IN COOBER PEDY, AUSTRALIA, PEOPLE LIVE UNDERGROUND
(P1) The town of Coober Pedy, Australia, has been the OPAL capital of the world since 1915. That’s 100 years of one little town producing most of the GEM-QUALITY opals for the entire planet. You’d think by now they’d have turned the place into some kind of REASONABLY BUSTLING little HAMLET—maybe with a Starbucks FRANCHISE and a NIGHTCLUB at least? But Coober Pedy is UNBEARABLY hot and dry, with regular DUST STORMS and 110 degrees FAHRENHEIT TEMPERATURES on the surface. So what’s a poor opal-miner to do? Go UNDERGROUND, of course!
(P2) Yes, the ROUGHLY 1,700 INHABITANTS of Coober Pedy live in the beautiful CAVERNS left over from opal mining. There are nearly 1,500 houses connected by tunnels, with all the modern AMENITIES, and a GLOSSY coating SEALING the EXPOSED rock walls to PREVENT CONSTANT dust ACCUMULATION. Not only that, the town has stores, a bar, a church, a museum, an art gallery, and a hotel. It’s a LEGITIMATE town, and not only a TOURIST ATTRACTION.
(P3) The Coober Pedy name comes from a less-than-FLATTERING ABORIGINAL word meaning “white man’s hole,” but not only do the caverns provide safe, clean SHELTER and keep a COMFORTABLE temperature in BLISTERING heat, there are actual bits of opal in the wall. It’s really quite a STRIKING INTERIOR.
If you found the passage difficult to read or had problems understanding specific words or idiomatic expressions, please discuss them with your tutor. The following discussion questions should be answered in your own words and with your own arguments.
- Briefly summarize the content of the article in your own words.
- Would you find living underground interesting, or would it make you CLAUSTROPHOBIC?
- What is the hottest climate you have ever experienced?
- It is easy to understand why Coober Pedy is a tourist attraction. What are some of the major tourist attractions in your country?
- What effect is climate change expected to have on your country?
EXPRESSIONS TO PRACTICE:
What do the following expressions mean? Practice using each expression in a sentence; extra points if you can use it in conversation.
- Tourist attraction
- Climate change