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Let me begin this next column in the series with a generalized statement:The Spanish you learn in a classroom in the United States, Mexico, or in your own study from some impossibly expensive Spanish language tapes WILL NOT be the Spanish you hear in the streets of Mexico!I do not care who will try to convince you otherwise! I do not care who may convince you that this method or that method will give you fluency if only you would dish out the bucks to take it. What yo...

Mexican Living Survival Tip # 2 The Language Barrier

Mexican Living Survival Tip # 2  The Language BarrierLet me begin this next column in the series with a generalized statement:The Spanish you learn in a classroom in the United States, Mexico, or in your own study from some impossibly expensive Spanish language tapes WILL NOT be the Spanish you hear in the streets of Mexico!I do not care who will try to convince you otherwise! I do not care who may convince you that this method or that method will give you fluency if only you would dish out the bucks to take it. What you learn in a classroom will not be the Spanish you hear on the streets in Mexico.You will not hear classroom Spanish in the stores, markets, doctors office, from street vendors, church, or any life event that happens outside the classroom. You will not! I know this for certain because I took a load of classes in the U.S., Mexico, and a lot of studying using one of the most expensive language learning home study courses. And what I learned was not anything close to what I hear in real life in the streets.This is a dilemma. This, in fact, borders on the criminal, does it not? If what you will learn in class in the U.S., some immersion course in Mexico, or from some home study that promise you will speaking Spanish in 45 days, doesnt do the trick, then havent you wasted you money? In my view, you bet it does.Let me make some more generalized statements.You could take 4 semesters of Spanish at the local Junior College, then come to Mexico to take 4 months of something erroneously labeled, Total Immersion. Though this is a lot of Spanish, you will at best be able to form sentences and ask questions but you will NOT be able to comprehend the reply.Mexican nationals do not speak the way you will hear Spanish spoken in a classroom or expensive language tapes!And therein lies the rub.What you will learn in a formal setting of language instruction, even if it is good instruction, will not be the same thing that is spoken on the streets of Mexico. Mexicans, in everyday life, do not speak like what you will hear in a formal classroom setting. Mexicans on the street speak almost entirely colloquially.The daily street Spanish is so peppered with idiomatic expressions that you will hardly, if at all, be able to comprehend what is said to you! You will hear some recognizable words and phrases but will not be able to understand them in the context in which they are offered.Here are some examples:In a formal classroom you are taught how to greet someone like this:Cmo est? How are you?The reply you are taught to say in a formal classroom is,Estoy bien, gracias. I am fine, thank you.However, here is what you could hear on the streets of Mexico:Cmosta? How are you?Como mango pero no chupado. Like a mango but not sucked.Mango is a fruit here.Can you guess what this means?Cmosta is a made up contraction for, Cmo est? And the phrase, Como mango pero no chupado roughly means,I am like a pretty and sweet mango but not all sucked dry, wrinkled, and ugly.What I was told was told that means is that the popular fruit mango is beautiful looking and sweet but once it is all the meat and juice is sucked out of it then it looks ugly, becomes tasteless and should be thrown out.Now, tell me this: Have you, in all the Spanish classes youve taken, ever heard of that? And yet, I hear it on the street! This is just one example of about a million idioms that Mexicans use every single day on the streets. It isnt the same Spanish!Then, there is the speed at which Spanish is spoken. Man alive, they are fast!I know some people who came here from other parts of the Spanish-speaking world. I know some from South America who have told me that it took them a while, after they moved to Mexico, to understand exactly what language the Mexicans were speaking!For reasons I cannot explain, Mexicans seem to feel the need for speed! If you listen to the various Spanish-speaking radio stations you can access via the web, not all is equal in the Spanish-speaking world. In Spain, the accent aside, they can be understood well. So can those from Argentina. Some may disagree with me but other than the Cubans, Mexican Spanish is mostly incomprehensible because of the speed and idiomatic-expression factor.Frankly, I do not know if I will ever be able to understand Mexicans on the street well enough to hold a street conversation.Dont get me wrong. I can have a decent conversation with someone who is well-educated and who speaks more formally. If you go to the doctor, you can hold a conversation because they will, more than likely, speak to you in the Spanish you learned in the classroom. Go to a party with a bunch of college kids talking about issues and you will hold your own. But, go into the streets and try talking to a street vendor and, KA-POW! What language is this guy speaking?I asked a Mexican pal who lives in Vallarta how he learned his English. His response was, In bed, while pointing to his American wife.That is exactly how most of the truly bilingual young people here become fluent. They know, in fact are told, that if they want to become fluent: GET A MEXICAN BOY OR GIRL FRIEND. And, that is exactly what they do. They hook up with a mate and that is how they become fluent in Street Spanish.For you American men reading this column: Dont even think what I know you are thinking!

The Mirage

The Mirage

Owned by MGM Mirage, this Hawaiian-themed, 3,000 room hotel is as much an entertainment complex as a place to stay. Over 40 years ago it was known as Castaways. But it's as up-to-the-minute fresh as any place in Vegas now. Inside the front entrance is a lush tropical rainforest housed under a 100-foot high dome, with 60-foot palm trees providing 'shade'. Not far away are the lagoons where visitors can swim or walk among palm trees. With two pools and a series of cliffs where water streams down into grottos, it's a man-made paradise. Step along and step up to the Paradise Cafe or the Dolphin Bar and sip a cool drink on a hot Vegas day.If you're feeling especially hot, or want to get that way, try the Bare pool area. A clothing-free environment, you can lounge away and observe the local beauty while sipping a drink from the bar. You'll enjoy the sunshine au naturel as the dolphins swim only a few feet away. Connected to it is a Siegfried & Roy-sponsored animal attraction: the Secret Garden and Dolphin Habitat. The area is a carefully reconstructed tropical paradise. Here, a dozen species fly, crawl or swim continuously. The 2.5 million gallon pool is home to several Atlantic bottleneck dolphins in a sandy-bottomed artificial coral reef system. With four connected pools, they enjoy plenty of variety and so will the visitor.For a closer look at sea life, visit the Aquarium - a 20,000 gallon seawater enclosure that houses puffer fish, tangs and other interesting creatures. There are over 60 species represented among the 1,000 animals and all are easily visible within the 53-foot long, six-foot wide by 8-foot high, 4-inch thick acrylic walls. Until a few years ago the hotel was the home of the Siegfried & Roy white tiger-themed show. But Roy was attacked by one of the animals and the show closed down. Fortunately, the tigers are still around in the White Tiger Habitat. Visible daily, these rare beauties are on display 24 hours per day, 7 days per week in a carefully controlled environment. With a pool, fountains and simulated mountain terrain for the tigers to enjoy, it's a treat for them as well as the viewer. Outside is the Mirage volcano - an artificial Vesuvius that erupts periodically throughout the evening. At the top of each hour from 7 p.m. to midnight, flames shoot high into the night sky, spraying smoke and fire a hundred feet up. Backed by design expertise that helped create the Bellagio Fountains, it's a not-to-miss attraction. Over 50 feet high, situated on three water-covered acres, it's been amazing viewers for almost 20 years. It even smells interesting. To mask the scent of the gas used to power the volcano, the structure emits Pia Colada vapor.For cash back deals and free deals visit http://www.dragonrewards.com/browse/all/all/all

Taking A Bird Watching Vacation

Taking A Bird Watching Vacation

Bird watching has quickly become one of the most popular hobbies in the World. What at one time was just a backyard interest has now grown into extensive bird watching vacations. When looking for a "bird watching" vacation, you can choose from one as simple as a weekend getaway or you can elect to go on one as long as a 14-day extravaganza full of rare and interesting birds to watch.There are more than 1000 different species of birds in the United States alone, all of which are unique in their own way. Each species of bird has their own call pattern, sound, shape, and even a different beak. As a bird watcher, you may only have about a half a second to identify a bird by seeing how it moves through the trees, or by the shape of its wings. For the amateur bird watcher, it can be frustrating out there alone, not knowing what to look for, or what type of bird you have found. That is why a bird watching vacation can be quite an adventure for you, as well as a time for you to learn a hobby that you may soon fall in love with. Usually bird watching vacations are guided tours with a large group of people who enjoy helping others discover the love of bird watching.Where to Go On a Bird Watching VacationThe possibilities are endless when deciding where to go on a bird watching vacation. Here are just a few choices that have been rated some of the best bird watching vacation spots in the World. Costa Rica has often been considered the Mecca of bird watching. With such exquisite locations as the reserve of Bosque de Paz and the La Ensenada refuge, Costa Rica is one of the most popular bird watching vacation spots to be found.South Africa frequently offers bird houses vacations to Kruger Park, Pretoria, Hluhuwe Game Reserve, and everywhere in between. Birders can experience a great variety of local birds, migrants, and endemic birds that make up the almost 850 species that can be found in this stunning location.During a winter "bird houses" vacation, you may want to find yourself on the sandy beaches of The Grand Bahama Island. Grand Bahama Island has the distinction of being the 2nd most bird-populated island in the Bahamas. The Rand Nature Centre is home to West Indian Flamingos, Red-legged Thrushes, the endangered Bahama parrot, as well as numerous other species of birds. While kayaking in the crystal clear water you will have the chance to see rare birds that live in the Mangrove swamps, and the Caribbean Pine Forest.Opportunities are plenty on any of these bird houses vacations. It is up to you to choose the one that takes you both to a beautiful location and one that will thrill the bird enthusiast within you.

Cheap Holidays To Turkey On The Beach

Cheap Holidays To Turkey On The Beach

The Mediterranean Coast is a perfect place for cheap holidays to Turkey. If you are looking for a beach vacation, Turkey is a place to go. Keep in mind when you plan your beach vacation that many of the beaches in Turkey have no lifeguards, but you can play it safe by not swimming alone. They do experience undertows and riptides from time to time. In Fethiye, you will find Patara Beach, Oludeniz Beach and Calis Beach. In Antalya, you will find Kemer beach, Side Beach and Olimpos Beach. In Dalyan, you will have one beach called Iztuzu that sometimes has a few logger turtles lurking around.The nice thing about the area of Dalyan, you can take a day trip and visit the cliff tombs and the river as well as the Caunos ruins. You will go home with a fantastic tan and feel more relaxed than you ever imagined. Since your "cheap holidays" to Turkey covers a beach vacation, you might want to plan you nights at different nightclubs for some more fun. You will find techno clubs and some raves as well. The area has become well noted for the nightlife. Just remember ladies, the birahanes are mostly for men and it is not recommended that women go to these clubs.If you want to see some attractions in Turkey instead of spending all your time on the beach, you might visit some of the ancient ruins or some of the buildings that have a history behind them. The architecture of the buildings alone are great to see. You can really get a feel for the history by glazing at these buildings. If you travel to Istanbul, you will have a chance to see and tour the Topkapi Palace. This is a spectacular site to see. The beauty of the palace can captivate the mind and have you standing there taken in by the beauty.The historical area is the best place to sit and glaze at the structures and the beauty of the city. As you look out over the city, you see point towers that seem to go on forever. Your cheap holidays to Turkey might also include a spending some time seeing the many museums and gardens around the area. A trip to Turkey is going to provide some fun, but if you spend a few days on the beach and a few days walking around the area, you will have a great trip.Plan your cheap holidays and take the family away for the holidays. The holidays are great times to spend in other countries to see how they celebrate the holiday. You can learn a lot about how others celebrate by participating. Once you have your plans all set, the only thing left to do is travel. This in itself will be fun and exciting. Once you arrive at your destination, all that you have left to do is have fun and make good memories. Enjoy the area and the people while you are vacationing.

Relaxation And Sightseeing In Spain

Theres a ton of things to see when sightseeing in Murcia Spain. The city, which shares the same name as the province, is also the capital. Your trip will likely begin as you fly into Alicante Airport or even San Javier, of which both are located right outside of the city. Though Alicante is the furthest away of the two, its actually a larger and busier airport. This may help you get a better price on your flight. Youre definitely best of getting around the city with a rental car. You can do this right outside of the Alicante airport, and just outside of the terminal in which youll exit your flight. Both airports have will let you reserve a car, however its cheaper, and a much more simple process if you do this at Alicante. Youll want to compare the prices with the car service companies in the actual city if youre flying into San Javier since youll likely find a much better deal. Reserving your car ahead of time will help you have a much smoother process and allow you to just go and pick up your car after your flight lands. When youre sightseeing in Murcia, there are a number of museums for you to enjoy if thats your thing. If you are traveling with children then the Museum of Science and Water will be interesting and is actually a nice interactive place to keep you kids busy. The museum hosts a planetarium, puts on tremendous educational shows, and has a great exhibit. The other great museum, which is actually famous as the city museum is the popular Museo de la Cuidad. This was actually the home of a highly known family back in the sixteenth century. Experiencing this history of the city will be one of the great experiences of your trip. Youll enjoy both art and culture in the area and have a tremendous time doing so. As well as the aforementioned museums, The Archeological Museum is a great place to go to learn all about the history of the area. Youll see a number of prehistoric artifacts, as well as beautiful displays from both the Islamic and Roman time periods in the country. Some other great things to do and see in Murchia are no doubt the areas beaches. These beaches are beautiful, the weather is usually near perfect, and will give you a wonderful chance to actually rest and relax on your vacation. If you would like to rest near a wonderful lagoon, then head over to the Mar Menor, which translates to small sea, and relax on the tiny strip of sand that separates the lagoon from the Mediterranean sea. Depending on when you are traveling you may just catch one of the large festivals that go on in the area, including the festivals during Easter week, as well as the great Sea of Music Festival during July. There are several festivals in Murcia throughout the year. There are processions and festivals during Easter week and a procession on Easter. Either way, theres no doubt that youll enjoy your trip to the area.

A Helpful Guide To The Costa Blanca In Spain

Whether youve began in the North working your way south, or the other way around, you vacation in Spain is going to be enjoyed. Being set in the Province of Alicante, on the coast of the Mediterranean Sea, the Costa Blanca begins in the South in the fairly well known Spain town of Torrevieja, which is a part of the Valencian Community in the region. Translated to English, "Costa Blanca" means the white coast, which is likely derived from its white beaches, and the buildings that are mostly white washed through towns like Javea, Benidorm, Moraira, Alicante, and Torrevieja. Youll likely start near the town of Alicante on your vacation being that it holds an international airport which is known as the Atlet and this is where your wonderful vacation will gain momentum as an experience that youll not soon forget. Youll likely arrive in the city by public transportation such as bus or taxi, and youll understand why so many people love this vacation spot. The Saint Barbara Castle, which was built in 300 B.C. and is still standing is prominent at the foot of a hill. This castle has stood through numerous wars and battles, yet its beauty and structure have been kept up, and these days houses a renowned restaurant in town. As well, youll love strolling along the beaches of the area, which separate from the city with just a tiled promenade walkway that is lined with all types of flowers and palm trees. Along this walkway youll get to experience the vibrancy of the town where booths line the way with handmade goods, or different forms of live entertainment such as jazz bands, or live orchestras that compliment perfectly the gentle summer nights breeze. Following a fine guide book, or map of Alicante youll see your choice of the different holiday festivals like the Saint John Bonfires, which hosts impressive wooden and carton monuments that display local international characters, where pagan tradition has ensured the warding off of evil spirits by burning the images of these characters into the ground. Also on your trip youll be able to visit Benidorm which will be quite easy to get to and from because of the great transport system that flows from the Alicante airport into the region. In this area, during the day you can lounge by the beach relaxing in the near perfect weather, or else take your family to one of the cities great theme parks. These theme parks include Terra Mitica, which hosts rides that contain history of ancient Rome or Egypt, or visit the exciting water park Aqualandia, which is within the city. This is one of the places to keep on your list in order to keep nice and cool. You can also keep cool at the Terra Natura, which is actually a zoo where the family can enjoy all different sorts of animals that your family can come into full contact with. So there should no longer be any doubt in your mind that you and your entire family can enjoy a superb vacation of excitement and relaxation.

Summary

Let me begin this next column in the series with a generalized statement:The Spanish you learn in a classroom in the United States, Mexico, or in your own study from some impossibly expensive Spanish language tapes WILL NOT be the Spanish you hear in the streets of Mexico!I do not care who will try to convince you otherwise! I do not care who may convince you that this method or that method will give you fluency if only you would dish out the bucks to take it. What yo...