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Tuesday, August 30, 2016

CIRCLE PACIFIC ADVENTURE 2016: Day #21--The Dreamliner from Sydney to San Francisco

The Boeing Dreamliner, the 787, had a checkered early career, mostly related to a defective lithium battery system.  Originally conceived in the late 1990's, after 9/11, designers created a more efficient and environmentally friendly mid-sized airliner to largely replace Boeing's 767.  In 2003 there were 500,000 entrants, from which Dreamliner was selected.  

This is the first plane to use so much fiber composite, supplemented by titanium and aluminum.  The manufacturing has been largely international, with Japan, South Korea, Sweden, France, India, Australia, Canada and the UK supplying parts and components.  The cabin pressure is the equivalent of 6,000 feet elevation,  improving cabin comfort, whereas other planes provide 8,000 foot altitude conditions.

I have avoided this model because it originally only had two-classes.  The plane roughly costs $250 million, and, thus far, Boeing has lost something like $32 billion on the 445 delivered.  However, profits are expected soon from the 1161 on order.  Above is what Super Business Class looks like, and below, economy.

Passenger surveys have been favorable, and I enjoyed my flight.  However, United has a problem with respect to their audio system on all their airplanes.  Oh, and watch out for some of their flights where you will need to download unto your smart phone or iPad an application or you will not be able watch or hear anything.


My flight from Sydney to San Francisco of 7432 miles took 13 hours.  In 2011 an early 787 went 10,710 miles from the state of Washington to Dhaka, Bangladesh, then on around the world in 42 hours, 27 minutes.  

At the Sydney airport, I had an option of the Singapore or Air New Zealand lounges.  I chose Singapore, where I had a small snack with a Bloody Mary and champagne:


However, I also went to the New Zealand lounge, and thought it was larger, spiffier and classier.

My Dreamliner:

There are only two classes, and I had seat 1L in something called Super Business Class.  The plane passed Sydney, here in sepia:


There were early small dishes, followed by my pasta dinner with red wine and beer:


There was a mid-meal of ham and cheese sandwich, and before we arrived in San Francisco:


I've noticed these cosmetics on United flights:


Cowshed?  Cowshed sounds like a stable, evoking cow pies and such.

The biggest surprise of all was that my flight flew right over the Hawaiian Islands.   I guess that makes sense in case of an emergency.

Watched three movies and tried to sleep...but couldn't.  However, the trip went by quickly, and the plane landed an hour early, which was bad, because at 6AM, even through customs and all I still reached the Four Points Sheraton SFO Airport by 8AM.  Thankfully, I got a room and went to sleep for a few hours.  I then later in the day returned to the airport and brought back the following take-out for  my dinner:


Note the Hellyer's Road Single Malt from Tasmania.  Here are my four most significant purchases on this trip:


First my $2 cane, which I still have not lost, although I had to go back and retrieve it at least three times.  (Hint:  if they see you with a cane, they tend to put you on the plane first with babies and their families.)  I ordered six more safari shirts from my tailor in Bangkok, Jackie.  This is generation #8, now with inside pockets and two with long sleeves.  That is an Emporio Armani watch, which I got for $23 on Sukhumvit.  In the department store close by, an identical version sold for $361.  Mine keeps good time and is typical of much you can buy in Bangkok.

About that Tasmanian Hellyer's Road 12-year old single malt, it is:

matured in American oak casks and vatted in timber. It is predominately a sweet malt with full-flavoured golden honey, oiliness, heavy citrus, vanilla and curious floral notes.  

I tried to get a Sullivan's Cove, named the best single malt in the world last year, but they only make a small quantity of this potion in Tasmania.  So, anyway, I paid $75 for the only "scotch" available in duty free from Australia.  The best in 2016?  Back to Scotland:  Old Pulteney.  You can still buy it, for $177.

Tomorrow, my San Francisco adventure, as I move on to the Westin St. Francis.

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Both Hurricanes Madeline at 110 MPH and Lester at 140 MPH continue to head for Hawaii.  However, Madeline looks like she is veering a bit south, and, while still a hurricane on Thursday, the eye should be sufficiently south of Honolulu that my lanai plants should not be affected, if they're alive anyway, for I've been away for more than three weeks:


Yet, I saw Hurricane Iniki in 1992 suddenly make a sudden right turn, striking Kauai with 145 MPH winds.


Hurricane Lester, while dangerously powerful today, is expected to lose strength, and most probably move slightly north of Honolulu:


However, just look at the range of computer models.  Anyway, my United flight from San Francisco on Friday will squeeze into Honolulu just after Madeline and  right before Lester.

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