We were going to san fran for 2 or 3 days depending and staying with a couple of friends that were there for the summer! It felt good knowing we would have the comfort of a bed/floor and a roof over our heads after the few nights up the mountains plus we knew the lads would take care of us the minute they saw the state of us! The drive was relatively uneventful except for a period of about 20 minutes where this guy in a stupid little convertible that didn't look anyway expensive or powerful tried to take over us. You know the type of car, the kind of car somebody buys to compensate the fact they haven't much going on either upstairs or downstairs. He also had slicked back hair.. the prick. Anyway as he sped past us we caught up to leave him trapped behind the car in the fast lane and one of our, usually very chivalric and mannerly, group took a bit of a disliking to him. They then decided to roll down the window in the van and proceed to repetitively shout "GYPSY" out the window at him and give him the finger. After 15-20 minutes of this he eventually found a gap in the traffic and tore off looking non too pleased! Que the laughter...
As we made our way past Sacramento and started ascending up a slight hill one of the lads threw on a metallica album. Myself and a couple of others in the back at the time lobbied for a change however the driver and the passenger were contented with it so we sat grumpily in the back (as you can imagine the tunes playing throughout were always a problem) as we went towards San Fran. However what happened next was absolutely daycent, because there is no other word than daycent to describe this. We had just climbed the slight hill and the long intro for the S&M album was playing and just as we topped the hill this song (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kKypYslGEA8) came into its own and the bright lights of San Fran were visible in the distance... And even better than that the gypsy from earlier was in our sights! Lifting it towards San Fran and catching up with our old friend, more abuse was hurled and good times had!
Next day, Dónal dropped us into the BART (Bay Area Rapid Transport) station as we were going to head in and do the whole tourist thing around Alcatraz and San Fran city! Before I go anywhere here I just have to take a moment to say that the BART has by far the single most retarded method of payment and ticket fares for boarding. We were slightly put out by it and I wont really go into it but 3-4 weeks later with my suitcase and $1.40 to my name, trying to get to the airport proved fairly traumatic! Anyway!!.. we hopped off the bart in the statiion we were told to and hopped the barriers (see above sentence regarding retarded ticketing system) we were in downtown san fran and not one of us a clue where to go next! We eventually navigated our way down to Pier 39 or somewhere nearby and got on the boat to head towards Alcatraz!
While on the boat we were given the whole talking tour of the bay etc and told of how windy it was blah blah blah... What happened next was absolutely hilarious. Blakey had bought a paddy hat in River Island before we went and I had proceeded to give him dogs abuse regarding said hat. However as the summer had progressed I took a shining to this hat and had somewhat taken to wearing it and caring for it more often than Blake in an almost adopting/parent-like fashion. Anyway as we were bombing across the bay towards Alcatraz island taking in the views and laughing stupidly at nothing in particular a gust of wind took aforementioned hat from my head and launched it up to the sky and it took a nice floating position out on the bay. Scotty took one look at me and had to be picked up from the floor laughing, along with the rest of them. Except Blake, he was none too happy. After some careful negotiating and giving him a reminder of the Flip-Flop-gate scandal (wiki: flip flop gate) things were smoothed over and off we went to see the old gaf of al capone, silvio berlusconi, the dalai lama and bobby sands.
To be honest the history associated with the prison was none too interesting I think it is just the novelty of having a prison on an island surrounded by various different cities is what makes this appealing as a tourist destination. There are no shocking anecdotes of prisoner conditions or escapee stories and after shelling out 30 odd quid for it the comparison between Alcatraz and the free and much more aesthetically pleasing views in Yosemite and the Grand Canyon was fairly unbalanced. Flynn and Dave had it on the ball by giving it a skip. It was still pretty cool to see and have a walk around but if it really is not your thing and your on a budget, give it a skip me thinks!
This dude was jailed for 5 years for robbing a cornetto and a pack of green rizla out of centra
Al Capone probably played baseball here!..
Scotty mac doing his picturesque scenery thing, and doing it well I must say!
The view from that edge of the island.
After a scoot around the island we decided to make tracks back in to San Frandisco for some food and see what was happening around the place! We jumped on the boat and headed back inland. Prisoners of our own hunger.
Terrible joke, indeed.
So off we went to have a walk around the piers and see what there was to see and find a good spot for a feed! So eat we did and found a watering hole to whet the whistle!
We took a stroll around downtown San Fran later on that night and got to see the city a bit at night! Either way legs were getting tired so we found a BART station and got a train back to the lads house. We loaded up on four loko and cans on the walk back, landed in the lads house and the session began! After an hour or two we made our way up to Berkeley where all the student life would be. We saw a bar with the same name as one of the lads so that was surely our first port of call!
Having one or three here we then made our way up the street quintessentially following the crowd mobbing there way up there. We eventually saw what all the fuss was about, FRAT HOUSES! As in genuine frat houses, I had seen the frat houses in Santa Barbara and didn't think much of them however these were exactly as you would see in American Pie/Van Wilder. Obviously they were based on something but I just thought it was pretty cool to see one in real life!
We chanced our arms getting into a couple of the parties going on in there however our beers:people ratio (0:10) girls:lads ratio (2:8) and member of fraternities:non-members (0:10) really counted against us. Plus it was getting late and most of the parties in the houses were being shut down by the cops! I guess they must be legally allowed to run parties once they are shut down on time etc, etc. Anyway feeling a bit dejected myself and Jamie managed to get lost from the lads and end up in some apartment complex talking utter bollox to this group of girls for ages. I eventually sobered up, noticed it was getting bright and left him to it. Off for a morning of snoozy snooze on the comfiest carpet in Northern California....