Another day in San Francisco

Trip Start Mar 31, 2008
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of United States  , California
Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Another day visiting San Francisco, it was overcast and we hope it wouldn't rain. We drove through Daly, known as the rice cooker city. Our first stop was at Ocean Beach, it is one of the top 5 beaches in San Francisco. It was cold and windy. We drove through Golden Gate Park to the Holocaust Memorial where we got a good view of the Golden Gate Bridge. The Golden Gate Park is as big as Central Park. This Park was California's first State Park. On our way to the Golden Gate Bridge we stopped at Baker Beach, known as a nudist's beach. Today there was no one to be seen, the weather was not great at all. By this time it was already drizzling.

From the Golden Gate Bridge, we got to see Alcatraz. Alcatraz was not the "America's Devil's Island" that many books and movies portray. The average population was only about 260-275 (the prison never once reached its capacity of 336 - at any given time, Alcatraz held less than 1 percent of the total Federal prison population). Many prisoners actually considered the living conditions (for instance, always one man to a cell) at Alcatraz to be better than other Federal prisons, and several inmates actually requested a transfer to Alcatraz.
We then made a stop at the Palace of Fine Arts, wow its beautifully designed. It was a pity that we did not get to see it in all its splendor as they are busy with restorations. The design was inspired from Roman and Greek architecture. The sculptured frieze and allegorical figures representing Contemplation, Wonderment and Meditation. The dome of the Palace of Fine Arts just outside the Exploratorium and the adjacent lagoon have often been used as backdrops for movies, such as Alfred Hitchcock's Vertigo. One of the more recent sequences takes place in The Rock, where FBI agent Stanley Goodspeed (Nicolas Cage) finally catches up with John Mason (Sean Connery).
Down the windy street we go, Lombard Street. The flowers were in full blossom. It was crowded with people walking up and down the stairs as well as the car winding their way drive down. Lombard Street has earned the distinction of being "the crookedest (most winding) street in world. The crooked section of the street, which is about 400m long, is reserved for one-way traffic and is paved with red bricks.
Lunchtime snack at Pier 39, it's a tourist place with various shops and souvenirs. We visited the Bubba Gump Store, if you remember it from the Forest Gump movie. We had clam chowder, sour dough bread that is hollowed out and filled with clam chowder, it's really good. Our last stop was Twin Peaks before making our way back home. We passed through Castro, the LGBT neighborhood. From Twin Peaks we had a beautiful view of the whole of San Francisco.
We got to see a bit of the suburbs Menlo Park, Palo Alto, Mountain View and Sunnyvale. The suburbs are very flat, no high rise buildings. The streets are well kept with blossoming flowers.
We couldn't believe how much we got to see in the last four days. J's brother planned our trip very well seeing all the highlights, we had a fantastic time. Thanks Boet. B left back to New York, one long lonely flight home. I miss you already B.
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