Hello guys. Welcome back to another episode of the BigAppleSchool podcast. The goal of this podcast is to help you improve your English skills through listening. My name is Benjamin. I'm from London, and today I'm joined by three guests. Our first guest today is...
Ken from the Philippines.
Excellent and our second guest...
So welcome back, guys. Today, what we're going to do is we're going to discuss some new stories. Just a little disclaimer. We're not journalists and don't take our opinions too seriously. We're English teachers and a Russian teacher of course Katya. And what we're going to do, like I said, we will just discuss the news stories. And if you have any questions about the English language or anything related to the stories, do let us know in the comments. We will be more than happy to help you with any questions. Anyway, let's get started. So the first news story we're going to talk about today comes from the Metro. Do any of you know the Metro newspaper? It comes from London. We heard of this magazine?
Is this the one that is like on the tube station, you can grab it for free and everything?
We have the same thing, only the different colors. I think we might.. We might have discussed it on one of the podcasts.
And it is called Metro as well.
And it is called Metro. Yeah, but it's like green and white or something. And the British one is...?
British one is blue and white.
I mean, that's the logo. It's blue and white. But like you said, yes, you can find it at, yeah, most underground stations or not just the underground. You can also find them at railway stations throughout the UK. And yeah, it's a free, it's a free newspaper as is the Evening Standard. Have you heard of The Evening Standard?
So yeah, you know, obviously. So the first story we're going to talk about today is.. Do you know what's happening on the London Underground? Or the London Transport Network. Does anyone know?
Well, you sent us the links, you know, beforehand.
Well, what's happening then?
The opening a new line. The Elizabeth. Elizabeth line.
Exactly. Yeah, the Elizabeth line. And so this line is going to link some towns outside of London, namely Redding, which is a smaller town, a satellite town outside of London. This is going to link these towns to the center of London, and it will make or supposedly make commutes much easier. And the story is.. Part of the story is that the local government spent £4.2 billion extra on the construction of this train line. My question is, how is it that in the West, in California or in the UK? Why is it that we spend so much money on transport infrastructure but other countries like China, they can just build train lines and it really successfully.
Let's be fair over here. You know, China has like in 2021, China has a GDP of £20 billion, whereas Britain has roughly like what? 2.2 oh, sorry, not billion, trillion pounds.
£20 trillion attending the power of 12. My humble brain cannot even imagine such numbers.
Britain's GDP in 2021 was £2.2 trillion. We cannot compare these countries. They're just so different. The budget is different, the resources are different. The number of people who can actually work in the construction is different. So, yeah, but at the same time, I wouldn't say that London has, you know, horrible transport system.
Oh, no, no. By no means. No, it's really clean. It's really nice in general. A little bit expensive, though, I would say. Do you know how much?
One zone is like what? £2.40? 250 rubles. And it's just one zone, like over the center. I remember living in zone 3. And I think I paid like 3.50 for each like for each ube, right.
And you had an oyster card?
And I had an oyster card, yeah.
Is it much cheaper to use the oyster card?
So it makes it a little bit cheaper. I believe in the past, you can buy a travel card. Maybe you still can do it. I haven't bought a travel card.
I actually always wondered.
There's this idiom in English called The World is your Oyster. Really strange idiom. I don't really know where it comes from, but this means that you can do anything that you want and you can go anywhere that you like. So this, yeah, this electronic travel card was taken from this idiom. So if you go to London and you get an oyster card, no, you're not going to get food poisoning. You're not going to buy an item of seafood. You're going to get on a bus or train. So, yeah.
I'm just wondering, though, how much, you know, the Chinese government spends on their, let's say, train stations. Is it the same price or nearly the same as the amount that, you know, the UK government spends on this, especially this latest, you know, station?
To be honest, I have no idea. I don't have the figures in front of me. But what I do know is that it's probably easier in China for the government to bypass bureaucracy and to just knock down houses and roads where I guess that's probably why it's more expensive in the UK and in the US too, to build transport infrastructure because people will sue a train company if they..
So by the way, what is public transportation like in the Philippines?
You know, a while ago when you were talking about. I just want to go back a little bit.
Regarding the newspaper, we also have something similar and it's literally called 'Free' because it's for free.
And yes, we do have like a subway, especially in Manila, although I must say it's only limited to the capital city. I don't think we have such train lines in other parts of the country. And if we talk about Manila, we do have 3 different not just lines, but like different.. I don't know how to call that, but different clusters of, you know, basically subway system.
So would you say, I mean, is it cheap or is it..?
Actually, I guess now they have increased the price. And it's not like here in Russia where you just pay once and then you can and at whatever, you know, destination you want to go toю in the Philippines, it's maybe kind of like in London where you have to pay for every station. So there's a different price depending on where you want to get off. But here in Russia, that's why I like it here, because it's efficient and it's cheap.
I have to be honest. The transport here is actually really good. And especially the metro system. I mean, yeah. Alyona is there a cards that you can buy here in Novosibirsk.
Yes, sure, you can use just your credit card to pass, and also you can use different transport cards. If I'm not mistaken, they actually let you take another maybe trolleybus for free. Even, yeah, if you use one. It is like a for free. So they have different, different kinds of..
I think it's like within an hour, right? If you take the tube and then after that you take a trolleybus or something but not a bus.
For some reason. It can be free. But I think nobody uses that now just because it's so much easier to just tap your debit card, you know, and just off you go.
I love the. Well, speaking of the Novosibirsk metro and other Russian metros, I love the ticket barriers. Like they will chop off your kneecaps if you..
That's the scary part of..
You know, like in the whole of the world, it's closed gate and then they open once you pay. And in Russia, you just live in fear.
It's a little guillotine.
Just a couple of days ago I went through that pass in Rechnoy station and they actually changed the system.
Yes. That's why I like using that situation.
I was shocked. I was shoked. Because that was unusual.
I actually saw a person before, about two years ago, I just don't remember which station. But he was caught by these things that actually perhibites you.
Oh I have been told by these things the first time I ever came to Novosibirsk. So I'm like, Oh, a metro. I've never seen one, you know, like I'm from small town. So and I bought this, you know, like whatever you call it, like a token. So, and I'm a lefty so I'm left handed. So it was just my instinct to toss, you know, this token on my left. I paid for the one, you know, for the entrance on the left. So I was so sure, you know, tried to get, to get in and I was hit by these things. I was like, What happened? And the very sweet lady was just shouting at me.
Did the train gods let you through?
Later, yeah. They shouted at me at first, you know, then they did.
Because I can just imagine..
You can imagine. Yeah. The hit on your hips and you like..
I thought it's more scary than painful, no?
It is kinda painful. Maybe that's just my memory, you know, picturing it like that.
Yeah, I guess. Can you.. Can you sue the Russian government if it hurts you?
Wow. Well, this is the funniest joke I've heard within.. Within a year. Really. Can we sue the Russian goverment. Very funny.
For, like, the painful train ticket barriers.
All right, well, hopefully you guys.. Well let us know in the comments have you been decapitated by a Russian ticket barrier. We would love to know if you're still alive from the experience. The next story also comes from the Metro. The Metro magazine. This is about the Qatar football World Cup. I mean, it's quite amazing that everyone has just forgotten or at least I've forgotten that there's actually another football World Cup coming to town. Okay. So this is in Qatar, obviously, you know, very hot country.
And do you know much about the stadiums that they're building?
They're trying to build an air conditioned stadium. And I don't understand how..
Well, because it's a desert country they will definitely need air conditioning.
Yeah, it's, it's, it's really hot.
So that's the reason for the news.
Well, that's actually not the reason for the news. The actual news story is that a pint of beer is going to cost over £10. And I don't understand how British football fans are gonna..
They just want to earn some money because they all know..
I think, you know, it doesn't come.. It doesn't come down to money only in this case. Because if you think about it, Qatar is a muslim country. So they have very strict laws and very high taxes on alcohol. It's not fully forbidden there, but still. And if we look at the experience of Britain, you know, in general and the British football matches and everything. Every time there is a match, there are hell a lot of drunk people that are first just drunk, then they cause some trouble and everything. So and I think by raising the price, you know, they kinda try to deal with that. So it kind of lower the number of drunk people. So it's only reasonable.
So you only have posh drunk people.
Only those who can afford.
That's quite interesting. 'Cause I was reading that in Qatar.. Well, as you said, yeah, it's a muslim. It's a muslim country. So you can only legally buy alcohol at hotel bars. And and I believe you can get a special license to buy alcohol from a special shop. You can't just buy alcohol at an off license or a corner shop or liquor store like in America.
Yeah. So it's going to be.. I dunno, do you think it will be bit more boring football match or..? Do you think maybe the drunk fans add atmosphere to the World Cup?
Well, definitely it will be less violent with fewer, you know, drunk people because I know when say for instance, their team, you know, loses, then some fans, they get crazy and they start to rumble. So it's going to be chaotic, but, you know, with higher prices for alcohol, well, so fewer people will be drunk.
Let's face it, your team wins, like fans get crazy. Your team loses, the fans get crazy. There's like no win in this situation.
Well, how much does a pint of beer cost in Novosibirsk?
Well, now, after the sanctions and everything, a pint of London Pride is 540 rubles.
That's London Pride. That's exports.
That's so good, though. Okay. A pint of Oyster, Oyster stout, I mean, is 440 rubles. A lager is around 300 rubles.
Oh, that's quite expensive. But what about the local beers?
Yeah. I mean, it's not really, like, super cheap. 'Cause still, you know, they, they need good ingredients to make this good beer. The local one. I mean, there are some cheap beers.
If you go to the shop. For example your local shop you can find quite good beer for 50 rubles.
Then are you gonna like it?
It's a question of quality, I guess. Yeah?
I haven't had a drink in, I think two weeks already. It's been a while. The beers here are great. Is absolutely amazing. And I love the.. What are they called пивоварня, the пивнушки. The beer shops. It's amazing how you can get beer on tap. Craft beer.
24. Actually, you live in the building where there is one which is 24/7. Is it legal? You know, questionable.
They're so called bars. Yeah?
Yeah, yeah, yeah. Technically, you know, they put like a couple of tables over there, chairs. They're like, Well, technically, we're a bar. Em, you're not.
Is it more expensive at night time?
It makes sense. I know there's the law here, at least in Novosibirsk and I believe throughout Russia whereby you can't purchase alcohol from a shop after 10 p.m. if that's correct. Yeah.
That's true because I was with a friend one time, he wanted to buy a bottle of beer but he was refused.
And actually that's, that's in Novosibirsk because let's say in Yakutiya, they have different times. In there you can only buy alcohol from 2 p.m. to 8 p.m.. Which was actually not a very good strategy because initially they did that, so they thought that that would lower the, you know, the level of consumption. But it was the opposite because people kind of bought in bulk beforehand. So instead of buying let's say one bottle of wine and then thinking, Oh you know, if we run out like we can always go and grab another. No, they bought like three for five and then they drank it over anyway.
Like a booze rush hour. So that's quite interesting. So each.. I'm really fascinated by how the Russian Federation has its different legislation for different sums. So it's kind of like America in a way, how each state has it.. Has its own legislation. Yeah.
Actually, speaking of alcohol and everything, I'm currently reading a book which is written by Professor David Nutt and it's called 'To Drink or Not to Drink. The New Science of Alcohol + Your Health'. And it's about alcohol in general, you know, its effect on your body and everything and the regulations and everything in Britain and France. So it gives, you know, a very vivid picture of what the situation with alcohol is like in Britain.
I remeber. I've remembered this name, Dr. David Nutt, did he many years ago..?
He was in the government. He was in the government. He was the one responsible for the like the drug consumption and everything. Like he was one of the.
In the British government. Yeah, I remember his..
Yeah, he was a scientist but he was fired because he said that alcohol is a drug and it causes more harm than crack or LSD or marijuana. Because, you know, when we speak about alcohol and other drugs, you know, we need to think about two sort of like negative consequences, the harm that you do to yourself and the harm you do to society. So and he was the one who said alcohol brings more harm to society and people combined, you know, than crack and other drugs and the alcohol produced giants didn't like that. The government didn't like that. So he was fired.
Yeah. No I remember his name very clearly because in the UK there's a very big debate about whether to legalize marijuana or not. And yeah, his name was all over the newspapers when..
Well, because.. Just because he said, you know, marijuana is not that harmful, you know, if we compare it to alcohol. And of course, nobody liked that.
Well, I guess it depends how you consume it, because I guess if you smoke it, then obviously it's like nothing's good if you put in your lungs, but if you eat it, then probably it's probably could have some good effects. I don't know.
So read this book. It's a fascinating book. Really.
Yeah. Well interesting. Let's move on to the next story. So this is from RT, actually not.. We'll move on to that story in a second. So this is from the Evening Standard. This is about the passport office in the UK, which takes up to five months to issue UK passports. And I remember just before I came to Novosibirsk, I decided to get myself a new British passport so I could have ten years. So I don't have any problems with the Russian authorities and the visa. And I remember I was so nervous, I was biting my nails, waiting for this passport and they couldn't deliver the passport on time. And the delivery guy, not dissing the delivery guy, but the first time he just couldn't be bothered to take it up to my parents are appartment. And the second time he just called me and said, Meet me out on the street and I had to go next to some tube station and meet this courier with my passport. And I just thought, this is a really disorganized way. Why is the Passport Office, like, not getting its act together?
I've heard stories that even to get your license, your driver's license, you need to send all the documents to the office or come by yourself. And actually, this is a document. When you send it, it's always the opportunity that you can.. They can lose it, postal services can lose it.
This is so scary. I dunno, maybe because I live in Russia and they know that the post office, like..
Russia is sending something? Russian post? Hell, no.
Yeah. I mean, I don't understand why.. Why so many government agencies can't get their act together, especially in America, for instance, I've been trying to deal with my tax return recently, and it's been a nightmare. I've been.. I've been on the phone for hours and hours at the IRS.
IRS? Oh, my goodness. How did that go?
And I know that, of course, Russia has its problems, too, but I was really impressed by Госуслуги. Госуслуги is like a great portal. Why doesn't America have a Госуслуги equivalent? I don't understand.
You know you've mentioned the IRS and this is just something beyond my understanding. Just because, you know, they know exactly how much taxes you need to pay, they won't let you, you know, won't let you know. So you need to calculated. What happens if you do wrong? Oh you're just going to jail. Amazing.
And it's just so disorganized and I had to pay someone to file. Well not someone, not individual, I had to pay a company. It was only 20 bucks but to file my taxes and, and just like, why isn't there just one united portal? Like they have here.
Um, but anyway, coming back to the story, it was about the passport office in the UK taking up to five months to issue a passport. We live in the digital age. What can be so difficult? Why can't they just be like one place where you just go and give your fingerprints and then you passport's issued? Why is It have to be so bureaucratic?
You know, I've got a feeling that it's kind of easier for us in Russia now. I mean..
Much easier. You can go to МФЦ, so that multifunction centre. And, okay, there are lines. There can be some angry women. But anyway it's all bearable and so you'll get your passport in a months.
I actually remember applying.. But when you say passport, you mean like a traveling passport because..
Yeah, because in England we don't have internal passport.
So, so it's quite interesting. I was really fascinated how here in Russia you have an internal passport and a загранпаспорт, the international passport. In England we don't have an internal passport. Usually our ID is a driving license or, there are a few other IDs you can get, but it's not the same. Whereas I think to be honest, I think Russia's more efficient with this, which is quite interesting.
Speaking with.. Speaking about, you know, like the passports. I remember several years ago when I was applying for my traveling passport, I uploaded all of my documents online. So then I made an appointment for the time I wanted because I needed to, you know, to get the fingerprints and the photo, have my photo taken. It took about 5 minutes. Two weeks later, I got a notification on my phone, by the way, like a text message. Like your passport is ready. Come in. You know, in any, any time, within the working hours, you can go.
That's great. What is it like applying for a passport in the Philippines? Have you has your passport expired when you were traveling?
Well, you see, I was listening to you earlier and I thought, Oh, my God, five months? And I can't believe it because..
Not me personally. I didn't wait five months.
Yeah, I mean, from the news. Yeah, I know. But the thing is, I would think that countries like the UK would have more, you know, this is not a criticism, it's just my expectations.
No-no, please, criticise. Like we said, we're not journalists we're just English teachers and.. It's ok.
But the thing is, I would expect it to be a little faster, more efficient because, you know, I mean, the UK is like a first world country. I'm not saying that we have better, you know, system,.
But maybe you do, maybe you do.
You know, we also have bureaucracy in the Philippines and it also takes time to actually apply or get, you know, a new passport. If I were to get it in the Philippines, oh my God, it's going to take me months to around three months. But still, that's, you know, less compared to five months. But it would be much shorter if I were to get a new passport in another country. Yeah. So, for instance, my last passport. It expired while I'm still here in Russia. So I had to fly to Moscow to get a new one. And it only took a month and a half.
So, wait, did you have to stay in Moscow for a month and a half?
No, I had to go there personally for my fingerprints and, you know, to pay, you know.
So, you went to the embassy, yeah?
Yes. I have to be physically present because they have to see me. And it's just the procedure in getting new passports in my country. So I went there and then I had to fly back here to Novosibirsk. And then when the passport was ready, I had two options. It could be delivered to my address here in Novosibirsk, or I could get it, you know, personally. But I chose to go back and pick it up myself because, you know..
To have a couple more days of vacation, exploring Moscow...
Yes. That's what.. Exactly. And the other thing is, I'm just worried about, you know, the Postal Service. I don't know. It might be misplaced.
The very fact that there is a chance, you know, to get a delivered to your place is, I think, fantastic. That's how I got my passport. My visa, actually, my American visa, when it was still possible to apply in Russia. So I went to the embassy and then a week later, I got it delivered to my address.
Oh, great. And, well, obviously, a lot of listeners are intrigued by obtaining an American visa. What is the process now for Russian citizens obtaining a US visa?
Okay. My time to shine. So the thing is that you can't apply for an American visa in Russia, so now your options are really limited. So Russia has been called the homeless country started with like last year. Meaning we have not a single consul.
In Russia. So you can apply in basically any country where you want. But the thing is that the waiting time is really long right now. So, for example, you can apply in Poland, you can apply in.. I have some friends who applied in Mongolia, Kazakhstan. But depending on the time of the, the type of your visa, the waiting time would be like, you know, would vary. So right now, for example, in Cyprus or in Poland, if you make an appointment, that's going to be for, like March 2023.
So good luck with that. So and then, you know, the world is changing. So when you.. I have a lot of, like, people that I know who made an appointment for an interview, for a visa interview at an embassy, and then because of the pandemic, you know, when this time came, the appointment was just canceled or put off. But yeah, it's at least a year to get a visa. But then you have to remember that to go to America actually with this visa, when you get it, you need to have a World Health Organization approved vaccine, which is impossible to get in Russia, which means that you need to go to yet another country and get it.
So it's really time, energy and money consuming these days.
And is there a particular country..? Have you heard any rumors of a particular country having a faster service with the US embassy or is..?
It's all seasonal, see. So for example, in the.. In December, in November it was really easy to get it in Mauritius. But it's about 150,000 rubles to get there in back just for the plane tickets. It's really.. It's fast. There was about like a 90% approval statistics, you know, like. But it was really expensive. So it all depends on how much money you have and how much time you have.
Well, guys, let us know if you have any questions about this in the comments. Obviously, we're not immigration lawyers.
But if you have any questions about the visa, let me know because I'm in, you know, I've been trying to get a visa for the last two and a half years.
Yeah, I know. Quite a ... Alyona, have you ever had any experience obtaining a visa?
Yes, I had. Actually, one of my first jobs was connected to visas. I was kind of connected to traveling organization for a big company. Yeah. And back in 2007, 2009, something like that. It was a pretty difficult, I must say, for some reasons, to get visas.
Oh, maybe because of the economic. Did you say 2007?
2007, 2009. Somewhere there. I used to work for a mobile operator. And in the inner service to let our workers to fly somewhere for example. And the worst thing was dealing with the postal services. Because, yeah, we had some FedEx and we had TNT Express Services, which were quite fast. Like two days and you'll get your passport back. But all the time that was so scary. And that was quite expensive.
Yeah, holding, holding your breath waiting for important documents to arrive on time. Yeah.
And that was quite expensive back then.
And I know unfortunately now DHL and FedEx have suspended sending, sending posts to Russia, which is quite annoying.
Once they did that. My visa just, you know, the very chance of getting a visa just disappeared.
Yeah. I don't really understand why they suspended it because it's not exactly dangerous to send things here.
I think in this case it's mostly.. It mostly comes down to logistics.
So nothing, nothing personal, you know.
Yeah. But I don't know if you have the Estonian border, you have Finland, you can easily send documents through there. And it's not exactly particularly dangerous. Wait. I don't. I don't understand it. Anyway, so that's the passport office story. Yeah. Like I said, let us know in the comments if you have any questions or if you need any suggestions. But the next story we have comes from RT. Everyone knows RT — Russia Today. This is Americans quit their job at a record pace. So last time we talked about work and employment. This is kind of a similar topic over here. Over 4.5 million Americans voluntarily quit their jobs in March. My question is, how would you say.. How would you suggest for an American employer, how can they entice workers to come back? Because recently, I don't know, if you know, in America, there have been many unemployment benefits being paid out. And quite often these unemployment benefits pay more than..
Because it started in 2020 when COVID hit, because, you know, the unemployment benefit together with the stimulus check was way more that you could make. Like it was a lot. I mean, compare to, like, a low pay job, like working in fast food chain and everything.
So. And that's why hell a lot of people just quit their jobs, saying, why would I? Why would I work if I can make more getting those benefits? But actually, the stimulus checks were suspended. I mean, nobody is getting them anymore. I mean, unless you're like a really low paid household and everything. Like low income household. But what companies can do now is don't make the workers come back to the office. Let them enjoy working remotely if they want to.
What if it is, for instance, a fast food worker? How flip burgers on Zoom?
Well, in this case lower the stimulus checks and the unemployment benefits.
So that's from the government. What can employers do to ... to usher? This is a good verb, by the way, 'to usher' means to, let's say, to beckon people back to the, to welcome people back to the workplace. How can employers usher employees back to the workplace?
Provide health insurance.
If you're going to be practical about it. Yes. And then on the other side, well, I would say the more personal side. I don't know exactly how American employers are when it comes to the treatment of their employees. But, you know, if you want to win them over, you have to make sure that you establish a very good relationship. And that would be you know, that would include listening also to the concerns of your employees. Otherwise, if you just let your rules be put in place without being questioned by the employees, then of course, the employees will not like that and they're going to leave work. I mean, it is applicable to any kind of job.
I mean, it all varies from company to company. But in general, what I see in the American corporate world is horrible. I mean, compare to Russia. Russia has amazing conditions because in there how many days of paid leave do you get for a year?
It's like a month almost. 28 days here.
Here, yeah. But in America, like, what? Seven days?
Sometimes not even. I mean, when I worked in a hotel, I didn't even get any paid holiday.
And what about sick leaves? Maternity leaves?
Maternity leave? I mean, over here, you can get like a paid maternity leave for, like, what, a year?
And then 3 years they don't pay you for the second part of it. But anyway, you get your position.
Yeah, yeah, yeah. Over there, the maternity leave is like, what, five days or something?
Wait wait. So does the government pay for the maternity or does the employer pay for the..?
The employer always pays always pays the taxes. Yeah. From the beginning, from the start of work for them. And one day if the woman goes to the maternity leave, so in that case the government pays back those taxes.
Okay. All right. So it's not just like if..
No, no, no. It's not like..
If I decide to have a baby, I'm going to make my boss pay for it. That would be quite harsh on the boss, I guess. I don't know. Yeah. So, guys, listen to our previous podcast. It was. Yeah, we spoke at length about work and. Yeah. Quality of life, etc.. Let's move on to the next story. This is a really fun story. I found this in NGS.
So we're talking about Russian stories for now.
Yeah, Russian news now. This is a Russian. Exactly. So thanks.
Be careful with saying NGS. Usually whatever you post there, whatever you say is going to cause a shitstorm anyway. Be that positive or negative.
I love that. There's so many golden stories. It is great for me when I'm learning Russian, 'cause I get to read all the funny comments in the comments section.
You know what association I get sometimes from reading some of the stories on NGS? Florida man.
You know, those ridiculous stories like..
Oh, this is kind of a Florida man's story except the Russian equivalent of Florida man. So by the way, for our listeners, a Florida man is just for some reason, maybe unfairly, Florida has this association with crazy people. Would you say it's unfair?
Unfairly, though? Is it unfair, though? Is it? Is it?
Actually, maybe not. There are quite a lot of crackpots in Florida.
It's actually.. You're not supposed to be saying that.
Oh, am I not allowed to say anymore?
Yeah, you should say a substance user or a drug user.
Oh, no, I don't actually.. I don't actually mean as in.. A crackpot just means someone is crazy. That's why I didn't mean crack heads, but..
Well, I had a lesson yesterday actually on the subject of sleep. And in Russian you have the word 'лунатик', which is like 'a sleepwalker'. Well, in English, the word 'lunatic' is different. Yeah, exactly. Yeah, you got it right. Exactly. It's just like crazy person. And so we can't use the word lunatic anymore, apparently. I don't know why, but anyway. So this guy. I'm sorry. He is a lunatic. He's.. All right. So these Russian neighbors or here in Novosibirsk, they were complaining about this guy who over the last I believe three years, throws projectiles, throws things outside of his window and smashes car windows and damages the whole apartment block. And there were all sorts of items that he threw out the window, including floor tiles, coffee mugs. And this was dangerous for people who were walking underneath the ..
Of course, that's kind of surprising he hasn't killed anyone yet.
Yes, exactly. And apparently local babushki warned people not to walk outside his window. And the local police, they.. All they can do is come and knock on his door. And when he doesn't answer, they have to leave. They can't just break down his door becaus.. I don't think that is legally allowed to just break down a door unless you have like a real strong reason to do so. So the police just keep coming and leaving. Coming and leaving, as do these psychiatric hospital doctors. And there's nothing people can do about it.
I wonder, though, is he living alone and how old is he?
Well, I read somewhere that well, maybe he's near недееспособный. So he's disabled, I believe. But I'm not too sure about all the details. It's quite a long article, but, um. Yeah, basically he throw things out the window and smashed people's cars. How would you deal with this neighbor if this were your neighbor? Would you just move house?
You know, I'd try to use reason first, if that, you know, if that's even possible. So what I would do personally is I would knock on his door and talk to him and perhaps just, you know, ask him questions. Because you never know. I mean, some sometimes people act in a weird way because maybe they just want somebody to talk to or there's nobody else around who..
Yeah, because they feel lonely.
Exactly. Who would try to understand them. So at the very least, I would try to use reason. But then if that doesn't work, then sadly in this case, I don't think I can put up with this situation because if he does that all the time, really, it's just a matter of time when somebody gets injured or worse, as Katya said, could die from this.
There was a case like not so long ago in Novosibirsk when somebody threw something out of window and killed an old lady.
Yes, we talked about this year with the sofa. Yeah, we talked.. I think talked about this on another podcast. But yeah, someone.. The couple got into an argument, like you said, they threw a sofa out the window. And I mean that of itself is quite funny. But what's not funny is the poor old lady who died because of this stupid couple's argument.
There was another case, have you heard? A woman wanted to commit suicide and actually jumped out of the window from the balcony and killed another woman.
Oh, my God. That's terrible. So did she even die herself?
I'm not sure about that, but I know for sure that there was some.
Other person who died because of..
Some victim because of that. Come on.
That escalated, you know, from talking about neighbours..
Guys, do you have crazy neighbours?
I've got neighbors below me. Who's hobby is drilling.
That neighbor. It's like THE neighbor.
Yes. And I've had a great few Russian lessons by reading through the Russian law, reading for Novosibirsk legislation. Apparently in Novosibirsk you can drill but up to I believe is 79 decibels is the.. And it's really difficult. Yeah. Tell me.
Keep on. I have another story.
So basically. Yeah. It's really difficult to prosecute this. Wait, wait.. So did you have noisy neighbors yourself?
I do. My noisy neighbors. I even put.. downloaded some application to check the volume on the some.
First thing, they have their TV on very loudly. Really. Uh, actually, at, for example, 1 a.m..
Yeah. And you go to sleep. You try to sleep but you can't. Because they have a concert of Петросян there and you're like, Oh, come on. Yeah. So it's really loud. But, ah, if we measure the sound volume, it's pretty decent. Yeah. And the second thing, they have the air conditioning which fan is next to my balcony window. Yeah. And it's loud. It's loud as well
That's a nightmare. Yeah.
It's annoying. It's annoying all the summer when the summer starts. Yeah. So then the nightmare starts, actually.
Coincidentally, the next story I was going to talk about involves a computer club with a very loud ventilation system.
Yeah, I saw it. And I thought that was like, my story.
So what can you do? Because this computer.. Okay, so let me just quickly mention, this computer club is in the center of Novosibirsk and of course, computers get very hot and you need like really high tech ventilation systems. And I checked out this video on NGS the website and the noise was very.. Oh, it was horrible. It was monotonous, kind of high pitched and it was just constant. And even at 3 a.m., it was still droning on in the middle of a night. Was.. I guess the ventilation system is..
It's, yeah, it's pretty much the same. It's annoying. It's like, the fridge when it starts to work out.
And what can you do? Can.. Who can you speak to?
There are kind of.. There are options. You can go to your neighbors, I dunno, at 1 a.m., probably knock at the door and ask them to turn off the air conditioner. I don't know. Or maybe the next day and try.. Sorry. And try, I don't know, to persuade them to ask for maintenance, probably. I don't know. Or some services or maybe some legislative way to develop that situation.
But have you done it yourself? Have you personally spoken to your neighbors and brought up this issue?
Not yet. I'm not that annoyed yet.
Yeah, I am. Like it's slowly going on. The level of annoyance.
'Cause it's terrible. And in this story the computer club off of Красный проспект the main road here in Novosibirsk Роспотребнадзор the local.. Well not local. So the Russian authority that deals with all sorts of commercial issues, they conducted an inspection into this computer club and they determined, Okay, there's nothing much we can do. But people complaining and saying that the owner probably was notified beforehand of a visit from this authority and he probably turned down the noise and this really angered people.
But it's so unfair. And inconsiderate. Because, you know, I have talked to several neighbors throughout my stay here. I'm shameless, but I do it in a very diplomatic way. Of course, I'm fuming on the inside, but I have to face them with a, you know, calm demeanor and just ask them. Sometimes I would prepare a translation on my phone because I have to make sure that everything that I want to say is clearly incorrectly stated. I even double check the translation just so it's really correct. So I would knock on the door so they would open and I would say firstly I ask them in Russian, Вы говорите по-английск? And then if they say, No, then I try to show them my phone with the translation.
And then there was one time in my previous flat. Actually it was a man. So firstly he didn't open the door, he just shouted something in Russian, which I didn't understand. And then eventually when I relented or knocking because I really wanted them to open the door so I could tell them the problem. So eventually this man opened a door. He was a really muscular guy. And then he saw me, like, you know, like I was so nice. And I even smiled when he opened the door. I wasn't even nervous because I was determined to really tell him the problem, which was the noise that we were making at night. So he opened the door and I said, Good evening, do you speak English? And then he said, and then he was kind of stunned. Maybe because he didn't expect that it was going to be a foreigner who would speak to him. So his said, Нет. And then I just showed him the phone and then he read through the message and then he understood it. And then he called in a friend, I guess, you know, anyway. Another person who lives in the same flat. And then this guy can actually speak English. And he said, Oh, we're very sorry. We're not aware of this. You see, if I had allowed my anger to overcome me.
It would make matters worse. But because I told myself, Okay, maybe they're not aware that they're making noise at night, so it's better to approach it first in a calm way, try to settle it the best way possible. And guess what? When I returned to my flat, it was like, Oh, my God. It was just pure silence. You see it works. Really. And then there was another one in my new flat now. Not my upstairs neighbors, but kind of like to the right of my upstairs neighbor. So they always move the table and chairs, especially.
Who is wonder what people actually do? Like what is..? Are you moving furniture in the middle of the night? Like what happened?
Well, they do that and they do it in instantaneously, you know, like someone who just gets up immediately. And it happens very often, like late at night around, you know, 12 to 1 a.m., 7 to 8. So I went up there again with my translate, you know, translated message. So nobody opened a door. And I thought maybe they're pretending that they couldn't hear, you know, the knock. And then I contacted my landlady, so the owner of the flat. And then I told her that I went down to the like the reception to inform them that about this noise. But then the reception was closed because it was, you know, late at night. And then so I just sent her the message.
I'll see what I could do. What is she going to do? She's going to tie her daughter down?
But you can put some on the legs of the chairs.
Yeah, there some soft things.
Yeah, yeah, exactly. Yeah.
But I can still hear the running, you know, every night.
That's kids. I have a kid, you know, living upstairs and she sometimes she just throws tantrums and TANTRUMS with capital letters. So tantrums, it's just horrible. She's running around, she's screaming, and I'm like, oh, for God's sake, like. What? Why? It happens, you know, it doesn't happen very often. So I'm like, Okay, fine.
Yeah. My neighbors below for some reason that they've been constructing. They've been building fo the last..
Yeah, it's absolutely insane. And the first time I knocked on the door and said, Hey, guys. I tried, yeah, I tried to speak to them and said, Hey, guys, um, can you let me know when this drilling is stopping? And they said, Yeah, до 8, until 8:00. And and I said, Okay, thank you. And it was 9:00. And they were still drilling. And this has been happening like every few days for like the last year. And it.
It is. And I knocked on the door. It was like three weeks ago and I looked through the door. They opened the door and I looked through and all the walls were still completely bare. There was no wallpaper on the wall. They still haven't finished the bloody work.
So I went to the concierge downstairs, the really nice old lady who works there. And I said, Hey, what can I do? I'm like, I'm an English teacher. I teach on Zoom. I need quiet. What is going on? And she said, I'm so sorry, there's nothing much I can do, but you can.. Um, what was it? You can, you can speak to the manager of the, of the building complex. So I called and I was like, alright, let's get ready to speak in Russian. Let's try this.
Yeah. And I was, I was a little nervous.Okay, let's, let's, let's do this. Let's go, let's go. And she picked.. And I got ready, I said, Oh, hello there. And she said, Чё?
What a very friendly way.
Yeah. Which is like, you know, normally if a professional picks up the phone, you say, hello there, my name is so-and-so, how can I help you? But the first thing she said was Чё.
And I said, Oh, I'm a resident of this apartment. Yeah. And in your building complex. And I'm not going .. I can't live with this, this noise that's been going on downstairs. And she said, And what do you want me to do about it?
I thought you were going to say. And she said, И чё.
Yeah, that's that's exactly I'm sure. She said, yeah, И что.
And what? And I said, Well I've read on the Internet somewhere that up to 79 decibels is illegal and I have this app on my phone and I recorded it and she said.. And I said, I'm going to send you on what, what's your number so I can send you on WhatsApp these videos. And she said, Yes, send it to me and I sent her the videos and no reply. She.
She's just a watched them and that's it.
She just blocked your number.
Yeah. Yeah. She doesn't care. So guys, let us know in the comments if you've had some nightmare neighbors, I'm sure some of you have. So let us know. We want to hear how you deal with them. Do you take matters into your own hands? Do you take a vigilante approach to this? Will you put up with neighbors or will you try to go the legal route and yeah, call the police or something? Well, let's look at another story here. Академгородок. So this obviously is.. Well, maybe we have some listeners who are not here in Novosibirsk. Академгородок is this.. Well university village outside of Novosibirsk and there they have a botanical garden and on NGS they just reported that the botanical garden is charging an entrance fee.
Because I'm very angry about this, you know, because it's been free. Like it's always been free.
Exactly. And well, let's be fair, most of the time.. Because there is some sort of like Japanese garden inside and you can take a tour and these things are not for free. So you, you know, you still pay for them. But the entrance was always free. So you could get in, you know, have a picnic, just walk around, have some fresh air. And charging for doing that kind of feels illegal, you know? I know it's not, but.. And technically, you know, there isn't even much to see over there.
I've only been outside of it. I never actually went inside the botanical gardens I went to. What was it? There's like some.. What is it? This physics or this nuclear physics institute that's next to it.
That's not next to it. It's like.. It's.. The botanical gardens are kind of far away from this. It's like 45 minute walk from there.
'Cause last time I went for a bike ride around there. And it was yeah, it was really interesting. But I went outside the gate, the Botanical Gardens, and I was intrigued, but I didn't go inside.
And I.. To be honest, I can't really imagine how exactly are they going to charge? Because, you see, there is like an entrance to the botanical gardens. Okay, good. Like you can go there by car and everything, but you can also get there from like, from behind when you walk from Академгородок, from some of the parts. So it's a bit of a like wild route. Let's say, because we still do that. So what? Are they going to put a fence over there?
Yeah. How are they going to charge the entrance fee?
I think that's ridiculous. They used to charge the cars who wanted to like come closer and park, you know, for people who wanted to park their car closer. That was like 100 rubles per car. If you didn't want to pay, you could just walk, you know, like 10 minutes. but charging everyone. I don't know. You are like a public institution.
Are there any other museums? What museums do we have here in Novosibirsk?
One of the greatest. It's the train museum. Have you been there?
Of course. Yeah, of course. I loved it. That was amazing.
Ben and transport. Don't..
The car exhibition. Yeah. Old cars. And different kinds of trains. Yeah. So this is really, really cool. And the Dendropark, not far from here, next to the zoo.
The zoo itself. Well, not really a museum, but ..
What's the Zoo? Is 400 rubles to get it?
The zoo is fun. Ken, have you been to the zoo recently?
Well, no, but I was there in 2019.
So it's worth it. It's worth it.
We have a family tradition every year and maybe twice a year my family and I, maybe my sister and I. We go to the zoo. Not to look at the animals, just to have a nice walk, because the roads inside, the paths are really clean and beautiful. And the Swan Lake. Oh, I love it. Yeah, it's so.. The flamingos. Yes. They are so cute.
We also have the art museum, the birch tree, the.. No, not the birch tree. What do you call this part of a tree like? It's not.. It's like the outer shell...
Yeah, I think it's like birch bark museum.
Oh, interesting. So what березовая кора?
It's some sort of a different name..
Yeah, yeah, that's the word. And they have, you know, different things made out of this material and everything. They have tours over there. We have the local history museum, which sometimes have some sort of, um, you know, exhibitions over there in addition to the local history ones and everything.
Oh, we have the local nature history museum.
Oh, that's true. That's true.
Next to ЦУМ. And this is exciting because you can see some, uh, I don't know, a mammoth, for example, like the ancient bears. And, um.
We have the museum of death, by the way.
Museum of Death? I've never heard of that.
Not far from the crematorium.
It is on the territory of the crematorium.
So and it was actually.. It was very.. It's going to be like a very personal story, but I hope that's okay. So every year there is the museum night. You know, and over there at night you have access to the museum.
It is coming. I think it's going to be like the mid of May, so very soon.
Next week. Any who.. So in this museum of death every year when they have the museum night, they organize, you know, the transport because it's kind of out of the city. So you can go there for free and enjoy everything. And it's like music, fun, people having.. Like loud music, coffee shops and everything. So the fun thing is that last year, the museum night also, it was the same day as my father's death anniversary. So we had to go and, you know, like kind of visit, you know. And it felt so weird to be there with the coffee shops and people having fun and laughter. And to think is that it's like crematorium next building is the Museum of Death. And then at the territory of all that, is there.. What do you call it? Like a columbarium or something where you have the niches, you know, with urns and everything? It's not like a ..
Maybe, maybe it is called. I actually don't know the word for the that.
I know that in Russian it's called колумбарий. And any who, so.. And it's all over there. So people are just, you know, walking around, having their cocktails, looking at those like, you know, well, technically they're like graves or something at the urns and everything. And it just felt so not okay...
Well, it's like in Indonesia. It was Indonesia? It was some Southeast Asian country where they have the, the, where they keep the skeletons of. I can't remember. They keep the skeletons of people's ancestors and they dance with them. And it's quite funny. Have you see? Have you seen this? There's a documentary.
No. Oh, my goodness. So, yeah, but there is this museum and I think it's kind of like an interesting place to visit on a quiet day. Because they show the history of, like, burial traditions all over the world and everything. Yeah. But we do have a lot of. Not a lot of. But some museums.
Well, should governments pay for these museums to stay open? Do you think that this is..?
You know, that's very.. That's a debatable question. I remember we talked about it when we had a podcast about art because, for example, I know that in London, most of the museums are free, but you have some sort of donation system. So you.. You like.
For instance, the Tate, they have paid exhibitions which are quite expensive, like £20.
But then the National Gallery, the British Museum, they're totally free. Like if you want to donate money, feel free to. Let's say in America, in Boston, all of the museums are not free and the entrance is like $25. And sometimes it's not worth it, but it's. It's so expensive.
Yeah. New York. I remember the Met Museum, I believe.. I could be wrong. I believe it's free for residents of New York State.
I think so. Yeah. But then it's like $30 for everyone else.
So I think it depends because let's say our local history museum, they are a state museum, so they get funding, but at the same time they, they have their merch so they sell things, they organize stores so they still can..
As well they let the exhibitions inside, yeah, with, I don't know, different things like fashion, for example, the exhibition. Last year, I think my friend and I, we visited one of the exhibitions and it was dedicated to fashion, actually fashion designers from the USA, from Europe and from the UK. And that was really fascinating. Yeah. And the price, the cost of the, um, ticket was quite reasonable to enjoy what you want. And pay, I don't know, 200 rubles.
200 rubles. Yeah, yeah. The train museum. What. That was 100. I thought that was okay price for it.
What I think the museums should do though is advertised more. Like there're so many cool events happening. Because last time when we had a podcast about art, I was complaining how, Oh, we don't have much going on, we don't have the originals of the paintings abroad. And I got several comments in my direct messages saying, Oh, you're wrong. Like we have this, this, this, that, that, that. And I said, Oh my God, I didn't know. I'm sorry. But that made me realize that there's no advertisement, you know, covering any of that. How would people know?
Our local museum, local history museum, they I think nowadays have pretty decent campaign to advertise themselves because I can see their posts promoted on VKontakte or something.
Really. I am subscribed on some theatrical societies and so maybe because of that I can see.
Yeah, I think. It's like a targeted add.
Yeah, target. And sometimes when you move through the city. Yeah. And you can see the billboards with some of those advertisements. So this is pretty cool. But the other museums I think. Yeah. It's quite reasonable thing. And these museum night.. This is really a cool event if you haven't been there. ... Absolutely. This is really exciting.
Well, guys, let us know what your favorite museum is. We would love to hear from you. And let's wrap it up there, guys. So if you have any questions about any words that we use, please, please, please let us know. We're English teachers. We're here to help you expand your vocabulary base and grammar skills. So do let us know if you have any questions or suggestions as well. Also, I suggest you check out our website, which is www.BigAppleSchool.com where you can find other podcasts like this one and you can also find articles and more information about the courses that we offer here at the school. So that's it, guys. We'll see you next time. Bye for now.