The Canal Zone

Panama City Travel Blog

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Huge boat coming through

In no real rush this morning, I snoozed in bed for a bit eventually crawlling out around 9am.  Feeling much better than yesterday.

Adam and I hit Cafe Manolo, on Via Argentina, for churros, hot chocolate, and huevos con jamon y cebollas.  We then did a bit of shopping.  I bought an english-spanish translator as a gift for my friend Dayana, to show my thanks for her showing me around a bit.  We also hit an internet cafe for a while.

Then we met up with Bruce around 130 to go to the Canal.  This was certainly a highlight of the trip.  We timed it perfectly, too.  As we were going through the museum, they announced that two big car carrier ships were lining up for passage through the canal´s parallel sets of locks.

Locks will lower boat about 30 feet
  Each of these ships can carry over 4,000 cars - so you can imagine their size.  We scrambled through the museum and then hit the rooftop viewing deck to watch the ships go through the 3 locks.  (There are another 3 locks at the other end of the canal).  These ships were going east to west, and we were on the west end of the canal, so in this case the ships were lowered from the lake-level to sea-level. 

It was awesome.  To think, this engineering feat is nearly 100 years old and still functioning.

We also watched a brief movie in the theater about the canal history and future (including building new locks!).

Later, Adam and I had dinner at Jimmy´s cafeteria - where we had plates of mixed barbecue meat.

Two at once!
  Pretty good.  Then we hit habano´s for some outdoor drinks, billiards, and chit chat.  A relaxing evening, though turned into a bit of a late one.  

Engaged in conversation with some folks, I stayed out a bit later than Adam.  On the way home, I got stopped twice by different sets of policia asking for my papers.  Ooops.  Despite the repeated warnings by uncle bruce about carrying copies of my passport and tourist visa (which i had obeyed on most previous evenings out), on this particular night I had left them at home.  The bar was only around the corner from our apartment.  I thought it was no big deal to be without the documents.  Well, the policia thought differently.  They weren´t too happy.  But, both times, through my rudimentary spanish i was able to tell them that I didn´t want any problems, that my papers were just a block away (pointing to my building) and that i´d be happy to go get them.  It seemed to work.  I finally got home without jail time, fines, or lashing. 

 

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Huge boat coming through
Huge boat coming through
Locks will lower boat about 30 feet
Locks will lower boat about 30 feet
Two at once!
Two at once!
Gates open once water is level
Gates open once water is level
Dan in amazement
Dan in amazement
Exciting for the crew too
Exciting for the crew too
They stand and watch and wave
They stand and watch and wave
Mules guide the boats along and …
"Mules" guide the boats along and…
There they go...
There they go...
730 km (454 miles) traveled
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photo by: Biedjee