Bright Lights Big City
Panama City Travel Blog› entry 104 of 134 › view all entries
After 5 days on open water we were all itching to get back into the swing of things in a city. Panama City didn`t disappoint. After leaving the boat we caught a 4x4 jeep that whisked us from one side of the country to the other round some hellish bends and incredible forest scenary. Panama City finally loomed up ahead of us, shining and shimmering in the glaring sunlight. It was also incredibly hot, maybe the hottest city i have ever been in, and that is saying something!
With skyscrapers, ocean views, plush apartments and millionaire playboys, Panama City is probably the most high flying capital in Central America. We were also thrilled to discover it has a Crepes and Waffles.
After taking in the city, finding the best ice cream shop was right around the corner and watching the sunset we were ready to party with the rich and famous. The night led us to a self contained street, Zona Viva where there were more bars and clubs than you had time to check out. The reggaton played, the locals swung their hips and sashayed across the floor and Jenny won a bottle of booze.
No trip to Panama is complete without a trip to see one of the most inspiring engineering feats ever undertaken, The Panama Canal. The canal joins the Atlantic and Pacific oceans through a series of locks which stretches over 51 miles. It had a massive impact on the shipping trade as it meant that the trecherous Drakes Pass and Cape Horn could be avoided and trips were much shorter. After the Spanish first suggested a quicker route through the seas through Panama, the project was finally taken up in 1889 by the French. However, overcome by problems and diseases (21,000 people died due to Dengue and Malaria) the project failed. The US finally took up the project in 1904 with a better understanding of disease control and the financial requirements of such a project.
We took ourselves to Miraflores Lock, one of three locks on the river and the one easiest to view from Panama City. We took a very interesting tour through the history of the locks ($8) and then went to see them in action. Not exactly riveting stuff but it was a really interesting afternoon spent learning about this incredible place. So many people died in its creation and it has made a massive impact on the worlds trading abilities. There are approved plans to extend and widen the canal over the next decade, lets hope that no lives are lost this time!