Alcatraz & Giants

Trip Start Apr 19, 2010
Trip End May 20, 2010

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Where I stayed
Best Western Express

Flag of United States  , California
Friday, April 23, 2010

Day 4 San Francisco
This morning started with a flash, as we were off to breakfast at 7am. By 7:30 we were done, as an important landmark was first up this morning @ 9am - Alcatraz ! We rushed through brekkie, and were done by 7:30.  This gave us a comfitorble hour to get ready or so we thought.  By 8:35 we were panicking out the door and we started on the nice walk to the pier. About 10 minutes into the 15 min walk Char asks me if I have the tickets for the island.  The confused expression on my face instantly told her exactly the news she didnt want to hear.  I was implicated in this ticket transportation issue because I had a hold of them at one point in the morning rush and then thoughtfully returned them to the place I found them !
Anyway, faced with Chars evil death stare and thinking quickly under immense pressue, I instantly formulated a plan.  Keep going to the Pier I yelled, starting to run back to the hotel.  On the way I tried to flag down 2 passing cabs, but both had fares already causing me to make it all the way back under my own steam. Finding a cab outside our hotel, I yelled, 'Wait for me, 2 minutes!"  In the packed lobby I dodged through a huge crowd of tourists to the lifts where I got in first and pressed the button to our 4th floor.  Just as the doors were closing I heard "Lift Please" and I came soo close to ignoring it and letting the doors close but pressed the hold button.  Then to my amazement, 3 or 4 people dribbled into the lift all spaced a fair way apart meaning I had to reopen the doors twice before getting going ! Then stopping on the third floor on the way up, 3 ppl got in and the lift started downwards to the lobby again !!  Mentally screaming I belatedly realised every time I pressed the door close button to hurry them closed, it reset the panel, losing my 4th floor choice ! So after revisiting the lobby where we picked up more people for the trip up, I made it to our room and the tickets.The lift then took ages to get up to me due to the busy conditions as everyone was leaving for day trips etc.  
Getting back out to the street, I saw the original cab was gone, and another empty one sitting in its place! OMG I was going to lose it then.  Waiting by the cab, it took the driver about a minute to see me, and return from his chat with the Hiltons Concierge across the road.  "Quick" I breathlessly said told the driver, "Ive got 5 minutes to get to Pier 33 or we miss the ferry !" Holding up 10 bucks and hoping it was more than enough to cover the short journey and provide a large tip.  It obviously did because he rushed me down NorthPoint St quite faster than the other traffic was moving.  I just made it with just a few minutes to spare and we were off.
Alcatraz was a blast.  The ferry ride only took 15 minutes for the mile and a quarter journey, and once there, the Audio tour is highly recommended.  You get a digital player each, and it directs you around the main prision grounds and tells you about each place.  Its narrated by the guards that used to work there, and prior prisioners, decribing what it was like to work there and it really gave you a great feeling of what the place was like.At one point it tells you to Enter a solitary cell, with stark metal walls, and I kid you not, I got a really heavy, deep dark feeling settle over me standing there by myself, imagining what it was like to spend long times in there. We stayed on the island for 3 hours, then caught the 12pm ferry back to the mainland.
We had Lunch at Pier 39 again, in Luigis Pizza.  It was nice and the food was great.  I got to try another local Beer - Anchor Storm. very nice.  I had a BBQ chicken pizza and the kids shared a Ham and cheese.  After lunch the kids and myself visited a Mirror Maze while charmayne went shopping. Check out one of the video clips I hope to add, as it was very cool and psychadelic.  
Then we visted the USS Pampanito SS-383 a floating WW2 Submarine Museum berthed here. It used to visit Fremantle while on Patrol, and it was great looking through the sub at our own pace. Everyone enjoyed it and it was only $20 for all 4 of us. On the way back, we also picked up some great souveniers.
Then we started getting ready to leave for the San Francisco Giants Home Baseball Game. We planned on just taking the easy way out with a Taxi, but being Friday night, there was about a 20 min wait, and we wanted to get there within the hour.  Using the hotels advice, we started to take a street car down the docks, and then join the N or T line all the rest of the way to the AT&T stadium.  However the Car driver told us it was better to take the bus, so we did.  After walking a couple of blocks, we got on the bus and away we went.  Things started out well enough, but after 40 minutes of stopping every 4 minutes for a stop, in a bit of traffic, we were only half way to the game, and we resigned ourselves to being a little late.  Then we became more and more uneasy, as we travelled into the areas less and less frequented by tourists, and more and more by the poorer locals.  Before things got too bad however, we reached our stop and got off.  First thing I began noticing was the cops.  They were out in force because of the game for several blocks all around it - which suited us perfectly, as the area was a bit dodgy.  2 blocks diagonally saw us at the ballpark where we had a fantastic time, although it was bitterly cold sitting in one spot.
I got my Giants orange baseball cap, which I wore proudly.  I  wanted to keep my plastic giants beer cup, but of course I forgot to get it from the cup holder - real bummer ! When we left the score was Giants 4, Cardinals 1, but I think the final score was 6-4.

We decided to leave a bit early after the 8th innings had finshed to beat the crowds and grab a quick taxi.  It was obvious that ALOT of other people had the same idea, and the taxi stand had about 20 people in front of us, and not one taxi arrived in the 10 minutes we waited.  Deciding to cut our losses, we did what everyone else was doing, and begin walking down the main street, hailing cabs.  The streets were full of happy Giants fans, Groups of Girls, Guys,  Families with young kids etc so we never felt in any danger but it was a trying time, being so far from our hotel with no transport organised.  When I say hailing cabs, this is what you do after a ballgame.

1. Spot the cab.  ps If you get to step 1, immediately by a lotto ticket, because its alot easier to win lotto.
2. Run towards the cab, out running anyone else who was lucky enough to spot it too.
3. Begin yelling loudly at the cab trying to get his attention.
4. Begin to wonder why he is ignoring you and driving right past.
5. Realise that this cab is already taken, just like the 5 before it.

We eventually ran across the Marriot Hotel, and I tipped the doorman a fiver to get us a cab, playing the 'sympathy 2 kids card' late at night, cold ( which was the truth) . I got the feeling he was happy to help regardless.  After waiting 15 mins he got us a cab that was dropping of some Marriot guests, which was awsome, because 2 girls had already begun trying to get in. 

Overall the game was a positive experience, but if anyone you know tries this, pick a hotel within walking distance the night of the game, and stay there the night - much easier and a no brainer. Alot of fans did this and walked past us into the Marriot Hotel still cheering the Giants at the top of their voices.

We are all now at home safe and sound, everyone is asleep and I am joining them, as tomorrow we are driving down to San Simeon and LA in a hire car, down Highway 1 !

G'nite from our last day in SF. The Jiggins's

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The Strauch Family on

Hi guys it sounds like you are already having a fantastic time. We have loved reading what you are up to and Cam i love the way you are telling your stories (especially the "going back for the tickets" one! Can't imagine what look Char gave you for forgetting the tickets!!!). Keep up the good work and enjoy yourselves!

Ritchie on

Hehe awesome! You'll be a full blood Yankee by the time you come home ;-)

Love the blogs and photos ...keep 'em coming and keep having an awesome time!

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