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Have you ever done any extreme sports? Are you an adrenaline junkie? Read this story about one man facing his fear.

Do the preparation task first. Then read the story and do the exercise.

So we’re driving along, a road in the middle of nowhere, a few trees now and then on each side of the road, mountains in the distance, there hasn’t been a town for ages and then you see this sign, not really a proper sign at all, just a piece of card with some words scribbled on it: ‘Bungee Jumping, 5km’, and an arrow pointing to the left. I can’t even see a road going left, and there’s certainly no sign of any bungee jumping, but you insist, the idea has taken you, you’re crazy about it, you’ve always wanted to do bungee jumping. I know, you think I’m boring because I don’t want to go.

‘Go on!’ you insist. ‘We don’t even have to do the bungee jumping, we can just go there and see what’s happening. It’ll be interesting!’ As usual, you get your way. I give in and off we go along this dirt road, for what seems much more than five kilometres to me. But then, after driving for ages, suddenly, out of nowhere, some trees appear, like a small wood.

‘This must be the place,’ you say. The road narrows into just a path, so we pull over to the side of the road. I couldn’t drive down there if I wanted to. As soon as we’re out of the car we can hear voices: people shouting and laughing. They sound like young people, they sound like they’re having a good time.

We slowly walk to where the noise and people are. In the middle of the wood there’s a group of about 20 people. The youngest are about 15 or 16, while some of them are perhaps in their late 20s.

They look up and see us, then say hello to us. They’re polite, friendly even, but I feel like we’re interrupting a private party – gatecrashing something they’re doing.

Once there had been a river running through the middle of the forest, but now there was just a dry ditch. It doesn’t matter; nobody is interested in swimming. A metal bridge crosses the ditch. The bridge doesn’t look too stable. I think the kids had built it themselves. There’s a big group of the kids in the middle of the bridge. They’re all leaning over and looking down into the ditch. They’re all shouting and laughing. Another person is hanging from a long piece of elastic rope in the middle of the ditch. He is laughing like he is mad. The other people slowly pull him up to the bridge. As the guy comes to the top he looks exhilarated and shocked, but also very, very happy.

I look at you and can see what you’re thinking.

‘I want to do that!’ you say. I knew it. And you know what I want to say: ‘Danger!!! Damage to internal organs! Safety procedures! Damage to your eyes! The rope can burn you! You can get tangled up in the rope! You can dislocate your arm or your leg! It’s certain that you will get bruises on your arms! What happens if the rope breaks? Who knows who these people are? Have you any idea how far away from a hospital we are?’ I don’t say it, but, yes, you’re right, I am thinking it. I don’t say anything, because I know that you won’t have answers for any of my questions. You know that I’m right, really.

You’ve always been a lot more adventurous than me. I know you think I’m boring and safe and always worried about danger and risk.

Perhaps you’re right. Perhaps I am too boring.

I don’t know why people do it. I really don’t know. I remember when I was a kid, my friend had a bicycle that had no brakes. We used to take his bike without brakes and go down a big hill on it. I think about that, that old bike so many years ago, and I remember how I felt then.

I breathe in, close my eyes, don’t think about anything. I jump. I think I’m going forever and wonder when I’ll stop. But it feels great. I feel scared and thrilled and alive. Then there’s a pull and I’m going back up again, and, yes, it is dangerous, but, yes, it is thrilling. But the most exciting, thrilling, wonderful thing of all is seeing your face as I come back up to the bridge.

Chris Rose

Discussion

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Language level

Upper intermediate: B2

Comments

I have never done bungee jumping before. But when I was childhood, I have rode switch back at pagoda festival in our town. It is like carrousel. But while the carrousel revolves horizontally, the switch back revolves vertically. It is more frightening. When I was at top and then descended down, I felt thrilled. It was an unforgettable experience to me.
By the way, I can't understand clearly a sentence ''some of them are perhaps in their late 20s.'' Does it mean ''some people are over 25 years''?

Hi Min Htet Kaung,

In their late 20s means 27, 28 or 29 years old. (In their early 20s means 20, 21, 22 or 23 years old, and the mid-20s are 24, 25 or 26 years old.)

You can use these constructions with any person or age range, e.g. He's in his mid-40s or I'm in my early 30s.

Does that make sense?

Best wishes,

Jonathan

The LearnEnglish Team

Thank you, sir. I understand.

I have never done bungee jumping in my life. I am scared of these kinds of activities. I have been riding roller coaster at Universal Studio, Singapore. It makes me very scared and excited. After riding this roller coaster, I have decided that I will not do again this kind of activities in my life.

I have never experienced anything like that in my life and moreover wouldn't like to so far. Even thinking about it makes me nervous. Considering chances of possible negative consequences of it prevents me from doing it.

I haven't done yet but i would love to.. Now I have added this in my bucket list for sure because it looks very interesting and thrilling as well..

I have never done something exciting like bungee jumping, in fact, I am afraid of such adventures. I feel like if I do these kinds of things my adrenaline will go up till kill me. hhhhhhhh

I have not done anything exciting, just go to amusement parks, ride mechanical games to zipline and rappel.

 At some point in my life I would like to jump from a parachute but my greatest fear is the heights, but someday I will

I have done a bungee jumping but if there any chance, I am exciting to do it. My last time I did an adventurous thing was about 1 year ago when I was in Korea. At that time, I and my classmates ride a roller coaster. That was an thrilling experience for me. I'm near-sighted so I have to wear glasses. When I was driving the roller coaster, I was afraid that my glasses would splash out so I took it off. Therefore, I could not see anything that made me feel much safer on the roller coaster. I was shouting and laughing with my friends. After all I felt dizzy and wanted to vomit but still it was exhilarated.

I have never done anything like bungee jumping. I am too scared to do so. However I did ride roller coaster Kranken in Disney world Orleando USA in 2002. It was a scary experience not exhilarating. we were sitting in carriage in Kranken. Kranken had 10-12 carriages in it. Every carriage carried 2 persons. This train moved on track. The track was like a dragon. It had many curves and levels. At some places it was steep and then came down like a wave.
When I sat in Kranken it was ok but as soon as it moved up on a steep track I was very scared and shut my eyes.
The ride was of 1 minute only but it felt like ages.This was my first and last ride in roller coaster.
Bungee jumping is more scary I guess as you are swinging in air with only one rope tied across. I dare not do that ever.

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