Todd: OK, Phil, you just got back from living in China.
Phil: Yeah, I lived in China about two years ago.
Todd: Wow. What was China like? Do you understand the Chinese language?
Phil: No I only understand English. China was an eye-opener. It’s a very old culture, but there’s not many new, there’s not many old things around in China, through wars, through the cultural revolution, a lot of stuff’s been burnt, a lot of stuff just’s been knocked down. One of the few old things that is there is the Great Wall of China. It’s very famous this wall, very big. They are doing some efforts to try and build the wall up again, but when I was there, I believe it was August 2002 it was still mostly old stuff.
Todd: Yeah, what else did you see in China?
Phil: Ah, I went to Xian and I saw the Terra-cotta warriors. Terra-cotta warriors were discovered shortly after Mao died in the late 70’s by a farmer who was digging a well, and he was digging this well and he found all these stone warriors, literally hundreds of them, and it’s a national treasure now.
Todd: Wow! That’s fascinating.
Phil: Yeah, it’s really an impressive thing to see. Those are the two really old man-made things that I saw in China.
Todd: Was there anything else that was really spectacular?
Phil: The Three Gorges tour was really good. Sadly they are all under water now because of the dam project, but I was able to go shortly before it was flooded and really, really enjoyed it. Saw a lot of beautiful things. Surprisingly enough the water was a lot cleaner than I thought and I actually went swimming in it.
Todd: Oh, cool.
Phil: Yeah, for, this is the Yangzhe River in China and if you’ve ever seen the Yangzhe, most parts of it, you certainly wouldn’t want to swim in it, but these parts were pristine.
Learn Vocabulary from the lesson
China was an eye-opener.
An ‘eye-opener’ is a surprising or shocking experience. The phrase refers to when you open your eyes really wide if you are surprised. Notice the following:
Living with him was an eye-opener to his real personality.
Although the vacation was relaxing, it was also an eye-opener.
A lot has been knocked down.
To ‘knock something down’ is to destroy it until there is nothing left. This is when construction companies hit a building with a big heavy ball. Notice the following:
My brother knocked down my sand castle.
The office building was almost completely knocked down by the hurricane.
Wow! That’s fascinating.
Something that is very interesting is ‘fascinating.’ Notice the following:
This book that I’m reading is absolutely fascinating.
Don’t you think that archaeology is fascinating?
Those are the two really old man-made things I saw in China.
Something that is ‘man-made’ is not natural and has been built or constructed by humans. Notice the following:
The man-made bridge was very difficult engineering accomplishment.
Is the lake natural or man-made?
These parts of the Yangtze were pristine.
If a place is ‘pristine’ it is pure, natural and people have not changed it. Notice the following:
The scenery was so pristine that you felt like you were in a painting.
Behind the house there is a huge pristine woods.