S: Panama Canal...It's a Plan and Adventure with Yesenia
BC: "When you travel, remember that a foreign country is not designed to make you comfortable. It is designed to make its own people comfortable." – Clifton Fadiman
FC: Panama Canal It's a Plan, and an Adventure with Yesenia
1: March 16-March 26, 2013 March 16 Flew from Kansas City to Dallas to Panama City March 17 Toured the Colonial and the Old City and ate dinner at the Miraflores Locks March 18 Traveled by bus to Anton Valley, visited the Centro Basico El Valle School, enjoyed a home hosted lunch and learned how to make tamales March 19 Shopped the El Valle Market and toured El Nispero Zoo & Conservation Center March 20 Visited Natalio Murillo's Sugar Cane Plantation and the Gamboa Resort Butterfly Garden March 21 Rode in dug out canoes to interact with the people of the Embera Indian village March 22 Zip lined though the rain forest canopy, visited the new locks and exhibition center and finally embarked on the M/S Discovery.. Sailed through the Gatun Locks and anchored in Gatun Lake March 23 Hiked in the San Lorenzo National Park and explored the San Lorenzo Fort. In the evening took a zodiac ride around Tiger Island March 24 Cruised Gatun Lake, Miraflores and Pedro Miguel Locks and toured Taboga Island March 25 Disembarked the M/S Discovery and returned to Panama City. for a city tour and farewell dinner March 26 Returned back to the US | Discovering Panama
2: Setting out on another great adventure...to cruise the Panama Canal
3: Day 2 of our adventure found us at the French Plaza along the water front in the Old Quarter.
4: Modern Panama City
5: Historic Panama City
6: The Boyacá House is one of Panama's historic icons. The name comes from its resemblance to the bow of a ship. Boyacá was a famous Colombian war ship of the time. | The “Tiger's Paw” bastion, dating back to the 15th century is the only place in Panama City where it's possible to have an idea of the original appearance and dimensions of the colonial fortifications facing inland.
7: This plaza originated in the wake of the 1781 fire. Known in the mid-nineteenth century as Plaza de Triunfo ( truinfo means victory), it was used for bullfights. In 1887 it was renamed Herrera Plaza in honor of Panamanian general and statesman Tomas Herrera 1804-1854. | Plaza Herrera
8: Ruins of the Convent of the Society of Jesus: Built in 1749, was destroyed in 1781 when much of the city was affected by fire. It hosts inside the Real y Pontificia Universidad de San Javier until 1767, when King Carlos III decided to expel the Jesuits. Panama's government restored the ruins of the convent in 1983.
9: San Jose Church Church of Golden Alter
10: The Metropolitan Cathedral is located on Plaza de la Catedral also known as Plaza de la Independencia which is the heart of Casco Viejo with many events through out the year. It is an important landmark of Casco Antiguo. It has been used as a bullring. By 1890 it was transformed into a park with elements of the French influence. In November 1903 Panama declared its independence from Columbia on this Plaza. It was at that moment that the Republic of Panama was born, with much euphoria.
11: The Flat Arch and Santo Domingo Church | The ruins of the church & convent of Santo Domingo is one of the most important monumental colonial Old Town of Panama. The Dominican friars began to build their church immediately after the founding of Casco Antiguo on 1678 . But the fire of 1756 burned all the woodwork and the church was not rebuilt - but the flat arch still stood. This architectural triumph has remained intact, resisting earthquakes and time with no support other than the terminal arches. This old arch also played an important part in building the canal, for the reason that it had remained standing all these years was convincing proof that Panama was outside of the earthquake area, and this fact was a deciding factor in the momentous question of building a lock type canal when the question was being debated as to the feasibility of a sea-level or lock type.
12: OUR | through the shopping district | Paseo Esteban Huertas
13: Panama's cuisine is varied, rich and exotic due to it being a tropical melting pot of cultures with a delectable wide variety of tropical fruits, vegetables and seafood. Diablicos featured Panama's most popular typical dishes. We enjoyed a delicious typical Panamanian lunch in this exotic, colorful venue featuring items from Panama's folkloric culture. The waiters even were dressed in folkloric dress. It is located in the famous historic sector of Casco Viejo.
14: The indigenous Kuna women arrive in the early mornings, in their traditional dress, to set up their market stalls near Casco Viejo’s waterfront, where they sell their famous and unique hand-made ‘molas’ (clothes in Kuna language) and blankets in the typical bright colors. Over in the business district, where people identify more with the U.S. than with their own Panama, the Kuna presence is nearly non-existent, just one example of how the two areas of Panama City feel like two entirely different worlds.
15: Molas from Kuna indians from San Blas Islands
17: Conceptionist Cathedral | Panama La Vieja, The First Settlement of the Spaniards in the Pacific Ocean, Constructed in 1519 almost entirely of wood, it was a city almost fated to burn down, which it did in 1671. The stone buildings withstood the fire, and the Cathedral Tower and Bishop's House is what we see today.
18: A settlement was founded on 15 August 1519 by Pedro Arias Dávila and 100 other inhabitants. At the time, it was the first permanent European settlement on the Pacific Ocean. At the beginning of the 17th century, the city was attacked several times by pirates and indigenous people from Darién. On 2 May 1620, an earthquake damaged many buildings in the city. On 21 February 1644, the Great Fire destroyed 83 religious buildings, including the cathedral. At this time, there were 8,000 people living in the city. In 1670, the city counted 10,000 inhabitants. On 28 January 1671, the Welsh privateer Henry Morgan attacked the city with 1,400 men marching from the Caribbean coast across the jungle. Morgan's force defeated the city's militia then proceeded to sack Panamá.
20: Enjoying a meal and view of the Miraflores Locks
21: Miraflores Locks, Panama Canal: This is the first set of locks situated on the Pacific entrance of the Panama Canal. The locomotives maneuver the ships through the locks prior to being raised or lowered 27 feet per chamber. Twenty six million gallons of water is transferred in only 7 minutes and all done by gravity. There are three sets of locks in the Panama Canal. On the Pacific entrance are Miraflores, with two chambers, and Pedro Miquel with one chamber. On the Atlantic is one set of locks with 3 chambers, the Gatun Locks. Ships are raised a total of 87 feet above sea level into Gatun Lake and then lowered at the end of their transit into the other ocean. Panama receives as much as 200 inches of rain per year. This was a determining factor in placing the canal there since 52 million gallons of fresh water is lost to the ocean on each transit.
22: The Bridge of the Americas crosses the Pacific approach to the Panama Canal at Balboa, near Panama City. It was built between 1959 and 1962 by the United States at a cost of 20 million U.S. dollars. From its completion in 1962 until the opening of the Centennial Bridge in 2004, the Bridge of the Americas was a key part of the Pan-American Highway connecting North and South America. | Bridge of Americas
23: Quesos Chela offers hearth-baked breads and artisan cheeses made locally, but the real draw is the empanadas. These dumpling-shaped delights contain a spicy, savory mixture of meats and cheeses pocketed in a flaky, buttery crust. We tried a savory beef and cheese empanada accompanied by the ground-corn and vanilla Chicheme made with sugary-sweet oat milk Avena.
24: Centro Basico El Valle School | A student from the second grade class greeted each of us as we got off the bus and we were given a quick tour of the school on the way to their classroom. They sang a few songs and performed typical Panamanian dances for us. Afterwards we were able to meet and talk with some of the students parents.
31: Home of Maria Candelaria | We were taken to Maria's home for a lunch of Panamanian home-made dishes. These were prepared over open fires by Maria and her daughters.
32: We visited a local family to learn how to make tamales
35: A good traveler has no fixed plans, and is not intent on arriving. Lao Tzu | Our bus driver Miguel
36: Hotel Los Mandarios in Anton El Valle
38: El Valle Conservation Center at El Nispero Zoo
43: Flower of the Holy Spirit
44: Street Market for the Festival of Saint Joseph
46: Valley of Square Trees
48: Festival of Saint Joseph
51: Lunch along the Pan American Highway
52: Natalio Murillo's Sugar Cane Mill Farm located in Anton Community, Cocle Province
57: Sugar Cane Candy making process . Each day 100 stocks are harvested from the field by 89 year old Natalio Murillo. The sugar cane is crushed in a donkey driven press to squeeze out the cane juice. The sugar cane juice is then boiled over an open fire and constantly stirred for hours until it thickens. It is then poured into molds, where it cools and hardens to become sugar cane candy. The candy then is cut, packaged and sold in local markets.
59: Natalio Murillo his daughter and brother
63: On a late night walk we discovered leaf cutter ants
68: We received a friendly welcome to the Village
71: School--Embera Quera Style
72: Lunch--Embera Quera style
77: The art of body painting using black dye from the jagua, an inedible jungle fruit. The technique for making baskets from natural fibers are so tightly woven that they can even hold water.
80: After a fun exciting day the Embera people bid us good bye
82: The old School of the Americas located on the former U.S. Fort Gulick is now the Melia Panama Canal Hotel
83: Fort Gulick | was a US Army post in the Panama Canal Zone and location of the School of the Americas. It was transfered to Panama in 1999.
86: Exhibition Center in Gatun for the New Expansion Locks of the Panama Canal
87: Enjoying lunch at the Panama Canal Yacht Club before boarding the M/S Discovery for our trip through the Panama Canal
88: You cannot start any voyage without the proper life boat drill
89: First order of the day was sailing through the Gatun Locks. They were the first of three locks that we would need to pass through.
90: San Lorenzo National Park
92: The fort of San Lorenzo guarded the mouth of the Chagres River and is made up of barracks and batteries of cannons to create a defensive line to protect Spaniard shipments. Conquered by Henry Morgan in 1668 and by Admiral Edward Vernon in 1739, this fortifications was continuously rebuilt because it command the access to the Isthmus of Panama, which has always been of the utmost importance for Europe's commerce with its colonies. In 1761 the Spaniards rebuilt the fort for the third time, building the structures seen today. Fort San Lorenzo was abandoned by Spain in 1821. | Fort San Lorenzo
93: Overlooking the Chagres River | Overlooking the Caribbean Sea
94: Gatun Dam | The Gatun Dam is a large earthen dam across the Chagres River in Panama, near the town of Gatun. The dam, constructed between 1907 and 1913, is a crucial element of the Panama Canal; it impounds the artificial Gatun Lake, which in turn carries ships for 21 miles of their transit across the Isthmus of Panama. In addition, a hydro-electric generating station at the dam generates electricity which is used to operate the locks and other equipment in the canal. Construction of the dam was a great engineering achievement, eclipsed only by the parallel excavation of the Culebra Cut; at the time of completion, the dam was the largest earthen dam in the world. Lake Gatun was the largest artificial lake in the world.
95: Kayaking in Gatun Lake
96: INCREDIBLE | to the Tiger Islands
98: Everything you want to know about the Panama Canal
100: JJ helped us chart our trip in Panama to map every place we had seen during our adventure.
101: Dugout canoe teams raced from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific Ocean in Panama's Ocean-to-Ocean Cayuco Race, an annual event that began in 1954. The event, which takes place over three days covers a distance of 50 miles, and rather than using modern canoes and kayaks, teams of between four and eight paddlers, compete in cayucos - traditional style dugout canoes made in Panama. | Panama's Ocean-to-Ocean Cayuco Race
102: Day 9 Our final day cruising in the canal.
105: Dredging the Canal | Continual dredging work is required to clear earth slides to maintain safe, navigable passageways. Silting and sedimentation, common to moving bodies of water, also require continual dredging to accommodate the draft of ship hulls. In February 2004, The Panama News reported a new record: 7,800 cubic yards of spoil were dredged from the bottom of Gatun Lake in an eight-hour shift.
106: Centennial Bridge & Gaillard Cut
107: Pedro Miguel Locks
108: Miraflores Locks
109: Passing under the Bridge of the Americas into the Ocean This bridge is a cantilever design with a total length of 5,425 ft. or over a mile long. The clearance under the main span is 201 ft at high tide. All ships must cross under this bridge when traversing the canal, and are subject to this height restriction. | Bridge of the Americas
110: Taboga Island The town of San Pedro on Tabago Island is a popular tourist destination about 12.5 miles from Panama City
115: Church of San Pedro It was built around 1524 and is located in the center of town. The church is reported to be the second oldest church still in use in the western hemisphere.
116: M/S Discovery Length: 108 ft Beam: 32 ft Draft: 6 ft Passenger Capacity: 24 passengers, 9 crew
118: Middle Row: Irene Killough Naturalist Gary Hiraiwa Michael Woods Terry Behrendt Greg Nastrom Barry Lingle Thomas Powers Mark Weston Richard Weicht Wayne Roth | Front Row: Staff | Back row: Staff Mae Behrendt Alice Lanciotti Gayle Powers Linda Weicht Lisa Woods Anne Weston Darlene Nastrom Janice Lingle Lois Hiraiwa Ronald Henderson Katherine Henderson Thais Beams Captain Omar Aguilar | Our Grand Circle Group
119: Our chef worked hard in her tiny galley to prepare appetizing and delicious food for everyone.
120: Martyrs' Day is a Panamanian holiday which commemorates the January 9, 1964 riots over sovereignty of the Panama Canal Zone. | Martyr's Day Memorial Eternal Flame
122: Handcraft Market
123: Shopping and lunch in everyday downtown
125: Everyone in our group was curious about the Red Devils. On our last day in Panama City JJ waved down a colorful bus for all of us to enjoy a Red Devil ride.
126: In Panama City you can enjoy your McDonalds or KFC and have it delivered.
127: The beginning and end of our trip was spent at the Hotel Tryp
128: 5 plane rides...5205 air miles 12 bus rides 4 hotel check ins 3 days cruising......51 nautical miles 3 zodiacs rides 4 nature walks 2 dug out canoe rides 1 kayak ride | Zip line in rain forest canopy El Nispero Zoo Gamboa Butterfly Garden San Lorenzo National Park Old Fort San Lorenzo | At the end of our adventures in 11 days we experienced | Top five discovery experiences
129: Centro Basico El Valle School Making tamales Natalio Murillo sugar cane farm Embera Indian village Riding a Red Devil bus | Going through the 3 set of locks Dinner at Miraflores locks Tiger islands Taboga island Gatun Dam | Top five cultural experiences | Top five canal experiences