Checking out the Panama canal ,and surroundings !
Gamboa Travel Blog› entry 4 of 32 › view all entries
Today was the big day that we were going to check out the place wich has put Panama on the map - The great Panama canal ! The only bridge between the Pacific and the Caribbean oceans...
As the main attraction in Panama the transport possibilities were riddicuosly small. Only 2 ways really ; take a taxi out there,15-20$, or take the bus with the locals - 0,25$ - I`ll settle for the bus any day !
We did have some problems finding it though as our combined spanish knowledge is that of a 1,5 year old native spanish speaker... but eventually we found the Gamboa bus at the bus station, and were good to go!
The canal was pretty cool ! first there was a video about the history , then a 4 floor high exhibition with some information and a simulator where you`re in a big container ship and driving through the canal.
22000 people died when building the canal, due to yellow fever and other mosquito related diseases, and they drilled enough holes to make it through the earth a couple of times.
We got to see some smaller boats go through the locks , and it takes them less time to fille the lock then it takes to fill an average bathtub, even though it`s enough water for a small country.
It`s a good idea to be thre around 9-11 or 14-15 as the big boats tend to come at those times.
After seeing the canal me and Torunn were set on going towards Gamboa to see the natural park Soberania there. It is said to be the best place in the world for bird watching, as there are over 500 species of bird there. All in all it`s pretty impressive that a small country like Panama actually has more species of bird the North-Amerika, Canada AND Europe all together.
The red devils did`nt want to take us , so eventually after waiting for a long time for the bus we just hooked up with a polish couple that also waited for the bus. Like mostthe other europeans we met they spoke spanish very well, makes us feel a bit stupid (but at least I am going through my nice audio course at the moment) .
The taxi took us to a botanical garden/zoo , so we decided to visit that place. That was OK , but it is still a thousand times more fun to see the animals in a free state in their own habitat....so we are prepared to do loads of hiking in the rainforrests of central Amerika the next weeks!
As the day was growing old (and due to some misinformation from my dear lonely planet) we decied to try and get a bus home from the place where we were (the middle of nothing).
That was a pretty hopeless project as the bus driver for some reason don`t even want us on their bus....but then an american woman asked us if we needed a ride ,and drove us back to Panama city ! Amazing to meet people that bother doing something like that for some strange backpackers who are lost !