Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Story #269: San Francisco: Day 5: Non-stop adventure!

Day 5 was probably the craziest day of our trip. Crazy in a sense that we were in many "I don't like the feeling of this place" kind of place. Do you know what I mean? Have you ever been to a place where you just don't feel very comfortable being there, or you leave that place with a heavy-heart? Well, that was how I felt most of the day on Day 5.

First, we slept in again and for some reason it wasn't a restful sleep so I woke up feeling slightly light-headed. I told Mr.L what I wanted to see that day and he planned out the day for us (Remember I was the planner who plan for the whole trip but this one day?). So, according to Mr.L's plan, we were going to drive to Haight Ashbury first since I was dying to see that neighborhood.

I've heard a lot of good things about it from a fashion designer in Paris who went there not too long ago. Through some of her pictures I saw some things I wanted to see, namely the wall arts, the pretty houses, and some hippies! The neighborhood wasn't too far from our motel. When we got to the neighborhood, most of the stores there were still closed. We saw a crazy guy (for the fourth time) who was walking up and down the street yelling at some people and swearing. I was kinda scared because I wasn't sure if Haight Ashbury was the safest neighborhood or not. So we tried to avoid running into him. Anyways, I did get to go into some of the boutiques there, which were very unique. There were many second hand stores there and some local designer boutiques as well. One of my favorite was a hippie store that sells really cute maxi dresses and the owner was a hippie guy which I mistook for a homeless guy at first glance (he has like super long, grey, and unkempt hair, and his clothes were baggy and somewhat torn). We saw quite a few hippies, or people dressing like hippies. Mr. L told me I would fit in there because he could totally see me as a hippie in my maxi dress, tie dye shirts, long hair part in the middle, round-rim shades, and smoking pipes... Actually, take that out. He knew I would never do that.

Yes!!! LOVE these!

Love these too!
This is the interior of AmbianceSF boutique. They have so many cute chandeliers in there!
My heart stopped when I saw this! CUTE dress!!! Oh why oh why didn't I buy it???

Love all the cool looking buildings in this neighborhood.

A French school

Love this cute house

This boutique has the cutest interior ever!
Oh...wall art is so cool! I wish there's wall art EVERYWHERE!

After strolling the streets at Haight Ashbury, we went back to our motel to park our car there so we could take a bus into the city. Why take the bus, you might ask. No idea! *shrug* Please remember, Mr.L was the planner. We went to the Alcatraz cruise pier just in time to get on an earlier cruise than the one we had reserved for. Alcatraz island was famous for its infamous residents. It was a penitentiary where Al Capone and some other serious criminals lived in. The cruise trip was made eventful by 5 or 6 sea gulls flying over us and dropping "bombs" like crazy. You could actually see their waste shooting down on the passengers on the cruise like bullets. I hid underneath my jacket, crossing my fingers hoping that I won't be so "lucky" (Remember my bird poop incident last year?).

On the bus en route to Alcatraz pier

Ta da ~ Alcatraz island--known for its 29 years as the site of one of America's most infamous federal penintiaries.

You can take an audio tour on the Alcatraz island and it would take you through basically the whole prison and explaining all the major events happened there. I strongly suggest taking the audio tour. You can hear about the different escape attempts as well. The biggest escape attempt cost 4 jail officers' lives. It was a bloody attempt which was known as "the Battle of Alcatraz". Fortunately, the few criminals that attempted that escape did not succeed. There was also this other escape attempt that in my opinion was pretty hard core. The three inmates living next to each other dug out with spoons! They dug a hole in the wall that they used cardboard to cover up during the day, and they climbed up enlarged air vents. "Dummy heads were left in their beds. The men climbed to the top of the roof along the ventilator shaft. They climbed down a cast-iron stovepipe, entered the water with floatation devices made from raincoats, and were never seen again." That was smart! Some people think they were drown or swept away by the strong current, but I think they escaped. I didn't like Alcatraz because I get scared the whole time when I was there. All of the buildings were emptied, some were restricted areas, some were dangerous to enter. Even until today whenever I think about that place, I shudder. Seriously, DON'T commit a crime! Jail is no fun and not for anybody! No wonder so many people went insane in the jail. Alcatraz was worse than the modern jails that we have now. There was isolation room where a criminal was basically put in a super dark room with no lights, no window. According to one of the former criminal who served his time there (you can hear the different voices of 4 different inmates and 4 different officers that used to work at Alcatraz), what he did in that isolation room was he tore of a button or something like that off the wall and toss it across the room. Then, he stood up, turned himself around a few times, then he got down on the floor to try to find the button thing. He would do that repeatedly while he was in there. Man, that would drive me crazy!!! Alcatraz is now home to hundreds of sea gulls. It's one of their nesting places.

The officer's office
View of GGB from Alcatraz

These soap smell so bad! Like wax!
sigh~ I did time on my honeymoon.
Look very closely at the ground. See those little white dots? Those are the seagulls nesting there. SO MANY of them.

With the strong current and the freezing cold water, it was almost impossible for any escapes from Alcatraz. Some escapees swam back to Alcatraz after attempting to swim all the way to SF. One made it through and got to the shore of the city but was recaptured.

One interesting thing was there were actually quite a few of families living on the island. There were the officers' families. Imagine growing up on Alcatraz.

Some inmates were really talented. They drew and crochet!
The officer's uniform
These were the 4 inmates that you can hear in the headset of the audio tour.

This is the isolation room I was talking about. I went in there for like 5 seconds and I had goosebumps all over me.
The clothes they wear in the prison

The shower room
The cells

Watch house

We spent about 3 hours at Alcatraz. After getting off the cruise coming back from Alcatraz, we walked from the pier over to Ghiradelli Square to try to catch the cable car. We went past Fisherman's Wharf again and took some pictures there. Since it wasn't a weekend, there was no crowd! Hooray! We also walked past the Fisherman's Grotto and some stalls that sold seafood there. I was ecstatic because I ordered some super delicious calamari rings and fried shrimp. OOOhhh...seafood seafood, I love you!

This reminds me of Davy Jones in Pirates of the Carribbean.

There was a long line when we got to the cable car station. We waited for at least half an hour to get on one. When it was our turn, we were the first ones to get on the cable. I didn't want to stand on the side because I was worried that my clumsy self would somehow throw me off the car. The cable car ride was very interesting. People just piled on the car and it seemed like there was no limit as to how many people could come on the car. The car would go up the hill, come to a stop in the MIDDLE of some streets, let more people jump on or off. Going up the hill was pretty fun even though I was holding on to my seat tight. Once again, San Francisco is so hill-y!!!

Street performer. He was really good!

In the cable car :)

After a few stops, we finally came to Union Square, where I was greeted by Louis Vuitton, Victoria's Secret, Chanel, Macy's, and a ton of huge shops surrounding the square. As we were walking up to the square, there were some people that were protesting Obama and were singing a song about how he spent the people's money on unnecessary "improvements." After that, we watched some groups of people gathering at the main stage in the middle of the square with some flags that I did not recognize at first. Then an Asian lady went up the stage and gave a LOUD speech about how the Chinese government was lying to its people about the Tibet issue. Now I realized it was some Tibetans there demonstrating. I hate politics and I didn't know enough of what happened to judge for myself, so we left and went shopping at Zara and Neiman Marcus. The Neiman Marcus building was GORGEOUS! I just love love love the ceiling! We went to the top floor so I could take some close up pictures of the ceiling. There was a restaurant right next to the ceiling, in fact, the ceiling was a part of the restaurant. But it was closed. But like most good photographers, I ignored the sign and went in there, like the rat in Ratatouille into the house of the old lady, and took some pictures of the coolest ceiling! As we were leaving, we saw a fashion show going on at one of the high-end stores. Those people were dressing up in suits and tux and gowns. There were some models in there posing, and some photographers taking pictures. We were totally out-of-place in our jeans, backpacks, and running shoes. I took pictures of the models anyways, with my zoom lens.

Neiman Marcus ceiling

Obama as Hitler. LOL (yeap...I don't like Obama)

The Tibet flags
The inside of Neiman Marcus

I am obsessed with this ceiling!

Then we went to the top of Macy's to go to the Cheesecake Factory restaurant. We were going to get some dinner there but there were soooo many people and I overheard that some people had to wait 2 hours to get their seats. I was like "I am not waiting so long! Cheesecake Factory is good but not 2-hours-wait good." So we bought the cheesecake instead and went back to our motel. The cheesecake I got was yumalicious! It was the 30th anniversary chocolate cheesecake. Oh, I forgot to say that I was not feeling that well that day because it was THAT time of the month for me. I had been so tired and it was crazy to go around town with a cramp in your stomach that would not go away! But guess what? The cheesecake melted the cramp away in 2 bites. I am serious! I was content after eating the cheesecake.

These were taken on the roof of Macy's
AAahh...I can eat this everyday!! I am so getting the whole cake next time I go to Vegas.

We took the bus home and it was the worst experience ever! The driver was so impolite and impatient to answer my question. Halfway home, there were some high school kids that got on the bus. At first it was fine, but then they started arguing and throwing swear words at each other, calling each other "nigger" even though none of them were really Black. Then, they talked about fighting and some kids came and sat across from us and brought the argument there. We were about to get to our motel then so Mr.L stood up in between the two arguing kids to get off the bus. I was praying really hard in my heart that they wouldn't hurt him. Thank God we got off safely. That's it, no more bus ride in the city!

Wow...we're already at the second last day of our trip! Stay tuned for Day 6, our trip to Yosemite!

1 comment:

Lia said...

I hate this post because it makes me want to go shopping!!! haha.

Speaking of shopping, have you heard of I feel like you would like it. But I haven't bought anything from them yet so I don't know what the quality is like.