In the Sunday in San Francisco we left off, after a long and fulfilling day of sightseeing, with me retiring to bed at Fort Mason. Let’s continue with the following morning.
Monday morning I had plans to meet with my cousin at Pier 33 and take the ferry to Alcatraz Island. We were both very excited to have the chance to see each other after a 35 year lapse, and seeing Alcatraz was a bonus.
When we hear the word Alcatraz most of us think of the various federal inmates. However, I quickly learned the island offers a close-up look at the site of the first lighthouse, U.S. fort and was only later a federal penitentiary. Rich in history beyond the Hollywood version, there’s also a natural side to the Rock, with gardens and beautiful bay views on a clear day.
We weren’t able to see the bay due to heavy fog, however we enjoyed the cellblock audio tour. Our visit coincided with the site specific art exhibit by Al Weiwei. The exhibition explores questions about human rights, freedom of expression and responds to the multilayered history of Alcatraz as a place of detainment and protest. The large-scale sculpture, sound, and mixed-media works are installed in the two-story New Industries Building where “privileged” inmates were permitted to work and the main and psychiatric wards of the Hospital. It was very unique and provocative.
Did you know? Alcatraz Island was originally called Alcatraces after the Brown Pelican seen in the area by Spanish explorers? Or how about that in 1895 19 members of the Hopi Tribe were imprisoned by the U.S. Army on Alcatraz for resisting policies to Americanize their children? Shame on us.
It was strangely fascinating. I’m very glad we went and would encourage anyone visiting San Francisco to explore the Rock. You can see my photos at http://emiling.com/photos/san-francisco/
On the drive home I had plenty of time to reflect on San Francisco and would like to share some thoughts with you. I’ve confirmed these are all true with patients and co-workers:
You are probably in San Francisco if a really great parking spot can move you to tears.
You are probably in San Francisco if you’re thinking of taking an adult education class, but you can’t decide between a Yoga, Channeling or Building Your Web Site class.
You are probably in San Francisco if your co-worker says they have 8 body piercings and none are visible.
You are probably in San Francisco if there are far more Rainbow flags in the city than the California State flag.
You are probably in San Francisco if you realize the only Republicans you know are your Aunt and Uncle in Texas.
Enjoy your personal adventures!