Friday, November 30, 2012

Jamaican Cuisine

Jamaican cuisine is a reflection of the island’s culture – colourful, varied, fruity and relaxed. It has been taken techniques and ingredients from West Africa, England, Spain, India and China to create a distinctive national style. People like to eat well and leisurely ( sin prisas)– and enjoy big portions. You can eat fried red snapper,(pargo colorado -un pez rojo-) lamb patties, goat (cabra ) curry with mountains of rice, and drink tropical fruit juice with local rum. Be prepared for an incredible culinary experience!

Ackee and Saltfish (pescado salado) for Breakfast

Jamaican breakfast
For most Jamaicans there is no better way ( no hay mejor forma de  ) to start the day than a breakfast of saltcod (bacalao salado ) with fried ackee. This unusual fruit, originally from West Africa, looks and tastes like scrambled eggs ( huevos revueltos ) when it is cooked! And to accompany it there are usually fried dumplings (bola de masa hervida para servir con guisos) and plantains ( llantén) and a glass of carrot juice or tropical fruit juice. After all this it must be difficult to start work! Visitors will also want to try a cup of Blue Mountain coffee, the best coffee in the world according to connoisseurs.


The perfect snack at any time of the day, the Jamaican patty will give you all the energy you need for sightseeing. Patties are pies filled with minced (picado) lamb, chicken or vegetable and lots of chillies and other spices. You can find them in stands (puesto) on the street, and every Jamaican will be happy to recommend his favourite patty stand if you ask him or her! 

Jerk Pork and Chicken

Jerk is probably the best known style of Jamaican cooking and definitely one of the tastiest. It is a dry seasoning (aliño) mixture rubbed (frotado) directly into pork, chicken or fish. You can also combine it with water to create a marinade. It is made with a variety of spices, including allspice,(pimienta de jamaica ) which gives it its distinctive flavour, cloves ,(clavo ) garlic, onion, ginger and thyme.(tomillo) Every cook uses his or her own combination, which have been in the family for generations.  Ensure ( asegurate ) you have a glass of cold beer nearby, because it is one of the hottest  dishes you will probably ever try!

Rice and “Peas” on the Side (para acompañar) 

And what do the locals eat with their pork or chicken jerk and most of their other meals? They usually have a combination of rice and red kidney beans,(frijoles ) which they call “peas”. These are also cooked with various spices. Lots of boiled yams ( batata ) and sweet potatoes are also responsible for the large waistlines (cintura ) of many Jamaican women!

Red Stripe and Rum

The most popular and famous beer in Jamaica and the brand (marca ) that Jamaicans are proud of is Red Stripe. It has the nickname (apodo) “the policeman” . Locals also like stout.(cerveza negra ) They drink Guinness and local brands like Dragon Stout. Because of the island’s history as a producer of sugar, it is no surprise that it produces excellent rums, including Appleton and Myers. Local men prefer to drink it neat,(solo) but it is also delicious combined with some of the tropical fruit juices to make cocktails. After a hard day on the beach, you will definitely deserve one!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

The Tudors

The Tudors is a historical fiction television series set primarily in England, filmed in Ireland, created by Michael Hirst and produced for the American premium cable television channel Showtime. The series, named after the Tudor dinasty, is loosely based upon the reign of King Henry VIII of England.


Season One chronicles the period of Henry VIII's reign in which his effectiveness (eficacia) as king is tested by international conflicts as well as political intrigue in his own court, while the pressure of fathering (ser padre) a male heir (heredero) compels (le obliga) him to reject (rechazar) his wife, Katherine of Aragon, in favour of Anne Boleyn. He also has a string of affairs and fathers an illegitimate son with his mistress, Elizabeth "Bessie" Blount. The son, Henry FitzRoy, later dies.

Season Two finds Henry as the head of the Church of England, the result of his break (ruptura) with the Catholic Church over its refusal to grant him a divorce from Katherine. During his battle with Rome, he secretly marries a pregnant Anne, who later gives birth to his second daughter Elizabeth I. Anne's own failure to produce a son dooms (condena) her as Henry's attention shifts toward (cambia a favor de) Jane Seymour.

Season Three focuses on Henry's marriages to Jane Seymour and Anne of Cleves, the birth of his son Edward VI, his ruthless (implacable) suppression of the Pilgrimage of Grace, the downfall (caída) of Thomas Cromwell, and the beginnings of Henry's relationship with the free-spirited (espíritu libre) Katherine Howard. Henry reconciles with his daughters Mary and Elizabeth.

Season Four focuses on Henry's ill-fated marriage to Katherine Howard and his final, more congenial, marriage to Katherine Parr. The ageing (envejecido) king seeks military glory by capturing Boulogne, France. In his final hours, he is troubled by the ghosts of his dead wives.

If you haven't seen it yet, what are you waiting for? You will have great fun while you learnt about a very important stage of the History of England.

Here you have a summary of the first season.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Greta Garbo .Forever Alone. (3)

Garbo Talks!

When Greta Garbo began her acting career in the 1920s, films were still silent. Garbo . She was an international star, but her audience had never heard her speak. In fact,( de hecho) movies with sound, or ‘talkies’ as they were known at the time, destroyed the careers of many silent movie actors. American audiences sometimes could not understand actors speaking English with a foreign accent, and sometimes they disliked the sound of an actor’s voice. It was a big risk for Garbo, with her heavy Swedish accent and husky (ronca ) voice, to appear in a talkie. Her first talkie was Anna Christie, released in 1930. The studio had selected the role very carefully, and it was appropriate for Garbo’s character to have an accent. By this time, everyone wanted to hear the sound of her voice, and the movie was publicised with the slogan ‘Garbo Talks!’. Audiences across America loved it. Garbo was nominated for an Academy Award as Best Actress, although she did not win, and in fact Garbo herself hated her performance in the film. 

Greta Garbo's first "talkie"

Hollywood Queen

From 1930 to 1941, Garbo reigned supreme in Hollywood. Audiences loved her glamour and beauty, and the studio publicity system, plus her own natural reticence, combined to create the enigma of the mysterious Swedish beauty. Garbo did not like visitors to come to the set of the film, and in fact when her close-up shots (primeros planos )  were filmed, she even asked the director to leave the set. She said that if people watched her, she felt like ‘a woman making faces for the camera’. To ‘make a face’ means to adopt unnatural or exaggerated expressions. With people watching her act, Garbo felt self-conscious, but with privacy, she could create magical performances. 

One of her greatest successes was Queen Christina (1933). Garbo played the eccentric seventeenth century Swedish monarch, and the male lead was her ex-lover John Gilbert.  Gilbert’s career had suffered with the arrival of sound. He had a thin, weak voice that did not fit with this image of a strong, manly romantic lead. Garbo made a special request to work with Gilbert in this film, and it contains several memorable scenes. Audiences thought she was charming, and the movie made her more popular than ever.

Retirement and Seclusion

After Queen Christina, Garbo appeared in several comedies. Her last film was another comedy, Two-Faced Woman (1941). This was not a success, and afterwards Garbo could not find another film script that she liked. As the years passed, she became reluctant to return to the screen. She bought an apartment in New York, and spent a lot of time travelling the world as part of a glamorous group, including tycoon Aristotle Onassis. She also enjoyed her life at home in New York. She had a garden where she grew fruit and vegetables, and she used to walk in Central Park wearing large sunglasses.

Garbo never forgot her early years living in poverty. She had invested  her money very wisely and lived frugally, so she stayed a very rich woman. She never married, although she was rumoured to have had many affairs with both men and women. She died in 1990, at the age of 84. However, in her films, Garbo never grew old. Her image is of a woman who is both sophisticated and vulnerable, aloof (distante) but capable of great passion and profound emotions. She is a true icon of the cinema, unique and unforgettable.(inolvidable)

Tuesday, November 20, 2012


You probably know several words that are similar in English and in Spanish but whose meanings are completely different in each of these languages. For example, embarazado and ‘embarrassed’ sound similar in Spanish and in English, but for a Spanish speaker it would be funny to hear an English boy say Estoy embarazado, when what he really wants to say is “I’m embarrassed” (that is, Estoy avergonzado). To avoid (evitar) these pitfalls,(dificultades) in this post we are investigating common false friends between English and Spanish.

Have a look at the video below. 


 The main reason for false friends appearing between English and Spanish is that both languages have many words that derive from Latin. The Spanish language is essentially a Romance language whose words are mainly Latin-based.English is a Germanic language, which means that most of its words have a Germanic origin, but it also has many Latin words that were introduced into the English language during the Renaissance, due to (debido a) direct contact between English and Latin, or though contact with other Latin-based languages, such as French or Italian.When Latin words were introduced into English, sometimes they would keep the original meaning, but in other instances (ejemplos) the original meaning would evolve and the word would take a new connotation or a completely different meaning for English speakers. For example, the cognate pair of the Spanish recordar and English record are both derived from the Latin verb recordari, which has the basic meaning to remember. In Spanish it has maintained this meaning while the English verb record can be translated as either registrar, grabar or inscribir. Another interesting example is the way the Spanish language has modified the meaning of the borrowed English word parking. In the English language, it is the activity of leaving your car somewhere, such as on the side of a road or street, whilst (mientras que) in the Spanish language a parking is a car park.


Other False Friends

In the ten word pairs below, we note the different meanings that occur in the similarly spelt words in English and Spanish. In each of the following sentences. Have a look at them and see how tricky (tramposos) they can be 

1. Spanish decepción vs English deception

Decepción means ‘disappointment’, while deception means engaño.

· La exposición resultó una verdadera decepción. [The exhibition was a real disappointment.]

· He obtained everything by deception. [Lo obtuvo todo mediante engaño.]

2. Spanish desgracia vs English disgrace

Desgracia means ‘misfortune’, while disgrace means ‘shame’(vergüenza) or ‘dishonour’.

· En la desgracia se conoce a los amigos. [When things get bad you find out who your real friends are.]

· His conduct brought disgrace on his family. [Su conducta trajo la deshonra a la familia.]

3. Spanish eventualmente vs English eventually

Eventualmente means ‘temporarily’ while eventually means ‘finally’.

Trabajó eventualmente como secretaria. [She worked temporarily as a secretary.]

He looked for his glasses for two hours and, eventually, he realised he was wearing them. [Buscó las gafas durante dos horas y, finalmente, se dio cuenta de que las llevaba puestas.]

4. Spanish molestar vs English molest

Molestar means ‘to bother’ or ‘upset’, while molest means ‘to sexually abuseharass’ or ‘to annoy someone continually’.

· ¿No te molesta este ruido? [Doesn’t that noise bother you?]

· The woman was molested by her boss. [El jefe abusaba acosaba sexualmente de a la mujer.]

5. Spanish simpático vs English sympathetic

Simpático means ‘nice’, while sympathetic translates as compasivo or comprensivo.

· Mario es tan simpático que cae bien a todo el mundo. [Mario is so nice that everybody likes him.]

· When Mrs. Peterson lost her house, the Johnsons offered her their house. That was very sympathetic of them. [Cuando la mujer perdió su casa, los Johnson le ofrecieron su casa. Fue muy compasivo de su parte.]

6. Spanish regular vs English regular

· Regular means ‘not very good’, while regular is equivalent to frecuente or normal.

¿Qué tal la película? Regular. [How was the movie? Nothing special.]

· Don’t be surprised, that’s a regular occurrence. [No te sorprendas, eso es muy frecuente.]

7. Spanish largo vs English large

Largo means ‘long’, while large translates as grande or importante.

· Es un río muy largo. [The river is very long.]

· Jack and Jill have a large garden. [Jack y Jill tienen un jardín grande.]

8. Spanish quieto vs English quiet

Quieto means ‘still’, while quiet translates as callado.

· El soldado permaneció quieto, esperando las órdenes del.sargento. [The soldier stood still, waiting for his sergeant’s instructions.]

· The teacher asked the students to be quiet and listen to him. [El profesor pidió a los alumnos que se callaran y le escucharan.]

9. Spanish pretender vs English pretend

Pretender means ‘to intend’ or ‘to aspire to’, while pretend translates as fingir.

· ¿Qué pretendes hacer? [What do you intend doing?]

· He pretended he hadn’t seen us. [Fingió que no nos había visto.]

10. Spanish aviso vs English advice

Aviso means ‘warning’, while advice translates as consejo.

· En la botella había un aviso para que se manipulara el producto con cuidado. [On the bottle there was a warning to handle the product with care.]

· I followed your advice and everything worked out perfectly. [Seguí tu consejo y todo salió perfecto.]

Friday, November 16, 2012

Greta Garbo.Forever Alone. (2)

Early Success

 In 1923, Greta met a famous Swedish director, Mauritz Stiller. Stiller gave her a lead role ( papel protagonista) in his latest film. The film was four hours long, and was called The Saga of Gosta Berling. Stiller became a mentor and teacher to Greta, and they began a romantic relationship too. He taught Greta how to act on screen, and when the film was released (estrenada ) in 1924 it was a success. Stiller persuaded Greta to change her name from Greta Lovisa Gustafsson to Greta Garbo. 
Greta Garbo in Torrent.
Stiller went to the United States to work for Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer as a director. He asked the studio to offer Garbo a contract too. Louis B. Meyer, the head of the studio, thought Garbo was fat  and unattractive. However, he wanted to make Stiller happy, so Garbo got a contract too.
Her first US film was Torrent (1926). Garbo played the role of a Spanish peasant who becomes an opera star. Meyer discovered that although Garbo looked unattractive in real life, on the screen she looked very beautiful and had real talent as an actress. She also had a very professional attitude to her work, working very hard. The film was a great success.

But Mauritz Stiller did not have such good luck. He began work directing Garbo’s next film, The Temptress (1926), but he had a lot of arguments ( discusiones)   with the studio and was replaced by another director. Stiller returned to Sweden in 1928, and he died soon afterwards. His death was devastating for Garbo.

The Romantic Lead

In her next film, Garbo met an actor who was one of the great loves of her life, and of her career. John Gilbert was the most popular male film star at the time. Garbo and Gilbert starred in Flesh and the Devil (1926), and the rumours of their off-screen  romance helped to create interest in the film. When it was released, the film broke box-office  records ( rompió récord de taquilla) .
The couple also starred in Love (1927), with Garbo playing the part of Anna Karenina.  Once again, the film was a great success, and Garbo was a superstar. She renegotiated her contract with MGM, and was paid a lot of money for her work. Sadly, her relationship with John Gilbert was not so successful. The couple planned to get married, but Garbo changed her mind at the last minute and left Gilbert standing at the altar.( le dejó plantado en el altar) 

Watch this documentary (Subtitles in Spanish) about Greta Garbo's life narrated  by actress Glenn Close. Excellent listening practice  !

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Greta Garbo.Forever Alone. (1)

 ‘I want to be alone’.(sola ) Hollywood legend Greta Garbo is famous for saying these words. The idea of a woman who preferred solitude rather than company fitted (encajaba ) perfectly with her image as a glamorous, beautiful and unattainable (inalcanzable) film star.  But in fact, she never said those words. What she actually said was ‘I want to be left alone’. That sentence means that she disliked the publicity and the attention that is part of the life of a movie star. So, unlike ( a diferencia de ) most film stars, Garbo was ‘left alone’.  She did not give interviews, or attend premieres of her films. She did not sign autographs, or reply to letters from fans.  She made her last film in 1941, then lived almost as a recluse for the next 49 years of her life. However,(sin embargo ) in spite of ( pese a ) her desire to be left alone, Greta Garbo is still one of the most famous movie stars of all time.

 Born in Poverty 
 Greta Lovisa Gustafsson was born in Stockholm in Sweden on September 18th, 1905 into a poor family. She was the youngest of three children. She had one older brother, Sven, and an older sister, Alva. The family were Lutherans, the traditional religion in Sweden. Greta was very close to her father, an unskilled labourer (obrero no cualificado)  who was often unemployed. When Greta was 13, her father became seriously ill. Every week she used to take him to the charity clinic, and they had to wait for hours for treatment. Sadly, when Greta was 14 years old, her father died. He was only 48 years old. 
Greta had to leave school and get a job in order to earn money to help the family. Her first job was in a barber’s. Then, she got a job in a large department store ( grandes almacenes) in Stockholm, where she worked selling hats. 
In 1920, Greta was asked to appear as a model in some newspaper advertisements (anuncio) for the department store where she was working. She also got her first film role, in a promotional film for the store, called Mr and Mrs Stockholm Go Shopping. Greta began to think that modelling and acting might be a good way to earn some money. In 1922, she left her job in the department store to concentrate on acting. She met a film director, who offered her a part in a feature film called Peter the Tramp. In the same year, she began to study at drama school in Stockholm. Her career as an actress had begun.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012


Skyfall is the twenty-third spy film in the James Bond series, it features Daniel Craig's third performance (actuación) as James Bond, and Javier Bardem as Raoul Silva, the film's villain. The film was directed by Sam Mendes and written by John Logan, Neal Purvis and Robert Wade.
In the film Bond investigates an attack on MI6; it transpires (resulta) that it is part of an attack on M by former MI6 operative, Raoul Silva. The film sees the return of two recurring (recurrentes) characters after an absence of two films: Q, played by Ben Whishaw, and Miss Moneypenny, played by Naomie Harris. Skyfall was the last film of the series for Judi Dench who played M; a role which she had played in the previous six films. The position is subsequently filled by Ralph Fiennes' character, Gareth Mallory.

Mendes was approached to direct the film after the release of Quantum of Solace in 2008. Production was suspended when MGM encountered financial troubles, and did not resume until December 2010; during this time, Mendes remained (permaneció) attached (ligado) to the project as a consultant. The original screenwriter, Peter Morgan, left the project during the suspension. When production resumed (reanudó), Logan, Purvis and Wade continued writing what became the final version of the script, whilst (mientras) incorporating Morgan's ideas. Filming (el rodaje) began in November 2011, and primarily took place in the United Kingdom, China and Turkey

  Here you have the trailer and don't miss the great role of Javier Bardem in the film.        

Friday, November 2, 2012

What's That Word ? (Learning some adjectives)

It's time to play the game  show  What's that word  ?  !!  The host will say a word and the contestants have to press their buzzer and say the opposite. The contestant who says the most opposite words correctly wins the game. But first you need to  learn some adjectives !!  Watch the first part of the video and fill in the gaps with the correct opposite adjective.

               tall /_________
               _________/ old
                 ______ / difficult
                     ________/ cheap