We’ve now taken almost every form of public transportation available in the city: the Metro (México’s subway [though we found out today that some lines go above ground like the “T” in Boston]), Metrobús (which is actually like a subway-bus-hybrid because they run on reserved lanes in the center of the street, and their terminals are like mini-subway stations in the middle of the street at various intersections along North-South or East-West lines), and Paseo (which are little busses that run more like traditional commuter busses, or “the short bus”, that we have in the U.S., except that each Paseo lists the direction that they travel and the stops that they make on the front side of the bus, but there isn’t really a system to it, so no Paseo driver knows anyone else’s route but their own!)
Good luck trying to find information on Paseos online!
I think that the only other forms of transportation are other kinds of busses than the Metrobús, but we haven’t been able to figure out their system yet. In some ways, they seem like large Paseos because many of them list their stops in the same way, but I know that they are not the same, and I’m not sure what the difference is or how to find out.
If it sounds confusing…it is! Well, it is if you’re a gringo like us.
Mary E’s school is “conveniently” (read: sarcasm) located a bit out of the way from all of these forms of transportation. Right now it seems like our best bet is to travel a bit longer (and technically out of the way) on the Metro, with one line-change, and then our Metro stop (General Anaya on Linea 2) is about a 15 minute walk to the school. The walk is along a park in what seems to be a nice enough area of Coyoacán. It’s possible that we can hitch a Paseo to go between the stop and the school, but we’re not going to travel in a fashion that is too complicated, too quickly. The past times that we’ve attempted to go back and forth, if we try to take a more direct route, we sometimes end up taking all 3 of the above modes of transportation with some considerable walking anyway. The method that I just mentioned seems like the simplest solution (i.e. taking the Metro a little out of the way and then walking back a bit, which doesn’t really cost us any more time than any other option that we’ve seen so far.)
Mary E’s school, Escuela Nacional de Música (of the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México), or ENM/UNAM (ENM), appears to consist of 2 large, stone buildings. The main building consists of classrooms, a library, a cafeteria, offices, a little bookstore, and other yet unexplored areas. Once inside, you can walk outside again from the direction of the office across a fenced-in courtyard to an annex building with rehearsal rooms, practice rooms, and again, other unexplored areas. The main building is interesting because, once inside, you’re still technically outside (there’s no roof!) There are areas that are under cover, like the library, and there are awnings that surround the classroom hallways (3 floors of rooms), but I must admit that it is strange to walk inside a building and see people smoking because, at that point, you’re still really outside (and it will be very weird when it rains INSIDE!)
Like I said in my previous post, I’ll have to let Mary E tell you more about her experiences so far at ENM, which are more substantial than mine. In my first visit, I felt overwhelmed, like a fish out of water. I walked around and found some interesting areas and offices, but I felt my inability to communicate more than I have since we arrived here. It’s one thing to be able to buy food, other goods, or tell a waiter that the food tastes great or you’re full, but here, I find myself in a research institution of the field in which I specialize, and I just kind of choked up and felt very shy.
Since then, I have now met Mary E’s teacher, Dr. Alejandro Escuer, who was very kind in recommending that I get in touch with a trombonist friend of his, and who is interested in having me play some contemporary tuba music for his modern music class (and hopefully working with some composers, if they are intrigued by my choice in music). I also met the tuba teacher and player of the Mexico City Phil, Dwight Sullinger, who is a long-time friend of my former teacher, Don Harry, at Eastman. He took Mary E and me out to lunch, and we chatted for a while about music and México City. I will hopefully get to observe him teach and play, and maybe do some teaching myself, if I’m lucky. Today is my second time at ENM, and I was much more productive and comfortable, and I imagine Mary E had a better experience too.