We’ve all seen countless photos of San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge, but did you know there’s an inspiring story behind its construction? This was a bridge which everyone said shouldn’t be built and couldn’t be built. By the sheer determination of one man, Joseph Strauss, this engineering feat was accomplished. Not only that, but in those days, for every $1 mil of construction, 1 life was lost. This bridge was to be constructed at a cost of $35 mil and he vowed that he would not lose 35 men. He invented a movable safety net which was constructed under the bridge and in the course of the 5 year construction, 19 men fell into the safety net. These men subsequently formed a club which they called “The halfway to hell club”. Unfortunately, 11 men lost their lives when a chunk of concrete fell and was too heavy for the safety net to withstand. Thanks to one man who made the extra effort, 19 lives were saved, and 19 families were shielded from devastation. I’m sure if we all had a vision and persevered, great things can be done too. Ah, I’m inspired to ram up my engine. There’s so many things I want to do on my bucket list but just have to find the time.
|Most photographed bridge in the world
As the boat made it’s way back to Fisherman’s Wharf, we passed Alcatraz, the high-security prison which held the most notorious criminals. It is no more in use and has been converted to a museum and tourist attraction. As I looked out across the waters, the stark contrast of what the bridge and the prison stood for hit me squarely. Imagine, as little babies, there is so much potential ahead of each and everyone of us which could be used for good or evil. As parents, we have such great responsibility to ensure our children go out into the world and bring positive change instead of destruction.
The last time I’ve been to San Francisco was about 30 years ago. How it has changed. We passed this futuristic building in Anaheim. Guess what it is? A church! Looks more like something out of Batman. It is in fact the largest glass building in the world.
|Used to be Crystal Cathedral
As part of of our pilgrimage to Mexico and California, we visited the many missions along the West Coast. Our first stop was downtown L.A. where we visited the largest Catholic church in L.A. I really liked the beautiful wall tapestry depicting the saints.
|Cathedral of our Lady of the Angels
We met up with Corrine May as she is currently based in L.A. and were looking forward to hearing her sing. However, the 80-year-old docent was so enthusiastic in sharing with us about the history and significance of the various details that he exceeded his tour of the church by more than an hour. How come we don’t feel patriotic like that about our own country?
|17 mile drive
The majesty of the Pacific Ocean is just breathtaking. I could sit here all day. Listening to the sounds of nature. Breathing in the essence of life. Feeling a deep sense of peace. Being humbled by the vast expense of the ocean and being reminded of how little we are in the scheme of things. Writing poetry. Dreaming. I’m getting carried away…
There are lots of candy stores everywhere, and honestly I have never seen that much sugar on display before. Glad my kids were not with me. I’m sure Kate would have quietly popped a couple in her mouth while no one was noticing.
|Sugar high, anyone?
I just had to take this photo to show my kids. They watch Spongebob and keep going on about crabby patties and crab shacks. They were tickled to see a real one.
I couldn’t leave California without a visit to the beach. Although we were on a tight schedule, I woke up early in the morning and called a cab from our hotel to Pismo beach. The lovely lady cab driver was kind enough to pick me from the same spot 2 hours later. I had the beach almost entirely to myself and it was such an uplifting experience to sit there on the sand, taking in the sight. There is something about the sound of the waves which is so soothing and calming to the spirit.
Ok I’ve decided. Starting from this year-end school holidays, I must make an effort to take the kids to venture into our surrounding islands every school holiday or long weekend as they don’t even know what their souls are yearning for. All that buzz, all that rush. A nature detox is what we need.