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Wednesday, March 27, 2013

MUGA: Day 2--San Francisco to Sydney

MUGA, of course, is the acronym for My Ultimate Global Adventure.  I had a few hours today, so decided to catch BART to SFO downtown and have lunch at Tadich Grill, not only the oldest restaurant in the city, but also the entire state of California.  One hundred and sixty four years old according to their neon sign:

According to Forbes, this is one the top ten classical restaurants in the country:

My favorite waiter is Anton:

I started with a Bloody Mary (1) and a Sierra Nevada beer (2) with a bowl of Coney Island Clam Chowder:

My main dish consisted of grilled tuna and salmon with a large green salad:

The total bill came to $60, including $17 roundtrip on BART.  Considering that a small appetizer at Robuchon's is more expensive, all things considered, it was worth the outing today.  The walk from the Montgomery Street Station east end is only around 5 minutes, and it took about an hour from the Four Points Sheraton at the airport to the restaurant.

I first came to Tadich as a student at Stanford when the restaurant was on Clay Street (that is a menu from 1964).  This area got redeveloped, so Tadich Grill came to the middle of town in the Financial District on California in 1967 

Reservations are not accepted, so if it's lunch you want, wait at the door at 11AM (11:30 on Saturday, closed on Sunday).  By 11:15AM both the bar stools and tables could be filled.  They serve 700/day.

About that unnervingly long 14.5 hour flight expected, all over the ocean.  Surely, United must use the best airplane they have, which today will be a Boeing 747-400 (later in this itinerary I will fly on the new Lufthansa Boeing 747-8 from Beijing to Frankfurt, and that giant Thai Air Airbus 380 from Bangkok to Tokyo).  Anyway, that's a lot of water today with no fail safe option.

Another matter that has been on my mind is, if the surface of our planet is moving, west to east, at 1000 miles/hour, why, since the plane is at 40,000 feet, the flight west to Sydney from San Francisco takes so long.  You would think 600 MPH plus 1000 MPH divided into 7400 miles should result in a flight time of 4.6 hours.  But I will be in the air 14.5 hours, an average speed of 511 MPH.  Why?  Well, the atmosphere, apparently, moves with the surface of Planet Earth, and, more so, other conditions can cause headwinds, even more extending the flight time.  The flight from Honolulu to San Francisco took only four hours, or the plane averaged 600 MPH, because of tailwinds.  Going back from San Francisco to Honolulu generally takes 5 hours because of that headwind, which is only 480 MPH.

Well, anyway, got kicked out of my hotel at 3:30PM, and my flight is not until 10:30PM, so I went to the United First Class Lounge (listen to the nice jazz music--I think only Narita, Los Angeles and Chicago are the others).  That is my plane with a few drinks [from the right: Crown Royal Reserve on rocks (3), a junmai daiginjo sake (4) and champagne (5), plus nuts).

I had such a large lunch that I hardly touched the lounge food:

Well, return for the full story, which I'll re-post from Sydney.


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