Well-traveled chicken

"Why does the biggest continent have the smallest name?," the five year old asked. No good answer to that one, but it set my brain awalking along the Silk Road with Marco Polo. I briefly considered telling him "Asia" was chosen by a kid named Stan who wasn't very good at spelling and wanted something short.

Spent a few minutes looking up etymology of continent names, and learned that toponymy is the etymology of placenames. "Asia" seems to derive from words for east, or rising light, referring to the sunrise.

If I head south on Coit Road, I pass a drive-through restaurant currently named "Marco Pollo Rotisserie". It sits next to a city bus transit center, and caddycorner to a large hospital, but the location has housed many different restaurants over the eighteen years I've lived here.

On down Coit Road there's a restaurant called "Feliz Pollo", but I never thought the chicken there had much reason for happiness. "Marco Pollo" gave me images of a tired chicken walking across Asia, which doesn't equate with tender and juicy.

According to its webpage, the restaurant was a Peruvian concept with saffron rice, black beans, and rotisserie chicken. I thought I would check it out after my doctor appointment at the hospital. Alas, the chicken had joined a caravan, and the building was for rent again. Maybe other potential customers had the same ethnic confusion with the name. "Marco Pollo" has gone the way of another culture clash restaurant, "Wok Bueno", on my old commute on Spring Valley Road.

© 2008 Nancy L. Ruder

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