Views #979 | Low Intermediate 4

Pricey Places

Tom and Jess talk about expensive cities.

Jess: So, Tom, I was reading in the newspaper this morning, and I noticed a story which said that Tokyo and Osaka are now the most expensive cities to live in. I remember you told me you used to live in Tokyo. Was that your experience of living there?

Tom: That's right. Tokyo was really expensive. I am so pleased that now I live in Bangkok. Living here is fantastic. My apartment - I have this lovely beautiful big apartment and the rent is a good deal. Thai food is famous all over the world and actually when you come to Thailand, you realize how cheap the food is and how available it is. You can buy food - every kind of food from any shop or restaurant - even on the street. They have street stalls where people cooking. They have people walking up and down the street pushing carts full of food and it's all really cheap and delicious. I like to go shopping in Bangkok. There's a lot of clothes and shoes and bags. The prices are really low and it's this lovely feeling being able to walk around and afford things. Did you know in Tokyo the most surprising expensive thing was getting a hair cut. I don't go much for expensive hair cuts and it used to kill me how much I had to pay just to get someone to chop off my scruffy locks. I know you've lived in Europe mostly. What was your experience? What was the most expensive place in Europe?

Jess: Well, I've lived in three European cities: Budapest, Madrid and Paris and of the three Paris was definitely the most expensive. The things that stands out in my mind as being the most expensive were beauty services. Things like hair cuts, hair coloring, facials, waxing. I actually had to save and budget every month to make sure I was able to afford in Paris the the things I was used to getting without thinking about back home in Britain, but not every thing was expensive there. Beauty services were and rent was but the wine, brilliant French wine, was really cheap and there was a huge variety, so in that way, I guess it balanced itself out.

Learn vocabulary from the lesson

I was reading the newspaper


I was reading the newspaper this morning and I noticed an interesting story.

Here is a good example of the past continuous tense where a continuing action in the past (reading the newspaper) is interrupted by a second action (I noticed a story). Notice the following:

  1. I was driving to work when I noticed the engine sounded strange.
  2. He was downloading free MP3's when he noticed a virus warning.

kill me


It used to kill me how much I had to pay.

We use the phrase 'kill me' to talk about something that causes us to feel very bad. Here are two samples:

  1. It kills her to see young kids begging for food on the street.
  2. It used to kill me how much I paid for DVD's. Now I download everything.

chop off my scruffy locks


I got someone to chop off my scruffy locks.

When we chop off  our scruffy locks, we cut our long untidy hair. Notice the samples:

  1. He was happy to get a job, but it killed him to chop off his scruffy locks.
  2. After my brother chopped off his scruffy locks, even our mom didn't recognize him.

stands out


The thing that stands out about her are the green eyes.

Something or someone that stands out is different from the others. Here are some samples:

  1. The thing that stands out about Jack is his long scruffy red hair.
  2. For me, the thing that stands out about Tokyo is the neon.

balance out


I guess it balanced itself out.

When a past experience had both good and bad things we say it balanced itself out. Notice the sample sentences:

  1. The check at the restaurant just killed me, but the food was really delicious so it balanced itself out.
  2. What a day! We took the wrong train and got lost, but discovered some really cool places. I guess it balanced itself out.

Vocabulary Quiz

was playing • kills me • chop off
stands out • balanced out
  1. It just to pay that much for Vietnamese food when I think about how cheap it was in Vietnam.
  2. She had to buy a new car, but then she got a raise.  It all .
  3. He soccer when he got the call.
  4. She is so tall that she in a crowd.
  5. He had to his long hair after he finished university.
Answer the following questions about the interview.


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