Saturday, January 17, 2009

The Canal and pics from Panama City

Panama Jazz Festival at sunset. What a great party. The festival drew in thousands of people and some of the best Jazz talents from Central America, the Caribbean and the US. The sunset behind the church wasn´t bad either.

Walking around the Casco Viejo.

The Jazz fest.

Mike and I stumbled upon an art show for charity in one of the town squares in Casco Viejo.

A cool cash machine in our favorite exspresso bar near our hostel.

Mike´s calling in to the control office...he´s got a few questions before he guides the ship through the Canal!

A giant tanker slowly being raised through the Miraflores locks at the Panama Canal. Tourists are checking it out from the view point above the Canal´s museum.

The famous Miraflores locks building that was constructed in 1914 when the Canal first opened.

Another tanker makes it through the Canal and slowly drifts into the lake. The whole process takes about 8 hours to get from the Pacific Ocean to the Atlantic. It costs around $200,000 for a ship like this to use the Canal which is the ¨biggest short cut in the world¨!

So what´s Panama City like?

I´ve got some mixed feelings about the city. Panama City is in transition. It´s opening up to tourism and business but it seems like it´s taking it´s time. Panamanians are slowly coming around to tourists but still most people are put off by foreigners, or so it seems. I was a little frustrated with the city when I first arrived because I was in the middle of town. There was nothing of interest around my hotel downtown. It was nothing but construction sites, dirty streets and noise pollution. Looking on the bright side this gave me a bunch of time and motivation to get working on the project at hand.

After my experience downtown I moved to a super cool hostel in Casco Viejo. Casco Viejo is a charming old barrio in Panama City. After the old city was destroyed by the Spanish the Panamanians started the new town on this site. So the buildings have a 16th century charm to them. Although half the buildings look like they are about to fall over they still look cool. Its nice to slowly stroll along the streets, grab a coffee in the squares or check out the views of the ocean along the walkways.
After 2 weeks Panama City really started to grow on me. Its got some charm, we met some locals and the Jazz festival was just like the festivals back home in San Francisco.

1 comment:

Cyn said...

Of course Michael T. would guid the ship through the canal!