Tuesday, August 12, 2008

San Francisco on a Budget Day 2

The next day, we woke up early to get ready to go Alcatraz. We bought and printed the tickets online beforehand so that we do not need to buy it via the counter. Alcatraz have a lot of history as it is one of the most famous high security prison. It is infamous as it is believed that it impossible for inmates to escape because the water surrounding Alcatraz Island is very cold, strong currents and infested with sharks. Alcatraz was formerly a fort, a prison and formerly an Indian occupation site. Now, it is abandoned and designated as a National Park.
The 15 minute boat ride was good but I had to put on the strap that prevents sea sickness. It was really breezy and there were sea gulls accompanying us on the boat ride.

The ticket comes with a free audio tour. You can get a map on the island itself for USD5 but it is not necessary. An interesting note is that I do not see any recognition of Malaysia in San Francisco except one part in Alcatraz that says Malaysia is the top 5 countries with the most inmates! You get to see how inmates lived, the tiny cells, escape attempts, profiles of famous inmates, security measure and do you that that the prison wardens' family lived on the same island?

The Alcatraz Rose, Alcatraz Cruises, Alcatraz Island from far

We walked over to Pier 39 which is near to where the Alcatraz boats dock. It's more of a commercialized area. There we sampled Boudain's Clam Chowder in Sourdough bowl. It was not that good because I think the bread was not really fresh compared to the Boudain in Fisherman's Wharf. An interesting thing to note is that the place is not a Pier rather a plaza of seafood restaurants and souvenir shops. The place is also made from recycled wood.

Hearing an audible and repetitive sound of "honk honk honk" made us curious and followed it. We came upon a huge colony of sea lions sunning on floating pieces of wooden platform in the water. It's my first time encounter with sea lions and so many at one go!

Look who's honking!

We took a bus to Coit Tower. It has a very beautiful view of the San Francisco skyline.You can get into the Coit tower which I believe have beautiful mural walls and a 360 degree view of the skyline but you have to pay USD5-6. We skipped that cause too kiam siap! haha

Coit Tower

We took the bus to nearby Lombard Street and walked quite a distance *big mistake, we were so vertically challenged because the area is so hilly. Also known as "Crookedest Street", Lombard is a very famous street in San Francisco. I even saw a driver driving her car on the with one hand on the steering wheel and the other holding a web cam filming her drive! And she was driving pretty fast! However, there's an even more crooked street called the Venice Street but maybe because it is not so well landscaped, it is not so popular.

We took the wrong bus down and ended up at the Maritime Museum but we did not step in as we were late. We then stopped over at Venice Beach which is known as Little Italy. We asked a local lady on where to dine. She recommended Monalisa which was really good! After that we head over to an Italian bakery to get some breakfast for the next day and head back to the hostel.

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