sábado, 2 de noviembre de 2013

Reading test: Summer Deep-Freeze

Today’s reading, Summer Deep-Freeze, revolves around an article a friend of mine wrote for The New York Times after spending a holiday in New York. The article is good fun to read and throws some light on the way visitors discover a specific aspect of New York City’s life that might have gone unnoticed to many of its inhabitants.  For this reason, Summer Deep-Freeze lends itself to a class around the topic of culture shock.

Before going over the exercise and the article, discuss these questions with your classmates or friends.
Have you ever visited New York?
If so, what was the experience like?
What features of everyday life and the city’s organization drew your attention?
If not, would you like to visit New York? Why (not)?

Vocabulary and grammar are sometimes tested in the reading paper of an exam. We are going to do so with this article. Before reading Summer Deep-Freeze, go over sentences 1-12, taken from the text, and decide which of the options A, B or C best fits each space.

1 There is only one issue I would like (1) ……  on: air-conditioning.
A commenting   B to comment   C comment

2 But what I’ve encountered in New York City (2) …… anything I’ve known before.
A exceeds   B excels    C overpasses

3 Luckily, I had been (3) …… about it by some friends who had just been to New York.
A said   B warned    C announced

4 … to bring appropriate clothing to (4) …… the polar indoor temperatures we would experience…
A face up to   B stand up for   C withstand

5 … this advice would prove exaggerated and such (5) …… unnecessary.
A garments    B outfit   C article of clothing

6 … every time we (6) …… a shop, a restaurant, a museum or any public building…
A entered   B entered to   C entered into

7 The transition from the subway platforms to the deep-freeze temperatures inside subway carriages was something I doubt I could have survived if I (7) ……  a little older or in worse health.
A had been   B would be   C would have been

8 Getting near the place where dairy products are kept in supermarkets requires dressing as if one (8)…… a member of Amundsen’s or Scott’s polar expeditionary teams.
A is    B would be   C were

9 In the fruit and vegetable section of a well-known Midtown market, staff members were actually (9) …… thick anoraks.
A wearing   B carrying   C having

10 I’ve no objection to keeping office buildings refrigerated ([10] …… those who work in them might).
A despite   B in spite of   C although

11 We won’t (11) ...... to hotel, restaurant or department store staff members working in their shirt sleeves…
A oppose B deny   C object

12 … don’t make us shiver in our sandals (12) …… waiters and sales clerks in winter-weight attire can be comfortable.
A for   B so that   C because

As you may have guessed from the sentences above, the thing that surprised my colleague while visiting New York was the fact the temperature of the air-conditioning was really high anywhere you went. Now read the article Summer Deep-Freeze to find out all the details about it and to check the answers to the multiple choice questions above.

Once you have read the text, discuss your reactions to the article with your classmates.
Have you ever gone through a similar experience, either in New York or anywhere else?
Have you ever been shocked by local customs, attitudes or behaviour when visiting a city or country?
What features of everyday life and the city’s organization do visitors find more surprising about your city or country?