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Where to buy a bus ticket to Oaxaca in Mexico City’s historic center? This has been a dilemma and frustrating for foreign travelers for many years. We cannot use non-Mexican credit cards to buy an ADO bus ticket to Oaxaca (or anywhere ADO operates) online. Heretofore, the only solution was to go to Mexico TAPO (the regional bus station) to buy an advance ticket (45-minute taxi ride one-way) or show up on the day you want to leave and hope there is a seat.
After a frustrating hour on my computer and then again with the concierge at my otherwise absolutely wonderful and affordable Hotel Catedral, I accepted that I could not change the system. They suggested I might buy a ticket at OXXO (the convenience store). Not wanting to waste another moment, I went on to spend three wonderful hours at the Secretaria de Educacion Publica (SEP) to view and review 1923-1928 Diego Rivera murals. My hope was that sometime later, aka mañana, perhaps I would source a ticket location.
I went in search of OXXO. No OXXO where it was supposed to be. Then, I went into a hostel to ask and was directed to a street but no address. I kept walking, hoping I could find the Hotel Majestic where someone else said there was a travel agency. Instead, I found myself in front of the Holiday Inn Zocalo and entered, hoping they could sell me a ticket. The bell captain, in reply to my query, said, Oh, someone was here last week saying an ADO ticket office just opened around the corner. Go out, turn right and then turn left at the first street. It’s down there somewhere. Not far. I was skeptical, yet decided to trust. This is important in Mexico. Trust takes you to many places and then eventually to the right one. (By the way, did I say I’m traveling alone, sola?)
So, I followed his instructions, but I crossed Calle Monte Piedad from 5 de Mayo to walk on the Zocalo side turning left and heading away from the Cathedral as instructed. No store where the bell captain said there should be one. Exasperated, I pivoted. Un milagro!
Don’t blink! You might miss it: A teeny, weeny sign hung high above and to the side of an arcade entryway leading to restaurants and artisan collectibles on the upper floors. I was deluged by eager young people promoting said establishments and in the obscurity of the arched tunnel could not see the small, portable stand with signage facing the opposite wall promoting bus ticket sales. So, again, after seeing the street sign, I said, Where is the bus ticket office? There, they said, pointing about five feet away.
Now, here’s what you’ve been patiently waiting for:
MultiMarca ticket stand, Ave. Monte Piedad #11, between 5 de Mayo and Francisco I. Madero, across from the Zocalo and next door to McDonald’s soft serve. Open daily 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Cash only if you are a foreigner! One-way, 6-hour bus ticket to Oaxaca on ADO GL is $584 pesos. No phone. They use wide-band Telcel USB to connect to the Internet and process tickets.
Diego Rivera Murals at Secretariat of Public Education (SEP), Mexico City
Diego Rivera, Mexico’s famed muralist, returned there from Europe in 1921 at the invitation of Jose Vasconcelos, Mexico’s Secretary of Public Education, to paint three floors of murals in the national headquarters that was once a Franciscan convent.
From 1923 to 1928, Rivera worked in the building with assistants to create 125 panels that would help define a new nation after the 1910 revolution. Over a million people died in the 10 year conflict that most historians now call a civil war.
The idea for the murals was to coalesce the various post-war factions and shape a national identity that would recognize its indigenous roots, valuing the work of the peasant, the common man. At the heart of the message was that better education and health care would lift up the nation.
On the first floor, mural topics focus on Mexican festivals and labor. The second floor concentrates on science and technology. On the third floor, Rivera translated the populist approach to government to reflect his own ideology as a communist.
The themes of the worker, the enlisted soldier and the peasant are repeated throughout. Here we see Frida Kahlo depicted as a revolutionary heroine. Ribbons with heroic revolutionary messages connect the frescoes.
The last of the murals, painted in 1928 are a portend to the 1929 stock market crash. They depict the greed of industrialists and the church, the debauchery and waste, and the widening distance between the wealthy and poor, the cynical and the hopeful.
The murals undergo constant restoration. A group of full-time art restorer-fresco painters are employed to prevent deterioration. There is usually always a team of two or more people, paint brush in hand, high up on scaffolding.
They told us that they paint in exactly the same brush strokes as Rivera, but like any building restoration of antiquities, there is always a telltale mark that indicates it is not the original.
Our group of six, plus our art historian Valeria, immersed ourselves into this intensive study tour day that started at 9:30 a.m. and ended after lunch. I counted almost 13,000 steps as we walked around the historic center of Mexico City, visiting SEP and two other mural locations.
If you are interested in joining us for a comprehensive, intensive four-day art history tour in Mexico City this winter or spring, please contact me.
These photos were all taken with my Nikon D7000 camera and the Nikkor 50mm 1:1.8G lens. This is a prime lens (no zoom), so I got lots of close ups and had to move my feet to get perspective. I prefer total control over my photos so I use the manual setting with autofocus, choosing aperture and shutter speed.
I’m having trouble learning the new Olympus mirrorless, so set it aside for a while. It works really well in automatic. I can’t seem to get it to work with manual setting.
Posted in Cultural Commentary, Mexico City, Photography, Travel & Tourism
Tagged art history study tour, Diego Rivera, frescoes, Mexico City, murals, nationalism, photography, SEP, tour, travel