Tuesday, September 09, 2014

San Francisco, Part Two: Alcatraz (with a little Mel Brooks to start)

This may be the strangest combination in the history of ever, but before I start telling you about the tour of Alcatraz (warning: like Part One, it will again be photo-heavy), you need to watch this video of Mel Brooks, who just got his spot in the concrete, and made his mark ... uniquely.

via Boing Boing, who got it from the Today Show

And now for something completely different...

Alcatraz! Again, I flip past the pictures swiftly, so ask questions if you have any.

All the times I've visited my brother in SF since he moved there 25 years ago, and we never went to Alcatraz. We did walk across the Golden Gate bridge once ... as some deer did yesterday, apparently. (The craziest part of the story is that they were coming from the city, not Marin.) While we were waiting to get on the boat, I took some pictures of the area.
Then more photos from the boat:

Bridge in the mist, aka, Nature Girl Gets Artistic.

Looking back at the skyline.
Birds frolicking in the surf.
"Look at me! I can fly!" "We can all fly, Larry."

And here we come up to the island. Past in the foreground, futuristic present in the background.
Doesn't it look like a painted backdrop?
A grittier reality.
Clearly not in use.
Nor that.
Patched together over the years.
Eras layered over each other.
Including a very neat old truck.
Who didn't take the curtains down when they left?
For some reason this shot makes me think of a ruined temple in Greece. Not that I've been to Greece.

I think this is strictly a message to the tourists of today, not a relic of the past.
I do love  a spiral staircase.
We took the audio tour of the prison, and it was overall excellent, but the editor in me did noticed that I was instructed to look for the sign that said "tour begins here" and it doesn't.

Eerie, even full of tourists.
I can't even imagine.
Of course I was interested in the library.

The knitter in me noticed that the audio said some of the prisoners crocheted to pass the time, and that looks like a crocheted blanked, but those are knitting needles. Hmm.
And books, thank god for books.
I don't think the quality of the tour lagged at the end, I think it was my attention span; the tour is rather long, and there was this sunset outside, and ... I lost focus.

But isn't it beautiful?

I'm kind of predictable that way.
We took the next-to-last boat back to the city. What with all the wandering we'd done earlier, and the jet lag for two of us, we just didn't have more wandering around in us. I do recommend seeing the island, and I think spending longer, maybe bringing a picnic (though you can only eat in the dock area), would be a fun day, or at least half a day. It isn't cheap, but it's worth it; you learn a lot, but in an interesting way. And the views are amazing.

We were going to take a bus back to our neighborhood, but the display in the shelter (which is reasonably accurate reasonably often) gave us first one, and then two ghost buses (counting down from 10 minutes to one minute to approaching to arriving, then counting the next one without a bus having gone by), so we walked over to the corner and hailed a cab. I was so tired! It was great to sit and and stare vaguely out the window. We went to a little pizza restaurant for dinner, ate outside, and it was fantastic, but I have no idea of the name. I barely remember going back to the guest house or going to bed. Way more activity than I'm used to, plus jet lag, equals coma. And that gets us through Friday night!

If you missed an installment:

Let's Get To It: San Francisco, Part One 
My Yarn Tour of the Bay Area


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