It's just not cricket...

San Francisco Travel Blog

 › entry 5 of 7 › view all entries
View from my seat.

So baseball.

Most people say cricket is a boring game, with long periods of inaction interspersed with a few moments of frenzied running, before a return to the normal state of affairs with all but the bowler standing still waiting for something to happen that requires them to move. Baseball is an exciting and fast sport though!  The players are more athletic, it takes more skill, blah blah blah.

To be fair, it was kind of interesting for the first 30 minutes or so, when I didn't understand what was happening, and there is one area where it has cricket beaten.  In 30 minutes you can understand all there is to know about the game, whereas the equivalent state of knowledge of cricket would take probably at least one entire test series. 

I won't bother summarising the rules here, because no doubt I got some of it wrong and would hate to ruin it for any of you who end up watching a game and think "what the hell is going on?"  After this 30 minutes was up though I quickly started losing interest.

Another view from my seat.
  It's just the same thing repeated over and over again.  Man throws ball.  Man hits ball. Man runs. Man catches ball. Man throws ball. Man Catches ball.  Man runs. Even the players were falling asleep when it wasn't their turn to bat!

The only real spark of excitement in the entire game was when the batter felt an overpowering urge to attack the pitcher, presumably sparked by some kind of body throw?  I dunno, one minute everything is hunky dory, next both sides rush out of the dugout into the general melee in the middle.  I suspect that the players themselves are waiting for this to happen every game, because it truly is the only interesting part.

And to top it all off, I was sitting in the sun the entire time, with the world's most annoying teenage girl behind me who shouted all the time at the players who clearly couldn't hear her, as they had already demonstrated they had very short tempers yet were not doing anything like throwing heavy objects at her.
A Close up of the 'action' Couldn't zoom in enough to catch the dozing players.


And I got sunburnt.  My face, arms, and knees (huh?!)  All turned a bright shade of crimson.  Not that I noticed until much later on in the day, after enduring strange looks off people throughout the rest of the evening.

And so on to the second part of the day.  I rode BART back to downtown San Francisco, getting off at Embarcadero station and walking along the shoreline to Pier 33.  Here the famous Alcatraz cruises set off.  I had booked a night cruise, which provided a chance for some stunning views (and photos!) of the sun setting behind the Golden Gate bridge.

For anyone unfamiliar,
Alcatraz Island used to be a prison, the United States Penitentiary service's highest security institution.
Golden Gate Bridge Sunset.
  Before that it was a military prison, and before that a fortress.  Now it is a national park and a magnet for tourists like me. 

The history there is amazing.  Some of the buildings are over 200 years old, which for a country as young as the
USA is no mean achievement.  There are great views out across the bay to San Francisco, which would have been an immense torment for the prisoners there.  It is said that they could see freedom all the time.  When the wind blew in the right direction, the chocolatley fumes from the chocolate factory let them smell freedom, and on special occasions like New Year's Eve, the noise from the parties on the boats would carry over so that they could hear freedom.
View of San Francisco from the ferry to Alcatraz.


It hosted some of the biggest and most dangerous criminals of the times.  Al Capone is probably the most famous one, or at least he was the only one I recognised.  The tour of the island consisted first of a walking tour showing the outsides of the facility, then an audio tour inside.  The narrators were all former prison officers and inmates who could give amazing insight into what life was like there.  For the rest of the post I will just add photos in and describe them.  This was my last night in San Francisco and California, the next day was all about travelling to the capital of this country, or so I thought.

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View from my seat.
View from my seat.
Another view from my seat.
Another view from my seat.
A Close up of the action  Couldn…
A Close up of the 'action' Could…
Golden Gate Bridge Sunset.
Golden Gate Bridge Sunset.
View of San Francisco from the fer…
View of San Francisco from the fe…
And another one.
And another one.
The approach to Alcatraz.
The approach to Alcatraz.
Some random staircase leading to n…
Some random staircase leading to …
The menu on the day the last priso…
The menu on the day the last pris…
The operating theatre.
The operating theatre.
X-ray machine.
X-ray machine.
View of San Francisco from the Isl…
View of San Francisco from the Is…
The last remaining guard tower.  T…
The last remaining guard tower. …
The power plant and water tower fo…
The power plant and water tower f…
The building on the right was the …
The building on the right was the…
Random sign.
Random sign.
Sign from the Prison Days.  As it …
Sign from the Prison Days. As it…
The shower room, where all new inm…
The shower room, where all new in…
Uniforms for the prisoners.
Uniforms for the prisoners.
A view of a typical cell.  No priv…
A view of a typical cell. No pri…
Some of the inmates were talented …
Some of the inmates were talented…
Typical uniform of an officer.
Typical uniform of an officer.