Panama City

21st & 22nd October 2003.

We left Jamaica and caught a stressful flight via Miami to Panama City. We nearly missed our connecting flight and some heavily-moustached American bloke shouted verbal abuse at Jason and called him an 'amateur traveller' as he had obviously not eaten all the airline meals.

Luke was meeting Nichola and we left him running for his plane in Miami. They took a flight to San Jose where we met up with them four days later.

Panama City is famous for the Panama Canal, it was also boiling hot and sticky with rain, thunderand lightening at night.

Panama City stretches 10km along the pacific coast. It has a very American feel to it mainly due to the fact that America 'owned' the Panama canal until December 1999.... when they gracefully gave it back!

We were pleasantly surprised by the old town which had lots of beautiful buildings. There are still many dilapidated buildings that are the home to many poor people. They have a restoration plan in process including moving the poor people to other parts of the town!

Panama Canal is one of the greatest engineering achievements of the 20th century.  It took 750,000 workers ten years to make. After many treatys and wars it now belongs to Panama again.

Today, up to 43 ships a day can pass through the canal.  It saves them sailing around either South America or Africa.

The maximum size of a boat to pass through the canal is some 294 metres long and 32 metres wide

We got to see a maximum sized ship pass through the canal. It was huge and had some 3 feet clearance each side.

It took a long time to go through the dock.  Claire managed to stay awake whilst waving to the men on the ship who hadn't seen a woman for weeks. She ignored Jason's advice to 'flash' at them.

From Panama we took a 20 hour bus to San Jose to meet Nicola as we will be travelling with them for the next two weeks.

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