Thursday, October 30, 2008

Alcatraz through the fog

It wasn't a good day for the cruise. That was not very evident from the sunny pier no. 43 and a 1/2 of San Francisco. So I booked myself the ticket and joined a bunch of Asian tourists on the boat. We started out nicely enough with a grand view of the 'Frisco skyline as we moved away from the pier. Then the fog came in. The Pacific was feeling pretty unhappy that clear morning and decided to steam up a little. So the boat plunged into what was a wall of cold air and lots of zero visibility fog. Most people saw common sense and went back into the boat's cabin to help themselves to the food inside. Naturally I was not among them.

My stubbornness as usual did not yield any results either. I stood braving the cold and we passed under the massive Golden Gate Bridge almost not seeing it. Only the ugly sound of the boat's horn told us that the Bridge was near and when we went under it, we could just barely see the outlines. The narrator explained the origin of the name because for all I could see the bridge was almost orange in colour. The Golden Gate was actually the name of the split in the coastline through which ships came into San Francisco Bay and was especially in use during the Californian Gold Rush. Hence the name of the opening of the Bay and the bridge that spans across it.

Then we moved across to the forbidding Angel Island and the even more infamous Alcatraz. Innocent Chinese immigrants were incarcerated for years without reason on Angel Island after their arrival on the Californian coast and Alcatraz was renowned as the toughest jail for the meanest criminals on earth. They say that every night the prisoners on Alcatraz were given a shower with warm water. This was to amplify the shock caused by the already cold water of the Pacific in case any of the prisoners were ingenious enough to beat the tough security and decided to try their luck in the shark infested waters. The jail has been closed down and served as a tourist attraction since the late 1960s, but the way it looked through the fog that day sent a shiver own my spine. It'd take a lot of effort to get me anywhere near that creepy place. That was the high point of the fog marred trip for me. The fog was instrumental in making Alcatraz look as grim and hostile a place as legend warrants it to be!


ingit said...

Do make it to the interiors of Alcatraz the next time round. If Nicholas Cage could do it in The Rock, so could you ;)

Roy said...

Now wait a minute... You're calling me chicken!??

ingit said...

Not really... Just a victim of circumstances (fog, american dollar bills or the lack of them etc etc) ;)

Roy said...

Yeah... there's always a second time for optimists like me!