Thursday, January 7, 2010

What's in a Name

I'm continually amused by Mexican names. For example, the street behind my apartment is named "Santos Degollado" which translates literally as: "Saints with Their Throats Cut." The street is actually named for a Mexican general (as are many... we ARE fond of blood-and-guts military leaders in Mexico), Gen. Jose Santos Degollado. Here's a link to his biography on Wikipedia:

But can't you imagine the conversation?: "Hey, Tony, where are you living these days?" "Oh, I've got a new place over on Saints With Their Throats Cut Street. I like the neighborhood."

This is diametrically opposed to the naming conventions for streets back in Phoenix, where the city fathers tended to the cutesy. As I recall, we had "Cheery Lynn," "Linger Lane," "Shangri La Road," "Here to There Drive."

And my other favorite Oaxaca street name is, of course--Jacobo Dalevuelta Street. Which translates as: "Jake, Turn Around" or "Jake, Turn the Corner" street.

There is a kindergarten named Elizabeth Vargas Sibaja School. "Sibaja" translates literally: Indeed Short. Well, I suppose if you're talking about kids, "indeed short" makes sense.