tirsdag 14. mars 2017

San Francisco

All my colleagues from Megapop left on Friday after GDC, but I decided to stay over the weekend. I had found a new hotel, Club Quarters, in the financial district, not far from the piers. I was very happy with it, a well kept and efficient business hotel with nice rooms. There was a common area where you could get free coffee, soda and fruit as well. Pretty cheap too.

Off the Grid But Not Alone

On Friday evening I went to Off the Grid with Ivan and Henning from Rock Pocket Games. It's a food festival where they park a bunch of food trucks at Fort Mason. Mostly young people there, it was pretty crowded and the queues were long. We got a couple of beers, and I tried out a dish called My Mother's Lumpias since it sounded weird but was a meat filled roll. I think it was from Hawaii.

I have been to San Francisco a few times before, but for some reason I never got around to see Alcatraz. They had made some special extended trip, so I bought that one. After a morning of shopping gifts for the family, I was on the boat.

(Front to back) Me, birds, San Francisco

I didn't really know a lot about the place, except that it was a prison. Turns out it was originally a fortress, that was already obsolete when it was completed. Then it was turned into a military prison, a federal penitentiary, later occupied by Native Indian demonstrators, and finally it was turned into a national park.

The actual tunnel under Alcatraz
We got to go into the tunnels, which are not like in any of the movies at all. There were three tunnels that were made to get the cannon crews safely from one side to to the other. No prisoners ever found these tunnels.

The view from Alcatraz to San Francisco was great. There were lots of birds on the island. The guide said it gets pretty crazy during mating season, when there are thousands of birds courting all over the island.

No WARMACHINE for the prisoners back then, but they had Autobridge

Afterwards we got a tour around the prison block, where there were recorded messages on the headphones from guards, as well as from inmates. It was interesting and well made.

On the way back the wind was blowing an it had started to rain, so pretty much all the tourists on the boat were below deck. Only I and two guys from Chile were on the top and enjoying the view. They were super nice, and we decided to go out for dinner. They were going to check out a restaurant called The Stinking Rose (!!!). Their speciality was garlic. When we opened the doors it really did stink!

I had bread with garlic spread (basically garlic marinated in oil) and a spicy garlic sauce. Then I had chicken with 40 cloves of garlic. The only thing not garlic was the chocolate cake. The food was really good!

Chileans enjoying garlic

The next day I decided to check out the warships they have here. There is a WW2 submarine that has been converted into a museum, and a fully working and restored WW2 merchant ship that was part of the landing force during D-day in France!

USS Pampanito

The submarine was also an audio tour. It was pretty cramped in there, hard to believe it had a crew of 80ish people! There were even bunk beds over the torpedoes.

Entertainment, submarine style!

The merchant ship was quite impressive. They assembled one of these ships in only 42 days, and over 2700 of these ships were built during WW2. They were run by civilian crews.

Liberty class ship SS Jeremiah O'Brien

 I could go into the working engine room, and the cargo hold was converted into a museum.

Multiple floors of engine room, ready to make into an FPS level
I got to chat for a while with the master carpenter, he had been working there for 17 years. He told me that they had sailed the ship to France for the 50 year anniversary of D-day, and they had occasional cruises around the bay. Not many people in the world are licensed to operate ships like this, there are only a handful of fully working WW2 ships in the US. It's great that they have managed to save this ship for posterity!

And, that was it! I flew back to Norway with a long layover in Reykjavik, ready for a week of jetlag!

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