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The McDermott Scholars Award covers all expenses of a superb four-year academic education at The University of Texas at Dallas, in concert with a diverse array of intensive extracurricular experiences, including internships, travel, and cultural enrichment.

Monday, August 31, 2009

A McDermott Adventure in Argentina

During our month-long trip to Argentina, we were able to enjoy a huge variety of the amazing adventures that Argentina and it's neighbooring countries had to offer. Being stationed in the beautiful city of Buenos Aires, we immersed ourselves in the days of soccer and endless nights of tango and cafes. On weekends we traveled to the magnificent Iguazu Falls, Uruguay, and the final weekend we went to Tigre. Our entire experience was incredible, and Tigre was a perfect ending to the trip.
We arrived in Tigre early Saturday morning via the train from Buenos Aires. Upon arriving we immediately boarded the ferry that would take us to our adventure. The ferry ride took us house to house while it dropped people off from their grocery shopping and finally we arrived at our destination. Our day started with a quaint, kind welcoming by the proprietors of Deltaventura, a husband and wife. They lead us into their large backyard, opening to a trail into peaceful fields, with turkeys, dogs and cats coexisting in the foreground. It felt like home; we played soccer and ran around like we were little kids again. Our guides spoke of their surrounding environment with such passion, making us wonder why we had never really heard of this utopian slice of South America before. And so we were raring to go canoeing into the heart of this beautiful ecosystem on the calm waters. We rowed slowly, encountering fun road blocks, joking with our friends on the other canoes. There was no one there but us. To reference a cliche, that solitude made us feel so much more at one with nature and simple aesthetic pleasure. We reached a rounded lake near the end of our rowing, where some of us decided to lie down and observe the blue sky, away from all the stresses of maps and curriculums of the big city.
We then began our trek back to camp, amidst orchards and houses. We felt extreme jealousy of the owners of these homes, who were able to settle down away from the pressures of market bustle and constant crowds. Though we were already tired from the adventure, the best was yet to come.
Lunch was the epitome of home-cooked quality. It was a traditional asado meal, with various, vast amounts of grilled meats sizzling on a plate, the aroma evoking vigor in us once again, prompting us to eat. Even the vegetarian food was delicious, the pasta and sauce cooked with a caution that would remind one of a mother's considerations for her child. The plates kept coming and we could not resist, because the flavor itself obliged the appetite more and more. The satisfaction however, was not over.
In the afternoon we began our rides on horses and mountain bikes. There is something about traveling with animals that connects us to nature even more. We not only understand our surroundings, but how other creatures interact with them. Though this resulted in some turbulence along the way, it was quite the learning experience. This experience was not lost to the bike riders, though. There was something amazing and awe-inspiring about being able to stop alone and look around, raised on a ridge above a sea of fields on either side with the sun barely poking out. It was pure nirvana. In the end, we saw the guides care for a hurt horse with such love, making us realize the importance of carrying consideration for others into all aspects of life.
We left that evening having come full circle. We had entered Argentina to a crowded, vibrant and cultured city, forced to navigate the Subte underground and the roads above all while absorbing a language that was entirely foreign to some of us. We were ending our journey, though, by observing its calm side, interacting with the land without commercialism. We saw the manufactured and natural beauty of Argentina, and both sides were amazing contributors to a life-changing experience.

The following people are represented by this blog post:
Erich Bao, Dionna Budd, Liz Organ, Prashant Raghavendran, Bryan Thompson and Lye-Ching Wong

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