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San Fun Francisco!!!!
Aug 08, 2004 11:17 AM 18974 Views
(Updated Aug 08, 2004 11:25 AM)

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SAN FRANCISCO ROCKS!!


I have just returned from a long vacation in the State of California and Nevada. My travels took me to:


San Francisco


Napa Valley


Yosemite National Park


Zion National Park


The fun places I went to included Las Vegas, Universal Studios and Hollywood too. Of that I shall not write a word. Feels free to just see the pictures!


I shall primarily write about places of great interest to all of Mouthshut readers and I am including a new innovation. That is, I shall give you a URL to Yahoo! Photos so that you can link the written text here with the pictures on Yahoo! Just reading text can be boring, right?


The link to my Yahoo! Photos is:


photos.yahoo.com/nanduchitnis


The pictures are rather dull because of fog and chilly winds blowing across the Pacific Ocean.


The City: SAN Francisco


This is a great unique city. Unique because there are no flat road in this city. It’s so hilly and the roads have sharp gradients. Look at the snaps of CROOKED STREET to get an idea!


The places of great interest are:


Alcatraz Prison


Golden Gate Bridge


Crooked Street


Pebbles Beach Golf Course


The Big Sir, Pacific Ocean


Napa Valley


Now please open the Photo Album : ALCATRAZ on Yahoo photos!


ALCATRAZ ISLAND


ALCATRAZ is the name of a sea bird that inhabits the island. Some 150 years ago, this island was used to stock up hordes of GOLD, during the years of the GREAT GOLD RUSH. When that ended, a prison was built to house US Army deserters. In 1933 the Govt. of the USA decided to convert Alcatraz to a high security prison for America’s Most Wanted Criminals.


This island is located just off just 2 miles from San Francisco. You get a boat to take you on a tour of this prison.


Alcatraz received great publicity in USA and abroad as this was the first high security prison built to house the worst and most dangerous criminals across United States of America, way back in year 1933.


Escaping from here to San Francisco was impossible because the water is so freezing cold that swimming across to San Francisco is not an option. Instant death by hypothermia, even in summers!


However three prisoners did escape and attempted to swim.Among them was The Birdman of Alcatraz. They bored holes from the wash basin in their cells using dinner forks and knives and found a way out down the sewage pipelines and then on to open spaces on the edge of the island.. Presumably they tried to swim across to San Francisco and died. This Escape incident made headline news all over USA and the world


. The bodies of the three escapees were never found. So they remain declared as “Fugitives” to this day. No other prisoners ever attempted to escape thereafter.


The movie “Escape From Alcatraz” starring Clint Eastwood was a super hit world wide and did wonders for the Alcatraz Island as a world class tourist destination. ALCATRAZ gets some 3 million visitors each year at $ 21/- per head. This includes a boat ride and a tour of the prison.


Some infamous prisoners were Al Capone, the Mafia boss of Chicago, Mickey Meyerand Machine Gun Kelly.


The living conditions were so cold and harsh at Alcatraz that the Govt. of United States shut this prison after just 29 years of it’s existence in 1964. The island was handed over to the National Parks Authority and converted into a tourist destination.


GOLDEN GATE BRIDGE (See Photo Album San Francisco)


This bridge is the most photographed Bridge the world over.


Open Yahoo! Photos and watch for picture plaque of Gauri Govil. This two-year-old Indian girl fell off the bridge on December 21, 1997 into the freezing Pacific Ocean and died instantly. The City fathers of San Francisco accepted responsibility and prominently instituted a plaque in her memory at the Golden Gate Bridge. This plaque attracts all visitors to the Bridge, figures about 7 million people each year.


CROOKED STREET (See Photo Album San Francisco)


Crooked Street is located in the heart of the city of San Francisco. The gradient of the street is 45 degrees. Driving down is a chilling experience, for fear of car skidding down the road out of control. The houses on Crooked Street cost upwards of a Million Dollars!


OTHER PLACES TO GO


San Francisco is an exciting city, very pretty, never a dull moment. Save up enough money to get there, return tickets Mumbai to SF costs just Rs 56,000/- . Once in the city, visit:


(a) Castro Street: This is the Gay district of SF. Great action! The City permits three nude marches through the streets of SF every year!


(b) The Victory Square: Down town area of SF. Very impressive tall buildings and Spanish type Villas.


(c) SF Museum of Fine Arts: They have originals of all the great artistes from Europe like Vincent Van Gogh to Vinci.


(d) SF Museum Modern Arts (MOMA): This is fantastic. For creativity this is the very best.


(e) Fisherman’s Wharf:Great place to see Sea Lions. Hundreds of them shouting and fighting. Great place to eat seafood. Try out the Clams Chow! You book your seat on a boat to go to Alcatraz prison at the Fisherman’s Wharf. Nice shops, live bands. Thousands of visitors.


(f) China Town: Great for shopping and eating food.


Public transport system in SF is excellent and cheap. Use a map to catch the right bus/tram/subway train to get to your destination.


That’s about it. My next write up will be on Yosemite National Park.


Comments welcome.


Marner2/Nandu Chitnis


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