Panama City, Panama
May 3-9th, 2006

When we had the opportunity to go to Panama, I must admit I had to find out where it was…of course I had heard of the Panama Canal, but I really didn’t know exactly where it was.

Set in a tropical rainforest environment, they are very fortunate to be situated in an area of great bio diversity… can you imagine, 936 species of birds are in this area? There are 125 animal species found only in Panama. Panama is also home to the Smithsonian Institute of Tropical Research, the world's primary tropical scientific investigation center, which for 80 years has been cataloging and monitoring this vast ecological heritage. When we were out on the Causeway having lunch, we saw this building and I would have loved to have had time to visit it..

Spanish is the primary language with English as a second language. They are mostly Catholic. I absolutely loved the weather, so perfect – not to hot or cold. Here is a site that tells you more about Panama

Our trip was short and for business, so I have only included shots of the Panama Canal and the ships coming through the third and last Miraflores lock towards Panama City plus a bit of the old French quarter. It is a city of high rises, with many more being built. Great food, nice people and very safe.

On the Sunday before leaving, we took a cab out to the Panama Canal to see it for ourselves…we were told that a couple of ships would be coming through in about 40 minutes so decided to have dinner while waiting. The restaurant overlooks the lock so we could watch them approaching then go outside on the deck to get pictures.

The first picture is of the locks in place, with both ships in the distance approaching it. The second is the lock on the left draining in preparation for the ship. You can see the little train like machines on either sides of the ship. They are called mules after the animals that used to pull barges. These guide the ships through. It takes approximately 9 hours to go through the three sets of locks. These ships were headed southbound or from the Atlantic to Pacific Oceans. These locks are about 100 feet wide and about 1000 feet long. You can see one high where the ship is, one draining and still another lower. Then as it goes through it locks, fills up then the ship it out of the lock.

There is lots of information on this, plus there is also a wonderful museum here that you can go through and see how it was built, who built it and what type of equipment they used to build it. I found it interesting that the causeway was created from dredging as well as a few smaller islands nearby. Absolutely worth seeing.

The French quarter was so wonderful, and there were many places undergoing restoration. The facades must be kept as is but you can do anything you want to behind them. I thought in a few years time this will be the place to live here…stunning and so historical. Look at some of the before and after shots…

Then it was on to the causeway to have lunch with some friends. I took this picture of this bright and colourful little shop, then one of the restaurant that we ate at.



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