Saturday, 30 June 2007
s and i spent a quick week in berkeley with my family. the weather was amazing and we had a great time.
we took an evening cruise to alcatraz. if you ever consider visiting the rock, i highly recommend the evening tour, especially if you can get a fog-free, warm summer night like we did!
view of coit tower from the embarcadero, before the cruise
a, d, s, b
alcatraz from the ferry
the alcatraz audio tour has recently been updated, and you are guided around the prison by voices of former inmates and correctional officers who recount their experiences. it is definitely dismal and institutional, but the guides speak about alcatraz with a strange sort of nostalgia.
the cells were tiny, but apparently many inmates felt more safe while they were locked away from the other prisoners, who might have had reason to hurt them...
the worst offenders were locked in 24-hour cells, meaning they were not allowed outside their cells at any time. perhaps to compensate for their increased isolation, they were given larger cells.
they also had to contend with cold, howling wind (the corridor is particularly drafty, even to this day) and beautifully cruel views of san francisco - so close but so so far away.
view from one of the peepholes, which allowed prisoners to see exactly what they were missing
prisoners with outdoor privileges could use the recreation area, which happens to have a great view of the golden gate bridge. nice, huh?
note: even though it was a gorgeous evening, we still had to wear our fleeces. in san francisco. in the summer. the song should go, "if you're going to california, pack layers..."
but it wasn't all slammers and sunsets...
the main reason we went was to celebrate with my sister after she finished her MBA!
we also strolled through the redwoods in muir woods...
...and we spent just long enough on muir beach to dip our toes (ok, i dipped my toes) in the pacific ocean. wwwwwinnndyyy!!!
last, we spent an afternoon in palo alto.
fabergé? no, this egg-like statue is made of old motherboards. of course!
regretfully, we were in the bay area just a few days too soon for the iphone launch, ratatouille, and sicko. but i did manage to smuggle home a black macbook and a harvey's seatbelt bag. just doing my bit to support the american economy (read: take advantage of the amazing exchange rate, cough cough ahem.)
i also shipped back 13 boxes - thirteen boxes! - containing photos, books, old letters, souvenirs from japan, trinkets (so many trinkets!), basically the last of the things i somehow can't live without. the rest was either put aside for a yard sale, tossed or recycled. you would be proud of how much i managed to purge, but there's still plenty left... we have one month before the shipment arrives. i foresee some DIY!
Sunday, 10 June 2007
one of the most striking and iconic buildings on the london skyline is affectionately known as the gherkin, for its cucumber-like shape. s's former colleague kindly invited us up to the top to drink in the view...and a few cocktails.
view of the dome from inside
view of tower bridge and the tower of london. the building in the foreground, framed by the v, is s's office.
m in her new bright blue glasses
s and our hostess, m
fiery, red sunset over hampstead heath
it was lovely to see london from above. i still get a little thrill every time i see the familiar landmarks: the london eye, tower bridge, big ben, king's cross station. i hope that feeling doesn't wear off for a long time, because i plan to be here for a while...