Journal, Travel

Angel Island

On Sunday, I took the Blue and Gold Fleet ferry to Angel Island State Park. From 1910 to 1943, Angel Island served as the “Guardian of the Western Gate.” It handled the flow of immigrants to America’s western shores, and it also served as an ideal detention facility for Chinese immigrants. The Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 were a series of laws aimed at restricting or even prohibiting the immigration of Asians, most notably the Chinese, into the country. Chinese immigrants eager to start a new life were held at Angel Island from as little as three weeks to as long as 22 months at the facility, which was small and crowded.

Still legible to this day, poetry carved into the walls speak the tales of the detainees. Our school systems’ history books rarely recount the tales of America’s hand in dishing out suffering and humiliation. We’re always the good guys, it seems, when in fact it’s often the other way around. Coming to Angel Island, which is just a few minutes boat ride away from San Francisco, brings to light some of the injustices that are still being carried out to this day by our government (though the names and races may have changed). But, we must be good citizens and not speak badly of our country, eh?

People who went to Angel Island included Rae, Levi, May, Salim, Vanessa, Lisa, Maya, David, Andy, Karen, Laurie, and Bob. It was fun hiking up to the immigration center, though we didn’t have enough time to hike up to the top of the island. The last boat left for San Francisco at 4:30 pm and we finished with the immigration station tour at around 3:00 pm. While on the boat, we noticed a pack of seagulls following in the boat’s wake. It appears they were tagging along for the ride in the boat’s slipstream, something that cyclists do in a paceline (the infamous peloton) or motorists do on the raceway. Some guy decided it was a good idea to throw the seagulls food into the air. It attracted quite the crowd of birds, and I’m sure that the other passengers were hoping that they did not start launching their poop bombs on them!

When we returned to Pier 41, we walked over to Pier 39 where we watched a blubbery blanket of sea lions at the dock. They were very cute and very blubbery! In the evening, we met up with Rae’s parents at Far East restaurant in Chinatown.

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