Wednesday, 7-27-11, Day Three of Post-Conference Vacation

Alcatraz Island

Sunday Night, 7-24-11

(that web page already had the "rhetoic" seminar, so I thought it made more sense to describe the tourist side of Sunday evening here)

Liz and I decided on the touristy choice of Pier 39, so we left the hotel about 4:00, walked down to Market Street and after about a ten minute wait, caught the "F" trolley ($2/each) to Embaradero Station, where it then turned north and followed the pier all the way up to our stop. We spent several hours walking around the pier, buying trinkets like key chains and postcards and bumper stickers, and looking for souvenirs for Rachel and Sarah.

sea lions at the end of Pier 39

We took some photos of Alcatraz and the sea lions, and then headed back, looking at various seafood restaurants. We finally decided on Neptune's Palace, a more expensive choice than some, but it provided us with a terrific dinner and a spectacular view of Alcatraz, the Golden Gate Bridge, and a lot of gulls. I recommend the seafood Alfredo, with shrimp, scallops, sea bass and salmon.

Then we leisurely walked back, watching a street juggler and picking up a few more trinkets. We caught a less-crowded "F" trolley back to Market and 4th Streets, and were back in the hotel by around 9:00.

Wednesday, 7-27-11

Tom drove us to the de Young Art Museum, as we made a leisurely approach to the S.F. Airport. We entered the Picasso Exhibit at 3:00, and then we spent more than an hour walking through the 8 or so rooms with about 150 of Picasso's paintings and sculptures. Tom invested in audio phones for us, which provided an individual tour lecture. It worked much like an iPod, in that some paintings or works of art had a number (about two or three per room, perhaps 25-30 in all), and when you tapped the number on the console, the ear phone would deliver a several minute talk about the work. We then bought souvenirs in the special Picasso area gift shop, as well as the regular de Young shop, before ascending nine stories to the top of the observation tower, which provided a wonderful view of the city (only a little fog that day).

"It took me four years to paint like Raphael, but a lifetime to paint like a child." -Picasso

"When I paint, I feel that all the artists of the past are behind me." -Picasso

"God is really only another artist." -Picasso

quotations from or about Picasso on the walls of the special exhibit at the de Young Museum:

"Art is a lie that makes us realize the truth." -Picasso

"Art . . . is an offensive weapon in the defense against the enemy." -Picasso

[commenting on the African masks, the artist observed] "Men have created these works for a sacred purpose. They are a kind of meditation between themselves and the hostile forces around them. Painting is not an aesthetic operation. It is a kind of magic, a way of seizing power, by giving form to our terror as well as to our desires." -Picasso

"Art is never chaste." -Picasso

[from an art critic?] "He has no real style. He just goes on trying other things."

Tom then drove us around the Golden Gate Park, so we could enjoy some of its botanical delights, and ended up at the ocean. We got out (Liz promptly taking off her sandals, so she could walk in the sand barefoot) and spent some time on the beach, noticing that: A) it was free B) they had permanent structures for people to make fires in for wienie and marshmallow roasts C) the sand was darker (according to Liz) D) It was colder (as opposed to Rachel, Sarah and their friends baking down in Pt. Pleasant on Sat., Tom loaded Liz an extra jacket from the trunk because with the wind, it was chilly.

We considered one or two new places to eat dinner, but we all really liked the Park Chow on Monday for lunch, so we returned there, this time sitting downstairs because we thought the second floor might be too chilly. To warm up, we had one order of delicious warm feta cheese dip with little pieces of toast. I had the Fusilli w. chicken and sausage in a delicious tomato and mushroom sauce, and caved in to Dianne's suggestion to indulge in the banana-butterscotch cream pie, which was, in fact, amazing. Tom then drove us to the San Francisco Airport, about 20 minutes away, where we boarded the plane to New Jersey, via Charlotte, NC.

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