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Panama Canal, an Uplifting Experience

PANAMA | Tuesday, 28 August 2018 | Views [142]

We got up pretty early to go to the Panama Canal; a must do experience – or so we are told. Tim, as usual, wanted to get there how the locals do. Sure, you can pay for Hop-on-hop-off for $33, a private transfer for about $27 per person; or, you can take the local transit. Although I was sceptical, even after travelling through a variety of countries on local, crappy, buses and trains; I reluctantly agreed.

We got out the door by 8am, skipping the less desirable breakfast. We hopped on the Metro to Albrook Mall / Station. It only takes about 5 minutes and it was surprisingly not very busy at 8am. Busy is relative.

We found our stop (D) fairly easily, thanks Google and we were quickly educated by the locals that we needed to line up. It seemed weird because many of the places we have travelled there are many cheaters that ignore a line up and just crowd the doors. Happily, everyone was humbly waiting in line and I don’t think a single person would have skipped in. 

The bus was quite small and packed! It was not Mexico packed and for 25 cents, who can complain; especially for a 10 minute bus ride. Most people got off a couple stops from the locks. 

We arrived to the Panama Canal; right at the front doors. The cost of entry was $15 and we were informed that there were ships being processed through the canal; 4th floor.

The observation deck was quite full; all watching a routine ship being lifted by the gravity of water. 

The experience of the locks wasn't unique. I mean sure, this canal was incredible difficult to construct, connects the Pacific and Atlantic oceans, but they are no different than the locks along any canal in Canada; especially Ontario. 

We watched the process for a while, finally got premier standing room and took some photos.

The museum was as impressive as the locks; cool, but hard to say if the experience is worth a trip to Panama. It is a must see, I guess, but the newer expansion locks are far bigger, way more impressive yet not accessible to the public. I would like to see a container ship carrying 14 thousand containers; not one carrying a couple hundred. 

The video was pretty good, gave the history of the facility including the nationalization of the project. All in all, I would say you must come to the Canal if you come to Panama, however, I suspect the experience becomes more important after the fact. * Remember the time when...

We grabbed the bus back to Albrook Mall where we walked around. It was far less busy during the week, but increasingly busy as we were there.

We checked out some stores, The grocery store was bright and very nice!

Albrook mall has at least 4 food courts, all with food from across the globe, but mostly American. We couldn't resist grabbing a small bite to eat.

We enjoyed a panini pressed chicken parmigiana sub; does not look as good as it tasted. Yummy($1).

We headed back to our area of town. One of the local 'dive restaurants' that Tim has been eyeing up was packed. We got in line and ordered a 1/4 chicken dinner. They were barbequing and cutting them in the front of the shop; the smoke was awesome. He got typical Panamanian sides, rice, beans and banana. The chicken was a bit salty, but of the best we have ever had; amazing ($3.75).

With full bellies, we mustard the effort to get up to the hotel pool. The skies were very dark. I enjoyed the hot tub with Tim until he decided to napped on the patio chairs. I chatted with another Canadian family from Toronto for awhile. We enjoyed the roof-top area until the skies opened up on us; time to go.

The evening was pretty quiet. We went to the grocery store, got some wine and beer; then to Nikos. Tim isn't feeling well and just wanted soup; sadly it didn't look great. Instead we got an empanada and ham sub. Again, the food didn't look as good as it tastes. We enjoyed an evening in the hotel just relaxing.


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