Finally after many months trying to convince Ce to go to Alcatraz without any luck, I went there with Hejer, our first foreign visitor. My motivations were two-folds: taking pictures of the City from a distance and getting some historical insight. The first one was almost fulfilled, but not quite the second for different reasons. First, except for the main building, the cellhouse, no other building on the island is still upright or intact. So it is very diconscerting to wander about amongst all the wrecked buildings. Secondly the audioguide for the cell visit was very poor: too much La-la-land for our taste. And above all, even if totally empty, this place remains a jail. I did not think to much about it whilst outside, as the garden are nice and the views all around the island are outstanding, but once inside that's another story. After having picked up your audio guide in the ex-shower room, the visit starts directly by the cells. It is a shock, are they are basically just TINY little cubicles! It is really disturbing to imagine a human being trapped there for years and years. And I felt also very uncomfortable about the way other visitors seemed so at-ease, taking pictures of themselves within the cells, making poor jokes or even looking bored for some of them... then I mostly took pictures of the outside and one of the cells, that you will find in the Alcatraz album.
The Indian Welcome inscription was put there by Native American political activists, after the prison was closed. They occupied Alcatraz three times in the 60s to make a stand for their rights, with not much success sadly.
The following pictures try to show the state of ruin of Alcatraz. On the left, staff barracks and on the right one of the warehouse.
But one or two buildings are still more or less in a good state. This one below used to house the Military Chapel
The only positive things about this visit: pretty birds and unique views of SF
Thankfully the day finished on a more positive note: Mexican food and cheerful compagny!
The future generation of paleographs will have days of fieldwork to decypher those signs in the restaurant toilets!