I felt so alive on Alcatraz.
And this wasn’t because my senses were heightened due to the bone-chilling wind whistling through the glass-less windows of the derelict buildings and into my ear lobes. Coldness, may I add, that made my teeth and chest hurt as we were waiting for our tour to start.
It was more than that.
The island has a tangible energy.
And it wasn’t, as you may suspect, a bad energy. No, there was definitely an exciting air of – how can I best describe it? – “delinquent entrepreneurial spirit” whirling around the rock. I could sense it, buzzing excitedly in the harsh gusts. I guess I was really surprised I felt this positivity. I wasn’t expecting it.
My two highlights of Alcatraz
Taking a disciplined approach to describing our tour (apt given the former penitentiary use of the building!) and distilling my top 2 “likes” of our day (hard to choose but I want to remain focused):
Like 1: The stark beauty of the mix of symmetry and metal:
It may sound bizzare, but the symmetrical lines and dull metal I spotted all over the prison were so pleasing to my eye. Just looking back at the images I took makes me happy:
Like 2: Learning that the American Indian activists seized the island in 1969 and claimed it as Indian Land:
I genuinely didn’t know this before my trip; so I was pleased to be educated! The occupation started in November 1969, six years after the prison closed down – a political protest to focus attention on the plight of American Indians.
There really is just too much to write here about the occupation to do it justice – but to flag that the video at the end of this section is pretty cool if you want to hear more.
I love the fact that the graffiti on some of the buildings (and the water tower) serve as a reminder of the occupation:
I realised whilst I was on the island that I have never actually watched a movie about (or filmed on) Alcatraz. I need to rectify this! So, if I was the sort of person to keep a “to do” list (believe me, I am not!) then somewhere near the top half of that list would be a reminder to watch at least 1 classic Alcatraz related movie in the near future. Any particular favourites, let me know!