869 Along the Shore

Jeff talks about what life is like on the banks of the Amazon during his trip down the river.


Todd: When you were going down the Amazon did you see any wildlife? Lots of animals?

Jeff: None! We didn't see any. We didn't see an alligator. We didn't see a monkey. We didn't see a snake.

Todd: You didn't see one snake?

Jeff: Nope. The villagers... I think they hunt animals for food, for their food, so I think the animals know and they stay away from the side of the river. They stay away from the villages, so if you want to see animals, you have to go further into the jungle, but it's very dangerous and it's difficult, so we didn't go far from the river's edge.

Todd: Oh, so you never ventured in the jungle.

Jeff: You can't. You really can't. It's too thick. You need a machete to hack your way through. You need someone who knows where they're going. A guide with you. It's not... you just can't go on a nice walk in this kind of Amazon jungle. It's dangerous, it's difficult.

Todd: So, how many days did it take you to get down the river?

Jeff: I think it took us, say, fifteen days.

Todd: The distance wasn't so far. I was only I say 300 kilometers but the canoes go straight down. There wasn't any public transport. These canoes were just transporting good from one village to the next, so we had to wait until a transport canoe came along, and then we just hitched a ride to the next village. Wait there for a day or two and then hitch a ride to the next village so a very unorthodox kind of travel. No tour buses. No trains. No taxis. So..

Todd: Well, that sounds like a pretty amazing trip.

Jeff: mm, it was lots of fun, but I wouldn't recommend it to everyone.

Learn Vocabulary from the lesson



So you never ventured into the jungle.

To 'venture' means to go somewhere that might not be safe, makes us feel uncomfortable or is unfamiliar to us.  Notice the following:

  1. You shouldn't venture out at night.
  2. I think I'll venture out and see what's up.

a machete


You need a machete.

A 'machete' looks like a really big knife. We use it to cut or trim bushes and trees.  Notice the following:

  1. Be careful with that machete!
  2. We need a machete to continue.

hack your way through


You need to hack your way through.

'Hack' means to cut something in a strong, angry way. We hack plants and bushes when we walk through the jungle.  Notice the following:

  1. We'll need to hack our way through.
  2. They spent the day hacking through the jungle.

hitched a ride


We just hitched a ride to the next village.

When we 'hitch a ride,' that means we travel for free, most often in other peoples cars.  Notice the following:

  1. They hitched a ride with a farmer.
  2. Maybe we can hitch a ride back to town.



A very unorthodox kind of travel.

Here, we use the word 'unorthodox' to talk about an unusual way to do something that is different than most people.  Notice the following:

  1. He teaches in an unorthodox way.
  2. That's an unorthodox approach.
Answer the following questions about the interview.

Keep Listening

Below are some more great lessons!

Vocabulary Challenge

Complete the sentences with the words below.
ventured • machete • hacked
hitch a ride • unorthodox
  1. He was so angry that he the wooden chair he made for her into pieces.
  2. I have never this far down the beach before.
  3. He has a very , but effective way of doing things.
  4. Let's see if we can home with your brother.
  5. It is easiest to open a coconut with a .