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World Association of International Studies

Post Ronald Hilton Quote of the Day: Grand Canyon and Its Hyperbolical Eulogies
Created by John Eipper on 03/24/14 5:46 AM

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Ronald Hilton Quote of the Day: Grand Canyon and Its Hyperbolical Eulogies (John Eipper, USA, 03/24/14 5:46 am)

Now that I've returned to the routine at WAIS HQ/Royal Oak, it's time to process the wealth of information gathered from the Ronald Hilton archives at the Hoover Institution, Stanford.  During my fortnight of research, I transcribed a good number of Hilton quotes.  I thought I'd share them with the Forum from time to time.

Today's installment is one of the earliest, from RH's pre-Stanford days. In a typescript travelogue titled "Northern Arizona," undated but apparently from 1938-'39, he wrote: "Grand Canyon is the only natural site I know which deserves the hyperbolical eulogies attached to it. Even for the present-day tourist it is a surprise; it must have seemed like an incredible mirage to its discoverers."

Indeed. My only visit to the Grand Canyon was on Christmas Eve, 2010.  Standing on the edge I recall remarking to Aldona: "Imagine what the Conquistadores said when they first saw this big hole."  Given the Spaniard's predilection for salty oaths, it must have been a strong one.  "¡Mirad, qué agujero, joder!" comes to mind.

So here's the RH-inspired question for the Forum:  what natural site fully deserves its "hyperbolical eulogies"?  In addition to the Grand Canyon, I'd single out Machu Picchu in Perú, which to my mind is one of the few places that photographs can never fully capture.  Part of this is the soundtrack from the Urubamba river rushing below.  To be sure, MP is a nature-human hybrid, so we may have to disqualify it from our consideration.

So what other natural wonders are candidates for the deserved hyperbole?


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  • Natural Wonders and Deserved Hyperbole: Venezuela (José Ignacio Soler, Venezuela 03/24/14 8:32 AM)
    In response to JE's question: So what other natural wonders are candidates for the deserved hyperbole?

    What about El Salto Angel in Venezuela, the longest free fall of water in the world, or the Gran Sabana, perhaps the oldest geological site in the world?  Those are very impressive places you should visit at least once in a lifetime. Of course they are not recommended nowadays.

    JE comments:  Two places that have long been on my Bucket List.  Here's an image of the Gran Sabana lifted from Wikipedia.  The butte ("tepui") reminds me of the scenery I just saw around Scottsbluff, in western Nebraska, although I know of no Nebraskan waterfalls.

    I shall visit Angel and Iguazú in South America before I cash in my earthly chips.  What is it about waterfalls that captures the imagination?  Not everyone is in agreement, however:  Oscar Wilde at Niagara was unimpressed, calling it "every American bride's second biggest disappointment."
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