Waygo in the Wild: Angel Island Edition

Last week Ryan shared his experiences using Waygo in the wild during his 3-week trip to China.This week, we decided to test out Waygo in the Californian wild. Where to? Angel Island. At 1.2 square miles, Angel Island is the largest of the San Francisco Bay islands, including the famous former prison island of Alcatraz.

Angel Island has been used for a variety of purposes over the years and is open today as a California State Park and National Historical Landmark. Perhaps its most famous use was as an immigration station, explaining its sometimes nickname of “Ellis Island of the West.” From 1910 to 1940 about 1 million Asian immigrants to the U.S., mostly from China, were processed at the station. While most immigrants were held for a few days or weeks, as a result of the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882, some Chinese immigrants were held up for a few years, or even deported back to China after failing interrogations. Many of the interrogation questions were obscure questions about village life or family history that could have been easily answered mistakingly.

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Leaving San Francisco via ferry.

Ferry boat to Angel Island

Bye bye, Bay Bridge!

A small museum about the history of the immigration station remains open today where visitors can learn more about the immigrants and their experiences. Some immigrants depicted notes and poems into the walls of their barracks, still present today. In addition to the museum, the grounds of the Immigration Station are full of informational plaques, monuments, and signs, all in Chinese and English. How did Waygo do? See here:

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天使岛 (tiān shĭ dăo): Angel Island (天使: Angel, 岛: Island)

If you’re curious to learn more about Angel Island, I recommend reading Shanghai Girls by Lisa See. Or better yet, check out Angel Island for yourself, just a 25-minute ferry ride from San Francisco. In addition to the Immigration Station, there are several hiking trails and absolutely gorgeous views of the Bay Area from Mt. Livermore at 788 feet.

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Ali