Had Mexican Sights and Sounds
By: Iride Aparicio

Photos & Video by ANTONIO GADONG

The feathers of YAOCUAUHTILL are mixed with the audience & the sea
The feathers of YAOCUAUHTILL are mixed with the audience & the sea

MONTEREY, CA –  Some of the sounds heard on October 20 at the MONTEREY BAY AQUARIUM in Monterey, were familiar to everyone: foaming waves crashing at the distance. People chatting with each other. The strings of  violins being tuned. Mariachis singing.  Other sounds had never been heard by some people before: An Indian drum playing a steady beat hit by the hand of an Aztec Cacique. Shells shaking in the wraps attached around the calves of the dancing “concheros.” The moaning cry of a sea shell being blown like a trumpet. Shouts, mixed with laughter and applause.    This year, “Fiesta del Mar” (Feast of the Sea) at the AQUARIUM, had lots of sounds and sights to delight its visitors.

While walking among the exhibits, parents and children had a chance to become acquainted with the fascinating world of THE OCEAN. See its plants, its birds, its marine animals. Learn something about it just by reading the bits of information attached to the walls or to the exhibits, or by listening to one of the docents’ different talks.

            SEA ANEMONES

Just by observing the colorful Sea Anemones, one can learn that they belong to a  a group of water-dwelling predatory animals  related to the corals, the jellyfish, and the hydra, with large polyps that allows them to digest large preys, and that they can expel nematocysts (small poisonous arrows) from their bodies which they use to defend themselves from predators.

One can also learn, at the penguin exhitit, that the penguins belong to a group of  aquatic birds that in spite of being birds cannot fly but unlike many other birds they can swim.  That Penguins  live, almost exclusively in the Southern Hemisphere, specially in Antarctica, and are adapted to live in the water. It is also interesting to learn that because they are unable to fly, their wings had evolved into flippers. They feed on Krill fish and squids, which they catch when swimming.


underwater. The pinguins spend half their lives in land and the other half in the water, and while most live in cold climates, there are others which prefer the temperate zones and even one specie that lives in the Galapagos Island, near the equator.

One of the most interested lectures on that day, however, was not about the ocean but about “The Sounds of Mexico” given by Professor MARTIN ESPINO, who one by one, demonstrated the sounds of many rustic instruments, made out of gourds,  different shaped stones, shells, and clay flutes shaped in a variety of shapes and sizes, that when one blows into them, each one imitates the exact sounds of a chirping bird, of the ocean waves, of the wind, and even the deep roaring  of a jaguar.

Pre-Hispanic instruments used by the American Indians of Mexico, Central and South America
Spread on a table we can see some of the Pre-Hispanic instruments used by the American Indians of Mexico, Central and South America.

Once again we walked back to the outdoors theatre, where LORRAINE YGLESIAS, serving as master of ceremonies, introduced to the audience Television Star and Movie Producer EDITH GONZALEZ FUENTES who after a brief talk about the importance of the Latinos in California and the importance of preserving the environment, bestowed the trophies to the three individuals who in one way or another had contribute to improve the environment.

The glass trophies, shaped like a circle with the Seal of the Aquarium engraved on top.  were bestowed on that afternoon to  the three  “Heroes del Medio Ambiente” (Environmental Heroes) who were: Mr. ALBERTO TINOCO, investigative Reporter from TELEVISA, Mexico,  Mr. JOSE HERNANDEZ, founder of Mariachi SOL DE MEXICO, for his collaboration in a Public Announcement to ask for help in preserving “La Vaquita” a small whale living in the Golf of Cortez in Mexico about to go extinct, and PATRICIA CRUZ, who is one of the pioneer teens who participated in TCL  (Teen Conservation Leaders) a volunteer Aquarium's program for students who provide important service to the aquarium. CRUZ is continuing to carry on the conservation messages in her community and among her peers.

PATRICIA CRUZ holding her trophy and TV star
                   L-R PATRICIA CRUZ holding her trophy and TV star
                  EDITH GONZALEZ FUENTES.

The presentation of the prizes, was followed by a few songs interpreted by the Mariachi SOL DE MEXICO.

For the quality of its educational programs, and the variey of its entertainment, "FIESTA DEL MAR" this year was one of the best, presented by the MONTEREY AQUARIUM.


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