Daily English
Cultural English
Practical English

1185 Smuggling Across Borders

访问量:
Complete Transcript
Welcome to English as a Second Language Podcast number 1,185 – Smuggling across Borders.

This is English as a Second Language Podcast episode 1,185. I’m your host, Dr. Jeff McQuillan, coming to you from the Center for Educational Development in beautiful Los Angeles, California.

Visit our website at ESLPod.com. Become a member of ESL Podcast. When you do, you can download a complete transcript of everything I say as well as a list of all of the vocabulary terms with their definitions and additional sample sentences. You can also download a culture note related to the topic of this episode. All of this and more is in our Learning Guide, which we provide for every one of our current episodes.

This episode is a dialogue between Harry and Christina about people who try to bring things or bring people into another country illegally. Let’s get started.

[start of dialogue]

Christina: What is the holdup? There are cars backed up for half a mile.

Harry: I bet the Border Patrol is looking for smugglers.

Christina: Do you really think so? I wonder if there could be a drug mule in one of these cars carrying illegal drugs.

Harry: It might be drugs, but it could be any kind of contraband. I’ve heard that there’s a problem with gunrunning and other kinds of arms trafficking across these borders.

Christina: Maybe they’re looking for people trying to sneak into this country without permission.

Harry: Or they could be looking for people trying to import exotic species without permission.

Christina: What kinds of exotic species?

Harry: Plants and animals that aren’t allowed to be brought into this country, at least not without quarantine.

Christina: Plants? You mean like these herb plants I bought?

Harry: I doubt if they’re prohibited. Wait, you can’t leave the car!

Christina: What if this is contraband and they catch me with it?

Harry: They’ll confiscate it and send us on our way.

Christina: Are you sure?

Harry: Sure, I’m sure. They’d be much more interested in the bats I’m smuggling in my pants anyway.

Christina: What?!

[end of dialogue]

Christina says to Harry, “What is the holdup? There are cars backed up for half a mile.” A “holdup” (holdup) is a source of delay, something that slows you down, something that puts you behind schedule. “There’s a holdup in the front of the line because someone is having a problem with his credit card.” So the line isn’t moving. Nothing is going forward. A “holdup” is a reason for something that isn’t happening that should be happening.

I should mention, there’s a very different meaning of “holdup,” which is when people go into a store or a bank and try to get the money from the store or bank with a gun or some other sort of weapon. That is, if someone tries to steal money by going into the business, usually with some sort of weapon. It doesn’t even have to be a business. It could be a car or somewhere else. Here, we’re just talking about a delay.

Christina says, “There are cars backed up for half a mile.” “To be backed (backed) up” means that you have a lot of cars that are stopped or moving very slowly instead of going at the normal speed on that particular road or freeway. There are backed-up cars on the freeways of Los Angeles every day of the week. Harry says, “I bet the Border Patrol is looking for smugglers.”

Now we understand that Christina and Harry appear to be entering into another country. Maybe they went to Canada and are returning to the United States. Maybe they went to Mexico and are returning to the United States. The “border” (border) is the line that divides two countries. A “patrol” (patrol) is a group of police officers, soldiers, or government officials who are usually there to prevent crime or to do some sort of inspection. In the U.S., the Border Patrol is responsible for preventing people and things from coming into the United States illegally.

If you drive from Canada or Mexico into the United States, you have to stop at the Border Patrol on the border or right inside of the United States, and you will be asked a bunch of questions and they may look inside of your car. This happened to me several times as I came back from Mexico. The Border Patrol is sometimes looking for “smugglers” (smugglers). A “smuggler” is a person who tries to bring things or bring people illegally into another country.

Christina says, “Do you really think so? I wonder if there could be a drug mule in one of these cars carrying illegal drugs.” A “drug mule” (mule) is a person who carries illegal drugs from one place to another usually by hiding those drugs somewhere on or even in his body. We won’t talk about the places where the drugs may be hidden. “Illegal drugs” are drugs that are against the law – chemical substances whose sale and or use is against the law. Examples would be heroin or cocaine in the United States.

Harry says, “It might be drugs, but it could be any kind of contraband.” “Contraband” (contraband) is anything that is brought into a country illegally. It could be drugs. It could be guns. It could even be electronics or certain kinds of food or cigarettes – anything that is illegal to bring into another country. Harry continues, “I’ve heard that there’s a problem with gunrunning and other kinds of arms trafficking across these borders.”

“Gunrunning” (gunrunning) is bringing guns and other weapons into a country illegally. “Arms” (arms) refers to guns and other weapons. “Trafficking” (trafficking) is buying and selling things that are illegal to buy and sell. So “arms trafficking” would be illegally buying and selling guns and other weapons. Sometimes we, sadly, talk about “human trafficking” – buying and selling of human beings. Such is the world we live in.

Christina says, “Maybe they’re looking for people trying to sneak into this country without permission.” “To sneak (sneak) into” means to go into somewhere without being seen or observed, usually because you don’t have permission to go into that place. But it could just be to go into a place unobserved. Your teenage son may sneak into his room after midnight not wanting you to know that he didn’t get home by the time you told him to be home. In this case, we’re talking about people sneaking into a country – going into a country without permission and without being seen.

Harry says, “Or they could be looking for people trying to import exotic species without permission.” “To import” (import) means to bring something into another country, usually to sell it in that country. “Species” (species) refers to a kind of plant or animal. “Exotic (exotic) species” refers to species that are not normally found in a given area or a given country. They’re from another part of the world or another country. Christina then asks, “What kinds of exotic species?” Harry says, “Plants and animals that aren’t allowed to be brought into this country, at least not without quarantine.”

That’s not a very good definition by Harry of exotic species. There are plants and animals that you’re not allowed to bring into a country that are not exotic, meaning that are found normally in that country, but for a variety of reasons you’re not allowed to bring them in. This, by the way, is also sometimes the case when you go from state to state in the United States. Normally when you go from one state to another, there is no person there checking to see if you have certain items that you are bringing into that state, but there are exceptions to that.

Here in California, if you drive into the state of California, you will be stopped by a California officer, a government official, who will ask if you are bringing in certain kinds of plants or fruits. Because California has a large agriculture industry – that is, it grows a lot of food – it has to be careful that you’re not bringing in certain diseases with your plants that would affect the plants here in California. Hawaii also has a similar system where they may check to make sure you’re not bringing in certain kinds of fruit or plants into the state of Hawaii when you arrive at the airport.

Harry also mentions animals coming into the country that cannot be brought in “without quarantine” (quarantine). Certain animals can be brought into a country if they are allowed to spend time separated from other animals to make sure that they don’t have any illnesses or diseases. Christina says, “Plants? You mean like these herb plants I bought?” “Herbs” are basically plants whose leaves are used to season or flavor food – things like parsley, sage, rosemary, and thyme – just like the song. You remember? “Parsley, sage, rosemary, and thyme.” Simon and Garfunkel, people. Look it up on YouTube.

Anyway, Harry says, “I doubt if they’re prohibited.” If something is “prohibited” (prohibited), it is not allowed. It is forbidden. Harry then says to Christina, “Wait, you can’t leave the car!” Apparently Christina starts to get out of the car, probably to get rid of her herb plants that she thinks are prohibited. Christina says, “What if this,” meaning her herbs, “is contraband and they catch me with it?” meaning they find her with it.

Harry says, “They’ll confiscate it and send us on our way.” “To confiscate” (confiscate) is to take something from another person because you have the legal right to do so. A teacher may confiscate a student’s cell phone if he’s using the cell phone in class against the rules of the school. The police may confiscate illegal guns or drugs if they find you with them. “To send someone on his way” means to simply let someone leave without doing anything to them, without stopping them – to release someone whom you could have kept but decided not to.

In this case, Harry is saying that the people at the border – who in this case would be the customs officials, I think – would confiscate or take the illegal items but would not arrest them. They would let the people go – in this case, let Christina go. Christina says, “Are you sure?” Harry says, “Sure, I’m sure,” meaning yes, I’m sure. The officials, Harry says, would be much more interested in the bats he is smuggling in his pants.

A “bat” (bat) is a small flying mammal – kind of like a mouse with wings that flies at night. You know Batman? Well, Batman is based on the animal called a “bat.” And apparently Harry has bats in his pants, which sounds very painful, that he is trying to bring illegally into the country. He’s trying to smuggle them into the country. Christina apparently didn’t know that and is quite surprised at the end of the dialogue, as are all of us.

Now let’s listen to the dialogue, this time at a normal speed.

[start of dialogue]

Christina: What is the holdup? There are cars backed up for half a mile.

Harry: I bet the Border Patrol is looking for smugglers.

Christina: Do you really think so? I wonder if there could be a drug mule in one of these cars carrying illegal drugs.

Harry: It might be drugs, but it could be any kind of contraband. I’ve heard that there’s a problem with gunrunning and other kinds of arms trafficking across these borders.

Christina: Maybe they’re looking for people trying to sneak into this country without permission.

Harry: Or they could be looking for people trying to import exotic species without permission.

Christina: What kinds of exotic species?

Harry: Plants and animals that aren’t allowed to be brought into this country, at least not without quarantine.

Christina: Plants? You mean like these herb plants I bought?

Harry: I doubt if they’re prohibited. Wait, you can’t leave the car!

Christina: What if this is contraband and they catch me with it?

Harry: They’ll confiscate it and send us on our way.

Christina: Are you sure?

Harry: Sure, I’m sure. They’d be much more interested in the bats I’m smuggling in my pants anyway.

Christina: What?!

[end of dialogue]

None of the English you learn from the dialogues by our wonderful scriptwriter, Dr. Lucy Tse, are prohibited in any way.

From Los Angeles, California, I’m Jeff McQuillan. Thank you for listening. Come back and listen to us again right here on ESL Podcast.

English as a Second Language Podcast was written and produced by Dr. Lucy Tse, hosted by Dr. Jeff McQuillan. Copyright 2015 by the Center for Educational Development.

Glossary
holdup – a source of a delay; something that slows down a process or puts something behind schedule

* We’ve been waiting to see the doctor for almost three hours. What’s the holdup?

backed up – with many cars stopped or moving very slowly in heavy traffic

* The highways are typically backed up between 4:15 and 7:00 on weeknights.

border patrol – police officers, soldiers, and other officials whose job is to be near a border (the line where two countries meet) and control who and what enters and leaves the country

* The border patrol won’t let you cross from Mexico into California with any fresh fruits or vegetables.

smuggler – a person who is bringing someone or something into a country illegally in a hidden way

* The smugglers are hiding people, drugs, and other items in hidden compartments underneath cars.

drug mule – a person who carries illegal drugs from one place to another by carrying them on or in his or her body

* When drug mules swallow bags with large amounts of heroin and cocaine, they can die if those bags break open.

illegal drug – narcotic; a chemical substance whose sale and/or use is against the law, such as heroin or cocaine

* Marijuana used to be an illegal drug, but now its sale and use is allowed in some states.

contraband – something that has been brought into a country illegally

* Coca tea is a common item in stores in Peru, but it is contraband in the United States.

gunrunning – the practice of bringing guns and other weapons into a country illegally

* What percentage of all guns in this country enter through gunrunning?

arms trafficking – the illegal sale and purchase of guns and other weapons

* Internationally, there is a huge market for arms trafficking in grenades and bombs.

to sneak into – to enter a place unseen, without being detected or observed

* They caught some underage teenagers trying to sneak into the bar through the kitchen door.

to import – to bring something into another country for sale to others

* The United States imports thousands of cars from Japan, Germany, and South Korea.

exotic species – a type of plant or animal that is not native to a particular area and is brought in from another country

* This zoo has many exotic species from Asia and Australia.

quarantine – a period of time during which people or animals must spend time alone, with minimal or no contact with others, to avoid spreading disease

* This disease is highly contagious, so anyone who might be sick with it is placed in quarantine for two weeks.

herb – plants whose leaves are used to season (flavor) food

* The secret to making great spaghetti sauces is to use lots of fresh herbs, like basil, oregano, and marjoram.

prohibited – not allowed; forbidden

* Smoking is prohibited inside the aircraft.

to confiscate – to take something from another person, based on one’s legal authority

* Under what conditions is the government allowed to confiscate private property?

to send (someone) on (one’s) way – to release someone from captivity or capture and allow him or her to go without restrictions

* Shane was held for questioning for about two hours, but then the police determined that he was telling the truth and let him go on his way.

bat – a small, flying mammal, like a mouse with wings, that flies at night

* Do you think any bats live in this cave?

Comprehension Questions
1. What is arms trafficking?
a) Illegal sales of body parts.
b) Bringing weapons across a border illegally.
c) Driving in an unsafe, illegal way.

2. What is quarantine?
a) A period of time when someone or something is kept alone.
b) Special permits that allow someone to bring an item into a country.
c) Payment of a fee for importing something.

Answers at bottom.

What Else Does It Mean?
to sneak into

The phrase “to sneak into,” in this podcast, means to enter a place unseen, without being detected or observed: “The students snuck into the teacher’s office and looked for the answers to the exam.” The phrase “to sneak (something) past (someone)” means to hide something and move it past another person unnoticed: “How did you sneak that bottle of liquor past the security guards?” The phrase “to sneak up on (someone)” means to approach someone quietly so that the person does not hear or see it: “Don’t sneak up on me like that! You scared me!” Finally, the phrase “to sneak (something) from (someone)” means to steal a small item: “Did you ever sneak a few dollars from your sister’s purse?”

bat

In this podcast, a “bat” is a small, flying mammal, like a mouse with wings, that flies at night: “For Halloween, many people decorate their homes with images of bats and spiders.” In baseball, a “bat” is the wooden stick used to hit the ball: “Always make sure that you have enough room around you before swinging a bat, or you might hit someone in the head.” The phrase “to do (something) right off the bat” means to do something right away or immediately: “When making business small talk, it’s rude to start talking about work right off the bat. Use the first few minutes for casual conversation.” Finally, the phrase “like a bat out of hell” means very fast: “That car came around the corner like a bat out of hell and almost hit a little girl.”

Culture Note
Regulations Against Invasive Species

The National Invasive Species Act “prevents” (does not allow) “invasive species” from entering “U.S. waters” (waterways owned by the United States) by attaching to “ships” (large boats). “Invasive species” (species from elsewhere) are plants and animals that are not from a particular area, but have been brought there and “thrive” (live well and reproduce quickly), killing “native species” (species from that area; plants and animals that are originally from a particular area). For example, “mussels” (small sea animals in dark shells similar to clams) are often found in ships’ “ballast water” (water that ships carry for extra weight when they are not carrying very much), and when that ballast water is emptied in a different “port” (a place where ships rest next to land), the mussels become an invasive species.

The Alien Species Prevention and Enforcement Act “prohibits” (bans; does not allow) mailing certain plants and animals, specifically invasive species, through the mail. This is an effort to minimize the movement of invasive species in order to “protect” (help survive) native species.

There are several other laws against “particular” (specific) invasive species. For example, the Brown Tree Snake Control and Eradication Act covers how invasive brown tree snakes should be “dealt with” (handled) on the Island of Guam, a U.S. territory, and “takes measures” (does things) to prevent the brown tree snake from “spreading” (expanding its territory) to other areas.

The Nutria Eradication and Control Act provides funding to help the states of Maryland and Louisiana to control or “eradicate” (get rid of; kill) “nutria” (rodents that live in the water, similar to a river otter) and “restore” (improve something to return it to its former condition) “marshes” (swamp; very wet land) that have been damaged by invasive nutria

Comprehension Answers
1 - b

2 - a