I woke at 06:00, having inadvertently set the clock radio alarm in our hostel room yesterday while randomly mashing its buttons in an attempt to turn on music (which eventually succeeded). At 07:00 I went downstairs to the kitchen and cooked myself some pancakes. I’ve decided that I do not like North American pancakes: the dough makes my chest feel heavy. When Dan finally got up we walked down to the train station and caught the BART across the water to Berkeley, where we met Anna and some of her expat Australian friends for brunch, at a place called Venus.
After brunch we hiked up a peak which was pleasant. It was cool so we warmed up and sweated little. We didn’t say goodbye to Anna; we’ll see each other again in July. Anna’s friend, Chris, was super kind and dropped us back off at our hostel on his way home. We napped. In the afternoon we caught an F tram up to Pier 39 and I tried tomato soup in a bread roll. I think I prefer crusty bread to sourdough.
I’m not sure what I expected from Alcatraz, but I had anticipated something that would exceed the combined experience of the Fremantle Gaol in Western Australia, the big prison in Melbourne and Château D’If in France. It didn’t. Sure, waiting an hour for the sold-out boat ride built up expectation (we arrived early and despite people from the earlier boat not showing up for their sold-out time they don’t let anybody else on, then when the people late for their boat try to get on ours… so inefficient). After yesterday’s 11 hours cycling and today’s hike up a hill my feet were throbbing and calves needed a stretch and hot tub. Our guide’s affect got under my skin. I tuned out from my audio tour and wandered the prison aisles aimlessly, snapping photos on my rapidly running out of battery iPhone. The sun set. We caught the boat back.
It might have been in one of his shows that the comedian, Eddie Izzard, made a wisecrack about no taxis in San Francisco. We experienced that ourselves tonight. Our boat arrived at about 21:00 to Pier 33. Only one cab came past, and two girls jumped in. I gave up on my quest to eat Peruvian chicken at Limon Rotisserie (it was way too far South of the pier) and we decided first to walk to Chinatown (there’s always something open in Chinatown) then to catch the F tram. The sign said 12 or 42 minutes. 15 minutes later when about 7 others waited at the stop with us a full tram approached, didn’t stop, and left. It was dark. There was no other tram for another half hour. No taxis had passed us. We ended up walking back to our hostel, via Chinatown and Nob Hill, in the dark, in the light rain. We didn’t get mugged or stabbed but I did slip on a kerb and very nearly fell into a puddle. Now that we’re safely in the hostel I don’t want to leave. Castro will have to wait until tomorrow.