Tropical America Mural

Qin and Olivia


2 thoughts on “Tropical America Mural

  1. Describe your route to the location and what observations stood out the most during your travelling experience to the site?

    – I took MetroLink from Claremont to L.A. Union Station on Saturday morning and walked for 5 minutes to arrive at Tropical America Mural.
    On the metro, I was surprised by how many young children there were because that was not the usual scene on MetroLink during other times of the week. Families sat together, ate snacks, talked and the air was full of joy. I imagined them going to spend their day exploring L.A. or going to Universal Studio and it reminded me of what I used to do with my parents on Saturdays. It is also interesting that they chose to take public transportation instead of driving. If taken at the right time, the public transportation system in L.A. can be efficient, convenient and money-saving even for families with children.

    What observations stood out the most at the site?

    – What struck me most was the contrast between the faded and lonely mural and the busy Olvera Street. All the previous researches left me with the impression of a vivid and strong mural. However, because it had been whitewashed, the mural is now in a poor state and is only open to public during certain hours and at a great distance. The recovery and protection of the mural is supposed to witness a positive evolution in the freedom of expression. However, its distance from people again limits its power and its original message. It only serves as a dispensable piece of art for people today. Maybe the only place a mural can convey strong and powerful message is back on the street and among its audience.

    How are your partner’s travel photos different from your own?

    – A large part of Qin’s photos are about her bus ride there. Her photos are different from mine in that she also took pictures of the space outside her transportation. It is remarkable that she did arrangements to photos so several are shown in one single picture. My photos are categorized into the MetroLink trip to and from there, and the photos at the site. In terms of content and description, Qin’s photos are very informative while mine are focused on observation and reflection.

    How are your partner’s travel photos similar to your own?

    – In terms of photos taken in public transportation, we both took notice of the demographics of people traveling with us. At the site, we both took photos of the mural picture inside the museum and the actual mural, showing the difference between the two.

    Why do you think your experiences are similar and/or different? (Ex. You are travelling from completely different locations. Was it rush hour or the middle of the day? Are you a Los Angeles native or is the Los Angeles area new to you? How did your form of transportation — ex. bus vs. MetroLink — shape your experience?)

    It is an interesting fact that Qin and me are both from China. Thus, although she lives much closer to Los Angeles, neither of us are very familiar with the area and its public transportation and we both encountered some difficulties on the bus. However, we chose bus and MetroLink as our transportation to the site respectively, which shaped our experience in a different way.
    In general, bus is a more controlled space with a central figure. Qin had a short conversation with the bus driver and while I was in Los Angeles, I also got to talk with the bus driver all along my ride. It is interesting that as they have control over passengers’ ride, the drivers take the role of authority in the short period of the ride. Whereas in the MetroLink, the presence of driver is minimal and the only form of authority is ticket controllers. Also, the seats in MetroLink divide the space and have more privacy. Thus, passengers tend to be more relaxed on MetroLinks and would have interesting conversations between them. That was why I focused a lot on what people were talking about on MetroLink whereas Qin paid more attention to the space outside the bus. Nevertheless, bus rides provide more opportunities for a look outside thanks to its lower speed.
    As to our experience at Tropical America Mural, we were both surprised by the contrast between what the mural looked like and what it is now. And we were both slightly disappointed that we were so far away from the mural that we could not observe it in details. However, there were a lot more tourists on a Friday afternoon when Qin arrived then on Saturday afternoon. She was not able to stay there for a long time because of the limit for tourists. I, on the other hand, was the only tourist on the platform when I visited and stayed for long. It is surprising for me that there were more tourists on Friday then on Saturday and I will pay more attention the next time I go to Los Angeles to see if this is the pattern.
    In conclusion, our whole experiences are different and similar at the same time. Comparing them made me discover more about public transportation in L.A. and the Tropical America Mural; it also made me realize that there are much more to discover on a journey even though the destination remains unchanged.

  2. 1. Describe your route to the location and what observations stood out the most during your traveling experience to the site?
    Metro bus was my transportation to my location-Tropical America Mural. On one side, it was cheap, since I actually only spent two dollars for the round trip. It is a convenient way for going to Tropical America Mural because there was no need to transfer during the route. Instead of driving to the site, I got time to enjoy all beautiful views outside of the window by taking a bus. I had less concern about the chocking traffic because bus rarely get stuck during the route. On the other side, it has disadvantages as well. For instance, I spent about 30 minutes on waiting, which wasted a lot of time. Also, I had to walk more than usual due to the long distance through my home, the bus station and my site. So, bus is a double-edged sword for me from several aspects. In my opinion, bus is one of the greatest way for taking public transportation in Los Angeles, since it is essentially important for many people’s daily life. It would be more convenient and beneficial if the arriving schedule is fixed. I noticed the changing from the eastern region of Los Angeles to the center of downtown, through the bus view. More urbanization has been showed as long as I got closer to my site, since I saw more traffic signs, shops and mansions. Such small factors revealed the transformation during my short route, so that I was impressed by this observation. Overall, it was a great experience for me by taking metro bus to the site.

    2. What observations stood out the most at the site?
    My main focus of the site is the mural, which obtain a historical background of public art and current meaning of free speech. I already knew some information from the textbook before going to Tropical America Mural, so that I was excited to explore more at the site. The mural is so precious that needed to be preserved by covering it most of the time. I was surprised after the staff there showed me what the original mural looked like. Although the current mural has been faded out because of many historical issues and other factors, original mural was really vivid and colorful. It is unfortunate that the mural has been whitewashed once because of the social prejudice. I respect and admire the artist who painted the mural because he revealed the crucial reality for Mexican by portraying. The mural advocate more people to stood out for freedom of public art, so that the meaning of the mural is actually as important as its appearance.

    3. How are your partner’s travel photos different from your own?
    Olivia took photos of taking the metro link while I took photos of taking the bus. I also took some pictures of the outside view during my trip to the location. Instead, my partner was focusing on the indoor surroundings. Also, I like the pictures that she took at the nearby places of the site.

    4. How are your partner’s travel photos similar to your own?
    Although the mural only open for public at certain time of a day, both of us took pictures of the mural successfully. We were pay attention to people around us while taking the public transportation.

    5. Why do you think your experiences are similar and/or different? (Ex. You are traveling from completely different locations. Was it rush hour or the middle of the day? Are you a Los Angeles native or is the Los Angeles area new to you? How did your form of transportation — ex. bus vs. MetroLink — shape your experience?)
    On one hand, our starting point was different, since we live in different places and take different transpositions. We also went to the site on different dates and time of a day. There were more people came to visit the site on Friday than Saturday, when Olivia arrived. Also, it is fast by taking the bus without much concern of the traffic since I usually get stuck by traffic during my way to downtown.
    On the other hand, my partner and I have something in common. Actually, my partner and I are both from China, and we are not so familiar with the site area. I am a sophomore right now, but I have not been to many places in Los Angeles yet. Los Angeles is fun and exciting for me to explore more, since I want to experience more in a foreign country as an international student. It was our first time to be at Tropical America Mural, and we found out the site was actually a little hard to find. Moreover, there was not much traffic going on during our trip to the location.
    Overall, the experience of taking public transportation to the site was meaningful for both of us. We gained many thoughts whether some of them are similar or different. It is interesting for me to know how different factors, such as time, vehicle and personality, effect people’s experience.

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