped when you were in..?
Yeah, just a little bit. Not much. Especially in China, actually. It's safer thing than in Thailand or in Indonesia. And yeah, it was ok.
'Cause in China, I don't think you need a lot.. You don't need a license, do you? In China? That's so nice.
Yeah, it's like e-scooter, you know, it's like basically a scooter, but you can sit on it. It's like somewhere between a bike and scooter.
And they really light and they're really nice. You just get an app. Like, like in Russia, we have the same thing. Yeah. And you just kind of taking it and go wherever you want to.
I'd love to ride a scooter. Well I know Ugur, you told me about riding scooters in.. It was in Vietnam.
Vietnam, yeah. That was the most convenient way to just get around instead of driving a car. So you can just ride your motorbike anywhere you like without having any problems. Plus, you don't need the driving license for the motorbike. Actually, you do, but you can. You can fix that.
Yeah, there's ways around.
Yeah, I rode like four and a half years, so that was.. That was pretty cool.
I'm very envious. Have you ever ridden a scooter or a motorbike?
No, I'm afraid of such things, where you need to.. Well, I love my bicycle. I feel confident on a bicycle. I wouldn't feel confident on a motorbike. I don't know why.. I mean either a car or a bicycle, so you use your legs or you use your, well, or you use some like foot power, wheel and yeah.
Yeah, well, I guess because mopeds and motorbikes are really heavy, maybe that's..
And you need to balance. And at the same time.. Well, I don't know. It feels dangerous to me.
Yeah, I was scared at first, too. But then you just get used to it and you understand how it works. And I don't know.
You just flow after that.
Mm yeah. All right. Well, we can talk about, yeah, about cars and driving all the time. For a long time, I mean. Let's go to the next subject 'the environment'. So there's a lot of, of course, Russia being a very..
Which is also connected to cars because cars exhaust fumes and..
Sure, ok. You can connect. Yeah, yeah.
Because in Novosibirsk I think it is a thing. It Is a problem. We have lots of cars and the exhaust fumes and it pollutes the air a lot. Not only this, of course, not only cars, but still.
Do you think that Russia will introduce electric only cars in the next 20 years? Would you think that it's just too cold for car batteries?
Yeah, because in England, there's this target by the end of 2030, no more sales of gas or petrol powered cars.
Well, and also we have this, we have this gas and oil. That's why maybe it's not not profitable, not beneficial for some companies. That's why maybe Russia will not do this because they like don't care about nature actually.
Well, it depends, I guess. I mean, I guess you have.. Well, it's a big thing in America, especially in America. Some states.. Have you heard of smog checks? Do you know what a smog check is? So if you live in America, when you get your car registered every year, you have to get your car monitored or checked up for its..
Exactly. Carbon emissions or whatever else emissions. And you can't basically register your car unless it passes the smog check. Is there something like this in Russia?
I don't know. I don't own a car, so I don't know.
When you.. How do you register a car in Russia? Do you have to do it every year?
I haven't had a car for several years now, so I just don't, don't remember.
Well, in the UK, we have this thing called an MOT check, which you have to do every year, which means that your car is roadworthy, meaning that you can drive on the roads. And I'm sure there's probably something like it here.
Two years. In every two years time you need to get your car checked. Or like engine check or every detail like the brake and everything plus the emissions and everything. Every two years.
Yeah, but did you own a car in Turkey?
Yeah, I used to. I used to. Like ten ten years ago or something.
OK, cool. Well, anyway, so we were moving onto the subject of environment. So we talked about cars a little bit and the pollution emitted, emitted from cars. I was going to talk about Russia. Obviously being a very cold country. Have you ever had a problem with ice falling from buildings? Because this is a big thing.
In Petersburg, I've heard that this is like a really dangerous city.
Because of the architecture maybe. There are a lot of icicles everywhere and probably they must fall.
Yeah, they have to for some point.
I guess with.. That they have the roof, the roofs here in Novosibirsk, we have the roofs cleaned several times during the winter. And for example, when I lived on the fifth floor, which was the last floor of the building, our like.. Well, we had a special person who was in charge of the house and she used to text like, Please clean the icicles from, like above your balcony. Because like I lived in on the last floor and we needed, we needed to do it.
How did you clean that from your balcony?
Wooden stick? I don't know.
Yeah, they just didn't care how.. Just make it clean.
Oh, by the way, Ugur, if you stick by to the end of the winter, you have to do the thing with the kettle. You boil the kettle and throw out the window.
I haven't tried that, but I am going to try that next winter
Just make sure that there are no people under the window.
You know, it's so impressive. It looks like..
It's pretty cool. I remember when I first came here and I.. For some reason I thought I'd dry my jeans on the balcony and they became like rock hard. You can make into a frisbee.
But I mean, they dry out eventually. You leave them outside for a long time.
Yeah. I've seen a lot of people, you know, do some kind of sculptures out of clothes. They just wet them and..
Those Siberian entertainers.
All right, so. All right. Obviously, ice is a pretty dangerous thing or it can be a dangerous thing. What else would you say with regards to environments is dangerous in in Russia or Novosibirsk in general?
I hate dust. I hate it so much.
I mean, you can feel it on your teeth, in your hair.
Well, this month is particularly dusty. Why is it dusty?
We don't have enough trees yet. We don't have any grass, so that's it, I think. Later it gets..
No rain. Not enough rain and not enough maintenance. I mean, it's the first thing, of course. I'm now considering the idea of where to write about all of this maybe city administration. I took a couple of photos and I'm really going to play the role of an old nagging lady who is going to complain because I'm just..
I know if you go to the local newspapers, sometimes they resolve stories.. They resolve problems, excuse me. If you go to the newspaper and..
Yeah, so maybe you can become a celebrity in the comments.
That's not what I would like to achieve. I mean, maybe just if many people complain and if many people address this issue, it will or it can be somehow solved, at least, I mean, partially. Because if nobody cares, if nobody draws their attention, they will think that it's OK. People are happy. People don't care. People just, I don't know, do their business because, I mean, one person, then another person, 100 people. And well..
Try to awear them down, yeah, somehow. Just..
That's what I believe. Like small steps lead to something bigger.
Yeah. Well, obviously you lived in Asia. You did two, Ugur. Did you ever wear a mask? Because I know..
Yeah, in China, especially.
In Vietnam, while I was.. While I was riding my motorbike because you're in the middle of the traffic, lots of exhaust fumes around, so you need to breathe in a way. So long before the COVID we were already just wearing the masks in the traffic while we are riding our bikes, so.
And.. Oh, Beijing. Where did you..?
By the way, why does it happend?
Oh, I don't know. Maybe some plants, factories.. I don't know, really.
Also it depends on the physical geography of a city. So, for instance, Salt Lake City, you know, Salt Lake City is in Utah and it's in a valley, it's in a bowl almost and all the pollution gets trapped in the bowls of the mountains, kind of, let's say, cusp around the city. They wraped the city in pollution, basically. As with Los Angeles, you have like the big hills and the mountains around, and it's absolutely disgusting, like looking at the pollution from the distance like, you know, the Hollywood sign, obviously. If you climb up the hill. What is it.. I can't remember what it was called. But anyway, you can just see, like it's like black smog, like enveloping the city. Yeah. Is Istanbul like really polluted?
Not that polluted. But you can feel the smoke or like a thick layer of fog during the day. Depends on the traffic. So all the exhaust or like all the things coming out of the cars you can feel that.
I guess maybe because the physical geography of this temple being by the sea. Yeah, I guess,
Most of the time it is clear. Clear weather.
I saw the same in Almaty in Kazakhstan. Like there are mountains around the city, but the city itself is like down and it is always, almost always covered smog.
London is surprisingly OK. Obviously, if you go to central London, it's pretty polluted, but you can.. The air there is actually surprisingly nice in London, even though we have a lot of cares and stuff. What I've noticed is the air in the UK is actually really nice. Did you notice, though?
Yeah, in Edinburgh, it's so clean. It's so nice because of the trees, maybe because it's a small city, basically. But it's so nice and fresh. And I don't know. It's just, yeah, it feels good.
Maybe because it's really humid. Oh, it's actually humid.
There is a sea. Yeah, probably that.
So I remember noticing that when I was younger, like when I got off the plane back home at Heathrow in London, I always felt the air, which was crisp and just like nice. The city where I'm originally from, Sao Paulo, that's really polluted. That's like, yeah, it's really sad like how polluted it is. It's just.. My brother got bronchitis just from living there. And it was, yeah, yeah, it's pretty polluted. So yeah, it's a big, it's a big problem. All right. So that's, um, pollution in general. But we also have other sources of pollution which are not just produced by cars. We also have forest fires. Is this a problem here.
Definitely, in Novosibirsk, yeah.
Oh, like the Novosibirsk region has..?
I mean, not about the fires, but again, because of the wind. It comes from taiga. So we have these kind of smoke. So yeah, and it's.. There's also smell sometimes, maybe in the middle of June, July. Yeah, something that. Mm yeah. It's yeah, it's disturbing.
So obviously this happens all the time in California. We see this on the news, but, I guess, in the West, people don't really hear about Siberia having all these trees, so it's bound to happen at some point. Well, what causes forest fires? Is it just anarchists who are ...? Or is it a natural?
I think it's mainly a natural process, I guess.
Well, I know if you have, like, a piece of glass that's broken and magnifies the sun rais that can..
Or exploding pine cones for the heat, if the heat is so high. It happens mostly in Turkey, in this coastal towns, in Turkey. If the the weather is so hot the pine cones exploding by themselves. And that makes a kind of bomb effect. And starts a fire around.
I guess there's a lot of liquid inside.
It's like popcorn but pine.
Pine pops. Sounds like a good cereal. Yeah. Well, other factories here in Novosibirsk? Is that another source of pollution?
So what are those chimneys that you see around town? What are those? Are they for the hot water or..?
I guess, for the heating.
I don't know a lot about Novosibirsk about factories. I guess it's not really industrial city. We have something, of course.
Novokuznetsk is an industrial..?
Yeah, it used to be. Now it's not that much. But when I was a child, yeah, there were like metal plants, chemical plants and like different metal plants. I mean, black metal and other types of metal. There are two big plants where my grandparents worked, for example, and they were like.. The plants, which basically formed the city itself. So the city was built around these plants.
Yeah. So that, yeah, emits a lot of pollution. Yeah. All right. Well, yeah, it's another interesting subject. So let us know in the comments if you're interested to hear more about the environment. And let's move on to our final topic here. So we have, well, not final topic. Second, to last topic. Dangers. Domestic dangers. Dangers in apartments. Gas explosion. Can you tell me more about what happened last year?
I watched that on YouTube.
Yeah, I watched it on YouTube.
Yeah, a guy from the USA texted me and said, like, have you heard of it? And I was like, Yeah, but how did you hear that
I remember walking on the street thinking, Wow, was this like a terrorist. It was nuts. So what happened in the end? Who knows? Do you know the whole story?
I don't remember. It was a long time ago.
So there was a gas station
Leak, I guess that there was a leak or something. Then suddenly, it just something ignited it.
And that's what happened.
Yeah, I think the owner of the gas station is in prison now because of..
Obviously. Luckily, no one died.
Yeah,here were some people who suffered.
So, yeah, gas explosions. Is this a normal thing? I'm not talking about gas stations or petrol station. I'm talking about inside buildings. The pipes. Is this..?
I hope it is not. I hope it is not a common thing. I lived in a house with the central gas. Well, what.. Pipes. And there were some cases in other cities in Siberia. Maybe Chelyabinsk, maybe.. Well, I'm not sure. And after these cases, this gas services started to visit our house more often. Maybe once a month or once in two months just to check everything. Yeah. I have never felt comfortable about gas. Now I'm happy that I live in a house with electricity.
Yeah, in Europe, there have been many, many explosions over the years of like houses.
Yeah, houses blow up. That's happened in England a few time. Quite a few times. I mean, .. you wouldn't die instantly, but it's like a really scary thing, of course. OK, so leaking pipes, electric shocks. Have any of you ever been electrocuted before?
You need to be very, very curious and to..
Put your finger into the socket.
To put both your fingers and, well, I mean, you need to try, to try hard to be, I guess, to have this shock.
What happened to me.. And what about you?
Only with those toy electric shock games. Did anyone ever give you one of those like electric shock pens?
But it's really weak, yeah. You can barely feel it.
I hate it. It's what.. You can call me like a little sissy, but I hated it so much.
Actually, I have a shocker. Or how do you call it?
Oh, so cool. Have you ever used it?
Just for fun. Because it makes, you know, this funny noise. And like, it's kind of scary, you know. It's really loud when you make it. Everybody is like, what? What is that?
It smells nice. It smells of ozone or something like that, you know. I don't know how it works, but yeah, it smells like, you know, rain.
Because in England tasers are illegal.
Which is so annoying. Like it should be allowed to have a taser, especially, if you like alone at night.
I think you do need some kind of, uh, you know.. Some papers may be here.
I don't know, actually. It's my dad's and he gave it to me, you know, for safety. But maybe there is something like that.
Yes, it's a useful tool to have, for sure.
OK, so what other hazards do we have in the cities? Well, holes from.. The drainpipe holes, like, that's like a big thing. I think in New York, it's a problem like people have.. You know, in New York City how you have on the sidewalks, on the pavements? You have drain holes and sometimes people can step through them. So that's a problem. I don't really think it's a problem here.
Well, while the talk is progressing, I start to think that we live in a pretty safe place.
Generally speaking, yeah, I don't really.. I mean, obviously, occasionally you have some old buildings that have problems. But generally speaking, yeah, it's a safe city here in Novosibirsk.
Well, the other day I read an interesting article, a sad but interesting article about, I think, I told you before this podcast. But we have.. We had.. No, so there were two people. There was a couple, a man and or a guy and his girlfriend, and they had an argument in the middle of the night. Or that was in the morning, I can't remember. But the guy ended up throwing his sofa out the window. And yeah, it sounds funny, but there was an old lady downstairs and she got killed by this sofa. And yeah, I mean..
One in a million chance, you know. Oh my...
It's, like,t he unluckiest..
How strong the guy should be, like to throw the sofa.
Why? There was nothing else? He was so angry..?
How did he manage to open the window or to break the window? What kind of Hulk was he?
It's really, totally curious.
I mean, I get, like, angry at the girlfriend. Or maybe,
But you don't throw the sofa off the window...
Well, maybe, maybe he wanted to have this sofa, so maybe he wanted to move out.
Let's put some fresh air in our life. Let's start from zero.
Well, the important thing. Obviously, I feel terrible for the poor old lady, who got to die because of some guy's urge of throwing a sofa out the window. But that's like a freak accident. I mean. Have you heard of any other freak accidents in Novosibirsk?
Um, well, sometimes people throw out like cigarets out of the window, which is also annoying because, for example, it can.. I mean, I wouldn't like to be touched by the cigaret.
Or maybe some bottles, because, for example, I was passing by like this. I guess it was a kind of a dorm and someone just threw a bottle out of the window and it broke in front of me.
Oh, dear, that's pretty..
Yeah. Things falling from the sky. That's a city, city danger. Oh, have any of you, by the way..? I've been pooed on by a pigeon before. Has a pigeon ever pooed on you?
Oh, actually, no. But you know, there is kind of a superstition or something like that, you will maybe rich or something..
That has never happened to me.
Yeah, me neither. So we're supposed to be sad about it.
That happened to me in.. It was, I think, it was Paddington Station in London, and I was there with a friend. I got completely covered by this ... So I guess you could call an urban danger.
Yeah, exactly.All right. Any neighbors.. You've had any violent neighbors, dangerous neighbors?
Yeah, speaking of my parents again. They live in a house and, I mean, private houses like it's kind of a, you know, area where different people live and not all of them are properly educated and it's properly brought up, I don't know. So and yes..
And have you had noisy neighbors like particularly noisy?
Yeah. Again, for example, in Novokuznetsk where my parents still live. It's a pretty old building with a lot of different people living there, like not all of them are.. What was this word?
Civilized. Ok, let's put it like this. And for example, my mom called the police several times at night because of some, you know, crazy parties, so involving alcohol, loud music like in the middle of the night. Let's say, 3 am, 2 am and they didn't stop. They wouldn't stop. And she would, for example, come to their flat and ask them to be silent. They didn't care, absolutely. Or they even used some like obscene words. And my mom is a very sensitive person. I mean, she's an elderly person and she got offended.
And did the police do much about that?
Surprisingly, yeah, they come, they write this report. They come to their.. To the flat. And well, now yes, they do. Because I mean, it has been going on and on for several years because of the same, basically the same neighbor. She has been living there like, well, since my childhood. We are more or less the same age. And she still continues her crazy parties. And now, yeah, police comes and..
Yeah, they are pretty polite and..
I don't know if it helps. I mean, it doesn't help to make this particular person better behaved but..
All right, guys. Well, we have one more topic. I love talking about noisy neighbors and stuff like that. There's that many stories we can mention there, but let's.. I've got the last topic we can discuss. Natural disasters. So not environment, but more natural disasters. Have any of you ever experienced an earthquake? In Jakarta, obviously, that's a big earthquake.
The big Turkey Istnbul earthquake.
It was in 1999. And it was like 7.4 magnitude. It was kind of huge and it lasted for more than a minute. And most of the buildings were collapsed. That was kind of huge and people tried to get the help. It took like two days to get the proper help out in the city. So it was kind of a big scale. Huge thing. So what we call as a big Istanbul earthquake and we are expecting the next one in the next five years. It's going to happen. Bigger than that.
Do people at school like learn what to do?
Yeah. I remember myself. We after immediately the earthquake happened, we had a lesson how to be prepared to an earthquake and how to just behave during the earthquake kind of lesson. So most of the people living in Istanbul, they have a small bag with them just close to the door. If something happens, they just grab the bag and..
With like, with essentials..
Yeah, essentials. All essential food or first aid kit or whatever. Yeah, we all have a small bag.
That's nice. I mean, you're prepared.
Yeah. So Turkey is kind of an earthquake country in a away.
Because of this tectonic plates?
Yeah, exactly. Exactly. Exactly. We are sharing that thing with Greece as well. If an earthquake happens in Turkey, it also happens in Greece like a couple of months later on in a way. Yeah. So I know what the earthquake is.
So this is a kind of the two countries give each other the earthquake rivalry between ...
Yeah. The shared culture..
About earthquakes in Indonesia. It's pretty common to, you know,.
I was living in Padang. It's a city in West Sumatra if you know. It's right on the coast and like earthquakes are really common there. So there were a lot of buildings that were ruined like in 22 or something that. Yeah. And there was a hotel that was totally ruined. So yeah, and they brought me there just to show. Actually, once experience that I was there for like three months, I was leaving the host family and I was like, I woke up in the middle of the night and I didn't stand voters heaven at first. Like, I mean, walls were moving and like things have fallen from the shelves and..
And that sound coming from deep inside or cracking sound..
What.. What is happening? But it was kind of fun for me. It was like,Wow, a nice experience, you know. But yeah, it was really interesting. Yeah. And my host brother and host sister, they were knocking on my door..
Natalie, get out. You need to go to the ...
Was it like a high up building? Or just like a..
Oh, no, just two store building. Not so high. Everybody was scared was, but they used it ..
Do they have high buildings? I guess they do have high buildings.
They do. They do. Yeah, it depends on the city. Yeah, because where I was living five floors, maybe six, I don't know..
Yes, this pretty sizable.
But no skyscrapers. Not, as many probably.
They most in Jakarta, the capital.
Novosibirsk, I think, has had a couple of earthquakes. Am I right?
Yeah, it was real light ones. I remember I was like a teenager and there was one. Everybody was speaking about it like, Wow, we had an earthquake, you know, but nobody really fought it much.
Well, I guess what.. Maria, have you felt an earthquake?
Yeah. When I was living in Kuzbas, yes. And in Novokuznetsk when I was a schoolgirl, I guess I.. By the way, no, I'm trying to remember. I don't know if it was a natural earthquake or maybe a kind of industrial one because we have a lot of mines and sometimes.. Well, the ground can shake because of something that they do inside the mines. So I just really don't know. Yeah, and it was maybe it was natural because it was quite big. And I remember that we spent like half a night outside, took my cat and we were sitting there. Oh, well, I don't remember. I was like 12, yeah, it seems to me that it was half a night because they were repeating. I mean this shakes. They were like during the daytime, then at night and we were expecting something else and people were sitting outside. It was like September or something. Not very cold.
Well, I felt an earthquake in Las Vegas. It was pretty cool, actually. Because it wasn't like enough to cause severe damage. But yeah, I worked in a hotel and it was really funny because the hotel was, I think, was twenty five floors up and on the top floor all the pictures fell off the wall and it was pretty cool.
I mean, as long as it's not serious it's kind of fun.
Yeah, no one died. It was just like a pretty nut.
Yeah, you feel dizzy, like you have been taking a bit of alcohole and like, Wow, fun.
Right, guys, let's wrap that up. So thank you very much, guys, for the show. Let us know if you have any suggestions or if you want to hear more about specific subjects we'd love hearing from you guys. And also be sure to leave your opinion on our platforms, on Apple Podcast, on VK, or, of course, on our Telegram platform. So that's it for today, and we'll see you next time.