June 26th 1981

posted in: Innocents Abroad | 0
Alcatraz

Woke up nice ‘n early + filled ourselves up with bread, jam, coffee ’n tea for breakfast, then packed up what we would need for the day, and set off on our usual daily walk, all the way down to the Wharf.  On the way we dropped off some films at Walgreen’s – Val had noticed the night before that they did cheap developing – which they promised for a week.  Then we walked right down to Fisherman’s Wharf and joined the standby queue for the trip to Alcatraz.  We were very lucky – the queue disappeared and we among the last to get on the boat.  When we arrived on the island, we were split into 3 groups, each one with its own Park Ranger guide, and then we were taken on a pretty detailed tour.  And it was really superb.  Our guide at least, a girl called Anita, was informative, funny, and seemed so much to enjoy what she was doing that you couldn’t help but enjoy it too.  We were shown all over the prison – the cells and everything, even being locked in solitary for about 30 secs.  Alcatraz was designed as a sort of penal deterrent – it was certainly pretty horrific.  For a no. of years, the inmates weren’t even allowed to talk – unbelievable.

When we got back, we met a guy we’d seen at Estes Park hostel… and it all seemed so natural, we thought nothing of it.  Then Val and I wandered around Pier 39, which was a well laid-out and attractive tourist rip-off.  It even had a high-diving board, tho’ unfortunately we didn’t see anyone on it.  We saw more of the same at the Cannery, a similar spot, tho’ under cover, then walked a way to Safeway to buy our lunch – bread, cheese, cucumber, apple, milk – which we ate in Washington Square.  Came back to the hotel, took our washing to the laundry – it was cheaper than England – then drank coffee and ate croissants.  Walked back down to Green Street to the Spaghetti Factory, and hung around for John to show.  He wasn’t there, tho’ we did get his phone no., and he told us he’d be there the next night, and told us about a workshop the next day.  Walked home, by which time it was late!

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