Yesterday was my birthday. I attended work long enough to appear as though I was accomplishing the mindless tasks they set for me, then headed out mid-afternoon to enjoy life! (I'm pretty sure it should be a rule that you should NEVER have to work on your birthday, it's only fair) Honestly, the fact that I was there for 5 hours is far, far too long to be working on one's birthday.
I met up with my boyfriend and his parents to set out for Alcatraz Island. It was amazing being there. I have been wanting to go ever since my first visit to San Francisco a couple of years ago. I think I'll have to go back sometime for the night/ghost tour. It was pretty creepy enough during the daytime, I can only imagine the ominous feeling it possess at night fall.
We took a ferry from the Warf to the island, which took about 10-15 minutes. We all exited the boat together and climbed up the hill to the prison. (stopping along the way to take photos of course)
At the top of the hill we entered the prison with a large group of other people from our ferry. If I had been quiet before then, it couldn't compare to the sudden stillness when we stepped inside. The air was cold and smelled damp, like a forgotten basement. In a way it felt like attending a funeral. It would have been disrespectful to be loud and obnoxious. There was a low mummer of voices, in a variety of languages, but nothing distinctive. It didn't seem like anyone was excited or happy to be there, yet somehow anxious and nervous, like we were about to do something we weren't supposed to.
We waited in line with the others, then received a headset and remote for the audio tour. We walked up a flight of stairs, then stepped out into the heart of the prison.
Then we proceed on with our 45 minute audio tour of the prison. Here are some detail shots. To learn more about Alcatraz, go HERE
After our tour, we still had some time left to wander around before the last ferry left the island - so of course, I took more photos.
We didn't get to see everything there was to see. We missed a building right when you walk off the boat, that used to housing for the military families. So sometime I'd like to go back and see it. There were signs posted infront of another large housing building stating that they are in the process of renovating it for the public. It didn't say an estimate date when they'll be finished, but soon there will be another building for people to see.
So we caught the last ferry back (before the night tour started that is) and headed farther down the pier towards the heart of the Warf for dinner. We ended up at this fancy seafood restaurant (which just so happened to have an excellent view of Alcatraz)
After our delicious dinner, we headed back to the apartment for some cake, games, and many glasses of wine. Overall it was a pretty excellent birthday =)
Well I must be going. I am heading to back to the homeland for the 4th of July (and an extended birthday celebration) so tomorrow's Friday Funday adventure will probably be delayed a few days, and don't be too shocked when it's mostly photos of spacious land (something my life has been severely lacking for the past 9 months) and red, white, and blue objects and people.
Cheers! Happy birthday to ME and Happy 4th of July to ALL.
*all photos copyright Karen O'Bryan 2009*