Monday, August 2, 2010

The Rock

My parents have been driving down Highway 1 from the top of Oregon in my dad's new corvette.  They rolled into town on Thursday night and we have had a fun time taking them out for tacos at our favorite taqueria ever (La Victoria), going to the farmer's market and walking on the trail.  But the most fascinating thing we did was tour Alcatraz.  I have been wanting to do this for a long, long time, and I was a little worried that it wouldn't live up to my expectations, but I was enthralled the entire time.  The audio guided tour was so well done with sound effects of footsteps echoing along empty hallways, whistles blowing, etc. - all the sounds you would expect to hear in a high security prison.  But it had other sounds and stories, like the explanation about how on New Year's Eve, the sounds of women's laughter and fireworks would drift across the bay to the prison and the men could hear it in their bunks.  What a haunting thought.  The narrators were past prisoners of Alcatraz and former guards who worked on the island.  It is a pricey tour, but I think it is totally worth it.

Here are some photos from Paul's camera and my camera.  My photos are the ones with people in them.  Paul's photos are the artistically composed ones that evoke the somber moodiness of the place.  This first photo is my absolute favorite - the shadows and the light with the bars that climb to the ceiling give me a feeling of vertigo. 

My parents with the Coit Tower in the background.  I took lots of photos of them to send to Jessica. 

The recreation yard.  Not a bad view for a prison, but I can see how it would be torture to look out at the beauty of the world and know what you are missing.

My handsome dad.

Jail cells along Broadway - the main strip of cells down the center of the prison. 

C'est moi.

The older underground part of the prison.  There was a fort built on Alcatraz during the Civil War, and I believe this section is part of the original fort.  Over the years, the island has been retooled a number of different times, building over past structures.

Paul with his most impressive lens. 

Did you know that the island was occupied by a group of native american protestors in the 1960's after the prison was closed? 

Solitary confinement - complete darkness, 24 hours a day.

Maybe not the most appropriate facial expression for a prison.  But hey, I was excited!

Skyscrapers and sailboats.  Quite the skyline, isn't it?


  1. I love the close up of Mother and Dad. They look like they are having such a good time. Alcatraz sounds amazing. Love the pictures.

  2. Great pictures! I love the one of Paul with his HUGE lens. Awesome!

  3. So glad you had a fun time at Alcatraz. We went there a few times and always loved it too. The story about solitary confinement and the button is fascinating.

  4. Awww, it is so great to see your parents! I have very fond memories of them. My favorite shot of Alcatraz is the one of the staircase with the man at the top. Oh and the one of Paul with his super cool lens too.

  5. Gosh - sounds like a way cool tour. I'll have to do it some time. PS - I ditto Carrie: good to see your parents - it's been a long time! Tell them hello for me!

  6. Amy - it was great to read your comment. Let's see #26, I keep thinking a PhD is in the cards and my boss talked about letting me work flex time and paying for part of my tuition. #22, I have a couple of ideas for how to make it happen (Camp Pendleton and San Diego are both close!), too bad you're married, you could join in on the fun. :)

    As for Alcatraz, I've never been, but I really want to go. I read this great article about a woman who lived there when it was a military prison. Apparently they would have reunions (I think they stopped this year because nearly everyone is officially dead). She grew up there - how weird is that?


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