Friday, September 3, 2010

The Googleplex and Candlestick Park

Today we went to have lunch with David at Google's Mountain View Campus, had a brief tour of some of the buildings there and took a few photos. Photography inside the Google buildings is prohibited, but out in the publicly accessible areas it's a different story.

The courtyard outside Charlies Cafe at Google

Google's Android team are rather proud of their creation and have a set of statues on display commemorating important moments in the mobile OS's history, including an Android to symbolise the operating system itself, a Cupcake for the first major system update (appropriately named Cupcake), a Donut, Eclair and a giant cup of Froyo for subsequent releases and an oversized Nexus One, the first (and to date only) phone released by Google themselves, which of course ran the Android OS.

The Android, The Donut and Some Clown at Google

After leaving Google, we started making our way to Candlestick Park, home of the San Francisco 49ers, as we had tickets to their preseason game against the San Diego Chargers. We also made a slight detour to Palo Alto to have a Jamba Juice Smoothie. For those reading in Australia, Jamba Juice is similar to the Boost juice bars, except that Jamba Juice make their drinks in sizes that include a "Power" size, which is approximately 24 ounces, much bigger than the biggest Boost size. The wonders of the US economy also result in this 24 ounce mother of all smoothies costing quite a bit less than a similar (but smaller) Australian smoothie, at less than 6 US Dollars.

The 49ers take to the field

We then headed to Candlestick Park, as it was almost 4pm, and the gates had been open for some time. Even though the game had a 7pm kickoff, the 49ers actively encourage early arriving and tailgating at their games. They even permit tailgaters to bring outside alcohol and barbecues into the carpark and provide disposal bins specifically for hot ashes. With that said, there is no shortage of warning signs that remind spectators that excessive drinking and unruly behaviour will not be tolerated.

Anthony Dixon scoring the 49ers first touchdown of the game

Inside the stadium, there are numerous fast food, beverage and merchandise outlets wherever you turn, with beer available in aluminium bottlecans, plastic bottles or plastic cups, but no glass. If you don't want to eat in your seat, there are sit down restaurants, but we were happy eating in our seats. Especially as our seats were right in front of the Papa Murphy's Pizza outlet, which also happened to serve 20 ounce cups of beer.

Jarret Black takes a knee with 26 seconds left in the game to seal the win for the 49ers

Meanwhile, on the field, the 49ers were chasing a perfect preseason record of 4 wins from 4 games. Things were looking good with a touchdown on their opening drive, and when they held the Chargers scoreless for the entire first half, adding a field goal to their own tally in the second quarter, things were looking even better. Two touchdowns by the Chargers in the third quarter turned things back in San Diego's favour, but the 49ers came through in the fourth quarter with another touchdown and managed to shut down San Diego's final charge with about 25 seconds left on the game clock.

In'n'Out burger, not only great food, but a dining room that open after football games

After a visit to one of the larger merchandise shops at the stadium, we headed back to the Caddy and off towards San Jose, although the best route to San Jose after a 49ers game involves heading further north towards downtown San Francisco before you can get away from the traffic and head for home. By this time we were all feeling like a bit to eat, so we stopped in at an In'n'Out for a burger and some fries.

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