Views #868 | Intermediate 5

The River

Jeff talks about the start of his journey in a canoe down the Amazon.
Todd: So, Jeff, we're talking about your trip down the Amazon, and so you took a truck to the Amazon and then you got a canoe. You got on a canoe. Can you talk about your journey down the Amazon?

Jeff: The Amazon... What people think of the Amazon is a beautiful river with a nice green jungle and lots of animals, and it's not like that. It's not a beautiful place. It was... the river was muddy and dirty. It looked like coffee. The side of the river, the side of the Amazon was very overgrown and full of mosquitos and black flies. We didn't see any wild animals because the canoe was just a long, thin wooden canoe piled high with things like rice and food other materials that the villagers needed and it had an outboard motor that was very noisy, so it wasn't romantic at all, the ideas of the Amazon river, and the beauty and the adventure. It was difficult and dirty and hot and dangerous, so it wasn't romantic at all.

Todd: It doesn't sound like it. Where did you stay as you would go down? Would you sleep on the canoe?

Jeff: No. Every night they would stop at a little village, and it was just made out of little village, a little cluster of bamboo thatched houses just on the side of the river. They'd clear a little spot out of the jungle and then they'd have a, say a dozen bamboo houses there and we'd sleep say on the floor of one of their houses in our sleeping bags.

Todd: Were these houses made especially for travellers?

Jeff: No, no. There was no travelers. There's no houses for travelers. These are just with the villagers. There's no restaurants or no hotels. There are no internet cafes. Half the villages didn't have power, so it was real basic village life.

Todd: Wow!

Learn Vocabulary from the lesson



The Amazon was very overgrown.

'Overgrown' plants and trees have grown in an uncontrolled way. If we don't cut the grass around our home for example, it quickly becomes overgrown.  Notice the following:

  1. The path was overgrown with plants.
  2. It's time to trim the overgrown trees.

piled high


A canoe piled high with rice and food.

The phrase 'piled high' means a group of similar things that are put on top of each other.  Notice the following:

  1. His dirty clothes were piled high on the floor.
  2. The truck was was piled high with supplies.

outboard motor


It had an outboard motor.

An 'outboard motor' is found on the outside of a boat. We usually see outboard motors on smaller boats.  Notice the following:

  1. We couldn't start the outboard motor.
  2. The outboard motor was small but powerful.

it wasn't romantic at all


The trip wasn't romantic at all.

The word 'romantic' usually talks about feelings of love between two people. But, a romantic journey makes you think about love or someone you love while traveling.  Notice the following:

  1. It was a romantic restaurant.
  2. They took a romantic walk on the beach.



A little cluster of houses.

A 'cluster' is a group of people or similar things that are close together.  Notice the following:

  1. A cluster of people were standing on the corner.
  2. It's behind that cluster of trees.

Vocabulary Quiz

overgrown • piled high • motor
romantic • cluster
  1. The house is old and with plants.
  2. There was a of people standing on the beach, looking at the ocean.
  3. They went on a date to celebrate their anniversary.
  4. The kiosk was with all different types of fruit.
  5. A lot of seaweed was tangled in the .
Answer the following questions about the interview.


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