Simple English Listening

(Intermediate) The Greatest Ever Cave Painting Discovery + The 'Gratefulness' Attitude + Moving City

February 28, 2021 Tristan Palumbo
Simple English Listening
(Intermediate) The Greatest Ever Cave Painting Discovery + The 'Gratefulness' Attitude + Moving City
Show Notes Transcript

This week, I'll tell you about my move to a new city, positive thinking and the the AMAZING new cave painting discovery in Colombia!

Transcripts here:

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Here, I speak in SIMPLE English about interesting topics. The best way to learn is to listen to as much English as possible which is ONE level above your level. This way you pick up maximum amounts of new language and pronunciation naturally. 

My name is Tristan, from England. I'm a native speaker and I've been a qualified English teacher for nearly 10 years, and taught in five countries - UK, Italy, South Korea, Japan and Vietnam. I have post-graduate qualifications in education and English-teaching. 

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(A few sentences are missing, but it's mostly there)

Hello everyone, I hope you've been wonderful,

Welcome to today's show.

Today! We we'll talk about:  the largest collection of cave paintings ever found!! These cave paintings were found in the Amazon rainforest in Colombia a couple of months ago. We'll also talk about my move to Da Nang, I moved to a new city by the way, which was quite an adventure! Also, we'll look at some of the countries that you listeners are from!  Whose country listens to this podcast the most? Also, I'd like to share with you a positive-thinking exercise to do every morning, which I believe is the most powerful and transformational of all the positive-thinking ideas I've experienced, and I've tried many


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By the way, I'm in Da Nang now!! Does anyone out there live in Da Nang? Show me around, eh?  I've just arrived and I'm excited and psyched! ('psyched', is slang for very excited and ready!  'Psyched' is short for 'psyched up', ''psyched', and 'psyched up', both mean excited and ready to do something.

I'm psyched up to be in Da Nang, and to live here for a while and I'm psyched up to meet people and go out

the word 'psyched' is related to 'psycho', or 'psychopath'. But here it means to be very excited to do something!

Say it with me! psyched up. I am psyched up! Now tell me something you're psyched up about!

I'm psyched up to be Da Nang which is one of my favorite cities in the whole wide world. It's the third biggest city in Vietnam, it's on the coast, on a beach. I moved here last week from Hanoi. I put all my things into a moving van, and they drove my things here, while I took a plane. It's about an hour and 20 minutes by flight, to get here from Hanoi.

I know lots of you guys out there, you are from Vietnam! 

Actually, you want to know where you listeners are mostly from? Most listeners of this podcast are from... Brazil, actually! 9%, but also Turkey, 9% of all listeners are from there too. Next, we have Iran. Hello Iran, it's so nice to be able to speak with you here, because obviously, I'm not allowed to on Youtube, unfortunately. In fourth place, we have Vietnam! Both these countries have 7% of the listeners each. The next two countries are the USA, because they need to learn to speak English properly! Only joking, probably because for so many people there, English is their second language, right? There are many native Spanish speakers there, especially. Hola come estas the USA! 

Equal to the amount of American listeners, is magnificent Indonesia! 

Anyways, if you're from Da Nang, feel free to get in touch, and message me on the FB page, Simple English Listening. I'd absolutely love to meet ANY listeners and experience your city through YOUR eyes. We can hang out, get a cafe, whatever you like!

OK, let's talk about the cave paintings. I'm going to present this section with my AI co-host Chloe, to make it more conversational for you.

Hey Chloe. How are you today, good?

Yea, I'm great, and you?

Yea, I'm fine So what's that interesting story we found in the news, the one about the rock paintings in Colombia? There are thousands of pre-historic paintings, you know that are thousands of years old around the world.  What makes this one special?

Well, they recently found the LARGEST collection of pre-historic rock art - by far!! This was in the Amazon Rainforest, in South America. 

pre-historic, pre-historic means before recorded history, before cities and civilizations, before any written records were kept. So this pre-historic art that was drawn on rocks, tell us more about it.

This pre-historic art is from 12,500 years ago. They found tens of thousands of paintings of animals and humans. And the rock that is painted stretches nearly eight miles long! What's super interesting about it, is what they have drawn! You can see drawings of many animals that are now extinct and have been dead for many thousands of years!

Oh, wow! Can you share any examples with us?

One is the mastadon, which is a pre-historic relative of the elephant. This animal has been extinct for at least 12,000 years, as far as we know. There are also pictures of giant sloths, ice age horses and palaeolamas, which are related to llamas.  

And these animals were all seen and painted by us! Tens of thousands of years ago, in a very different world!

Yes, they were painted by some of the very first humans to ever reach the Amazon Rainforest. These paintings give us a small glimpse, a small insight into the every day lives of these people and of a lost civilization. There are so many paintings actually, that it will take many years to study, it will take generations to study all of them as there are tens of thousands of these paintings! The site of these paintings, is so new that they haven't even given it a name yet.

I heard they call it the 'Sistine Chapel' of the ancient world. The Sistine Chapel is of course the great hall in the Vatican city, in Italy, covered in thousands of paintings by such artists as Michelangelo. Also, I heard they found many human hand prints as part of the art.

It must be quite difficult to find, right? If they've only just found it now! I mean..where is it?

Yes, the area is so remote that you have to drive two hours out of San Jose del Guaviare and then walk through the jungle for four hours! And in that part of the jungle there are many alligators and snakes. The most dangerous snake in all of the Americas lives there too! It is called a bushmaster. If it bites you, there is an 80% mortality rate, so, there's an 80% chance you'll die!

And, I heard the team saw one of these snakes on the way back! If they had been bitten them, they would have never gotten back to a hospital in time to be saved! How.. adventurous. 

As well as pictures of all kinds of animals, such as fish, lizards, birds etc.. there are also images of people! People dancing, holding hands, and wearing masks of different animals.

The leader of the British-Colombian team's name is José Iriarte.  He says this of the discovery: (taken from the Guardian newspaper) '“When you’re there, your emotions flow … We’re talking about several tens of thousands of paintings. It’s going to take generations to record them … Every turn you do, it’s a new wall of paintings.

We started seeing animals that are now extinct. The pictures are so natural and so well made that we have few doubts that you’re looking at a horse, for example. The ice-age horse had a wild, heavy face. It’s so detailed, we can even see the horse hair. It’s fascinating.”

Because of recent civil war in Colombia, the area these paintings were discovered in were off limits. People were not allowed to go there! It was not possible for people to visit them. Because, they were too dangerous! Now, the areas can be visited. Archaeologists are tremendously EXCITED at the possibility of finding many more rock paintings!

Many of the paintings are extremely high, and you need a drone to see them all! How did these ancient people even get that high? Some of the paintings show wooden structures that were built so artists could get extremely high up and then they would bungee jump off of them to get down. Well, that's what we can see in some of the paintings.

For what purpose did they make these paintings? Why? What do they mean?

That's a very important question! There is a chance that one reason these paintings were made was for spiritual reasons. Some of the paintings are of large animals maybe being worshiped by people! In the pictures, you can see people raising their arms and bowing around them. The images also include various plants and hallucinogenic plants ('hallucinogenic' plants, are plants that if you eat, you have a mind-altering experience, helping you to see things differently). In the images, we can see spiritual experiences, such as animals and plants having souls that communicate with humans, and religious rituals.

So it seems that in these paintings, all of nature has a spirit, and humans are part of nature, whereas nowadays, it seems, many cultures and religions see humans as separate from nature, above, and better than nature. Humans exclusively have souls, but nature does not. Maybe that's one reason why many ancient aboriginal people's had such a high respect for the natural world. I remember reading a book by a Native American medicine man, who describes the animals as his brothers, as equal to mankind.

I mean, maybe that's one reason we don't care anymore about trashing the planet, covering it plastic and chemicals etc.. 

Back then, there was a fascination with animals and wild life. All animals were wild back then. It's difficult for us to imagine it today but, back then, the world was full of animals, of big wild animals. We call them 'megafauna'. Megafauna are giant, ancient animals. Even the ones that ate plants were dangerous to humans because of their big size. All animals were wild back then, because this is a time before farming, before domesticating animals. For the people back then, there was great drama between the different animals and elements of nature.  Also, maybe, these paintings were a way for pre-historic humans to record history, and their lifestyle at the time. Maybe they were lessons for their people. They could be all of these. 

I'd love to see these painting in real life! Perhaps seeing these images in real life would help us experience something quite.. raw, and earthy, a connection to a more natural part of our humanity.

Thank you Chloe, now I'll put you back in your box!


Next, I'd like to talk about a positive-thinking idea. It's very quick and easy. And, in my own life, I've found it to be transformational and positive. Basically, it's to remember to be grateful, to be thankful for the things in your life, and that happen in your life ('grateful' means thankful) Grateful, thankful.

I mean, many people have written about this, you know, also, it's a part of prayer and meditation for many people. To consciously think to be grateful, to be thankful helps us highlight, and bring attention to the things we appreciate in our lives, and then helps us move towards creating more of those things. Also, it's a humbling experience.

One way that Opra Winfrey does it is, (Opera Whinfrey is the biggest talk show host ever! Well, American talk show host) . Anyways, she writes down 5 things she's grateful for every day. And she focuses on the small things. Of course, we're all grateful for our families and the people we love around us, and food on the table etc.. and it's important to always remember these things too. But Opera Winfrey she, writes down 5 of the small things that she's grateful for every day. To help her find joy and happiness in the small and simple things in life.  An example of HER list is:  

1. A run around Florida's Fisher Island with a slight wind that kept me cool.

2. Eating cold melon on a bench in the sun.

3 . A long and hilarious chat with Gayle about her blind date with Mr. Potato Head.

4. Sorbet in a cone, so sweet that I literally licked my finger.

5. Maya calling to read me a new poem.

Every morning, for the last 10 days, and before that, here and there, I remember 5 things I'm grateful for, they may be small things, or bigger things. And it's a really beautiful way to start the day. It puts me in a positive and productive mood, mentality. You know, a person might wake up angry and tired and thinking whyyy? Nooo.. another day!! But just that.. remembering 5 things a day to be thankful for, it steers you in a better direction. And.. it's very easy to do! It doesn't take long. Opera Winfrey says it's the most transformational single positive-thinking technique. 

So, I just thought I'd share that with you all.  A little something that's ... added to my life recently. Which is, every morning, remembering 5 things I'm grateful for, big or small.  It's up to you how you do it exactly!

So, next week we have a very special guest!! This is a man, whose quite funny, but a man who has lived in 9 different countries AND he speaks 5 different languages!! 5 different languages!! Can you believe it? We will learn about his fascinating life story!

Also, after next week's podcast, we will try a new release schedule. Now, we will do one video podcast every second week. So, you'll have one podcast, which will be on Spotify etc.. but, also be on Youtube, as a video! Every second week.  I want to start making videos more so I can improve at making them and also, the videos are much easier to share on Facebook and Youtube.