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  • Reading Comprehension
  • Writing





Some years ago, a well-known perfume company invented a concept called "the Aviance night." In the ads, a housewife was shown primping for a night on the town, sashaying around the bedroom and flipping her hair from one side to the other as she puts on her earrings. __example__I never had an Aviance night. I don't, as a general rule, sashay. __1__ My longing tends to coalesce and rise to the surface, like chicken fat, every February. It's not that my husband and I don't go out. Every Valentine's Day, Ed will dutifully reserve a table at a romantic restaurant. I look forward to it until about five o'clock on the actual date. Somehow the mood never seems to fit. __2__ Suddenly I don't feel like going to an unfamiliar, overpriced restaurant. __3__ But this is Valentine's Day, and we must persevere__.4__"The living room" is not an acceptable answer to "Where did Ed take you for Valentine's?" This year is no different. Poor Ed. He's trying very hard__5__He cocks his head to one side, as if seeing me anew, in the fresh dawn of reawakened love. "Are you wearing an odor?" Ed is romantic, but not in the traditional manner. __6__Ed brought them in and set them down on the floor near the door, at the farthest point from the bedspread and other combustibles, completely out of our view. "They still provide some nice ambient illumination," he said. It was like getting into bed with Norm Abram. __7__I didn't know such a thing existed. Another time he tried to surprise me with a romantic bubble bath, not realizing that sometime during the day, something had gone wrong with the hot water heater, and the bath water was stone cold. __8__ 

A、I put on perfume and wait for the unseen chorus to kick in, but hear instead the dulcet tones of my sweatpants calling out to me. 

B、As she douses herself with Aviance perfume, an unseen chorus conjectures excitedly that "she's gonna have an Aviance night!" 

C、I want to go somewhere comfortable and known, a place where the wine doesn't cost more than my shoes and the waiter won't look down upon me for making "daikon" rhyme with "bacon." 

D、For tomorrow, the Aviance Day after, friends and co-workers will grill us as to the activities of the night before. 

E、No doubt we'd forgotten to send flowers on Plumbers and Steamfitters Day and the Local 486 had sabotaged our tank. 

F、But I cannot completely silence that part of me that longs, every now and again, to be heading off confidently and aromatically into a night of candlelit romance. 

G、I once suggested that we bring the dining room candles into the bedroom. 

H、I once asked him to pick up some massage oil, and he came home with an unscented variety. 

I、As we dress to leave, he takes my hands in his and leans in close. 




Questions 9-16 (16 marks) 

For questions 9-16, choose the best title for each paragraph from the box below. 

For each numbered paragraph (1-8), mark one letter (A-I) on your Answer Sheet. 

Do not mark any letter twice.

1.The United States may have a better economy, better universities, a more potent popular culture and an incomparably mightier military, but Europeans are quietly confident that they have the edge in one crucial respect. They enjoy longer holidays. The figures are striking. The Los Angeles Times recently reported that Americans have an average holiday entitlement of 16 days a year—but most only take 14. In Europe, by contrast, at least a month of paid vacation is viewed as an inalienable right. The Italians get 42 days of holiday a year; the French 37; the Germans 35. Even the British, infected by the Anglo-Saxon (read American) business culture, get an average of 28 days off a year.

2. In August, the height of the holiday season, much of Europe simply closes down. The Italians, who are presiding over the European Union for the last six months of this year, produced a packed schedule of meetings. But August is one big blank space. There is simply no point in trying to get anyone to do any work. Taking a long summer holiday is so crucial to European self-esteem that a survey published this week in Message, an Italian newspaper, found that although 19% of Italians will not be going away on holiday this year, more than a third of the stay-at-homes intended to pretend that they were going away. Considerable numbers were prepared to buy tanning machines and to take the pets to the neighbours to keep up appearances. 

3. One man's leisure, however, is another man's living. Tourism and travel are, by some measures, the world's largest industry—and Europe boasts of being the world's most popular destination. Figures from the World Tourism Organization suggest that most international tourists travel to or within Europe. Europe is said to have a 58% share of the world tourism market. Of the top eight destinations, five are in Europe; France tops the list, followed by Spain, the United States and Italy. These figures, however, may mislead. Some 80% of holiday-makers within the European Union are from other parts of the EU. France's top place owes much to the country's inherent attractions but also quite a lot to its geographical position. Every Dutch or Belgian caravan thundering through France towards the beaches of Spain adds to the figure of foreign visitors to France. 

4. Still, there is no doubting the economic weight of tourism in Europe. Indeed, any sign that the flow of tourists is slowing is greeted with neurotic headlines. Liberation, a left-wing French newspaper, recently devoted its first three pages to a long lament about the decline in the number of American tourists visiting France. (Now why could that be?) The Italian tourist industry had a collective panic attack after their tourism minister insulted Germans, who make up a quarter of all Europe's tourists, calling them “stereotyped, hypernationalistic blonds”. The minister in question was swiftly forced to resign. 

5. Yet while Europe cannot live without tourists, it sometimes finds it hard to live with them. The city authorities in Venice are so fed up with some visitors' behaviour that they have just announced a list of ten offences for which they will impose on-the-spot fines. They include walking around bare-chested and bathing in fountains, even in the current heat. Spaniards and Greeks find the hordes of riotous, boozy young Britons that descend on them each summer a mixed blessing. Greeks were outraged earlier this summer when five guides from Club 18-30, a British company specialising in sun, sea and sex holidays for the young, were videoed having oral sex on a beach in broad daylight. 

6. Such excesses of mass tourism will certainly do nothing to puncture Europe's love affair with the long holiday. Those unfortunate souls charged with managing the European economy are having to factor holidays into their thinking. On a recent visit to the headquarters of the European Central Bank, our correspondent bumped into Otmar Issing, its chief economist. He remarked that the article he had most enjoyed in recent editions of The Economist was an account of a study by Robert Gordon, an American economist, suggesting that a large part of the wealth gap per head between Europeans and Americans could be put down to Europeans' preference for taking longer holidays. You can see why Mr Issing might find the thought comforting. Maybe the relative under-performance of the European economy is simply a matter of consumer choice? The figures certainly show that when they are actually at their desks (or lathes) the Germans, French and Dutch (though not the British) are more productive than Americans. 

7. But not everyone is as sanguine about this state of affairs. Hopeful talk by some European politicians of building up the European Union as a new superpower is likely to prove vain so long as the EU's economic growth lags so markedly behind that of the United States—not to mention China's. Ulrich Schreider of Deutsche Bank's research department says he recently asked a Chinese intern of her impressions of Germany after a few months working in the country. “Germans are lazy,” was the reply. In a slightly more roundabout way, Wolfgang Clement, Germany's labour minister, has been trying to make a similar point. He recently caused a stir by arguing that Germans ought to work more and take less holiday. 

8. Some of his countrymen may even be taking these strictures to heart. Germans traditionally take more foreign holidays per head than all other Europeans. But this year, German travel agents say that bookings are substantially down. Some attribute this to a new mood of economic insecurity. Perhaps there is a self-correcting mechanism in Europeans' taste for leisure over work. If taken too far, might the economy slow down so much that people no longer feel secure or rich enough to take the usual five weeks off? Something to ponder on the beach.


A.Vital importance. 

B. Two sides of a coin. 

C. The pride of Europeans for their longer holidays. 

D. An invisible device that works. 

E. A broad survey. 

F. Having a long holiday as a pride in oneself. 

G. Profitable tourism. 

H. The blame ascribed to tourism. 

I. The opposite view point. 

Paragraph 1 ______

Paragraph 2 ______


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