San Francisco: 21 July 2001

When I got to the queue for Alcatraz it was already enormous – at 7.30am! I was almost the last person to get a ticket. Got coffee and doughnuts cos it was freezing and came back to wake D up.

After breakfast we walked to Union Square to get a travel pass then tried to get a bus to Golden Gate Park, but ended up in a really dodgy area. Loads of drunks and druggies – it felt like I imagined New York to be in the 70s. V creepy. Legged it back to safety and got the cable car back to North Beach.

The cable car was disappointing cos we were wedged inside and so couldn’t really see – we’ll go on again though. Got a sub for lunch and sat eating near Fisherman’s Wharf. An enormous seagull landed just in front of us with an enormous fish in its mouth.

Walked down to Victoria Park and read for a while then got the boat to “The Rock”. It wasn’t as creepy as I had expected – although it was still pretty creepy, especially when we went inside a cell. Got the boat back and had a mooch around Pier 39 then went to Safeway to get some dinner. Got a little stressed – everything’s more expensive than expected.

Had a picnic tea in the hotel, a bath in the enormous Victorian roll-top they’ve got here and then I fell asleep. Think I was dehydrated – I’ll have to be more careful – and also I’ve got sunburned across the tops of my eyebrows. Gorgeous.

Reading: East of the Mountains – David Guterson