Posted Sat, 16 Dec: 16/07/16 (San Fran Time) - Here it is, the day had finally come, the moment which all of us were hopping would never come… Friday. But like everything else all good things must come to an end but it’s up to us wether or not to change that so that one day we can go back and maybe this time one of us could be hosting this trip at one of the companies we visited.
Today started off with a bit of an extra sleep in which was great, this was because we weren’t leaving as early as we normally do. I myself woke up at 6:45am instead of 6:00am which was nice for a change. I headed down to ground floor to get my last five corse meal breakfast of; Waffles, Pancakes, Scrambled Eggs, Bacon, Fruit, Orange Juice and Coffee, with a Barocca on the side. We were all set to leave at 8:30am as all of us had packed our bags the night before so we all said our goodbyes to the good life and left on time and headed to the Golden Gate Bridge.
It took us about 40mins to get there due to quite heavy traffic when we arrived we all took pictures by the visitors centre before be started to cross. The walk of the bridge was very cold as it was very cloudy and windy when we arrive, we could hardly see the tops of the bridge unless we were right under them. It took us around 40mins to cross and I managed to film the whole time which was a bonus so when I get home I’ll compress all that footage and make it in to a 30second time lapse video. Half way across the bridge on of the Students had to do 20 pushups as he didn’t/hadn’t completed on of his action points unfortunately for him everything on that bridge was like below 5 degrees. The walk was amazing and I really enjoyed it but again it would have been nicer on a sunnier day. We were picked up on the other side by our bus driver and we departed for the infamies Alcatraz Penitentiary at pier 33 where our ferry was waiting to take us away.
Alcatraz had a bit of an airy feel to it and no surprise really knowing the history its had. We arrive at 12:15pm on the island where we were all greeted by a park ranger to explain bit about the rules of the island like DON’T TOUCH THE BIRDS unless you want your eyes pecked out which I thought was fair enough, also to NOT GO WHERE PLACES ARE BLOCKED OFF or be fined like $2000 US, so I didn’t do any of those at all. I started walking up the hill to the main prison building with one of the students Toby and we both took the audio tour around the prison. The moment we walked in I got a bit of a chill and the audio track didn’t help as it one of those ones that made you think and imagine everything like going into a solitary confinement cell, closing your eyes whilst one of the x-prisoners talked about what he used to do and how he felt, it was a bit creepy because he was in your ear and he was all you could hear making the experience overall great funnily enough. We got round all the cell blocks and even got to see where the three escapees made their way out of the one of the most high security prison on the planet at the time. After the audio tour had finished I went to some of the places where the tour didn’t take us like the prison reck area outside but as I walked around I saw that the prison had really deteriorated badly over the years as only really the main prison and the officer barracks were intact everything else like the warden’s house was pretty much destroyed, rubble on the ground which for me was sad to see personally. After doing one last run around for pictures the group all reconvened back at the docks where the ferry was just coming in to dock, unload next visitors and then load us on. We arrive back at pier 33 at around 3:30pm where Andrew and Simon were waiting for us.
We walked along the different piers to the famously well known pier 39 where everything was going on. We stopped and watched a street artist do spray paint art which was amazing and very well done we then moved down the pier until we found a IN-OUT BURGER which is basically just a burger joint, good burgers though. After we’d finished we waited for the bus to take us on one last trip. After playing a rather interesting tasteful game of jelly bean bamboozled where I ended up getting rotten cheese and barf flavoring the bus driver had arrived and it was time to make that last journey where we would farewell the bus diver who had been with us the whole time, Toby as he had other business to attend to in the states and Andrew for the same reason, we also said goodbye to Luke as he had a separate flight to us back to NZ on United Airways. Everyone had their luggage and proceeded to check in where we watched all our backs be sent off to the plane where we picked them up from Auckland. Going through security was an experience in its self as we had to take our shoes, jacket, hats off and then go through the bomb scanner which was fun weirdly. After everyone had made it though we proceeded to the gate where we ended up being 2 hours early which was great, it gave us time to do some last minute shopping. Due to delay with the food being loaded on the plane the gates didn’t open until 9:25pm which is when we boarded. Then we were further delayed after a set back with fuel and baggage which left us on the tarmac for another 30mins. We took off and for me I wanted to get some sleep so I could deal with coming in to NZ at 5:45am on Sunday the 17th without the jet-lag. I started writing this blog in the first half an hour then headed off to sleep for 8 1/2 hours the longest ever. We landed safely, said our goodbyes and headed home.