Sunday, July 28, 2013

USA day 5 part 3 - Golden Gate Bridge

25 Jun - After we are done with the Fisherman's Wharf, we head down to visit the famous Golden Gate Bridge. The bridge was indeed a beautiful sight, and the mist shrouding the bridge gave it a mysterious feel.

Golden gate bridge hiding behind the sea mist

View of the bridge and the San Francisco Bay, with sunny Alcatraz Island in the background

On the bridge platform

Gloomy bridge in the foreground and Sunny San Francisco in the back ground

Birds flying home after a long evening

Saturday, July 27, 2013

USA day 5 part 2 - Fisherman's Wharf (San Francisco) & Ghirardelli Square

25 Jun - After our Alcatraz Island trip in the morning, we decided to explore the Fisherman's Wharf when we landed back at the San Francisco bay. By then, the drizzling had stopped, and we are free to roam around in the cool and windy weather.

Pier 39

An aquarium by the pier, but we gave it a miss due to time constrain

Spare some food for the poor me? - Says the sea gull...

Our lunch location - Pier Market Seafood Restaurant. Its clam chowder is one of the best I ever had!

Shops and restaurants of Pier 39

Pretty flowers

Something random - Ship in a hole.

Fisherman's Wharf

Is the building going into the road or the road swallowing up the building?

Stopping by Ghirardelli Square, best known for its chocolates.

USA day 5 part 1 - Alcatraz Island

25 Jun - We woke up early in the morning to head down to the Fisherman's Wharf for our pre-booked Alcatraz Island tour. Alcatraz Island was once home to some of America's most notorious criminals. The federal penitentiary that operated here from 1934 to 1963 brought a dark mystique to the Rock. The presence of infamous inmates like Al "Scarface" Capone, and the "Birdman" Robert Stroud helped to establish the island's notoriety. To this day, Alcatraz is best known as one of the world's most legendary prisons. The weather was not so kind to us that day as drizzles keeps coming on and off for most of the morning. Hmm

One of San Francisco's public transport - Electric Trams

Model of Alcatraz Island prison

Part solar powered cruise that transport us to the island

Graffiti that was written by American Indians natives during their brief occupation of the island from 1969 to 1971
Prison cells that hold the federal prisoners when the prison is in operation

Normal prison cell

Restricted privilege prison cells that hold prisoners when they misbehave

Dark cells that see no daylight for hardcore prisoners that do not abide by the prison rules

Prison warden uniform

Former parade square, currently sea birds nesting ground

A sea gull with its young

View of San Francisco Bay

Alcatraz prison watch tower

Prison dining room, with painted silhouette of knifes to ensure no utensils go missing after a meal.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

USA day 4 - San Francisco

24 Jun - It is time to bid farewell to Los Angeles to catch our flight to the next city - San Francisco. Touching down in the afternoon, we went straight to check-in to Powell Hotel, which is conveniently located near the Powell St BART. First impression of San Francisco is that it is a city with a good balance of the past and current culture. Our hotel is situated along the main shopping street of San Francisco, with boutique shops such as Forever 21 and Uniqlo dishing out ridiculous offers to tempt us. For our hotel, I don't have much compliant, except that its room do not provide air-conditioning. It is tolerable when the surrounding temperature is cooling, but during the city's hot summer, it will be advisable to bypass booking this hotel.

Forever 21 boutique in an old classical building

ZARA boutique in an old classical building

Old clock used in the past

Old time transport used in the past, which is used to ferry locals and tourist today
Lombard Street, famous for having a steep, one-block section that consists of eight tight hairpin turns

Saturday, July 20, 2013

USA day 3 part 2 - Griffith Observatory

23-Jun - Second half of the day was spent visiting the Griffith Observatory. We rode the subway to the Sunset/Vermont Red Line Subway station before transferring to the LADOT shuttle bus which brings us all the way up the Hollywood mountain to the observatory. Griffith Observatory is a facility in Los Angeles, California sitting on the south-facing slope of Mount Hollywood in Los Angeles' Griffith Park. It commands a view of the Los Angeles Basin, including Downtown Los Angeles to the southeast, Hollywood to the south, and the Pacific Ocean to the southwest. The observatory is a popular tourist attraction with an extensive array of space and science-related displays.

View from the top of the mountain

Griffith Observatory

Sunset view

Display showing different phases of planets

Los Angeles night view

Displays showing different planets in our solar system

USA day 3 part 1 - Warner Bro VIP Studio Tour

23-Jun - Woke up early in the morning to make our way down to Warner Bro Studio for the VIP tour that we have signed up before we embarked on our USA trip. The tour will first start the journey through the historic Warner Bros. back lot.  From Midwest Street’s quaint town square to Hennesy Street’s urban city exteriors, to the Jungle’s forested lagoon, you’re sure to recognize these locations from some of today’s and yesterday’s most popular films and television series. Visitors will also get to walk on to the set of a hit television show and visit the costume and prop departments, including browsing a rare collection of costumes, props, sets, scripts and correspondence in the Warner Bros. Museum, Hollywood’s only studio museum!  In addition, the tour will get to see Stage 16- the tallest sound stage in North America and even take a photo placing you into your favorite WB movie with the magic of Green Screen!

Let the tour begin =D

The place where they shot the famous Spiderman upside down kissing scene

Rosewood High School from Pretty Little Liars

Came across a "residence" squirrel searching for nuts in the morning

Iconic sound stages where you see in opening movies produced by Warner Bro

Scooby Doo figurine

Harry Potter!

"The tumbler" from The dark Knight (2008)

Bike used in Matrix Reloaded

Anyone recognize which famous TV series this set belongs to?

Scary stage prop

Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck welcoming visitors to the studio

The famous Warner Bros Tower

Having heard rave reviews of In-N-Out Burger, we decided to stop by one for our lunch. Just as others have reviewed, the food is good and relatively cheap as you can choose the type of food you want for your meal. There is no combo deal and the burgers and drinks are sold separately.