April 2, 2009

Family Outing to Alcatraz!

Filed under: san francisco — maryparadox @ 11:28 pm

For some crazy reason (almost) my entire family decided to go to Alcatraz last weekend. It was actually fun, since I so rarely get to see everyone together. We were completely dorky and touristy, even though I live in San Francisco and was born here.

Once you arrive by ferry you are funneled up to the main cell block where you are given headphone and a recording of an audio tour. It was pretty interesting, but a little strange; it had you going in figure eights all around the prison. I’m not sure if this was to make it feel bigger or to avoid backups.

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The prison cells were tiny, but you could listen to music piped into jacks in each room. The cell on the left shows an example of how a few prisoners escaped (well, no one is sure if they made it to the shore of the mainland, they were never seen again). They dug out the air vents with spoon handles, climbed up the plumbing, out the roof, and down drain pipes.

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I really liked the kitchen, which was a little intimidating with its industrialized soup pot (apparently Alcatraz had the best food of any prison and the guards ate the same food as the prisoners) and knife imprints on the wall.

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The most amazing thing was the view from Alcatraz, you could see all the way from the bay bridge to the golden gate.

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The most hilarious thing was that before you even get on the boat to go to Alcatraz they put your whole group in front of this backdrop painted like the view of Alcatraz and take your picture. Then when you get off the boat on your way back they offer to sell you two copies of the picture for some exorbitant rate (which we of course paid, because if you’ve already gone you might as well remember it).


Back row: Rachel, Bob, Grandpa, Dan, Trecia; front row: Mom, Jackie.


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