Monday, November 14, 2011

San Francisco - Alcatraz & the City

Although it was pricey, $79, we decided to tour Alcatraz.  Not knowing what to expect, the girls were more excited about the boat ride to the island than they were about the tour itself.  We're glad we spent the money; it was worth it!  The audio tour worked out great, once I figured out how to keep Jake from yanking the headphones off my head. :)  Even Genna had her own headset and was quite delighted with them, despite the fact that they kept sliding off her head.  I think our kids have a much greater understanding for what prison is now than they did before.  They also were able to complete another Junior Ranger program and earn another badge.
Approaching the island
Welcome to Hell on Earth
The cells are on three levels
This prison held the worst of the worst
The prison yard
Cells were 5 x 9 and 7ft high
Prison library
They rarely got visitors
The prisoner escaped by using a spoon to dig out
They used dummy heads to fool the guards
After Alcatraz, we walked around the city a bit. There were quite a few beggars out in full force. One guy held up a sign that read, "Why lie. I need a beer."  Another guy hid behind a trash can with two branches for camouflage, and yelled, "Boo!" as Shanan walked past.  I didn't have to tell her to stay by my side and keep up any more after that!

We stumbled upon this stunning photo art gallery.  I've never seen photography like this before.  The photographer's name is Rodney Lough Jr.  This guy takes the pictures, develops them himself, and prints them on special paper.  The effect is magnificent.  It feels like you are actually there, like you can reach out and touch whatever is in the picture.  Many of his photos are from places we've actually visited, so that definitely added to the interest factor.  If you ever have a chance to see this guy's work, you've got to see it!

Before leaving, we walked down to Pier 39 to look for sea lions, as Alyssa had her heart set on seeing them.  There were a few there, fortunately, although it had already gotten dark, so they were a bit difficult to see well.  Nonetheless, she was not disappointed!  One had even climbed up on the back of a large yacht.

When Steve & I got engaged, he drove me down Lombard Street.  I told him he had to take the kids down it, too, but of course, I wasn't thinking about driving it with our long-bed Dodge Ram 2500!  Yikes, it was a tight squeeze, but Steve did it!  I'm not sure which was worse, driving down the crazy tight curves of Lombard or driving down that insanely steep section of Jones Street.  It literally looked like the road just dropped off into nowhere; it felt like we were going to just drive over the edge of the road into nothingness.  I'm pretty sure the kids will remember that!

Laughing Sal, a hideous old coil operated 'lady' who just laughs & laughs & laughs
This carnival came to life with the drop of a quarter
We did see the sea lions at pier 39 but only a few were there

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