US 2017, San Francisco (Day 1, Part 2) - Alcatraz Island

After our very yummy breakfast during the first part of our first day in San Francisco, Saliheen and I hopped into an Uber to head to Pier 33, where we were due to board the first ferry out to Alcatraz Island. The Uber driver glanced at me from her rear screen mirror after our initial pleasantries and asked me with genuine concern as to whether I was properly bundled up for the freezing weather

Hahahahaha! I clearly wasn't la but what to do, I didn't bring anything else that is meant for single digit temperature! Confident gila seh it won't be so sejuk, clearly didn't learn from my experience pergi pier in the early morning kat NYC. Dah tau nak gi pier pagi pagi buta tapi tak bawak appropriate wear to battle the cold! Nasib baik gemuk, ada jugak babat tolong tahankan sejuk 

Had to wait about 15 minutes to board the ferry because we arrived early! Just in case we need time to queue up and exchange email printout with actual tickets but the ticket printout attached to their confirmation email was enough.

We booked 2 adult tickets at US$35.50 per pax (which converts to S$50, and includes two-way ferry trips and entry tickets to Alcatraz) via the one and only official website Alcatraz Cruises here. Made our online booking slightly more than a month in advance because tickets sell out weeks in advance! 

It felt so surreal for me when we were in the ferry approaching Alcatraz Island!!! I've always dreamed of visiting Alcatraz Island (as much as I really wanted to step into the former Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camps in Krakow, which I did in 2014) and I was struggling to comprehend how lucky I was to have another one of my teenage dreams come to life right in front of eyes (only with His will and grace of course, syukur Alhamdullilah)

That's me, when I stepped into one of the cells to take a picture. Also stepped into one of the solitary confinement cells (pictured below) where I got hardcore goosebumps. 

The minute I stepped into this cell, my mind and heart started racing SO HARD. I don't have claustrophobia but even I started feeling panicky at the idea of being left inside this cell! It boggles my mind seh how anyone can even survive a stint in solitary confinement. Maybe this is why I'm a law-binding citizen - I cannot stand the idea of being imprisoned in a prison cell and having my freedom and liberty taken away from me!

Some of the other areas we got to see during the tour - the dining hall, the warden offices and accommodation, the gardens outside the prison building, the visitation area and the gun gallery (where one of their infamous break-out attempts first started). We also happened to walk past when one of the staff was just starting her demonstration of the cell doors clanking and banging open and shut so that was interesting to watch and experience. 

The whole tour around Alcatraz took us about 2 hours, 2.5 hours? Loved the tour because we could stop and pause anytime we want (since it's a self-guided audio tour) to read information boards, to take pictures or to discuss dengan each other without worrying we will delay anyone else. And it was really easy to follow because the signs/pit-stops were all clearly marked. There were intermittent construction noises since Alcatraz is undergoing restoration works but we didn't mind la since it didn't interfere with the audio tour.

Really worth the trip if anyone is planning to go to San Francisco, I won't delve into all of its history and stuff since you can read all of that online or when you head down to Alcatraz yourself. All I want to say is that I enjoyed myself thoroughly and I am very happy to have stepped foot into this piece of history - I mean, this is where Alvin "Creepy" Karpis, George "Machine Gun" Kelly, Arthur "Doc" Barker, Harris "Mickey" Cohen and Al Capone has walked and lived and breathed before seh! (Let's just say I was obsessed with post-Great Depression outlaws and criminals and mafia bosses at one point of my life haha)

So long, Alcatraz! Thank you for being better than what I can ever imagine. 

(Also, not sure why I expected the prison cells to smell of piss and sewage when nobody has lived in the cells for so many years??????? Sepatutnya aku should be more concerned eh kalau ada bau hancing HAHAHAHAHA OK BYE off to the next part of the day pls)

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