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Lesson 1 Let's Visit New York!

New York, New York. The city so nice they named it twice.

These words were used to describe New York When it was by far the largest, richest, and most developed city in the United StatesNew York still remains the largest and most famous city in the U.S. today, but some of its "nice" reputation has fallen over the past thirty years with stories of rampant crime making headlines around the world. How true are these stories? Is New York still a "nice" place to visit? If so, what can a tourist do in New York? Let's take a closer look at America's premier city.

First, as personal and social security are always uppermost in the minds of travelers, just how "dangerous" a city is New York? Despite the glaring headlines, New York, located in the northeastern U.S., is one of the safest cities in the U.S. In fact, New York states (which include New York city thus, " New York, New York, the city so nice they named it twice") ranks below other big-population States like California in both violent crime (of much concern to the tourist) and property crime. Other major cites have higher crime rates, too. Thus, the foreign traveler to New York City can feel more secure here than in most other large metropolitan areas of the U.S. besides safety, why do more foreigners visit New York than any other American city? The answer lies in the character of New York itself. No other city in the world is more cosmopolitan. A walk through its hundreds of residential neighborhoods is like walking around the world itself. Place names like Chinatown and little Italy can be found on any map of New York, but smaller ethnic neighborhoods also abound. Also, all these groups sponsor annual or seasonal festivals, so that nearly every week one or more of these peoples will share their cultural experiences (and food!) with other New Yorkers.

Because of this unsurpassed ethnic diversity, the restaurant goer will feel that he has died and gone to heaven while in New York. There is hardly a cuisine on the planet that is not represented here.

Even better, many of these exotic restaurants are reasonably priced. One is never far from a restaurant in New York. There are thousands of Chinese restaurants alone.

Besides the internationally famous sight-seeing attractions-mostly in the borough (district ) of Manhattan--such as the Statue of Liberty, the world trade center with its two 110-story towers, Wall Street, the United Nations, and Broadway, many other interesting places await the curious traveler.

The Bronx Zoo in the northern borough of the Bronx is one of the world’s best. The borough of Queens offers a great variety of ethnic residential neighborhoods. Brooklyn contains the Botanical Gardens, Coney Island (a beach with an amusement Park), and J. F. K. International Airport. Finally, Staten Island, the smallest borough, still affords a Look at what New York used to be like, including a farm!

For culture lovers, New York has more museums than any other city, but some of these are not internationally known. A visit to any of these historical, technical, ethnic, or academic museums is well worth the time. New York's art, music, dance, and fashion scenes are a mecca for the young and professional alike. The internet website for specific information on New York City and state tourists is www.iloveny.state.ny.us. A toll-free number for tourists already in the U. S. or Canada is also available at 1-800-call-NYS.

No matter what your interest is, if it can be found in an urban environment, it can be found in New York. Its eight million citizens hail from every corner of the globe, but they are united in the love of their challenging but rewarding city. AS the locals there say, 'Sure, you have to be a little crazy to live in New York, but you'd be nuts to live anywhere else!"


Lesson 2 The Amish

In the land of rock and roll, the space shuttle, and computerized living, who could imagine that about 50,000 Americans do not use telephones, electric lights, or cars, not because they are poor, but out of choice? As hard as this may be to imagine, the Amish, or more properly, the Amish Mennonites, still live a traditional, rural lifestyle direct from 17th century Europe!

To understand these unique Americans better, it is necessary to understand their history. Beginning with the revolution started by Martin Luther, leader of the Protestant Reformation in Germany in the 16th century, Europe was wracked by religious wars for several hundred years. Modem Europe is a product of these wars and of the political and religious philosophies of those times. The main figures in this tragic period were the Roman Catholic Church and the Protestants, those who rebelled against papal rule from Rome. Among the thousands of splinter groups formed outside of Rome's religious rule were the Mennonites, a group of particularly conservative, rural Christians situated in what is today Switzerland, part of eastern France, and southern Germany.

To make along story short, the Mennonite Amish were so conservative that they made more enemies than fiends. In order to preserve their peculiar lifestyle, they began to immigrate to the British colonies in North America in about 1720 (before Canada and the United States were formed as independent countries). There they found the religious freedom they had sought. Amish settlements sprang up in the colonies and territories of Pennsylvania, Ohio & Indiana as well as in Ontario, in what is today Canada. Surprisingly, there are no Amish groups today in Europe.

Little has changed about their lifestyle since then. Just how conservative are the Amish? A group of Amish looks like a cast from a biblical movie set. All the men wear large brimmed black hats, beards (but not mustaches), and clothes made by their wives. The women wear a hair covering called a bonnet, long dresses, and black shoes. Even though all Amish men and women marry, you will not see a wedding ring, for even this simplest type of jewelry is banned among them. The Amish are primarily farmers, and good ones, despite the fact that they do not use modem farm machinery. Their children are educated in local primary schools, but secondary education is in the home. Sundays are spent mostly in church. An old dialed of German mixed with English is used in church and at home. Their lives are uncomplicated and few Amish leave their homes to enter the mainstream American society.

Rural Pennsylvania where most of the Amish live is beautiful countryside. If you have the opportunity to drive through the gentle, rolling hills amidst lush farmlands, perhaps you will see a horse and buggy driven by a family dressed mostly in black. These are the Amish, an enduring and endearing people.



Lesson 3 Indoor Pollution

So you think that by staying at home you are safe from all the terrible kinds of pollution present outdoors, such as in or near factories, roads, and garbage dumps? Do you think that by staying in your office you are breathing cleaner, safer air than when you go outside for lunch or are on the way back home from work? Think again. Recent research done at the University of Texas has shown that staying indoors may actually be more harmful to one's health than being outdoors even in smoggy cities.

Apparently, we are safe neither at home nor in the business office. We use water in both places, but the above-mentioned research shows that chemicals added to our local water supply to kill harmful bacteria can have unwanted side effects. These chemicals can cause potential harm through drinking and in seemingly harmless activities as cleaning one's house. These additives are released from water by daily actions like water running out of faucets, spraying from garden hoses, or splashing in dishwashers and washing machines. As the water is agitated, these chemicals are released into the air and then breathed in. Once inside our bodies, they start to affect our health adversely.

Does this mean we should stop bathing? No, say the scientists, but we should put all pollution into perspective. Activities at home such as the burning of propane, coal, cooking oil, or even candles and incense release carbon monoxide and particulates such as soot which have been proven as harmful to health as working or living near high density traffic. New rugs, bedding, and even clothing give off that "new smell;' which is a sure sign of chemicals. In the office, newly applied paint, newly purchased telephones and other telecommunications equipment, and computers and their peripherals release polluting chemicals, too. As offices and homes often have inadequate ventilation, these chemicals can build up to become health nuisances. Their toxic effects are only now being slowly recognized.

These facts suggest that, at a minimum, proper airing of newly purchased goods with an obvious chemical smell is a wise precaution. Home and office windows should be opened during good weather to allow a flushing of stale air. Even one's car need to be ventilated as well as the garage.

We need further research to understand better other potential health hazards, too. For example, the effect of overcrowding of schools (carbon dioxide build up), factory work environments (an endless list of potentially dangerous substances), and even home heating and cooling (the furnace and air conditioner may be our enemies, not our fiends) have only recently started to come to light. Until we understand the effects of our new technological environment better, we can only hope that " there is no place like home"



Lesson 4 Pizzas, Please!

One of the world's most popular foods along with the hamburger, fried chicken, and milk shakes is pizza. Although the origin of the first three foods is well understood, that of pizza until recently, anyway was for along time an international controversy.

The word pizza has always been known to mean pie or cake, and is an Italian word. This fad alone might suggest pizza's origins. However, some years ago in New York City, a Chinese restaurateur challenged the Italian ethnicity of pizza by declaring that pizza was originally a Chinese food. But was then taken along with pasta by Marco Polo back to Italy. It seemed the question would never be solved.

The case actually made itself into court (only in America!). Italian restaurateur challenged the Chinese businessman's view, but when all the evidence was in, the result was announced by a judge, as early as the Roman Empire, pizza was baked in ovens there and eaten. Chinese normally steam or fry their foods, not bake them. Bread and other baked goods to which pizza belongs were developed from India through Europe where they are still enjoyed today. Besides, cheese is an essential element of pizza, and the Chinese traditionally did not produce cheese. The case was closed, and pizza's paternity has now been established.

For pizza lovers, of course, their favorite food might have been invented in Argentina or Indonesia. Who cares? Indeed, pizza has changed as it has spread around the globe, so that when ordering a pizza in Honolulu, New York, Paris, Istanbul, New Delhi, or Tokyo, you are sure to receive a slightly different version in each city or country. Pizza known to Italians and New Yorkers (Where pizza was first introduced into the United States by the many Italian Americans living there) is a round, thin crusted baked dish covered with tomato sauce and cheese. To improve the taste, pieces of Italian sausages such as pepperoni and salami, and vegetables like onions, green peppers and olives are added. Occasionally, anchovies, small, salty fish, are also used. However, Asians enjoy pizza with corn, cucumbers, and other vegetables, not to mention assorted seafood. Hawaiians, perhaps predictably, developed a pizza with a pineapple and ham topping. Today, nearly every country has its favorite local variety of pizza. Worldwide, there must be more than 1 000 varieties of pizza.

Some people are not so fond of pizza. They classify it as a junk food, along with greasy French fries, potato chips, and hamburgers. On the contrary, said defenders of pizza, it is indeed a healthful food. Carefully chosen fresh ingredients can ensure the quality of any food we eat, and pizza is no exception.

Others protest that pizza is too fattening to be eaten regularly. Not true, respond those enamored of pizza's charms. It all depends on the ingredients and how well they are prepared. For example, the meats which are used as toppings on pizza are often first fried to remove excess fat. The cheeses used can be selected for their high protein but low milk fat. Sparse rather than generous addition of spices such as salt ensure that pizza need not be considered junk food. A well-made pizza not only looks, smells, and tastes great, but it is a wise choice for everyone as a regular food source. Indeed, It seems the only disadvantage to pizza is that when dropped, it causes a mess!

Children enjoy pizza because it's fun to eat and delicious. Workers enjoy it because it is inexpensive and quick to order, too. Families enjoy the convenience of carrying home a whole meal from the many vendors of this world famous food. With its many advantages, no one needs to resist the allure of one of the world's most popular foods. Come to think of it, let's have pizza for dinner tonight!



Lesson 5 Hot Animals around the World: Chameleons

Every few months this program will feature an animal which has caught the eye of the world's public to become a favorite or "hot" animal. In the first of this unusual series, we will look at the chameleon, one of nature's strangest creatures.

Perhaps no other group of animals has caught mankind's imagination like reptiles. Among the several subclasses (or "orders" in biology) of reptiles are snakes and lizards, turtles and tortoises, crocodiles and alligators, and the tuatara, a marine lizard in New Zealand. The dinosaurs, too, belonged to the class of reptile. Was it a snake, lizard, or crocodile that caught the fancy of some Chinese in times gone by to create the dragon? A perennial theme, reptiles have been featured over the past ten years in box-office hits and bombs alike as dinosaurs (Jurassic Park and The lost World), crocodiles, and snakes (Anaconda). Though not nearly as large as these mighty reptiles, the lowly chameleon nonetheless has amazed countless generations with its special talents and skills.

What is a chameleon? Its unusual name fits this unusual animal perfectly, for it translates from the ancient Greek as "lion on the ground.' This is unexpected, since chameleons spend most of their time in trees, and as for looking like a lion, a chameleon looks like a ... well, a chameleon! No other animal in Nature's zoo looks quite as bizarre as they do. Where do they live? True chameleons are found only in the tropical forests and jungles of the Old World, and nearly half of its species live on the African island of Madagascar.

What's special about the chameleon? Plenty! From its tongue to its tail the chameleon offers a storehouse of specialties. The tongue of this modem-day dinosaur look-alike can be extended more than twice the length of its body. This type of tongue, also present in frogs and toads, is called an extensile tongue. The eyes of the chameleon are even more remarkable. Its eyes are turreted and can be moved independently so that it can view two different objects simultaneously! This comes in especially handy as it is tree dwelling. The chameleon can keep one eye on its prey and the other on its footing. Its head is often helmet-shaped, and some species have horn-like structures growing out of this scaly helmet.

The feet and tail of the chameleon are also special. Both are prehensile; that is, they are both perfectly adapted to their sylvan environment. The toes of the chameleon's feet are bunched into inside and outside groups of two or three to enable this reptile to grasp tree branches tightly. The chameleon can thus climb extraordinarily well while using its tail to grab objects for further balance.

The above inventory of natural selection specializations would be remarkable enough, but what really separates the chameleon from its fellow reptiles is the fact that its scales contain the ability to change color, Though many people think the chameleon can change its color at will and that it can blend into any color, these are misconceptions. In fact, chameleons can blend into many natural colors and even patterns, but they cannot do this at will. Instead, this happens naturally according to temperature, emotional state of the animal, and the triggering of certain hormones within its body.

It is hard to imagine an animal more interesting than the chameleon, with its weird appearance and special abilities. We should always remember, however, that these animals require their native habitat to flourish in, not zoos or individuals' terrariums. If you want your grandchildren to see this gift of nature, do not collect it as a pet. These natural treasures evolved over millions of years without mankind's help; they will continue to survive better if left alone.


Lesson 6 Table Manners in Anglo-America

"Oh, no! Here I am at an American family's home at the dinner table. There are all kinds of plates, saucers, cups, and silverware at my place. Which should I use for which food? Should I sit down first or wait for the host to invite me? Should I have brought a gift? Someone please tell me what to do! "

Have you ever been in or had a nightmare about this situation? Don’t worry! This article will help steer you through the rocks and reefs of Anglo-American table manners so that if you are ever abroad in Canada or the United States, or at someone’s home from one of those countries, you will feel right at home.

It is important to distinguish what kind of occasion you will be attending before you plan for a pleasant evening. Most Anglo-Americans enjoy entertaining at home, but they don't enjoy stuffy, formal dinners. They invite their friends over for a fun evening, not as a test of one's knowledge of cultural traditions. If, however, you are invited to a formal affair, such as a so-called "sit-down" dinner, you may want to know in advance some basic rules of "black tie" etiquette.


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