Thursday, July 7, 2016

Day 20: San Francisco

After more delicious cinnamon rolls from the Holiday Inn Express' continental breakfast the crew took a brisk walk to the pier. We caught the first boat out to Alcatraz. Alcatraz Island lies approximately 1.25 miles offshore of San Francisco. The island has served as the home of many establishments throughout the years including a military fort, Indian reservation, and the most famous federal penitentiary there has been. The first prisoners arrived on Alcatraz in 1934 and for the next 29 years some of the most dangerous and notorious criminals of US history spent time in the cells on the island. During its time as a prison there were fourteen different escape attempts, none of which are known to have been successful. 

The tour of the island centers around the cell block that contained the inmates though there were other buildings on the island to house the prison guards and their families. Visitors to the island get a complimentary audio tour that guides them strategically through the jailhouse. The audio tour is narrated by former guards and prisoners of Alcatraz Penitentiary. It is very informative and most of the kids were please with how interesting it was to listen to the commentary and stories of those individuals. 

We ended our tour and boarded the boat back to the mainland around 11am. The group then set out in predetermined, student-selected groups of 6 or more to explore the city. Some groups explored various parks in the area, others visited Chinatown, but most headed up to Union Square and the Financial District for shopping. 

The crew reconvened at the hotel later in the evening for dinner. A twenty minute walk to Chinatown brought us to the Chinatown Restaurant for the group dinner. The group chowed down on sweet and sour chicken, egg rolls, beef and broccoli, lo mein noodles, friend rice, plenty of veggies, and green tea iced cream. It was a feast for a Chinese King!  We will all be heading to bed full tonight dreaming of Chinese dragons and fortune cookies. 


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