Mum has wanted to go to Angel Island for an age. I had gone awhile back with Rachael and had since offered to go with Mum, but she wanted to go with Dad or someone who was just as enthusiastic as her. When Connor hear this he told her, "I don't know of anyone more enthusiastic than me!" We hit the tipping point and Dad decided to come along too. So one Saturday, we got up earlier than anyone cared to and drove to San Francisco. It was a misty morning and we enjoyed walking in the ferry building, getting some tea, and waiting for our ferry. The ride out was quite fun and Connor was especially happy. He usually is whenever he's on a boat.
We passed Alcatraz, circled around the back of Angel Island before creeping up, just behind the Tiburon ferry.
After docking, we searched for a patch. Angel Island is in the middle of a rebranding, so they don't have their own patch just yet. A very helpful lady did let us into the gift shop (that was closed that day) so I could get this patch and took my info for when the Angel Island one becomes available.
The thing Dad had wanted to do the most was visit the detention center. Angel Island was the Ellis Island of the West. This center is where everyone came through when entering the bay. The majority of the immigrants coming through were Chinese. They were not treated well.
Many Chinese carved into the walls. Workers at the detention center assumed it was graffiti and would putty over the words and repaint the walls. As it turned out, the writing was poetry and almost every single wall is covered. I loved how the center had a section where different layers have been lifted so you can see the various states the poems had been in. Most of the walls have the slight dimples of puttied over characters. The museum did a beautiful job explaining the poems and had English translations, although I'm sure they are much more vivid in their original language.
The poems are suppose to be read out in Cantonese for the best effect
Although we were hungry, we collectively decided to walk to the top of Angel Island before having our picnic lunch. It is quite a climb, but the view is worth it. You can see 360 degrees around you. Dad pointed out that 180 of those degrees were fog. I managed to snap a picture in between the swaths of fog floating by.
As we hiked back down, Mum commented on how she was just about out of water. We ended up passing by some sort of work party in the lower picnic area and they offered us not only water, but cookies as well. Mum was quite pleased on how we seemed to get rewarded for hiking.
We caught our ferry and enjoyed the views as we headed back. Of course that isn't the end of the story...
We didn't know that it was only the last ferry of the day that goes back to the ferry building. The one we were on would go to Pier 39, then Angel Island, then back to Pier 39 before going to the ferry building. We opted to walk the nearly 1.5 miles (2k) back. Needless to say, by the end of the day we were all tired and ready for dinner. But it was a good kind of tired where you feel you earned extra chips and guac.