Scrolling Headlines:

Preseason serves as opportunity for young UMass men’s soccer players -

August 13, 2017

Amherst Fire Department website adds user friendly components and live audio feed -

August 11, 2017

UMass takes the cake for best campus dining -

August 11, 2017

Two UMass students overcome obstacles to win full-ride scholarships -

August 2, 2017

The guilt of saying ‘guilty’ -

August 2, 2017

UMass tuition set to rise 3-4 percent for 2017-2018 school year -

July 18, 2017

PVTA potential cuts affect UMass and five college students -

July 10, 2017

New director of student broadcast media at UMass this fall -

July 10, 2017

Whose American Dream? -

June 24, 2017

Man who threatened to bomb Coolidge Hall taken into ICE custody -

June 24, 2017

Cale Makar drafted by Colorado Avalanche in first round of 2017 NHL Entry Draft -

June 24, 2017

Conservatives: The Trump experiment is over -

June 17, 2017

UMass basketball lands transfer Kieran Hayward from LSU -

May 18, 2017

UMass basketball’s Donte Clark transferring to Coastal Carolina -

May 17, 2017

Report: Keon Clergeot transfers to UMass basketball program -

May 15, 2017

Despite title-game loss, Meg Colleran’s brilliance in circle was an incredible feat -

May 14, 2017

UMass softball loses in heartbreaker in A-10 title game -

May 14, 2017

Navy sinks UMass women’s lacrosse 23-11 in NCAA tournament second round, ending Minutewomen’s season -

May 14, 2017

UMass softball advances to A-10 Championship game -

May 13, 2017

UMass basketball adds Rutgers transfer Jonathan Laurent -

May 13, 2017

Even paradise has a dark side

It starts as small streams, continues into roaring rapids and opens up into broad rivers until it combines with water from all over to create what could best be described as God’s Playground. A menagerie of blue and green popping out of the jungle mists lends it all an almost prehistoric air. Flocks of toucans circle above the site.

The cataracts at Iguazu have been described as one of the seven wonders of the natural world. It is a combination of over 200 waterfalls pulsing 3,000 liters of water per second over its cliffs, in the utterly picturesque setting of the Argentine-Brazilian jungle.

The hike around the waterfalls on the Argentine side starts with a light walk through the jungle to witness the roots of the massive currents that Eleanor Roosevelt was known to have said dwarf Niagara Falls. Suddenly, the jungle canopy parts to reveal the stunning view of a furious – yet beautiful – force of nature set in a deep river valley.

The site is the utter panoply of brilliance and spectacle. From the pulsating waters at the top, to the white frothy destructive force of foam at the waterfall’s base, to the dense thicket of jungle that surrounds all, it is an assault on vision.

Never before have I truly felt the sensation of being in the midst of the exotic and the great. Watching rainbows break out over the many falls with the sun sinking through the sky, I got a feeling that the wide world out there could be seen and could be reached. If I could make it here, if I could see this magnificent place with my own eyes, anything could be within grasp.

Iguazu is in a region known as the tri-frontier, a place where the borders of Argentina, Brazil and Paraguay meet. Equal in its fame for its natural beauty is the notoriousness of the zone. Ciudad del Este, on the Paraguayan side, is infamous as one of the smuggling havens of the world. A good deal of Paraguayan-made drugs escape through the area’s lax border control. Additionally, the terrorist bombers behind several anti-Israel bombings in Buenos Aires were known to have reached the country through the region. Simply put, depending on the day, the border rules can be so lax, that people can drive uninterrupted into each of the three countries.

Puerto Iguazu, on the Argentine side, has the feel of a true border town. Nightclubs and bars fill with people from all three countries and tourists from many more, giving the feeling of a rough globalization.

A few hours down the road lies the ruins of an earlier vision of cultural diffusion. The ruins of the Jesuit Mission of San Ignacio Mini poke out of a jungle situated in another rough-feeling border town. Back in the 1700s, Jesuit Missionaries arrived from Europe to share their vision of culture and civilization with the Guarani natives of the tri-frontier area.

For a while, they succeeded in constructing cities of sandstone and ceramic out of the forest, blending elements of the native culture and the imported European one. Over time, foreign politics began to exercise their force on those in the area, and the light of education brought to the area began to fade.

Thinking about the absolute beauty of the place I’ve just passed through, the romantic and inspiring splendor of nature at its most furious and finest, I hope that the outside world doesn’t destroy something beautiful here again.

Mike Fox is a Collegian columnist. He can be reached at mgfox@student.umass.edu.

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