I have just returned from a trip to Peru, a vacation inspired by a book, “The White Rock,” by Hugh Thompson. The book inspired my husband to learn more about Machu Picchu, the Andes mountains, Hiram Bingham (with relatives in Bingham?) and the Incas.

We were going to wait until our daughter finished her last year of college, among other reasons for delaying the trip, but one day last January I said, “Let’s just go.”

We returned Saturday bleary-eyed and sore from a most uncomfortable, fretful overnight sleep on the flight from Lima, Peru, to JFK, and were distressed to learn our travel agent had not reserved our connecting flight to Boston. We were put on standby, and I said a little prayer when the ticket agent called our name minutes before boarding and issued us passes.

There is not enough space here to communicate my experience as I’d like. I’m not one for incessant chatter; I’m generally reserved and succinct.

So when I tried to tell my neighbors about the experience, I found myself grappling with the right words. “Awesome” and “amazing” were the first to come to mind, but sadly, I could not use them, not anymore, especially not after hearing salespeople on HSN refer to “amazing deals.”

Everywhere I turn. I hear people say “awesome” as though they’re high-fiving each other. These words, once reserved for things and experiences that left us utterly speechless by the power of their majesty have been reduced to trite, commonplace, nonsensical expressions; and, sadly, I have been robbed of the most apt and succinct language to describe my experience of the Andes mountains.

Cidalia Thibault


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