Tuesday, May 11, 2010

From Prisons to Bridges - 09May10, 18:30 SFO Time.

We are running a bit behind on our posts but that's only becasue we are having too much fun..

From Prisons to Bridges - 09May10, 18:30 SFO Time.
Where am I now: At the passenger’s seat of our brand-new Ford Mustang convertible.
What am I listening to: Our Sirius Satellite radio)

Can’t write much – it’s tough because we are actually driving South on C-1, the Ocean Drive Highway, heading to Los Angeles. More on this one a bit later..

We visited Alcatraz yesterday, also known as “The Rock”. It was one of the coolest visits I’ve done and Aris really loved it. We woke up early again – this is the biggest surprise of the trip, we manage to wake up early and be out on the road without having to use alarm clocks or anything. I think it is still a combination of the JetLag (Sounds like a budget airline) and a natural “high” to discover & do as many things as possible.

10am ferry to Alcatraz, we got there using the cable-car, finally we managed to use it since on an average day it is so crowded you have to wait for a long time to catch it. The visit to Alcataz is one of the must-do’s for anyone that visits San Francisco, it has more than 1million visitors per year, a rather surprising number if you think it’s just a rock with a prison on it. Ok, it’s probably one of the most famous prisons in the world, legendary stories of escaping convicts and some Hollywood movies hype it even more. I won’t spend time describing the prison, you can see some of the funny photos below. What is really worth mentioning is the really great narration/audio tour that is included in the 26USD package (with the ferry ride) that is both entertaining and informative. As Aris said, “here they commercialize everything but you really get your money’s worth.” Welcome to the USA.

We came back, extremely hungry (as you are not allowed to take food on the island because of the rats…) and we just had to get some good food. We walked around Pier 39, a delightful place full of people and restaurants and little shops – it reminded me so much of Cape Town waterfront... I managed to convince Aris to stop at a Clam Chowder place. He went for the safer option of fish and chips (Katerina: Sydney still tops F&C, no debate) but I had the famous clam chowder, a delightful creamy “soup” that is poured in a bread bowl: “so delicious you will eat the bowl”, literally. I loved it. I wanted more. Actually I wanted more of everything in San Francisco. Everything was so nice, I was right to have it in the list of places to visit.

Happy and very full we walked around the Piers, where we discovered the Musee Mechanique the most unexpected place you could find in a place like SFO. A huge tent filled with all kinds of mechanical toys and games you would usually find in fairs. There were even some video games, even the first one I ever played. Moon Patrol and the first ever video game, you know, the tennis with the two bars going up and down and the little pixel moving around like a tennis ball, bouncing on the sides of the screen. I paused, I thought of my wonderful childhood, full of outdoor games in the “piloti’ of our apartment and basic computer games that let a lot of our imagination run free, low resolution graphics and crappy music, filled in by our self-created images & sounds. Nostalgic? Very…

Bridge. One way to happiness.

I love bridges. I started loving them the moment I first lay my eyes on Sydney bridge that Monday morning when I landed in Sydney and walked down George street. They give you a sense of presence, a feeling of connection – well, I guess that’s their purpose, to connect to places that would otherwise be inaccessible. This one is special – I’ve seen it so many times in films, in photos, spanning across the bay, its red color partly obscured by the fog in the morning, turning even redder during sunset. We got there by bus, after changing a couple of them – San Fracnsisco is overall good with public transport but we felt it could be a bit better for one of the most visited sights of the city. After the initial “Japanese rush” (that’s what I call when you get to a place and the first thing you do is take photos, as many as possible, till you are finally calming down and actually appreciating the beauty of the thing you are photographing)

[Two Japanese meet after their holidays in Europe, the one asks, “hey how was your holiday in Europe?” “I don’t know, I am still waiting for the photos to be developed”]

We walked the bridge, windy, cold, who cares, I was crossing again one of the big ones, the last one on my trip after Sydney and Brooklyn. I walked passed Aris, just like I would do on my own, looked, down, up, around at the big red columns and suspension lines and was happy just being there. Clouds low on the horizon coming in close, emotions overwhelimg me, what a wonderful place this is, what a wonderful life I have…

More Photos!! (we've got more, it's just so tough to upload!)

Climbing the hills on the cable car

Kostas with Tram Operator Mr. Wu

I’ll be a good boy, I promise

Catching-up with my reading in Alcatraz library
Alcatraz is full of plants & animalsWho watches the wathchtower?

Cozy rooms, just a bit smaller than our hostel room

3 floors of luxurious accommodation

View of Frisco from the Rock

Springtime prison

The Rock

Clam Chowder + Happy customer

“Did we order enough?”

Just like the movie!!!

Everyone has his own hero

Sea lions on Pier 39

Yes we can!

Aderfouli!!!! Look! Even the steering wheel! Remember the black OIL that made the car spin?!?

Happy. Fullstop.

We made it!!

Don’t do it man: THERE IS HOPE MAKE THE CALL! [The consequences of jumping from this bridge are Fatal and Tragic] – but at least you get a wonderful view…

Bridge beauty...

Some things are too hot to be cold

No U turn. You're bloody right, we’re not coming back (to Europe)

Driving down C-1 to L.A in our new!!! (13miles) Mustang Convertible!

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