Before we depart, however, we partake of the breakfast spread provided by the Hotel des Arts, and it is the best spread we have had so far - bagels (although we brought our own of those), bread, muffins and pastries, also coffee, hot chocolate and fruit juice. Substantial enough for us travellers. Second stop is to Walgreens, where I pick up some anti-cold tablets that require me queueing for some time and displaying my passport - the sales assistant wishes me a Happy Birthday (it's tomorrow), we then manage to solve the issue with my SD card - it's a 4G SDHC, I need just the SD, but the shop cannot provide one. Nevermind, I've deleted enough video footage to give me a little space left. Then we head off down Market St. I feel rather under the weather, the homeless people are starting to make me feel down and an African American muttering something about how his people were kidnapped from their home doesn't improve matters. Seriously, if his people had of stayed in Africa, he would probably have half the opportunities he has today. Anyhow, the area was getting less and less appealing and by the time we finally reached the intersection - at which there was a nifty art store, I decided that I did not really want to go any further. The place we were heading to might be interesting, but to get there we had to walk under an overbridge, past a shabby looking motel outside which two people were trying to break into a car - I can only hope it was their car (they were being watched by motel staff) and my head was filled with fuzz. So we headed back, and I finally get my new SD card.
We met up with one of Tim's ex-co-workers at the Ferry building for lunch. It is quite an elaborate food court, with far too much choice. We decide on Mexican, which may not have been the best choice, but at least had seating. Then Tim and I catch the train out to the Golden Gate park and the California Science Centre.
The centerpiece and main drawcard of the Science Centre for me is the four storey rainforest dome. It is pretty impressive. We have to stand in a short queue to enter, and then make our way up through the canopy, via a large walkway. Colourful tropical birds flutter around, gathering foliage for their nests, and two macaws sit on their perch, ignoring all and sundry. In various cages and terraniums we see frogs and snakes, spiders and lizards from one of three rainforest habitats - South America, Malaysia and Madagascar.
The albino aligator lurks in his swamp-like home. Although he lacks the cute appeal, he is certainly an intriguing specimen. We wander through the aquarium, looking at the range of fishes and other deep-sea critters, through the hall of stuffed animals (with live penguins) and into the tectonic plates display...
|It's a lemur|
Alas, we do not have much time to fully explore the Golden Gate park as we must get back into the central city and prepare for our visit to Alcatraz. Catching the train back proves to take longer than we had thought - as it breaks down just as it enters into the underground tunnel, but we still make it back to our hotel, wherein we leave a short time later and head towards Pier 39, which is near where the ferry leaves from, with the intent to explore it rather first. We are quite amused to note that Googlemaps describes Alcatraz as "residential apartments". Pier 39 has a full-on boardwalk, with plenty of stores and entertainers, along with a healthy population of sea lions.
|The Bay Area Bridge|
|Alcatraz in the background|
|The sealions of pier 39|
|Brown Pelican and Western Gull|
|San Francisco from the sea|
|Heading around the west end|
|The Indians Occupied Alcatraz at one point (in protest)|
|Now gulls are the major occupant.|
|Accomodation was pretty spartan|
|... But some residents added their own touchs|
|Oh no, we're trapped!|
|The "beautiful view"|