Hey there and welcome to the BigAppleSchool podcast. My name is Sam.
And so Sam from Northern Ireland, Ryno from South Africa, and we’re here again to talk about something else today. We’re asking what’s the craic about summer activities, so we’re gonna think in general about what you can do in the summer, what people normally do in the summer.
What we might eat or drink. Where we would go in our days off. Kind of places we visit and enjoy and a little bit of our opinions on what we should and shouldn’t do. Okay. Are you sitting comfortably Ryno?
I’m very comfortable, thank you very much. Are you comfortable?
Where do you… Or where did you normally spend your summers growing up?
Oh, yeah, summers in South Africa are quite hot, so we spent a lot of time outside, riding bicycles, playing in the river, I was lucky to grow up in a small town. Things were very safe.
Yes, actually, very clean, I mean it would flood every two or three years, it would flood parts of the town, but yes, it was great fun to play there. And you?
I…. Summertime in the UK you get rain…
Like every season you have rain. But I remember playing on sunny days too and I would’ve went out. I grew up in a housing estate, kind of not a very… how do I say…. Not a very expensive area to live at, let’s say, but comfortable, pleasant.
I enjoyed my youth there and on the bike, I was on the bike a lot. I had a few adventures with nettles, these stinging plants, they’re lovely.
We have them in South Africa too, and it was very entertaining, you would burn for a couple of hours afterwards. Yeah, very good. When you say ‘a couple of sunny days’, maybe two per year? Or three?
That sounds right. Maybe three.
Maybe you can stretch to four. Here is an interesting question: sometimes watching… it’s about America right, we’re not from America….
I don’t know much about America…
Some people spend, if you believe American TV shows and children’s programs, they spend a bit of time catching fireflies. Is that popular where you’re from?
No. I’ve never done it, I never caught a firefly.
Yes, they exist very much, we’ve got huge wildlife in South Africa. Listen to our previous podcast. But no, not where I was growing up. It was a very small town, not very huge, small town, not quite settling…
They don’t really live in towns?
Yeah, they weren’t all that fond of town life, I think , the fireflies. Maybe it was a little too busy for them.
Are they big? I’ve never ever seen one.
No, actually, I don’t think they’re very big. They are about the size of a big ant, I think. I could be very wrong.
Don’t know. I don’t know. I don’t know anyone who’s caught a firefly.
Yeah, okay. Well I wonder what an American person... If you’re an American person listening to this by any chance, you can comment below about fireflies – do you catch them?
So back about summer activities – maybe more normal ones. I have a little list here for you Ryno, and I want you to tell what you think. First of all, iced tea or ice-cream based coffee?
Ice-cream based coffee, absolutely. I am a coffeeholic. It’s a wonderful thing at BigApple – I can have as much coffee as I want to every day, so that’s a loss….
That’s why you have big eyes…
Absolutely. I’m always awake, that’s why I’m always awake. But I love coffee, cold or hot. And I don’t eat chocolate with coffee flavor at all.
But coffee, ice cream coffee…. Like coffee milkshake?
You’re thinking – vanilla ice-cream… Caramel?
No caramel. So you’re not a big fan of having sweet things in your coffee.
Well no, I do have sweet things in my coffee sometimes, but I prefer this sweet thing to be ice cream. Yeah, that’s very good, I enjoy iced coffee.
I had a lovely summer here in Novosibirsk. I had a lovely ice cream coffee type thing in… I think it was maybe Traveler’s Coffee, maybe it was another one. But it was fantastic. I was.. oh it was italiano or something it was called.
I can’t remember, I’ve never had it again, but it was fantastic.
I think if it’s Italian based, it’s based on the desserts and… I have forgotten the name, but they do… Affogato! Affogato I think is the correct name. The way they serve espresso over ice cream. They pour it over ice cream, so you get this wonderful hot and cold mix…
I’m also a coffee guy. And I don’t…
Well, we’re both sitting here with cups of coffee, so.
No tea for me. I mean, I drink… I can drink it, but I won’t choose to drink it.
I’ve gotten in a habit with… living in Russia, I’ve gotten to the habit of having tea in the morning because I had an espresso machine in my house in South Africa, so I always had morning coffee. But I’ve gotten to the habit of drinking tea. I still don’t love it, but I…
I don’t know if it’s ice-cream coffee, is it something that you associate with summer?
No, it’s just coffee, you know. But it’s better to have in summer of course.
Yeah, definitely. Visiting the beach.
Not a big…. Be careful with the pronunciation though! I see you are stretching the sound, so that people don’t get confused.
No idea, it didn’t occur to me, but now that you’ve mentioned it.
It is as with quite a few words in English, the pronunciation of beach is…
Major differences - major problems, maybe. So no, beach for me – not something I enjoy. I don’t enjoy the sand everywhere. I find it quite frustrating actually to just lie. These people who lie, sunbathe for hours until they are chocolate burned…
It’s not organized enough for you, a beach. All these little grains.
Little grains – there are too many of them. There are too many of them, you are stuck with them for days afterwards, in your ears, in your nose, under your nails.
I don’t enjoy going to the beach. Maybe a walk on the beach, feet in the water, maybe. But for me a beach holiday – no. For me a beach holiday is not ideal.
I could say that growing up I wasn’t keen, but I think as I’ve matured let’s say, I’ve become….
I’ve come to appreciate it. No, I haven’t gotten older, I’ve matured!
I think good red wine sounds much better than a black banana.
A good red wine, yeah. But now I’ve come to appreciate the, you know, a little paddle. I don’t love bright sunlight, I mean, there’s not a lot of it in Northern Ireland, but a nice pair of sunglasses solves that problem. I’ve come to appreciate a beach.
I enjoyed the sunsets when I lived in Cape Town, it was one of the selling points of Cape Town. It is the incredible sunsets that you get over the Atlantic ocean. It’s breathtaking. So yeah.
Atlantic. We also have the Atlantic.
How could you have it? It’s so far away…
Yes, it’s huge. So I appreciate things like that, sunrise and sunsets in the beach because the sun, the waves, and sun rise or set. But that’s far.
You go down in the car and maybe sit in the car? With the blanket around you?
No I’m happy to just sit on the sand, that’s okay. It’s okay.
You see that I’m painting a picture.
I see what you’re doing here.
It’s what I do when I travel, when I go somewhere, it’s what I do… Hiking not really in the actual hiking sense of going…
on the 50 km trail with a backpack water, maybe not to that extent, I’m very happy especially when I travel, to have a small backpack with a bottle of water and maybe some snacks, when I explore the city or the country, the countryside around that city where I’m at.
There kinda are two types of people when it comes to holidays in the summer, I think. There are city trip people, and there are beach people.
I mean, there can be a little bit of overlap of course, but I think you… I mean, though I appreciate the beach, I’m a city type. And I like to visit a city and learn more, go to bookshops. I end up going to bookshops too.
But I like to see, I mean, a bit of geography and architecture and all that stuff. Hiking… It’s… I love hiking but in the summer – probably a bit too hot for me to hike a lot.
I think that true hiking fanatics or true hikers would say to you – winter is good to hike. For me, I personally don’t enjoy being cold, sweaty and stinky, and especially if there’s no real amenities when you can wash yourself at the end of the day.
Where you can freshen up a little bit, yes. So hiking for me – not so much, but it’s not walking.
I always prefer to do it in my region there are lovely mountains which I have talked about previously in the Northern Ireland podcast. And they are fantastic – not too big … But for me it’s better Spring and Autumn. Because it’s cooler.
I mean, summers aren’t necessary too hot, but it’s cooler in Spring/Autumn and there are less people. And for me it makes the experience better, cause you’re just looking at the nature, looking at the landscape, and you’re not being distracted by others.
So for me it’s better. A little bit close to that is camping. How do you feel about camping?
I don’t feel about camping.
You don’t? Never done it?
No. Once in my life and it was the first and the last time I ever did it probably. Probably if I have to say my worst holiday experience.
It was, it was in South Africa, it was beautiful natural beach, so it’s not a beach close to.
You say beach, and you hate beaches!
The camping was on the beach, but it’s sort of a protected beach, so there’s no building anywhere near it. It is a very elementary campsite, very very basic. So you could camp, you could have a tent, but that’s it, there were no buildings.
There were showers and toilets fortunately. But I just… I did it once, I was about 20something, old enough to understand whether I liked something or not. That was uncomfortable for me.
What about it didn’t you like?
I don’t know, when it was really hot summer when I can’t cool down. And here you have to go under a tree. And it’s not quite…. As an air-conditioned room.
I don’t know, I think I don’t like the uncomfortableness. For me, I enjoy cooking.
You are missing out on the normal everyday luxuries that you don’t…
Not necessarily luxuries, but I enjoy cooking, and I enjoy going to a coffee shop, and I enjoy going to a good restaurant, and for me that’s summer or winter, actually. If I am on holiday somewhere, it’s something to do.
So summer activities I still would prefer walking around in the city, exploring the city, and then going to a coffee shop, having something cold to drink, or cup of coffee, just to cool down a bit. So, camping. No.
Unless you can do it with air-conditioning in your tent, near shop…
We have those in South Africa!
Five-star safari trips. Those tents are like a five-star hotel rooms. Electricity, running water, hot and cold. Breakfast served, lunch served, dinner served… Animals walking past you… Everything literally outside you…. Does a tent have a front door? I don’t know but these are flaps… It is there, but the cost of that holidays. Isn’t cheap, like my three year salary.
Let me tell you about my camping experience. My parents brought us up camping, basically, I mean…
Is it common in Ireland or not?
Yeah. At least it was anyway. I don’t know if it as common as it was then, because when I was growing up a little bit later it became popular like going on budget holiday, budget flights, budget airlines.
Yeah, because it became more affordable.
But prior to that, in the nineties, camping was quite popular, definitely for my family.
I forget I’m much older. Probably decades difference, I forget it.
Thank you. It is always so great to talk with you.
Makes me feel better. So we went… actually we’ve been in England camping. I myself was in the Republic of Ireland, Scotland. I’ve been in France, camping a couple of times, center of France and in the south of France. I don’t know if it’s. It’s not something that I automatically would choose now… But I have happy memories of it.
There was never… I mean, I wasn’t the one cooking the food so… It was awkward or difficult but… Usually we stayed at almost always if not always we stayed at campsites specifically for camping.
That’s also… That is really popular in South Africa too.
So all the facilities were there, like showers, toilets and everything, I mean, you might have… I think we had a barbecue, and then that’s how we cooked food. So I guess it’s just food that you could barbecue.
But you’re limited a bit. But I just ate it and enjoyed it. So it wasn’t a problem for me. Visiting a theme park?
Any of those in South Africa?
There is one in Cape town actually, but when I looked last time, it seems as if it is going to be closed down. It’s quite expensive for South Africans. Entrance fees and the cost of the rides. It’s quite expensive for South African holiday goers.
Obviously not for international people buying dollars and euros and pounds. But when you are in Cape town there are millions of other things to see, so. People tend to rather go hiking up Table Mountain, take the cable car or walk on Lion’s Head… or walk on the beach.
So the theme park in South Africa… Not so much. But when I was in Saint-Petersburg, last year, July, in summer, I did spend one whole day in the theme park there. I forgot the name now. Остров something. It was magnificent, I loved it.
Yeah, I think it’s Russian name for “Island”?
Maybe. Yeah yeah yeah. Yeah, it is.
I’m not gonna try to remember the sound of it, because I’ll mess it up. Остров – is it? Someone will tell us if we’re wrong.
Write below if you know. I’m sure someone knows the theme park in…
It’s fantastic. There’s one ride which accelerates from zero to 100 in two seconds.
Yes. It is mind-blowing, it is mind-blowing, it’s fantastic.
I don’t care, I was on it five times. It was magnificent.
I’ve been… When I was 12 I was in Euro Disney, France, Paris. I felt a little bit old for most things, cause, I mean, Disney…. At that time it wasn’t connected. I mean, Disney didn’t own Marvel, they didn’t own… What else do they own? Lots of things now.
It wasn’t that much of a story everywhere.
And it was more for younger kids, and I was 12, but even though I felt a little bit old, I still enjoyed some of the bigger rides. You know, space mountain. I was like ‘C’mon dad’, and my dad was like ‘Okay’.
I enjoy the things with speed, so the rollercoasters… I enjoy… Even driving I enjoy acceleration and speed, so for me – take me to theme park, any time!
Do you have a driver’s license?
I do. I do drive in Russia although sometimes…
Yes, I do. And I do enjoy it. These Russian drivers are pretty much like South African drivers, just the wrong side of the road for me.
Yeah. In the UK we also drive on the left.
Exactly, but I love it. I love driving, I have always loved driving. I think my love for theme parks come from the speed, my love for speed.
Yeah, the adrenaline rush.
I feel the need, the need for speed. I also like… I’m not gonna say I like speed when I’m in the car – I don’t. But I do like… I was in Alton Towers.
Sam, you’re younger than me! You should all like these things.
I know. You’re kind of a granddad. When it comes to cars, I really like to just… I don’t know… I’ve got past the stage where the faze was speed. I never was like speed freak or anything, but I’ve got very sensible when it comes to driving.
I don’t drive here, but when I drive – I drive in Northern Ireland and I… I like to think I’m very sensible. I did a lot of driving.
I’ve driven many hundreds of thousands of kilometers actually, in my life. I drove to University from a small town very far away. I think in my studying years alone I drove a 150 000 kilometers.
So, I love driving, I’m good at driving, and at speed. So I did some strange crazy things when I was young, but I’ve become more sensible. Hence I go to the theme parks now to get the speed.
Right, right. And you know, by education I’m an engineer. And actually when I was….
When I was younger, right, I sound like a granddad. But now I look at the theme park rides and I think…
What can go wrong? Cause a big part of engineers education is not just physics and loads and bending moments and all these calculations, but it’s also health and safety. When I look at these and think ‘Well yes, it’s probably engineered very well, but what has one wrong, what mistakes has someone made?’
That’s part of the thrill of getting on that ride you think ‘Oh my, something could go wrong’.
But I remember being in Alton Towers, it’s pretty popular I think in England, it’s the only theme park that I know of in the UK. And lots and lots of rides there. And I remember going on like the same three or four rides, over and over.
I do the same thing. I find one with the biggest – which gives me the biggest rush, adrenaline rush, and I just go on, again and again and again. So theme parks for me – absolutely…
We love.. I guess that’s a winner for us.
No, no, no. Unfortunately – again, I maybe… Maybe something like water rafting I haven’t’ tried, maybe the adrenaline rush there would be good, but I’m quite nervous around water. I only learned to swim very late.
So for me water’s still quite scary. And the idea that this boat can capsize and I get stuck under it….
You got a million other problems..
My physics education starts kicking in about forces, and the fact that how long can I hold my breath under water? Probably when I’m panicked – 5 seconds, and, you know.
Fair enough. I’ve never done it. I’ve done a little bit of rafts and canoes and kayaks.
Yeah the slower versions.
So very gentle situation, yeah. I’ll do outdoor activities but nothing too serious. I would love… You know what I’d love to do? And it’s not really a summer, specifically a summer, but paragliding. I would love to..
Oh you should go to Cape Town, because they paraglide from Lion’s Head which is part of the Table mountain range, and they paraglide – especially in summer it’s fantastic. People paraglide over the city and they land on the beach. It’s fantastic.
I believe I can fly, you know, it’s… what appeals to me is the idea that it’s basically like a bird…
Yeah, there’s no… it’s free flight, almost free flight. As close as humans can get to, free flight.
And you know… You’re kinda flowing, ah, it’s fantastic. Barbecues.
I’m South African, don’t forget. And it is – we’ve spoken about this, so… Let’s go back to the South African podcast.
I warn you – my memory is atrocious.
So I can tell you.. Even.. So I’m very happy in summer now, because it means my Russian mom – I have a fantastic Russian mama, she learned that I can do barbecue or shashlik or braai in South African language, and every time we go to dacha ‘Ryno, shashlik!’ It’s a very very popular thing for South Africans and I actually do enjoy it.
What do you tend to braai here? Or shashlik? If it’s a verb.
Mostly pork or chicken. I have made great hamburgers on the barbecue. Fish, but I’m not very fond of fish, and vegetables, of course. You can put vegetables on barbecue, make it a great taste.
Sliced peppers or onions, that would be my choice.
In the UK it tends to be burgers. Almost exclusively burgers and sausages for hot dogs. That’s the real barbecue stuff that we do most of the time. I mean, you can do other stuff, but if you’re talking about normal traditional barbecue - burgers, sausages.
A true South African will tell you that you can barbecue anything. If it can be eaten, you can probably put it on the barbecue. So we cook oranges on the fire, we do potatoes, we do corn. If you can think about it – seafoods…
So what’s the winner so far? As far as the best summer activity?
For me probably travelling.
Yeah, the city trip. And exploring. I love the fact that you are.. you don’t have to rush from warm store into something cold and then into something warm again. Take your time – you can walk around. The grass is green, the trees are green.
What hair? That was nasty, Sam. You know I don’t have… That’s unfriendly.
Yeah, you’re getting there, but still.
I’m bald too, so it’s not a problem.
No, I think for me great summer things are barbecue, even having just a cold cola, when you’ve walked and it’s hot and cold cola with ice, blocks of ice and a slice of lemon. Things taste better in summer, so I…
I enjoy a lot of things in summer.
I think I talked to Ken about this, but I remember - it was -35 and I went to a burger place, and I got coca cola, like with ice in it, and it was -35 outside. And I had just come out of the cold, because I thought I needed…
I’d look at you as if you were crazy, I’m sure.
No, I didn’t ask for it, I was given. And I was struggling ‘what’s the word for no ice? How do I say no ice?’ And that… Yeah. But in the summer – absolutely. And thinking about ice cream, I’m starting to thing about ice cream. What’s your favorite flavor?
So I can tell you where my favorite place is to eat ice cream in Russia. Last year was my summer holiday I went to Moscow and Saint Petersburg. And in Moscow under Red Square, that beautiful shopping center called ГУМ.
Yes, they have GUM ice cream.
No no no, not bubble gum, but GUM ice cream. There’s this little shop…. Actually there are quite a few of them in and around there, where you buy your ice cream flavors either in a cup or… And they have Stracciatelli, which is vanilla ice cream with fine little pieces of chocolate in it.
Italian, yes. So it’s very… Vanilla with fine fine pieces of chocolate in it. And there it was fantastic. Actually my mouth is starting to water thinking about this. It was really good. But I also enjoy plain vanilla ice cream.
I love vanilla ice cream.
If it’s vanilla ice cream – no. It is rich, decadent, chocolate, hot sauce.
Has to be decadent to be rich, and it has to be hot, and it has to be chocolate.
It sounds good, it sounds good. I like bubble gum ice cream. I mean, to be honest, strawberry is great. I like Irish Cream, I mean, caramel is great. But when I was growing up bubble gum was one of my favorites.
I like it with this little scoop ball of ice cream in Northern Ireland. And it was silly, really, but it was this package, and at the bottom there was this big piece of bubble gum. Like a big spear bubble gum.
And it was, you know, it was just bubble gum, it wasn’t even particularly great bubble gum, but the idea of having an ice cream and then bubble gum was like ‘Yes, bubble gum!’
Your happiest holiday memory?
Oi… Actually quite a few. Actually quite a few. So my best friends live in Cape Town, and we used to.. They used to live in Johannesburg. I’ve known them, specially the one person went to school with me, so we’ve known each other for 35 years.
And we’ve spent some great times together, but I had a holiday in Cape Town before I moved there with them. And the weather was magnificent. The days were good for… It was just.. The days were perfect, the skies were blue, the ocean was cool.
And we would spend late afternoon starting our barbecue, build the fire, make coals, burn, and get to the right temperature. And a bottle of red wine.
And they’re with you right now.
And you could smell the barbecue, and we would put some meat on the barbecue, make some salads, and then just spend quality time with quality people. I call them heart people, people who are in your heart. You don’t just know them.
They are essentially hearty. They are who you are, and you are who they are. I think probably that. And then I have to say that my summer holiday in Moscow last year was fantastic. I loved Saint Petersburg, but Moscow stole my heart. I really… For me that was quite a special holiday.
You have a particularly special memory?
Can you remember? Do you have a specific or a particular holiday memory?
I have a lot, you know. I mean, some of my best holiday experiences were just with parents and a book.
And that’s it. And Portugal I remember, I was 19, I think. And book ‘Moby Dick’.
Oh my goodness, okay. Classic.
I know. And it wasn’t just a book. It’s a chunk of a book.
But I got into it, I had lots of time, and I really read it. And, I mean, Portugal was nice, but the book I think….
I don’t know, yeah. And Star Wars although it’s not my most favorite, I’m not impressed with all the films, but I had a Star Wars book on another holiday in a caravan – I remember I was really enjoying reading that book. It’s not..
I don’t know, it’s not specific…, but I really enjoyed that book. Other times too, it was about the place- it was Australia I loved. And I was in Israel, it was unforgettable experience. Lots of history, lots of really interesting places.
For me.. I grew up reading the bible, so going to Israel was, you know, just being able to visualize what I’ve been reading, still read about. Very, you know, completely change of perspective, cause you… I had in my mind I suppose it was all green like in the UK, you know.
And then when I go there, I realize it’s not quite like that, so it changed my perspective, my viewpoint. But very interesting place. I was with the group, that was quite safe, I mean, as far as that goes. And really very different from anywhere I’ve been before.
And really really good, excellent. So that was the craic about summer activities. We talked about some popular things to do, gave what we like to do, which is city trips, right? Favorite ice cream flavors, some of… kind of food, barbecue…
Barbecue seems a very popular thing.
For everyone. Everywhere, I guess. Russia, South Africa, Ireland, America. And we finally talked a little bit about our favorite holiday memories. That was the craic about summer activities.