Friday, January 9, 2009

Day 2 in San Francisco

On Thursday I started the day off by visiting the place recommended by Wayne for breakfast, Mo's Grill. I had the eggs benedict and I'd say they did a great job! The amount of food was great and the price was not bad considering the neighborhood.

I actually did what I planned to do and took the ferry to Alcatraz! I had to find Pier 33 and the ferry to the island, first. I called my friend Kirstie to get help with that... I thought it would be more obvious than it was. I walked there and got a ticket, then waited in line to board the ferry. On the ferry I got a cup of coffee and took a bunch of photos of the San Francisco skyline and Alcatraz Island as we approached.

On the island, you are free to wander around. It's a fairly desolate rock in the middle of the treacherous waters of the Golden Gate - the narrow strait between the Pacific Ocean and the San Francisco Bay. When we got near the dock, I could see the current crashing against the pier as the tide went out. I walked the long way around toward the top of the hill because I wanted to take in the skyline view on the south side of the island. Then I made my way up to the cell house where I could take an audio tour of the US Penitentiary Alcatraz. Of course, the prison is what makes this island so famous... so I was excited to walk through the cell house and get loads of pictures.

Most of the cells were empty, but some were furnished to show how the convicts lived. The scariest rooms were referred to as "the hole" and were metal floored rooms with solid steel doors. They kept the rooms dark to increase the solitude of the prisoners kept inside. I went inside one and felt a chill down my spine... the audio tour had an interview with one of the convicts describing his time there. After that I walked outside and the sun had come out. The city skyline from the top of "The Rock" was amazing! I got a few more photos before resuming my audio tour of the prison. The cafeteria ceiling had a system for delivering tear gas in case of a riot. There was a description of the escape conducted by 3 clever inmates and I was able to see the cells from which they had escaped, complete with the carved out area in the back wall.

Finally I had finished the tour and bought a t-shirt at the bookstore. I get t-shirts wherever I go to remind me of the place and to give me something to wear!! The ferry ride back was nice because the sun had come out and the views were amazing. Once back on land, I took the electric tram to the western end of Fisherman's Wharf and then the cable car to the other side of Russian Hill where I could walk back to the apartment without scaling steep grades.

The headache that I had all day had progressed to a full blown migraine. My skull was throbbing as I walked back to the apartment. When I got back, I took a couple Advil and fell asleep for an hour. When I woke up it was dark out and I was hungry! I walked over to Golden Boy Pizza again and got the local specialty, clam and garlic. While I waited, I had a beer (Lagunitas IPA draft) at the bar and looked around. This place looked really cool, very unpretentious. As for the pizza, I walked it back to the apartment to eat it. This garlic is some extremely potent stuff... and they flavored the garlic with a little clam and pizza. It tasted great, but was seeping out of me the whole next day!

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