Wednesday, July 23, 2008

...the Linguists?

As Los Angelino's we are quite at home with exotic-sounding names, like "Cahuenga," (pronounced kah-WENG-ah) and we often laugh at out-of-towners who pronounce Wilshire as "Will-Shyer" or Pico as "Pye-co."  What I love about driving across country are the other unique place names you encounter.

My personal, all-time favorite is a place called "Holy Moses Wash."  This is a very large arroyo on the road into Arizona.  When you look around, it's easy to see how it got its name.  You can actually imagine an enormous wall of water headed your way, hell-bent on wiping you off the face of the map.

Ok, I'm sure "Holy Moses" was the compromise name, but you get my meaning.

The drive across was full of these gems:
  • Little (and Big) Lithehedren Wash (New Mexico)
  • Prague, Oklahoma
  • Albatross, Missouri (I wonder if they are Monty Python fans?)
  • Rio Puerco
Rio Puerco?  Yes, the Pig River.  This is a fairly large river in Northern New Mexico.  No, it doesn't look like a pig, or smell like a pig.  According to, this is really an idiomatic expression referring to the muddiness of the river (yes, it was pretty muddy).  You cross over it several times on I-40 and each time we did, we couldn't help but smile.

I wonder what those in Prague, Oklahoma would make of Cahuenga?

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