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0770 Joining a Tour

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Welcome to English as a Second Language Podcast number 770: Joining a Tour.

This is English as a Second Language Podcast episode 770. I’m your host, Dr. Jeff McQuillan, coming to you from the Center for Educational Development in beautiful Los Angeles, California.

Our website is eslpod.com. Become a member, support this podcast, and download a Learning Guide for each episode.

This episode is called “Joining a Tour.” We’re going to be taking a trip – a vacation, and we’re going to be going with a group of other people. Let’s get started.

[start of dialogue]

Darrel: What are you looking at?

Alice: Tours for our vacation. I was thinking that it’d be hard for us to get around on our own, so I think joining a tour is a good idea.

Darrel: Really? I thought we’d make our way around leisurely to see the sites. I don’t like the fast pace of tours. I’d rather have the time to take in each site, not rush through it just to say I’ve been there.

Alice: Tours come in all shapes and sizes. I’m sure we can find one that isn’t too fast-paced or strenuous for you.

Darrel: And I don’t want to eat all my meals with the tour group. I want some time to explore on our own.

Alice: All right, I’m looking at a tour that has the perfect itinerary. It’s also gotten rave reviews. It includes a tour guide, all admission fees, accommodations, ground transportation, and most of the meals. And there are several free mornings and afternoons built-in so we can explore on our own.

Darrel: I don’t know.

Alice: The alternative is for you to plan each stop of our trip.

Darrel: A tour is sounding better and better.

[end of dialogue]

Darrel begins by saying to Alice, “What are you looking at?” Alice says, “Tours for our vacation.” A “tour” (tour) is an organized journey to see a city or a place, usually it’s with a group of people, and there is someone leading the tour called the “tour guide.” Alice is looking for tours for her and Darrel’s vacation. She says, “I was thinking that it’d be hard for us to get around on our own,” meaning it would be difficult for us to go to this place, wherever they’re going, by themselves, “so I think joining a tour is a good idea,” signing up, paying and becoming a member of this group that will travel together.

Darrel says, “Really? I thought we’d make our way around leisurely to see the sites.” “To make our way around” means to go by yourself, not with another group, to find out the interesting things, to look at things by yourself; you don’t have anyone helping you. “Leisurely” (leisurely) is an adverb meaning slowly, in a very calm and relaxed, enjoyable way. The “sites” (sites) are places that you go to visit: it could be a famous building, it could be a beautiful park, it might to be a museum, anything that you would go as a tourist – as someone visiting another place – to see. That would be called a “site.” Darrel says he doesn’t like the fast pace of tours. The “pace” (pace) is the speed, how fast or how slow something goes. I can talk at a fast pace or I can talk at a slow pace. I can walk at a fast pace or walk at a slow pace. Darrel says, “I’d rather have the time to take in each site, not rush through it just to say I’ve been there.” “To take in” means to look at, to experience, to appreciate something. If you come to Los Angeles I would tell you to go and drive up along the ocean and take in the beautiful views – the beautiful scenery, the things that you can see: the ocean and so forth. Well Darrel says he wants time to take in each site – each place they visit, not rush through it just to say he’s been there. “To rush through (something)” is to do something very quickly, usually without enough time to do it well. He doesn’t want to go from one place to another place just to say that he was at those places, he wants to actually stop and enjoy them.

Alice says, “Tours come in all shapes and sizes.” The expression “to come in all shapes and sizes” means that there is a wide variety of options, a lot of different types, a lot of different ways that tours can be organized; they’re not all the same. Alice says, “I’m sure we can find one that isn’t (that is not) too fast-paced or strenuous for you.” When we say is something is “strenuous” (strenuous) we mean it’s difficult, it requires a lot of perhaps physical work or mental concentration. It’s a lot of work. Usually it’s used when we talk about physical work, like lifting heavy boxes for example. Alice thinks she can find a tour that isn’t too strenuous for Darrel.

Darrel says, “And I don’t want to eat all my meals with the tour group.” Your “meals” are your breakfast, your lunch, and your dinner. It’s often the case that on a tour you go to a restaurant and everyone eats together. Darrel doesn’t want to do that; he says, “I want some time to explore on our own.” “To explore” means to go to someplace you’ve never been before to try to learn new things, to discover new things. Darrel says he wants to explore. Alice says, “All right, I’m looking at a tour that has the perfect itinerary.” “Itinerary” is a planned scheduled for a trip. It shows exactly what you are going to be doing: first you get up at 8:00, then you eat breakfast, your bus leaves at 11:00, you arrive at the museum at 1:00, and so on. That’s an itinerary. Alice says this tour has gotten, or has received, rave reviews. “Rave reviews” are when people say that something is very wonderful; it’s excellent. You may, for example, be thinking of going to a restaurant, so you go online and you look at the reviews, what other people say about that restaurant. If they are saying they’re wonderful, then we say they are “rave (rave) reviews.” “Rave” has a couple of different meanings in English, however; take a look at our Learning Guide for some of those.

Alice says that this tour she found includes a tour guide (remember that’s the person who is the leader of the tour), all admission fees, accommodations, ground transportation, and most of our meals. An “admission fee” is the amount of money that you pay to get into a museum or to get into some famous historical site. The word “fee” (fee) is price. “Admission” is to get into something, to enter into something, or to become part of something. “Accommodations” is another word for the place where you are going to sleep at night; we sometimes called this “lodging” (lodging). “Lodging” and “accommodations” mean the same thing, it’s your hotel or whatever place you are staying at and sleeping at. “Ground transportation” refers to how you get from one place to another by car, bus, train, subway, anything that travels on the ground. It does not include air travel; we’re not talking about airplanes. But, we’re talking about all the other ways that you can travel without leaving the ground.

Alice says, “there are several free mornings,” meaning mornings that you don’t have anything planned, that you can do what you want, “and afternoons.” These free mornings and afternoons are built-in so they can explore on their own. When we say something is “built-in” we mean it’s included as part of the plan – as part of the itinerary. “We are planning that on the second day in the afternoon we won’t have any activities, you can do whatever you want.” That’s why Alice says they are built-in; they are part of the plan.

Darrel is not sure; he says, “I don’t know.” Alice says, “The alternative is for you to plan each stop of our trip.” The “alternative” means the other option or another way we can do this. She says the alternative is for Darrel to plan each stop – each day, each thing you do each day – for their trip. Darrel says, “A tour is sounding better and better.” Now that he has the option of doing everything himself or taking a tour, now he’s more interested in taking the tour!

Now let’s listen to the dialogue, this time at a normal pace.

[start of dialogue]

Darrel: What are you looking at?

Alice: Tours for our vacation. I was thinking that it’d be hard for us to get around on our own, so I think joining a tour is a good idea.

Darrel: Really? I thought we’d make our way around leisurely to see the sites. I don’t like the fast pace of tours. I’d rather have the time to take in each site, not rush through it just to say I’ve been there.

Alice: Tours come in all shapes and sizes. I’m sure we can find one that isn’t too fast-paced or strenuous for you.

Darrel: And I don’t want to eat all my meals with the tour group. I want some time to explore on our own.

Alice: All right, I’m looking at a tour that has the perfect itinerary. It’s also gotten rave reviews. It includes a tour guide, all admission fees, accommodations, ground transportation, and most of the meals. And there are several free mornings and afternoons built-in so we can explore on our own.

Darrel: I don’t know.

Alice: The alternative is for you to plan each stop of our trip.

Darrel: A tour is sounding better and better.

[end of dialogue]

Our dialogues and stories come in all shapes and sizes; we hope you don’t rush through them. We think they’re pretty good, because they’re written by our wonderful scriptwriter Dr. Lucy Tse.

From Los Angeles, California, I’m Jeff McQuillan. Thank you for listening. Come back and listen to us again here on ESL Podcast.

English as a Second Language Podcast is written and produced by Dr. Lucy Tse, hosted by Dr. Jeff McQuillan, copyright 2012 by the Center for Educational Development.

Glossary
tour – an organized journey to see or explore a city, area, site, or museum

* Should we pay for a tour of Bangkok, or just explore it on our own?

to make (one’s) way – to explore something by oneself, without a guide or leader, doing what interests one at that particular moment, without having a clear plan ahead of time

* They slowly made their way through the museum, pausing to look at the most interesting pieces of artwork.

leisurely – slowly; not rushed; in a calm, enjoyable way

* They met for leisurely drinks after work and ended up staying at the bar talking for almost three hour.

site – a place that is visited, especially someplace that is a recognized landmark or important part of a larger city

* What’s the more popular site in New York City: the Empire State Building or the Statue of Liberty?

pace – speed; how quickly something is done or how quickly one moves

* Math 201 moves through the material at a quicker pace than Math 101.

to take in – to view, experience, and appreciate something

* How many hours would you need to really take in all the artwork at the Metropolitan Museum of Art?

to rush through – to do something very quickly, without enough time to enjoy or appreciate it, or without enough time to do it well

* Drake rushed through the homework assignment and turned in a lot of answers that were incorrect.

to come in all shapes and sizes – to have a lot of variety; for something to be available in many different types

* Homes come in all shapes and sizes, so it can take a while to find the one you want to buy.

strenuous – difficult; demanding; requiring a lot of attention and/or the use of physical effort; requiring a lot of strength and/or perseverance

* The hike was too strenuous for Maggie, so she turned around and went back to the car to wait for everyone else to finish and come back.

to explore – to travel around an unfamiliar area to see many different parts of it and understand or experience it thoroughly

* Do you think we’ll ever be able to send astronauts to explore the planet Mars?

itinerary – a planned schedule for a trip, showing what one will do, where, and when

* Please send me a copy of your itinerary so I’ll know what you’re doing each day while you’re gone.

rave review – a very favorable statement about how good, interesting, or enjoyable something is

* This new restaurant is getting rave reviews in the local newspaper. Do you want to eat there this weekend?

tour guide – a person who leads a group of individuals to an unfamiliar site, explaining the history and importance of the place and providing additional information about what those people are seeing

* The tour guide said that this was the first university in North America.

admission fee – the amount of money paid to enter a museum, park, zoo, or similar place

* The museum admission fee is normally $10.75, but it’s free on the first Tuesday of each month.

accommodations – lodging; the hotel, hostel, cabin, or room where one sleeps while traveling

* If we stay with Aunt Samantha, we won’t need to worry about paying for accommodations.

ground transportation – vehicles used to get from one place to another, including cars, buses, vans, trains, and subways; not air travel

* The hotel provides free ground transportation to and from the airport.

built-in – included as a part of something else in its original design

* Older homes have a lot of beautiful built-in closets and cupboards.

alternative – another option; another way to do something; one of several available possibilities

* If you don’t want to spend so much money on gas, your alternative is to take the bus.

Comprehension Questions
1. Why doesn’t Darrel want to go on a tour?
a) Because he thinks he won’t be able to understand the guide.
b) Because he thinks he won’t have enough time to see everything.
c) Because he doesn’t want to be part of a large group.

2. What is included in the tour package?
a) Food and drinks.
b) Hotel rooms.
c) Airfare.

Answers at bottom.

What Else Does It Mean?
to take in

The phrase “to take in,” in this podcast, means to view, experience, and appreciate something: “When they finally reached the top of the mountain, they stopped hiking to eat a snack and take in the scenery.” The phrase “to take in” also means to make a piece of clothing a little bit smaller by sewing part of it: “Greg lost a lot of weight and had to have his pants taken in.” The phrase “to take (someone) in” means to let a person or animal live with you when that person or animal doesn’t have anywhere else to live: “Sheila often takes in stray dogs and cats.” Finally, the phrase “to be taken in” means to be tricked, deceived, or fooled by someone: “Do many people get taken in by emails that request the password to a bank account?”

rave

In this podcast, a “rave review” is a very favorable statement about how good, interesting, or enjoyable something is: “The actors were very pleased when their performance on opening night got rave reviews in the local newspaper.” As a verb, “to rave” means to talk excitedly about something one likes, enjoys, or recommends: “Everyone is raving about the new Korean restaurant downtown.” Young people use the word “rave” to talk about a very large dance with loud music and illegal drugs: “Why don’t the police do anything to stop the raves downtown?” Finally, the phrase “to rant and rave” means to talk about something uncontrollably in a negative way: “I’m tired of hearing Jans rant and rave about how nobody else works as hard as he does.”

Culture Note
Popular Family Vacation Destinations

U.S. News and World Report, a national newspaper, has created a list of the 15 best family vacation “destinations” (places to go) in the United States. Here are some of the “highlights” (most interesting or most important parts).

According to the report, the “top” (best; #1) destination for a family vacation is the Grand “Canyon” (a very deep, narrow valley cut into rocks or mountains by a river) in Arizona. The report “notes” (comments; mentions) that the Grand Canyon has many “natural attractions” (pieces of nature that are interesting to see), a railway, hiking, rafting, “kayaking” (a boat like a small canoe), and many restaurants.

The report’s second choice is Yosemite, a national park in California. Like the Grand Canyon, Yosemite offers “an abundance of” (many) natural attractions and outdoor activities. Yosemite is also “relatively” (pretty; fairly) close to San Francisco, where families can enjoy the “sights and sounds” (exciting aspects; interesting parts) of a large city.

The third destination on the list is Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida. Disney World is a “theme park” (a large, outdoor area for entertainment, organized and designed around a theme) related to the Disney characters like Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck. Disney World has many “rides” (large machines people sit in that move around for entertainment) and other “attractions” (things of interest) that are appropriate “for the entire family” (for people of all ages), as well as plenty of hotels, restaurants and swimming pools. Disney World “bills itself as” (calls itself; is marketed as) the happiest place on earth.

Comprehension Answers
1 - b

2 - b