Early in the morning, we decided to take advantage of some lesser-known San Franciscan attractions. We came upon the Seward Street Slides, hidden in between the houses and built into the hill. I grabbed some cardboard and gave it a go, but found that just going down on your butt is a faster --though dirtier-- ride.
From relative obscurity to infamous ubiquity, we moved on to Alcatraz. We took a ferry over to the island.
Alcatraz was one of those things on our list that we "had to" see, though I didn't expect to learn and be held captive by (haha) that decrepit rock.
One of the more interesting things about the island is that after the prison closed, a group of Native Americans occupied the island in hopes that it would become its own reservation. A considerable population lived there for 19 months until they were removed.
Not only did prisoners live on the island, but guards and their families did as well. Some of the then-children they interviewed for the audio tour (highly recommended) recalled Alcatraz being a peaceful place to grow up, rather bucolic. They took a sailboat to their mainland school every day. Pictured above is the town hall, where there was a bowling alley and dances were held. Inside, the floor is overgrown with clover, and there are dozens of dead sea birds down there, reduced to skeletons except for their wings which are still full-feathered.
The prison is part of the parks system now, and many of the gardens that were tended by prisoners who had earned the privilege still exist. When Alcatraz first opened, it was nothing but a rock. Soil had to be imported to cover it before they could ever think about gardening.
I'm honestly amazed what kind of ruin buildings can fall into after only 40-some years of neglect.
Here, a little peep of the showers, complete with soap to drop --or not.
Although firmly in vacation mode, I had the presence of mind to have my sweet do a head-to-toe, so that I could, for those of you completely disinterested in my travels, provide for you a personal style-related reprieve.
Oh my imprisoned sweet!! Let me re-enact a certain scene from The Cable Guy to warm the cockles of your intractable heart!!
Here, in the recreation yard, you can look out and see San Francisco. How tantalizing-- to be utterly locked away, but within sight of freedom, separated by only 1.5 miles of cold, choppy water.
On this day, a woman was breast-feeding an infant on the steps.
This story brought to you by a laptop that has winged its way to me here in Seattle. I'm sitting in the lobby of the Hilton enjoying a Hefeweissen and editing my photos. I'm attending a training to do some "experiential marketing" back home of a new, rather awesome new gadget. On the way here, an elderly woman was showing me her Kindle, and was surprised that I also didn't have one (while I was surprised that she did have one). I explained to her that I thought that doing away with tangible books and things made me a little sad, to which she replied, "That's old people thinking, and you have to snap out of it! If you don't embrace technology, you'll only be watching the world from the outside. This is your world."
Talk about experiential marketing.
Considering a Kindle now, but maybe after I finish The Orchid Thief,