Finally, Alcatraz & Leaving SF
Trip Start Feb 12, 2011
27Trip End Mar 09, 2011
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We had little choice in the matter of being awake on time anyway this morning, with our two roomies getting in round 11 pm and banging around alot, packing in readiness for departure - and then, lo and behold, doing it all again this morning!! Lots of nylon-sounding zip-pulling and whispering at 5.30 am and it took them an hour to do whatever they were doing. They also unplugged my charger and didn't plug it back in. Ah well, if that's the worst of sharing, ok
Our own packs are ready to go; we'll be picking up the car after Alcatraz and will drop by to grab our packs this afternoon to leave San Fran.
So finally, after a couple of false starts - we got on the ferry to Alcatraz. It was great to be introduced to the place by a Park ranger and then left to our own devices to wander around as we liked, able to catch any ferry back we chose. Included in the tour cost was an audio tour, recorded by four past inmates and four guards, telling the stories behind what we were seeing: bullet marks on the concrete floor; the morgue; the hole in the wall of a cell (the escape); where the families of officers and workers lived.
I learnt new things today; that indigenous folk occupied the rock for 2 years from 1969-1971. There is still lots of graffitti around on the walls, which is a part of the Rock's history too. I found it fascinating, if sad. Also, that Alcatraz was an Army Outpost before it was a jail.
Strangely, I didn't get the heavy, sick feeling I get inside Old Melbourne Jail, with a desire to get out of there quick
Even though it was still winter the garden was already quite pretty; I'd love to see it in spring.
The wind was really cold on the rock, especially where you stand to look over the Bay at the Port. Standing there looking over at San Fran Bay I could imagine being an inmate, out there working in the cold and feeling doubly imprisoned - even without walls you can't go anywhere and you can see clearly where all the free people are at. The big gulls are gorgeous, I think they must be Southern or Pacific Gulls - they're huge, not just your average sea-gull. Sorry Jonathan - I mean average sized sea-gull.
Alcatraz closed as a prison the year I was born, 1963.
On return from the Rock we walked directly to the car hire company from the wharf to pick up our car, swung past the hostel to grab our packs and drove over the Golden Gate Bridge to Sausilito, which reminded me a bit of Straughn in Tassie - really pretty; before turning around and heading back through San Francisco.
How bizarre that first trip on the Other Side of the road! Viv drove because she's done it before. Turning right on a red felt strange - Viv didn't like to do it though. I was quite anxious and felt slightly unsafe until I got used to it, but once I was actually behind the wheel I LOVED it!
Before leaving I wanted to see a Frida Kahlo at the MOMA, so we navigated our way through the city and found a park just before closing time
The open road or Highway is fantastic - all the trucks must go a little slower, and stay in the slow lane on ascents.
The noble quest for good coffee continues, however.....