Trip Start Apr 30, 2009
17Trip End Jun 05, 2009
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For something different, let's play Trivia. Alcatraz trivia. You can answer in your head if you want. Ready?
What type of 'rock' is Alcatraz built on?
For which type of crime were people sent to Alcatraz?
What was the most number of prisoners held at Alcatraz at any one time?
The recurrence of which menu item caused the only disturbance in the dining room?
Who was the most infamous prisoner at Alcatraz?
We did the night tour of the Rock, and have to say that it was really cool. Literally. REALLY cool. No wonder people don't swim from Alcatraz to San Francisco very often (Btw it is possible, but a combination of the cold water and tides make it really hard unless you're, like, an athlete).
We took the ferry, which only takes about ten minutes. It's a good view too. The tour is a combination of talks and a self-guided audio-tour, during which the sun sets and things kind of get dark and creepy. The idea of course is to show that being a prisoner at Alcatraz was a bit dark and creepy. Yep, we get it. Cold, dark, creepy and with horrid little toilets.
One part that isn't creepy is the gift shop. It's actually quite enormous and has lots of cute stuff. It does seem slightly weird to do such a serious tour and then go shopping for teddy bears dressed in prison uniforms, but we quite liked the merchandise with the regulations listed. Some of them were not dissimilar to running a school, birthday party or household with teenagers. Have a look at www.alcatrazhistory.com/regpage1.htm next time you want to deliver a lecture or create some household rules.
So, touristy as it seemed when we booked the tickets online, we actually really enjoyed Alcatraz and thoroughly recommend it. Pack a coat, don't bother thinking you can 'escape' and remember Regulation 1: GOOD CONDUCT means conducting yourself in a quiet and orderly manner and keeping your cell neat, clean and free from contraband. It means obeying the rules of the Institution and displaying a co-operative attitude. It also means obeying orders of Officials, Officers and other employees without delay or argument. Sounds good to me!
1. Sandstone. Imagine the retaining walls that could be built with that beauty (says the landscaper).
2. You got sent to Alcatraz for crimes committed whilst in prison. Basically, being naughty behind bars. You know, trying to escape and stuff.
3. You'd think that there's been heaps of people held on Alcatraz, but actually, the highest number ever held was 320. The average was 260.
4. Spaghetti. The prisoners were fed really well, but got really annoyed at the recurrence of spaghetti. They staged a table-turning demonstration and were sent to their cells for being naughty.
5. Al 'Scarface' Capone, the huge Chicago mafia boss, spent time at Alcatraz. He spent most of his time in the psych ward with syphilis complications such dementia. He was eventually released a free man, with his illness rendering him no threat to society.
0 - The amount I would've gotten right before going on the tour.
1 - 4 Wow, you guessed some! Was it the spaghetti question?
5 - You either Googled the questions, have done the tour or are a trivia nerd like Brad.