11.10.2010 - 16.10.2010 30 °C
Ah well the conference was well and truly over now and a few of us had the Friday off. So what did we do? We excaped being regimented and cooped up all week to Alcatraz, a former high security state penitentiary. Firts of all we had breakfast at Lori's which was just as you imagine an American diner to be like. Inside was an old Ford Edsel, so one of my companions snapped a picture of her travelling rubber ducks (who have their own Facebook page) sitting on the bonnet (or hood as they say here). We then caught a cable car from Union Square all the way down to Fisherman's Wharf. As thwere was no room inside we clung on the the rails with one hand whilst paying the $5 fare and taking photos with the other. It was an exhilarating ride up and over the hills of San Francisco.
We then caught our ferry to Alcatraz. The fog was rolling in off the Pacific, so we did not see the Golden Gate bridge and after a while did not see much of anything. We strolled around the island, firstly listening to a guide regaling us with escape stories and then discovering the place for oursleves. It felt 20 degrees C cooler than the mainland and we wished we'd brought jumpers. There are many places you cannot go because the place is crumbling fast. For me the exercise yard was the most evocative place, more so than the tiny cells and the sound of the doors being slammed shut. From the top of the bleachers in the yard the inmates could see out into the free world.
Having bought some prison soap it was time to make our escape and have lunch. We went back to Tuedsday's lunch spot at Pier 3, which brought the trip into a nice loop before we headed back to the hotel and our homeward flight.