Escape from Alcatraz!!!

Well we finally made it to San Francisco – somewhere I’ve wanted to visit for a long time.
We had a bit of a nightmare gettinge here. We waited for our Qantas flight to LA at Auckland airport but it was delayed by 1.5 hours due to a technical problem. But this wasn’t really a problem, I thought, as that still left 2 hours to catch our connecting flight down to San Francisco. However when we got to LA we found that American Airlines had cancelled loads of flights due to a potential wiring problem on all their MD80’s, and guess what our plane was going to be, yep an American Airlines MD80. So we saw the Qantas rep and they booked us on a United Airlines flight leaving in a couple of hours, but I noticed on the departure screens that that flight was also delayed by a good 1.5 hours or so. However, this delay turned out to be a blessing in disguise because LA airport was a complete and utter shambles! As we had to check in again we had to walk to a different terminal and find the correct check-in desk, but there were 6 different queues and no-one knew which queue they were supposed to be in. The queues were horrendous and they didn’t have enough check-in staff on duty so it took us another hour just to check-in. After check-in we then had to get through the paranoid airport security staff (after more queueing on a cold windy bridge outside the terminal building) and found we had been "specially selected" for additional security screening. After being fingerprinted and having my photo taken at immigration, it’s enough to put me off going to the US altogether as you are made to feel like a criminal. A lady said to Lenny, "Thank you, you are free to go now" and Lenny remarked she didn’t realise she wasn’t free. Arrrgh, it was a stressful, horrible, nightmarish experience and the beer I had down near the gate was only a slightly welcome relief.
Anyway we finally got here about 8pm last night, but because we crossed the international date line on our way over from New Zealand we kind of got Tuesday twice. E.g. we left Auckland at about 7.30pm and arrived in San Francisco around 8pm, so it only took us 30 minutes to travel 1/3 of the way around the world! Try and figure that out, we gained something like 19 hours – I was trying to work it out in my head but it was too hard so I gave up! Wink
As we had both been awake for however many hours it was (neither of us slept much on the plane), we went to bed and didn’t wake up until about 1pm this afternoon. Ooops, we were both so tired! But I had taken the liberty of pre-booking us on the Alcatraz tour in the evening, which we have just got back from. It was brilliant! We got the ferry out to the former prison and took a tour around and watched the sun go down behind the Golden Gate Bridge. It’s bloody cold though!!! Brrrr! Lenny’s annoyed because I’ve taken her away from Sydney (which she loves) which was nice and warm and now she’s cold all the time. I told her I’m getting her prepared for going back to England! Wink
This is the turntable at the end of the line for the cable cars…
A couple shots of Alcatraz from the ferry…
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You don’t know how pleasurable it was locking my wife up (cue evil laugh "mwah, hah, hah") Open-mouthedOpen-mouthedOpen-mouthed
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A couple of shots of the Cisco Systems logo (nerd alert!) at sunset…
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