Stringing my Life Together: Purishpa takini, takishpa purini.

World Cup & Grunions!
2010/06/16, 13:54
Filed under: Los Angeles, Thoughts, Travel | Tags: , , , ,

Wow, it’s 5:41am and I have been up for an hour. Normally, if I see this time of day, it’s because I am just nodding off to sleep. Today, however, I am wide awake, watching the Honduras vs. Chile game and anxiously awaiting breakfast with my cousin and watching Spain vs. Switzerland (Spain is my favorite for the 2010 World Cup). Chile is playing well, and although I’m not necessarily rooting for Chile or Honduras, I am happy to see that Chile has a strong presence on the field and had a fantastic goal. Beautiful. Some exciting shots on goal too. Honduras has an amazing goalie!

Aside from the World Cup, I finally went to a grunion run with a group of friends and my cousin on Monday night. “Grunions,” you say, “what the hell is a grunion?!” Well. Let me tell you! Basically, they are a small, skinny, wriggly fish that only lives on the Pacific coast of North America. Supposedly their name comes from the Spanish verb, “gruñir (to grunt),” although the aquarium staff wasn’t sure as to why they were given that name. The reason why all sorts of beaches and aquariums have these “grunion runs,” as they’re called, is because their spawning habits are unique and unlike any other fish species known to man. Basically, at certain points in the spring and summer months, in accordance with the moon cycle (near a full moon, or just after a new moon), and the tides (just as the high tide begins to recede), these fish wash up ashore. Once on the beach, the females use their tails to dig a vertical hole in the sand. Two inches beneath the sand, they lay their eggs, but only if a male is nearby to release its “milt” along her side to fertilize the eggs. Once they do this, they let themselves wash away with one of the next waves. The eggs will hatch several days later, but only once the waves expose the eggs and swirls them around, activating or “awakening” the baby fish and causing it to hatch out of their egg.

The crazy part of this whole ordeal is how all these people go with their kids (in California, if you are 15 and under, you do not need a fishing license to catch fish), wait along the shore, and will be released by the aquarium staff to go see or catch the fish with their bare hands (only on special occasions when it’s okay to catch the fish). Everyone essentially goes nuts and runs down, rushing the fish, and frantically grabbing at the fish as they are bombarded with ocean waves.

By far, one of the highlights of the entire experience was the 1950s film made by a UCLA Zoologist that was shown during the orientation and informational presentation about grunions. That and the zany questions asked by all the little kids. Overall, a great experience.

A lot of easterners cringe when I tell them I am living in Los Angeles, and plenty of people complain about how they believe the city is ugly, fake, etc. Granted, there’s definitely a plastic element to the city, but what I have come to really love about living here are opportunities, like the grunion run, that are interesting, relatively cheap, and something completely different than what you can see anywhere else in the world.

Another thing on my list of what I love about Los Angeles, for the very same reasons, is mariachi karaoke with a live trio/band (of all women, no less! Check out Trio Ellas here and here).

So, the Spain vs. Switzerland game is only 40 minutes away. I leave you with some pictures from the Cabrillo grunion run and aquarium.

Shuk pachakamanmi 😉 Chunka ishkay punchalla Otavalokamanmi purinata charini.

Countdown to Otavalo: 12 days.

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Some of these pictures were taken by M. Iyanaga.


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