Views #770 | Low-Intermediate 4

Prison Visit

Mark talks about how he combines his interest of traveling and prisons.

Todd: OK, Mark, you've travelled quite a bit.

Mark: I have, yeah.

Todd: And you've actually done a lot of unique things that people don't do when they travel. You were saying that when you travel you like to look at prisons.

Mark: That's right. I have a strange fascination with prisons when I go traveling.

Todd: Is it your conscience? Do you feel guilty that you should be in prison?

Mark: Not really, no but I don't know why but the history of prisons is fantastic. For example, obviously the most famous one's Alcatraz.

Todd: Right.

Mark: You go there. Now you can take an audio tour. Have you ever taken that?

Todd: You know, I'm from San Francisco and I've never been to Alcatraz.

Mark: Ah, it's fantastic. It was one of the best places I visited in America. It was Alcatraz prison. And you can take the audio tour and listen about all the ex-convicts. What they did and what daily life was like in Alcatraz. Really, good.

Todd: Wow, well, I'm going home in a few days and I'm gonna go to Alcatraz.

Mark: You should do. You should do it. And another prison that I visited that's very famous was Robben Island just off the coast of Cape Town in South Africa, and that's where Nelson Mandela spent most of his days.

Todd: No kidding. Robben Island.

Mark: Robben Island. Yeah.

Todd: Do they still have his room made up?

Mark: They do. They have his room all still made up, and you can read lots of leaflets about Nelson Mandela and hen they take you, show you the work yard, and basically he was spending, I think was twelve hours per day working outside in the South African heat.

Todd: That's insane.

Mark: You can see all around the prison yard. That's really interesting.

Todd: So you've seen the prisons in South Africa and in America.

Mark: Also I went to a crazy prison in Kuala Lumpur in the center on Malaysia.

Todd: Oh, yeah.

Mark: Yeah. As you arrive at the airport, if you take the monorail from the station into central Kuala Lumpur, then you see the old prison. It's now closed, but outside the prison, on the walls, it's got lots of graffiti and basically the government has written the graffiti and it basically tells you do not smuggle drugs into Malaysia or you will be staying here for a long time, and the prison looks like the worst building you've ever seen in your life.

Todd: Wow!

Mark: Yeah, and also it warns you about the death penalty, if you smuggle drugs into Malaysia, you'll receive the death penalty.

Todd: Man, that's... well, that's tough.

Mark: Yeah. I think I got this fascination for prisons because near my house in England there used to be a big prison that looked like an old castle, old scary castle and I used to pass that sometimes when I was going to work when I was younger, so that's why I have this strange interest in prisons.

Learn vocabulary from the lesson!

a strange fascination


I have a strange fascination with prisons when I go traveling.

A 'strange fascination' means an unusual and extreme interest in something.

Notice the following:

  1. I think you have a strange fascination with clothes and shoes!
  2. Many people have a strange fascination with UFOs.

is it your conscience


Is it your conscience? Do you feel guilty that you should be in prison?

'Is it your conscience' means 'do you have guilty feelings about doing the right thing'?

Notice the following:

  1. Is it your conscience that is making you uneasy?
  2. Is it his conscience do you think that is making him do all of the work for charity?



You can make the audio tour and listen about all the ex-convicts.

'Ex-convicts' are people that used to be in prison.

Notice the following:

  1. A lot of ex-convicts are asked to do charity work to help them with their rehabilitation.
  2. He is an ex-convict, did you know that?



You can read lots of leaflets about Nelson Mandela.

'Leaflets' are small brochures that have useful information on them.

Notice the following:

  1. I used to have a job delivering leaflets to houses.
  2. If we print lots of leaflets, that will help us to advertise our business.

a crazy prison


I went to a crazy prison in Kuala Lumpur in the center of Malaysia.

A 'crazy prison' is a prison that it is not what you would consider to be normal.

Notice the following:

  1. I have visited lots of crazy prisons in my time.
  2. I think that a crazy prison could be a very interesting place to visit.

Vocabulary Quiz

fascination • conscience • ex-convicts
leaflets • prisons
  1. It can be very difficult for to find work.
  2. Is it your that makes you feel like you can't have a piece of cake?
  3. There have been a number of crazy in this country that have been shut down because of violence.
  4. You have a strange with crime television.
  5. We have been really busy sending out about our company and trying to get people interested in our work.
Answer the following questions about the interview.

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